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

LindaWhit Feb 15, 2012 07:37 PM

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!

  1. Phaedrus Feb 21, 2012 01:42 PM

    James Beard Semi-finalist announced.

    Paul Qui, Bryan Voltaggio and Ed Lee are semi-finalists in their region.

    Kevin Gillespie is semi-finalist for Rising Star.

    Tony Mantuano is semi-finalist for Outstanding chef.


    4 Replies
    1. re: Phaedrus
      mcf Feb 21, 2012 04:32 PM

      And Stephanie Izard, Hugh Acheson...

      1. re: Phaedrus
        goodhealthgourmet Feb 21, 2012 05:58 PM

        they misspelled the name of the restaurant where Paul works! it's Uchiko, not Uchi.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
          Caitlin McGrath Feb 21, 2012 06:07 PM

          Yeah, they named the wrong half in the listing. Uchi and Uchiko are both Tyson Cole's restaurants, but Paul's executive chef at the latter. http://www.uchiaustin.com/

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath
            goodhealthgourmet Feb 21, 2012 06:45 PM

            disappointing to see them make such a careless error.

      2. Withnail42 Feb 19, 2012 12:54 PM

        Beginning to think that TC hired some of the 'talent' from FN because this show is turning more like something along the lines of The Next Food Network Star.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Withnail42
          TuteTibiImperes Feb 19, 2012 08:44 PM

          At least they don't have to deal with those ridiculous 'camera challenges' and the incessant droning of having a 'culinary point of view' and branding, blech.

          If TNFNS were a cooking competition I could get into it, but I can't stand all of the challenges about on screen demeanor.

          1. re: TuteTibiImperes
            Withnail42 Feb 20, 2012 05:42 AM

            I don't know. This season I've been expecting Padma to lean over the table and say something along the lines of. "Sara we need to know more about you." or "Lindsay you have to engage the viewers." Perhaps Tom would say. 'This is a wonderful dish very complex. But it is just too fancy for the viewers at home. Paul you have to know your audience."

        2. g
          granadafan Feb 17, 2012 09:06 PM

          Sarah was just so passive aggressive, especially during the Restaurant Wars. Not my favorite on the show.

          1. j
            jujuthomas Feb 17, 2012 06:18 PM

            I've been watching but not posting - not as enthralled with this season as last. Missing Eric Ripert :(
            Anyway, this episode... absolutely ridiculous! bleh.

            1. l
              lbs Feb 17, 2012 01:12 PM

              FWIW: 3 links. Bev's exit interview with Tv Guide, the Eater's recap, and Chicago Trib recap




              8 Replies
              1. re: lbs
                lbs Feb 17, 2012 01:16 PM

                And I found this one interesting as well. I really should actually work now.'


                1. re: lbs
                  huiray Feb 17, 2012 02:18 PM

                  Sad article.

                  1. re: huiray
                    coney with everything Feb 20, 2012 06:25 AM

                    "The chefs walked up in this snowy park to the front of this beautiful ice sculpture in Whistler, and [judge Tom] Colicchio said, 'You can bet they don't do this shit on [Food Network's] Chopped.' "

                    I think in this comparison, Chopped wins. Chopped is by far the worst for the poor poor pitiful me stories, but at least they consistently focus on actual cooking.

                2. re: lbs
                  huiray Feb 17, 2012 02:04 PM

                  Silvestri's recap was a good one. The comments were also noteworthy.

                  Kevin Pang's blogs about the show...can't say I'm a fan. I've read some of his previous ones too and they all strike me as a tad sanctimonious and haughty.

                  1. re: huiray
                    DGresh Feb 17, 2012 03:27 PM

                    Loved the pic of Padma with the gun and this: "the final spot comes down to Beverly and Sarah. And the challenge involves guns! Padma greets the two remaining chefs and tells them to RUN. They have five minutes before she gets on her snowmobile and starts hunting them."

                  2. re: lbs
                    mariacarmen Feb 17, 2012 04:07 PM

                    poor silvestri hasn't even been able to be all that funny, these shows have been so lame....

                    Bev's T.V. Guide interview makes me like her even more.

                    1. re: mariacarmen
                      Joanie Feb 21, 2012 05:58 AM

                      I think he's had some good moments but the exasperation in this sentence is representative of most everyone here: "and all that makes for a pre-finale that is surprisingly focused on gimmicks. Bravo, these guys have slogged through so many hours of bullshit reality hijinks, so can we please watch them cook now? No, we can't? Alright."

                      This was good:
                      Do these gondola lifts normally have mini-kitchens in them? Is that very popular in Whistler, British Columbia? I will be honest: I have never skied, so maybe people love deglazing chorizo with prune juice on their way back up the slopes. "What's the salmon belly situation in our gondola lift?" That is a question skiers frequently ask before booking their lift tickets. Lindsay's secret ingredient is her new earrings.

                    2. re: lbs
                      LindaWhit Feb 17, 2012 07:11 PM

                      Max isn't a fan of Sarah either. :-)

                    3. m
                      marcopolo Feb 17, 2012 11:32 AM

                      On top of all the other reasons that other folks have mentioned for being disappointed with this episode of TC, let me add one more: total waste of Jon Montgomery's talents as a guest judge. I mean, this guy is pretty much best known not for winning gold for Canada, but rather for celebrating said win with a large pint of beer while walking about the whistler plaza. Just google 'Jon Montgomery beer' and you'll see what i mean. When I first saw that Jon Montgomery was guest judging, well, let's just say that I was hoping for more of a party.

                      Anyways, next week's preview has me fretting a bit about Paul's chances. I hope that's just the elves' handiwork because if he doesn't take it, Bravo's gonna have hell to pay from this board...

                      1. m
                        MonMauler Feb 17, 2012 11:12 AM

                        I always fail to appreciate outrage and vitriol such as is expressed in this thread. I get that people enjoy working themselves up into an emotional lather, and I understand that people exaggerate for effect (especially on the internet), but it seems that this show truly upsets many posting on these threads week-after-week. What's more is it seems many here watch the show just to get upset, which I don't really understand. If you don't enjoy the show, then don't watch.

                        This is a reality TV show with a cooking backdrop. It is not a pure cooking competition. They manufacture drama with the format in a multitude of ways, many of which are directly related to cooking ability, many of which are only tangentially related to cooking ability, and many of which have nothing to do with cooking whatsoever. Similarly, it would surprise me to find that the contestants are chosen purely for their cooking skills. A myriad of factors such as personality, physical beauty, ethnicity, race, gender and even where the contestant is from probably factor into the selection of contestants, in addition to other factors relating to their cooking skillset. Top Chef producers are in the business of creating entertainment with the intention of building an audience advertisers and sponsors are willing to pay to reach. The format they have concocted has been successful at such. The show is not formatted to identify the best chef, and for that I'm grateful. It's not as if the Bocuse d'Or or the related qualifying competitions have a significant television presence (if they have one at all), and I doubt I'd watch any if it did.

                        I, for one, enjoy the show. I've enjoyed this season, although I agree it hasn't been the best. However, I did enjoy this episode and thought it was one of the more entertaining amongst the various of the "zany" challenges they've done this time around. To me, Top Chef is still, far-and-away, the most entertaining television program I can watch at 10 pm on Wednesday or during some other downtime if I'm otherwise occupied when it originally airs. I've watched every episode, I'll watch the conclusion and I'll tune in whenever the next season starts up.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MonMauler
                          jcattles Feb 17, 2012 01:47 PM

                          "If you don't enjoy the show, then don't watch."

                          It's not that we don't enjoy the show, it's that we don't enjoy watching this season as much as we enjoyed it in past seasons. Back when Top Chef started, it was mainly about the food. Sure they threw a wrench in some of the challenges, but most of us feel Top Chef peaked at Season 6 & has been steadily declining since. Most of us would prefer the focus to return to the food and the talent of each chef.

                          "This is a reality TV show with a cooking backdrop. It is not a pure cooking competition.

                          In it's current form, Top Chef resembles Survivor more than Top Chef. Back in the beginning it was a cooking competition first with little emphasis on the drama (I'm not saying there wasn't drama, we all know what happened with Marcel) or challenges that pushed the limits of the contestants physical ability (other than exhaustion from the hectic pace). Personally I don't care how well a person can cross country ski or shoot a target. I want to see the food they chose, how they chose to cook it, and more of the judges table and how they make their decisions.

                          Top Chef should be about who the best chef is. That's why it's called Top Chef. We obviously know that the best chef doesn't always win, & yes you can say that is "reality" part of the show. As a fan from day 1, I'm tired of the all the catered challenges and the random guest judges who don't know jack about food. As fans, we have called bullshit numerous times as some of the better chefs have been eliminated while sub par chefs go on to win.

                          "It's not as if the Bocuse d'Or or the related qualifying competitions have a significant television presence (if they have one at all), and I doubt I'd watch any if it did."

                          At this point if any of the related qualifying competitions did have a a strong television presence, I'd bail on Top Chef in a heartbeat. I'm sure I'm not alone. If Top Chef continues in the current format, I won't be watching next season, which is very sad because I've been a fan since it stared & have gotten the chance to follow & keep up on my favorite chefs from the show. I'm not watching Top Chef for the "zany challenges", I'm watching it to keep up on some the best chefs around the country & what type of food they produce. I was a huge fan of Food Network when it first premiered, but haven't watched it in years because they changed the format & dumbed it down for the masses. Top Chef is headed down that road & it's a shame.

                          As a side note: I watched some of the webcast of the Bocuse d'Or competition & found it fascinating.

                          Another side note: Kevin Gillespie from Season 6 received a spot in the semi-finals for the Bocuse d'Or team for winning an elimination challenge. I don't see that kind of prize happening anytime soon with as much as the show has changed.

                        2. i
                          Iowaboy3 Feb 17, 2012 08:24 AM

                          Glad to see most of the culinary world thought Top Chef TEXAS was stupid cooking on a gondola in British Columbia. As I posted on Twitter, why not have the chefs slicing sashimi whilst bull riding. Perhaps making crepes while trying to hop a moving train? How about juggling cast-iron skillets while making cornbread?

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: Iowaboy3
                            Phaedrus Feb 17, 2012 10:39 AM

                            Why stop there? How about killing and cutting up your own steaks?

                            1. re: Phaedrus
                              mariacarmen Feb 17, 2012 11:36 AM

                              whilst riding that bucking bull?

                              1. re: Phaedrus
                                John E. Feb 17, 2012 08:51 PM

                                See my post upthread. While I did not suggest the killing, butchering, and cooking of an animal as large as a steer, I do think a good challenge would involve live animals that must be dispatched, dressed, butchered, and cooked. I believe an extreme episode like this is coming to Top Chef.

                                1. re: John E.
                                  cowboyardee Feb 17, 2012 10:08 PM

                                  Gut impression: I think on-screen killing and dressing of mammals is just too problematic for the sensibilities of the Bravo network. Never gonna happen, IMO. Time will tell, of course. Killing and filleting a fish (the killing off-screen) is another matter, but I think that's already been done.

                                  1. re: cowboyardee
                                    John E. Feb 17, 2012 10:20 PM

                                    I guess it's just wishful thinking.

                                    1. re: cowboyardee
                                      mariacarmen Feb 17, 2012 10:56 PM

                                      call me a big hypocritcal wuss who is not in touch with where her food comes from, but for the first time i would say i would not watch this show ever again if they were to do that.

                                      1. re: mariacarmen
                                        DGresh Feb 18, 2012 02:37 AM

                                        I think there are enough hypocritical wusses just like you, and me, who feel the same way, which is why they ain't gonna do that.

                                      2. re: cowboyardee
                                        Phaedrus Feb 20, 2012 06:37 AM

                                        I was being facetious. Lighten up folks,

                                        1. re: Phaedrus
                                          cowboyardee Feb 20, 2012 08:37 AM

                                          My post was in response to John's. I think everyone knew you were being facetious, but found the subject interesting anyway.

                                          What's to lighten up about? Just about the only humane way to eat an animal is to kill it first.

                                          1. re: cowboyardee
                                            John E. Feb 20, 2012 09:25 AM

                                            When I wrote that post I didn't really mean they were going to show a chicken getting its throat cut on TV. I meant that they might get a just deceased chicken and have to eviscerate and pluck the feathers of the chicken and go from there. They did get a whole dead pig once in the TC4 finale.

                                2. Shrinkrap Feb 16, 2012 09:35 PM

                                  oh, nose......i don't even have the patience for this thread!

                                  But I love your post op Linda! I love all of y'all.

                                  1. p
                                    Pookipichu Feb 16, 2012 07:31 PM

                                    So the scrappy underdog loses and the mean girls advance. I thought this season couldn't get any worse but they always have to prove me wrong.

                                    Next season they'll be cooking on moving alligators, while blindfolded, in the Everglades, courtesy of Florida and Dawn's new line of eco-friendly soaps. Or in a crack den, surrounded by gunfire, wearing only garbage bags, courtesy of Detroit and Glad's family of trash products.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Pookipichu
                                      LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 07:44 PM

                                      I know you were joke, but rumor has it that the location is between Portland, Oregon and Boston, MA. According to the Boston Globe, Boston's Mayor Menino has been tweeting trying to get Bravo's attention to consider Boston as the next venue:

                                      "In a tweet to area students earlier this week, Menino said, “Boston colleges: Join me in telling @BravoTopChef why #yougottatryboston and film season 10 here in our great city (or your campus)!” An earlier Menino tweet: “Boston – let’s work together to bring #topchef here. What’s your favorite restaurant or chef in Boston? #yougottatryboston.”

                                      These Menino blasts are part of a larger lobbying campaign on Twitter called “#yougottatryboston.” The campaign, which launched Feb. 1, is part of a collaboration between the city and Digitas, a Boston marketing agency. If enough locals tweet about Boston, “Top Chef” might be persuaded to put the Hub on its map, the thinking behind the campaign goes.

                                      In pushing Boston as a chowhound’s nirvana, Digitas decided that Twitter was the appropriate marketing vehicle.

                                      As for the “#yougottatryboston” campaign, the Bravo spokeswoman said, “This is very cool.”

                                      I expect the location would go to Portland before Boston. But not a bad marketing idea.

                                    2. goodhealthgourmet Feb 16, 2012 05:30 PM

                                      sigh. i miss Nyesha. if she had won LCK i really believe she would have edged Sarah or Lindsay out of the final three.

                                      but hey, at least i won't be conflicted about whom to root for!

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                        LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 05:42 PM

                                        I seriously SERIOUSLY wish that Nyesha and Paul were the Final 2. That would have made (FINALLY!) for some really great cooking.

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                          chowser Feb 16, 2012 06:39 PM

                                          Sigh, but who knows if Nyesha can cross country ski or shoot a gun or cook in a gondola. Maybe Thomas Keller and Rick Bayless would have problems with being in TC at this point. Although I don't see them making the masters do stunts like this. At this point, even if Nyesha and Paul were in the finals, I'd be routing for him.

                                          1. re: chowser
                                            huiray Feb 16, 2012 07:20 PM

                                            No, no X-C skiing or target shooting or smashing ice blocks with brute strength or bicycling around town in 100+ degree weather or cooking in a dusty bare field in the middle of nowhere...but they *did* make them cook on a teensy dorm hot plate (and or microwave or toaster oven) and manipulated them into doing stuff like drain and rinse pasta in a shower. Or cook on grills on a hot day in a football stadium parking lot. :-) Or cook using lab equipment instead of their usual pots and pans. (Some folks' favorite blogger this season got burned there)

                                            1. re: huiray
                                              chowser Feb 17, 2012 04:42 AM

                                              I see those more as challenges than stupid tricks. It requires creativity (watching Hubert Keller make mac and cheese in a dorm room was fascinating); whereas flailing downhill on skis shows nothing in terms of cooking skills. One is about cooking under unusual conditions; the other has nothing to do with cooking at all.

                                              1. re: chowser
                                                chicgail Feb 17, 2012 04:52 AM

                                                It does look like a line was crossed.

                                                1. re: chicgail
                                                  chowser Feb 17, 2012 05:11 AM

                                                  Yes, from "what odd cooking situations can we put them in" into "what odd situations can we put them in"?

                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                    huiray Feb 17, 2012 06:17 AM

                                                    Quite right, and I certainly agree with both you and chicgail. I was merely pointing out that TCM did throw curve balls at the cheftestants and it wasn't just professional kitchens and a full panoply of ingredients and resources at each step of the way. :-)

                                                    p.s. I was impressed with their resourcefulness in that "dorm room" challenge. Hubert Keller was indeed a hoot there. I also recall that he seemed to be having fun. Then, it was fascinating reading about some viewers' squeamishness about his rinsing the pasta off in the shower... :-)...why did they go "ick" at that? Heh.

                                                    chicgail suggested that "a line was crossed" - presumably with regards to this TC season and this episode in paticular. I would say her earlier comment upstream was better - that the show had "gone over a cliff".

                                                    1. re: huiray
                                                      chowser Feb 17, 2012 06:56 AM

                                                      I think a big part of this is that we've all seen how great the show can be, how well the chefs can think on their feet, be creative and still produce great food, plus they were given challenges where they can just cook their best ( loved the TCM where they cooked a dish that represented them in the past, present and future, no limitations); especially apparent in Top Chef Masters, so to see it become this is sad.

                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                        huiray Feb 17, 2012 02:00 PM

                                                        Indeed. Oh, reading the comments on Silvestri's recap on Eater.com (see lbs's post below: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8339...) also reminded me that TCM Season 3 was, alas!, also degraded by making it into another version of TC complete with the same sort of inane and stupid tricks... :-(

                                                        1. re: chowser
                                                          LindaWhit Feb 17, 2012 06:48 PM

                                                          ^^^^ ALL of what you said, chowser.

                                          2. f
                                            FoodPopulist Feb 16, 2012 04:56 PM

                                            OK, so I'm going to be the one person to declare that I enjoyed this episode. It was fun. I like fun.

                                            The only bad part was that Beverly was eliminated.

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: FoodPopulist
                                              mariacarmen Feb 16, 2012 05:01 PM

                                              you just want to be your evil self and watch people's heads explode around you.

                                              1. re: mariacarmen
                                                LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 05:35 PM

                                                LOL! ::::kaBOOM!:::::

                                                *I'm* not cleaning that up.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                  goodhealthgourmet Feb 16, 2012 06:10 PM

                                                  ugh. well that's just great. now we have to deal with product placement in the *recaps* too?! Linda, i never pegged you for a sellout.


                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                    Phaedrus Feb 16, 2012 06:39 PM

                                                    I love my TC Recap family. Too bad the reason for us gathering here is sucking ass.

                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                      LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 07:13 PM

                                                      LOL! I *honestly* didn't even think of the cleaning product when I wrote that, ghg! Tee hee!

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                        goodhealthgourmet Feb 16, 2012 07:41 PM

                                                        i knew it was completely unintentional :)

                                                  2. re: mariacarmen
                                                    mcf Feb 16, 2012 05:37 PM


                                                    There's just no accounting for tastes. ;-)

                                                2. Firegoat Feb 16, 2012 02:35 PM

                                                  So I haven't been able to watch the episode yet. But I don't mind being spoiled, so I've read Linda's always wonderful recaps here, caught the extended judge table video, all the blogs, and read the posts. I have only one question. Please. Tell me Bev took the piece of paper telling her she is the champion to Vancouver and that we get a lovely parting shot of her taking it down. I'm sorry. From the first time she ran to the front of the line at Whole Foods and insisted she was the most important person there she lost me.

                                                  12 Replies
                                                  1. re: Firegoat
                                                    Kalee Feb 16, 2012 04:37 PM

                                                    I can easily see why Bev would irk people. I definitely remember being none too impressed with her behavior in the first full episode, but...She isn't actively mean to anyone. I don't know if she had an outlet at her station. Or if she did, whether it was working. They didn't pan to an outlet, so I wonder if there either was none, or if it didn't work. I sort of feel like they would have if it was there. It made me think that that gripe, like the gripe about not getting as many bullets was just Sarah whining.

                                                    i don't think Lindsay was as outright rude and nasty as Sarah and Heather were. Heather was just on her own planet, regardless of what Sarah thinks about Bev being on Bev world. And Sarah? Well, her condescending tone would drive me up the wall.

                                                    So I don't love Bev, but I saw nothing in her behavior to justify Heather and Sarah's bitching. Yes, it could be editing, but the two worst parts for Sarah last night were not. The "oh, look trees!" bit and the bullets thing. That's all Sarah.

                                                    And speaking of TWoP, a poster over there said that s/he has met both Sarah and Bev and that even now, knowing that she beat out Bev, Sarah can't shut up about Bev. Something along the lines of, you know what, hold on a sec while I find it:

                                                    [E]ven now, despite Sarah's supposedly contrite dedication to be "nice," Sarah had the gall to say negative things about Beverly to a complete stranger in a completely passively aggressive way. For example, Sarah told me that Beverly was "so cute" because she wanted to take Italian dishes and put an "Asian" spin on them (while she was rolling her eyes and laughing derisively, but smiling as if she was saying something nice, which she wasn't). She also said things like, Beverly is much more "bubbly" now than she was during the taping of the show (implying Bev was not nice during the show). What does a person gain by trying to put a fellow contestant down even now, after the show has aired? Sarah knows she made it to the final three and she couldn't keep herself from downing Beverly to a complete stranger.....I'm sorry, but I'll take Bev's goofiness any day over such clear two-faced-ness.

                                                    Yeah. So that's just one person's take, and who knows the agenda, but nothing seems to have been said about how great Bev is in comparison , doesn't she?

                                                    1. re: Kalee
                                                      coney with everything Feb 17, 2012 07:44 AM

                                                      So if you had to choose between mean but competent vs. nice but goofy....

                                                      1. re: coney with everything
                                                        goodhealthgourmet Feb 17, 2012 08:52 AM

                                                        goofy ≠ incompetent.

                                                      2. re: Kalee
                                                        Pookipichu Feb 17, 2012 08:07 AM

                                                        Sarah's "niceness" this episode never seemed genuine to me. She almost definitely saw the feedback on the internet and realized that people hated her. She doesn't strike me as a secure person, she seems like the type of person that craves approval. Give her a queen bee like Lindsay or Heather and Sarah will just fall in line.

                                                        Lindsay is much better at concealing her nastiness, much more confident. Maybe because she's a former "prom queen".

                                                        1. re: Pookipichu
                                                          DGresh Feb 17, 2012 08:11 AM

                                                          was there time for her to see the feedback before the finale? That is, was the finale filmed while we were watching the early part of the season? At this point I can't even remember when this season started, but I guess it must have been at the beginning of the winter or so.

                                                          1. re: DGresh
                                                            marcopolo Feb 17, 2012 11:18 AM

                                                            "was there time for her to see the feedback before the finale?"

                                                            The finale was filmed in mid-January judging from reports and sightings in Vancouver. By then 10 episodes had already aired, so yes, the contestants would definitely be aware of the on-air personas displayed.

                                                            like Pookipichi, I also read Sarah's 'niceness' as a reaction to how she was being portrayed on the show and not genuine at all...

                                                            1. re: marcopolo
                                                              LindaWhit Feb 17, 2012 06:47 PM

                                                              Agree. Usually the finale is filmed after at least half of the season has aired, so the cheftestants are able to see how they've been edited AND how people react to them on screen.

                                                              Hence my comment in the original post about "nice Sarah" being left at the airport after she cut into Beverly's response to Paul about how LCK was...."Oh! Look at those trees!"

                                                          2. re: Pookipichu
                                                            huiray Feb 17, 2012 08:15 AM

                                                            Didn't someone also say that Sarah G. struck him/her as a "Daddy's Girl" after seeing her and Tony Mantuano together and that it explained many of the characteristics she has been seen to have demonstrated?

                                                            1. re: huiray
                                                              Withnail42 Feb 17, 2012 09:31 AM

                                                              I didn't say that but have to agree. she come across as someone who has been placated and kept happy.

                                                          3. re: Kalee
                                                            huiray Feb 17, 2012 08:10 AM

                                                            The comment from the TWoP poster said a great deal, didn't it.

                                                          4. re: Firegoat
                                                            LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 04:44 PM

                                                            No piece of paper. No video of her taking it down. Must be why she lost. ;-)

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                              NellyNel Feb 17, 2012 06:30 AM

                                                              LOL Linda!!!!

                                                          5. huiray Feb 16, 2012 01:25 PM

                                                            The full comment from one poster on TWoP:

                                                            "Beautiful mountains. All those fir trees covered with snow were gorgeous. I liked the fireplace, too. That looked really cozy.
                                                            Did I miss anything? "

                                                            Heh. HEH.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: huiray
                                                              LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 01:38 PM


                                                            2. Withnail42 Feb 16, 2012 12:53 PM

                                                              What a stupid episode!

                                                              I think what annoys me the most is that my man Ed was not there and Sara was. True he might not have made it anyway but the simple fact that Sara got a free pass still irks me. And didn't buy Sara's affection to ward Bev at the end. With Sara getting so close to the end I worry that we'll have another mediocre winner like Ilan or Hossea.

                                                              Although understand why Sara would be pissed about Bev encroaching on her work space when using the blender. Nor did it look like Bev made any attempt to give Sara she space back quickly. It seemed she took her time and did a coupe of other things as opposed to getting out of Sara's way. That was Bev being stupid plain and simple. Bev seems 'book smart' she knows 'how things work. But put her in a real work 'street' scenario and she's useless. Did any one else notice her opening up her own knife box upside down and having the contents fall out?

                                                              Props to Paul for helping with the ice and essentially pointing out the stupidity of the 'challenge'. Watching it it struck me that someone could really have gotten hurt. One wrong swipe with the ice pick and your visiting the hospital.

                                                              Not optimistic about next weeks episode and yet other banquet.

                                                              (LW thanks as always for yet another great recap!)

                                                              11 Replies
                                                              1. re: Withnail42
                                                                mcf Feb 16, 2012 01:26 PM

                                                                I don't think Bev is "useless." More like "different." Maybe she's dyslexic, maybe she's on the autism spectrum, who knows? She's definitely wired differently. But she's clearly a very skilled chef, even if annoying in the work space.

                                                                1. re: mcf
                                                                  Withnail42 Feb 16, 2012 02:58 PM

                                                                  Point of clarification:

                                                                  Perhaps useless was the wrong word. perhaps something along the lines of clueless or social spaz. I am actually a fan of her cooking. She seemed quite sweet. She reminds me of a brilliant guy I once knew worked with the UN on some important committee. But send him to Starbucks for coffee and the guy was useless/clueless.

                                                                  Perhaps Bev is fixated in the moment. She needs a plug so she thinks. 'There's a plug there in Sara's work space. I'll go use that one and do all my work associated with the blender there.' It is easy to understand how that continued disconnect with others would get frustrating.

                                                                  1. re: Withnail42
                                                                    mcf Feb 16, 2012 03:06 PM

                                                                    "perhaps something along the lines of clueless or social spaz. I am actually a fan of her cooking."

                                                                    Totally clueless, socially, and also not well oriented to physical surroundings. I'm a fan of her cooking, just not her behavior.

                                                                2. re: Withnail42
                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 01:29 PM

                                                                  Youse guys are gonna give me a swelled head. :-) And YVW.

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                    mcf Feb 16, 2012 01:34 PM

                                                                    I may be one of your non viewer readers next year, if the show stays on current trajectory... will only watch if you make it sound worthwhile... take good care of yourself, 'kay? Vested interests here... Let me know if you need any vitamin C, etc...

                                                                    1. re: mcf
                                                                      LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 01:37 PM

                                                                      LOL!!! I'm snort-laughing here, mcf!

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                        mcf Feb 16, 2012 01:47 PM

                                                                        Well, then, DON'T take a sip of anything!

                                                                        1. re: mcf
                                                                          LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 01:52 PM

                                                                          Oh, I'm drinking some wine when I get home in about an hour. I'm taking Friday off for a nice *longer* holiday weekend. :-)

                                                                      2. re: mcf
                                                                        Phaedrus Feb 16, 2012 02:13 PM

                                                                        I think we can all chip in here. Someone go arrange for foot massages from Ripert. Hell, someone go arrange for a full body massage from Ripert, while Bourdain recites his witticism for LW.

                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                          LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 04:41 PM

                                                                          Hey you. Get out of my head! Those are MY fantasies, dammit! Oh. Wait. You're doing all that so I do these recaps next season?

                                                                          I am *SO* there! Mwwwahhhh!!!

                                                                        2. re: mcf
                                                                          goodhealthgourmet Feb 16, 2012 05:26 PM

                                                                          i don't anticipate being interested in watching next season unless Bravo axes the bonehead[s] responsible for devising this season's challenges. i'll just get my fix of competitive TV *cooking* on Chopped.

                                                                    2. b
                                                                      Bellachefa Feb 16, 2012 11:18 AM

                                                                      LW, I never understood the reason for your extended recaps until this morning. I watched the gondola thing, which I thought was odd but fun and then got called away. Reading your recap is surely more entertaining to the fiasco on the screen. What a hot mess that I have no interest in watching. Your recap says it all. Thank you.

                                                                      And I'm sorry Tom, but I'm not buying it. When skanky Lisa rose to the top I was suspicious. With mean girl Sarah rising to the top, so do my suspicions. I truly think it is Bravo's dirty little secret lie.

                                                                      And to whomever above spoke of Hugh's blog. I never liked him, and never read it. But gawd that was some funny stuff! Thanks for the heads up.

                                                                      1. b
                                                                        bobbert Feb 16, 2012 09:59 AM

                                                                        Here's another random observation that I think is pretty telling. I just read 88 comments about this cooking show and I don't recall any of them mentioning any food that was cooked. Hey Bravo, are you listening?

                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                        1. re: bobbert
                                                                          LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 10:10 AM

                                                                          HEY! I mentioned it. ;-)

                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                            bobbert Feb 16, 2012 10:28 AM

                                                                            I skip everything you write after the initial recap. :-)
                                                                            I guess that's where it was mentioned?

                                                                            1. re: bobbert
                                                                              LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 11:32 AM

                                                                              Stinker. :-P

                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                bobbert Feb 16, 2012 01:15 PM

                                                                                I'm only responding to show that I really do read all your posts... and enjoy them as well.

                                                                                1. re: bobbert
                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 01:26 PM

                                                                                  I thought your reply also meant you didn't read the initial recap either. ;-)

                                                                          2. re: bobbert
                                                                            huiray Feb 16, 2012 02:59 PM

                                                                            OK, here are a couple of comments:
                                                                            1) How come Sarah Grueneberg was so upset that Beverly Kim got the beets? Wasn't she (SG) waving off beets as being so passé when Beverly K. proposed them in Restaurant Wars?
                                                                            2) The second segment had them cooking frozen stuff - both proteins and vegetables. What happened to the diktat (in practice) from Tom Colicchio & company that fresh ingredients were the only acceptable things to use?

                                                                            1. re: huiray
                                                                              chowser Feb 16, 2012 03:03 PM

                                                                              I was thinking that with the frozen seafood, esp as Beverly went for frozen scallops.

                                                                              1. re: chowser
                                                                                huiray Feb 16, 2012 04:01 PM

                                                                                Yes, and didn't Gail Simmons say she had a nice sear on her scallops? That's interesting, as it may be hard to do so with frozen scallops (http://www.ochef.com/590.htm ; http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/355416 ; http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/833184 ; http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/486078) and could require more time than one would have thought she (Beverly K.) would have had. They must have been "dry scallops" to start with?

                                                                                1. re: huiray
                                                                                  chowser Feb 16, 2012 04:55 PM

                                                                                  Frozen scallops at that. How did she defrost them to sear them, out in the cold?

                                                                              2. re: huiray
                                                                                LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 04:40 PM

                                                                                Nice catch on the beets.

                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                  NellyNel Feb 17, 2012 06:22 AM


                                                                                2. re: huiray
                                                                                  LurkerDan Feb 16, 2012 09:08 PM

                                                                                  She didn't object to "beets" as an ingredient, period, she objected to Bev's suggestion of a beet (and I believe goat cheese) salad.

                                                                                  1. re: LurkerDan
                                                                                    chowser Feb 17, 2012 04:39 AM

                                                                                    She said beets were overdone.

                                                                              3. r
                                                                                ratgirlagogo Feb 16, 2012 09:29 AM

                                                                                Remember that thread we had going about Things To Do Before Applying to Top Chef? Things like knowing how to make a couple of desserts? Guess we really fucked up by not including cross-country skiing, biathalon, bicycle riding, use of an icepick, etc. Who knew?
                                                                                I'm not claiming I'll never watch Top Chef again. I will. But that really, truly, was the WORST CHALLENGE EVER [*said in Comic Book Guy's voice*]. The hardest parts of it were totally unrelated to cooking skills. Anyone's cooking skills.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 09:55 AM

                                                                                  LOL! I want a "LIKE" button for the part about "Things To Do Before Applying to Top Chef", ratgirlagogo. :-)

                                                                                2. NellyNel Feb 16, 2012 08:51 AM

                                                                                  I'm happy it's a 2 person, head to head, final - I like those better!

                                                                                  but, shudder to think if it's Lindsay vs. Sarah.....Who would I root for??

                                                                                  26 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                    mcf Feb 16, 2012 08:56 AM

                                                                                    I'd turn it off and watch re-runs of something else.

                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                      LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 09:55 AM

                                                                                      Oh, please do NOT do that to me! I don't even know what that recap would be like. Perhaps something like this?

                                                                                      "Sarah and Lindsay laugh in the hotel room that they're finalists. They tell each other they knew all along they were the best. They cook against each other. The judges taste things. The judges comment on the dishes. The judges decide. THE END to one of the crappiest Top Chef seasons ever."

                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                        Phaedrus Feb 16, 2012 10:02 AM

                                                                                        IF those two ended up being the two finalist, I am hoping for the Bob Newhart ending, where all of this season has been a dream and that Lindsay and Sarah and Heather are all fry cooks at a greasy spoon ogling greasy longshoremen and churning out crap.

                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                          LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 10:08 AM

                                                                                          LOL! Now THAT I'd have fun recapping!

                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                            NellyNel Feb 16, 2012 10:39 AM


                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                            goodhealthgourmet Feb 16, 2012 05:09 PM

                                                                                            sounds about right with one minor adjustment to your final sentence...the end to *THE* crappiest TC season ever.

                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                              LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 05:34 PM

                                                                                              It's in a pretty damn close race with TC2 and TC5.

                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                goodhealthgourmet Feb 16, 2012 06:08 PM

                                                                                                yes, Marcel was beyond annoying, and the head-shaving incident was ridiculous, and i didn't want to see Ilan win...and Hosea & Leah made me gag, and i wish they hadn't brought in Toby Young to replace Gail, and i didn't want to see Hosea win...yet given the choice, i'd still watch all of it again in a heartbeat over this current pile of crap.

                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                  mcf Feb 17, 2012 05:46 AM

                                                                                                  Yes to all the above!

                                                                                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                mcf Feb 16, 2012 05:36 PM


                                                                                              3. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                JAB Feb 16, 2012 05:45 PM

                                                                                                Wouldn't that just be the capper to this season. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

                                                                                              4. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                Withnail42 Feb 16, 2012 01:10 PM

                                                                                                I'd have to go for Linsay.

                                                                                                I have eaten Lindsay's food. This was a year ago well before top chef and it was excellent. Then back in December had the pleasure of meeting her and having a very nice chat. She was very nice and down to earth with a fairly noticeable southern accent. She was quite open about not wanting to watch herself on the show. Nor was she overly impressed with the food she had made.

                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 01:24 PM

                                                                                                  VERY interesting that she didn't want to watch herself. I wonder if she was concerned about the mean girl edit she realized then she might have received?

                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                    Withnail42 Feb 16, 2012 03:02 PM

                                                                                                    Thinking about our conversation. She was referring to the fact the the hotel where her restaurant is holds a 'Top Chef' parties on Wednesday night. Se said she leaves early those nights so she doesn't have to watch at work.

                                                                                                    1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                      LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 04:39 PM

                                                                                                      Which I'm reading as she doesn't want to watch in public and have an entire group of diners turn around and stare at her when she says something that might piss them off.

                                                                                                  2. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                    soupkitten Feb 16, 2012 11:57 PM

                                                                                                    it is sad that lindsay got so far in the competition and not only feels no professional pride, she actually feels deep regret, or like has to hide, perhaps. i didn't know what the "mean girls" meme meant until last week when i finally googled it and found out "mean girls" was an old lindsay lohan high school movie.... really people? the only "mean" clique, from what i've seen, is the internet crowd who ganged up on heather in earlier episodes, then transferred the hate to sarah and lindsay after heather's elimination. i wonder how michelle bernstein feels about the whole thing, or if she'll have anything to do with the show in the future. :(

                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                                      Withnail42 Feb 17, 2012 06:02 AM

                                                                                                      I didn't get a sense of regret. It was more of the food she cooked and the conditions she cooked under were not what she strives for; not up to her professional standards. As for not wanting to see your self on TV that's certainly not uncommon. Lots of people are the same way. More than likely she probably did not want to get a hard time/teased from people at work.

                                                                                                      I never though of her as mean. I know during Restaurant Wars episode she was barking out orders and trying to keep Bev focused. She got criticized for that. But that's what chef do.

                                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                        mcf Feb 17, 2012 06:23 AM

                                                                                                        "I never though of her as mean. I know during Restaurant Wars episode she was barking out orders and trying to keep Bev focused. She got criticized for that. But that's what chef do."

                                                                                                        No, she was criticized for being haughty and abusive, and rightly so. She also blamed Bev for ruining her stupidly conceived dish.

                                                                                                        1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                          chowser Feb 17, 2012 06:54 AM

                                                                                                          She was swearing at everyone under the sun, and called Bev a F@ckin; retard. Criticism deserved, imo, on her behavior.

                                                                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                                                                            trolley Feb 17, 2012 07:21 AM

                                                                                                            she (Lindsay) also stated that water boils faster at a higher altitude. SMH. not true, in fact it's the opposite since there's less air pressure. it's this kind of 'know it all' attitude combined with stupidity makes Lindsay very unlikable.

                                                                                                            1. re: trolley
                                                                                                              DGresh Feb 17, 2012 07:25 AM

                                                                                                              No it actually is true, though I myself also had a double-take when she said it. It boils faster, at a lower temperature, so things take longer to cook than they do at sea level.

                                                                                                              1. re: DGresh
                                                                                                                huiray Feb 17, 2012 07:37 AM

                                                                                                                A couple of useful links for folks in general:

                                                                                                                (Edited to say "...for folks in general")

                                                                                                                1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                  DGresh Feb 17, 2012 07:54 AM

                                                                                                                  Not sure your point. I'm an engineer, and am well aware of the science regarding what I posted. Water boils at a lower temp at high altitude, due to the lower air pressure (just as the second link shows; was the first link just to prove that Whistler is at altitude?), so it takes less time to get to a boil than at sea level. However that "boil" is not the one most of us are familiar with, at 212F. Food cooks more slowly, because the water is not as hot. Hence an egg takes much longer to become hard boiled at altitude. Lindsay was correct in what she said; there was just no follow-up on what that means for a chef.

                                                                                                                  1. re: DGresh
                                                                                                                    LurkerDan Feb 17, 2012 08:03 AM

                                                                                                                    Yeah, I did a double take on what she said too. At first it sounded wrong, because it implied that things would cook faster, but then I realized that she didn't say things cooked faster, she just said the water boils faster. Which, as someone who lives at elevation, I know to be true. As someone who cooks at elevation too, however, the implication of her statement was wrong (if indeed one took her statement as implying that food cooks faster because water boils faster).

                                                                                                                    1. re: DGresh
                                                                                                                      huiray Feb 17, 2012 08:31 AM

                                                                                                                      My post was not aimed at you specifically nor was it a rebuttal of anything your professional training and knowledge has imparted to you. Sheesh. It was merely a couple of useful links for folks to look up, if they wanted to see what temperature water would have boiled at in Whistler - and that would also have depended on where they were at any one time, as their activities varied from place to place and in altitude at each place, with substantial differences between the places they cavorted in.

                                                                                                                      Since you are in such an uproar over my post, I have just edited my previous post to change "A couple of useful links:" to "A couple of useful links for folks in general:".

                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                        DGresh Feb 17, 2012 08:34 AM

                                                                                                                        Ok gotcha. Mood is hard to get in posts; it looked like you were trying to "prove me wrong" complete with smiley face :)

                                                                                                    2. JuniorBalloon Feb 16, 2012 08:39 AM

                                                                                                      Agree with most of the sentiment already expressed. Paul is a rock star for helping during the ice capdes segment. I don't mind putting the chefs in difficult situations. Had they done something different with the blocks of ice, like they get to look at what is inside each block and then swing like a wrecking ball and what breaks out they can cook with, but burning valuable cooking time hacking at a block of ice that you can't even tell what's in it is dumb. Same with the biathalon. Having them shoot the targets was fine, the skiing? Dumb, though I did enjoy watching Sarah fall down, guess I'm just mean. At least with the gondola there was a ton of great food items to work with.

                                                                                                      And while I can complain about that and the product placement and the Top Catering challengesI've also noticed they are handing out more cash this year than any before. And that is pretty cool.


                                                                                                      1. LurkerDan Feb 16, 2012 07:51 AM

                                                                                                        Oh look, another episode of TC, another round of "stupid episode, I'm done with this show, I'm not watching" posts!

                                                                                                        I thought the first challenge was fine, it was all about the cooking with some difficulty thrown in that they had to account for. I also thought the second one was ok. I did think the last challenge was a bit silly, because the xc skiing thing and the shooting thing were just so out there. But whatever, it still came down to the food, and it looked like they all made some excellent food.

                                                                                                        The damn editing elves, trying to make everyone look nice after trying so hard to make everyone look bad. But Sarah's expression of respect and admiration to Bev did look genuine, although it's easy to show genuine respect when you just won. But it does seem like they all did acknowledge that Bev was a worthy competitor, something I'm not sure they would have acknowledged earlier. After this episode, I like Sarah more and Lindsey less, though like everyone on the planet not related to either of them, I'm rooting hard for Paul.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: LurkerDan
                                                                                                          NellyNel Feb 16, 2012 07:54 AM

                                                                                                          Is there anyone on this board NOT rooting hard for Paul???

                                                                                                          1. re: LurkerDan
                                                                                                            LurkerDan Feb 16, 2012 08:02 AM

                                                                                                            Funny/good end to Hugh's blog:

                                                                                                            "Bottom line, all joking aside: This is a f--king hard show. Its is brutal. It’s much harder than it looks. Beverly is an unconventional chef who can do one thing that is the most important attribute in chefdom: she can cook. She can really cook. She deserved to be in the final four and I will happily arm wrestle anyone who thinks differently. Except Heather. She’d kick my ass."

                                                                                                            1. re: LurkerDan
                                                                                                              tjinsf Feb 16, 2012 04:57 PM

                                                                                                              Hugh's blogs have been one of (maybe the only) highlight of this season.

                                                                                                          2. ChefJune Feb 16, 2012 07:30 AM

                                                                                                            Thank you thank you thank you Linda for your detailed recap (even more than usual)! You see, I fell asleep before the show started and awoke just in time to see Beverly told to PPYKAG. After reading the recap, I know I don't want to watch this crazy marathon. Yuck.

                                                                                                            Just let them cook, please, dammit!

                                                                                                            AFAIK, no one left to root for but Paul. Cannot recall a season where I disliked 2 people more than Sarah and Lindsey.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: ChefJune
                                                                                                              LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 09:53 AM

                                                                                                              Glad I could help, ChefJune!

                                                                                                            2. monavano Feb 16, 2012 07:19 AM

                                                                                                              How far TC has fallen....
                                                                                                              As I reminisced on Dave's famous "I"m not your bitch, bitch" comment, I thought about how far TC has fallen, from a semi-final episode which included some of the country's best chefs (remember Pepper Monkey!) tasting the contestants' food, to this Whistler episode where not one of the guests had any culinary chops to speak of.
                                                                                                              How sad and pathetic.
                                                                                                              So it brings me to question: Is TC a "third rail" of some sort? Do reputable chefs not want to be associated with the show?
                                                                                                              How did they go from Rick Tramonto to Pee Wee Herman?
                                                                                                              No wonder Tom C. looked constipated most of this season.

                                                                                                              1. Phaedrus Feb 16, 2012 06:39 AM

                                                                                                                Is it because TC is jumping the shark? Although I think they are still getting good numbers. Or is it the FoodTV-ization of TC?

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                  Berheenia Feb 16, 2012 07:48 AM

                                                                                                                  I think you're right about the FoodTV-ization of TC but the prizes this season are a lot bigger and better than in the past. Is anyone keeping count on that score?

                                                                                                                2. j
                                                                                                                  Jdbc Feb 16, 2012 05:39 AM

                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                    monavano Feb 16, 2012 05:51 AM

                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                      chicgail Feb 16, 2012 06:02 AM

                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                        monavano Feb 16, 2012 06:18 AM

                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                          Phaedrus Feb 16, 2012 06:49 AM

                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                            tjinsf Feb 16, 2012 04:54 PM

                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                            debbiel Feb 16, 2012 06:56 AM

                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                              coney with everything Feb 17, 2012 07:40 AM

                                                                                                                              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.

                                                                                                                              1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                                goodhealthgourmet Feb 17, 2012 08:47 AM

                                                                                                                                did you catch Sarah's "into the Toyota" comment in the airport parking lot?

                                                                                                                                1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                                  debbiel Feb 17, 2012 01:48 PM

                                                                                                                                  Hey now, there's no reason to make snarky comments about my wardrobe. :)

                                                                                                                              2. re: Jdbc
                                                                                                                                ratgirlagogo Feb 16, 2012 09:41 AM

                                                                                                                                Well, they seem to have disabled the comments section on their site. There are none there and none of mine went through.

                                                                                                                              3. RUK Feb 16, 2012 05:32 AM

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

                                                                                                                                1. mariacarmen Feb 16, 2012 01:33 AM

                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                    Joanie Feb 16, 2012 04:05 AM

                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                      chicgail Feb 16, 2012 04:58 AM

                                                                                                                                      <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
                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 05:56 AM

                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                          jcattles Feb 16, 2012 07:13 AM

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

                                                                                                                                          1. re: jcattles
                                                                                                                                            LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 09:51 AM

                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                              jcattles Feb 16, 2012 10:26 AM

                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 11:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                  John E. Feb 16, 2012 01:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                          jcattles Feb 16, 2012 07:16 AM

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

                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                                                                                            bobbert Feb 16, 2012 09:53 AM

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

                                                                                                                                            1. re: bobbert
                                                                                                                                              mariacarmen Feb 16, 2012 10:26 AM

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

                                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                                                                                                mcf Feb 16, 2012 12:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                Yes, come out of your shell.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: mariacarmen
                                                                                                                                              tjinsf Feb 16, 2012 04:51 PM

                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                TuteTibiImperes Feb 18, 2012 05:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                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. moto Feb 16, 2012 01:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                  coney with everything Feb 16, 2012 05:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                    ratgirlagogo Feb 16, 2012 09:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Apparently the Elves think it's Fear Factor.

                                                                                                                                                2. t
                                                                                                                                                  tjinsf Feb 16, 2012 12:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 05:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                      Withnail42 Feb 16, 2012 12:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                        mcf Feb 16, 2012 12:39 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                  2. t
                                                                                                                                                    TheFoodEater Feb 15, 2012 11:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                    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. cowboyardee Feb 15, 2012 10:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Random thoughts for this episode:

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

                                                                                                                                                      That is all.

                                                                                                                                                      69 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                        linus Feb 16, 2012 05:46 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linus
                                                                                                                                                          jcattles Feb 16, 2012 07:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                            chicgail Feb 16, 2012 10:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                            cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 08:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                              linus Feb 16, 2012 09:24 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: linus
                                                                                                                                                                cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 10:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                  linus Feb 16, 2012 11:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                    cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 12:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                      linus Feb 16, 2012 12:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                        cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 12:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                      mcf Feb 16, 2012 12:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      "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
                                                                                                                                                                        linus Feb 16, 2012 12:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        i disagree.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linus
                                                                                                                                                                          mcf Feb 16, 2012 12:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                            linus Feb 16, 2012 12:35 PM


                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: linus
                                                                                                                                                                              mcf Feb 16, 2012 12:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Ok. I see it really differently.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 12:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                  mcf Feb 16, 2012 12:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                    bobbert Feb 16, 2012 01:09 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                      chicgail Feb 16, 2012 06:58 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                      linus Feb 16, 2012 02:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                        mcf Feb 16, 2012 02:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                          linus Feb 16, 2012 04:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                            mcf Feb 16, 2012 04:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                              linus Feb 16, 2012 05:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                mcf Feb 17, 2012 05:46 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                  linus Feb 17, 2012 05:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                    mcf Feb 17, 2012 06:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                      linus Feb 17, 2012 07:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                        goodhealthgourmet Feb 17, 2012 08:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                          linus Feb 17, 2012 09:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          i think that could be said of all seasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linus
                                                                                                                                                                                                            mcf Feb 17, 2012 12:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                              goodhealthgourmet Feb 17, 2012 02:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              you're entitled to think that. i disagree.

                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: linus
                                                                                                                                                                                      John E. Feb 16, 2012 01:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      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.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Phaedrus Feb 16, 2012 02:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        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.
                                                                                                                                                                                          bobbert Feb 16, 2012 02:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                            cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 03:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 04:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                mcf Feb 16, 2012 04:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                I was hooked season 1, by Dieterle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 04:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                    mcf Feb 16, 2012 05:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    "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
                                                                                                                                                                                                bobbert Feb 17, 2012 10:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                  linus Feb 17, 2012 11:45 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linus
                                                                                                                                                                                                    bobbert Feb 17, 2012 01:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                      goodhealthgourmet Feb 17, 2012 02:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      (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
                                                                                                                                                                                                        linus Feb 17, 2012 03:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        "nobody knows anything." -- william goldman

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                          bobbert Feb 17, 2012 03:20 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bobbert
                                                                                                                                                                                                            LindaWhit Feb 17, 2012 06:39 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                              mcf Feb 17, 2012 06:40 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: bobbert
                                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Feb 17, 2012 06:38 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                            John E. Feb 17, 2012 08:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                        John E. Feb 17, 2012 08:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          linus Feb 18, 2012 06:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                            John E. Feb 18, 2012 08:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              mcf Feb 18, 2012 08:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                linus Feb 18, 2012 09:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  huiray Feb 18, 2012 10:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    linus Feb 18, 2012 10:05 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  John E. Feb 18, 2012 11:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    trolley Feb 18, 2012 01:46 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                    an example of a train with a kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: trolley
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      John E. Feb 18, 2012 02:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        KailuaGirl Feb 18, 2012 03:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  bobbert Feb 18, 2012 08:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit Feb 18, 2012 09:12 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      mcf Feb 18, 2012 09:15 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                            FoodPopulist Feb 16, 2012 04:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                              cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 05:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                          KailuaGirl Feb 16, 2012 12:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                            cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 12:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                              KailuaGirl Feb 16, 2012 12:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              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. b
                                                                                                                                                                                      BDMTHRFKR Feb 15, 2012 09:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                        arjunsr Feb 15, 2012 11:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 05:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                            Bart Hound Feb 16, 2012 10:37 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: BDMTHRFKR
                                                                                                                                                                                          tjinsf Feb 16, 2012 12:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                            soupkitten Feb 16, 2012 01:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                              huiray Feb 16, 2012 01:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                lbs Feb 16, 2012 01:59 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Phaedrus Feb 16, 2012 02:07 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                  How about more Charlize Theron?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 02:12 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                      huiray Feb 16, 2012 02:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      No? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Uhh...you play Pacman, I guess?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 04:26 PM

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


                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                        mariacarmen Feb 16, 2012 03:08 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                                                                                        huiray Feb 16, 2012 02:37 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                                                                                          goodhealthgourmet Feb 16, 2012 04:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                          bobbert Feb 16, 2012 03:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          " 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
                                                                                                                                                                                                            huiray Feb 16, 2012 04:06 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                            ChefJune Feb 17, 2012 08:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            <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
                                                                                                                                                                                                              goodhealthgourmet Feb 17, 2012 08:40 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                linus Feb 17, 2012 03:11 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: ChefJune
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Withnail42 Feb 17, 2012 09:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                People still use MySpace?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  512window Feb 17, 2012 10:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cowboyardee Feb 17, 2012 11:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    huiray Feb 19, 2012 07:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I just read this... http://www.chow.com/food-news/105919/new-job-requirement-for-chefs-hotness/

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


                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: soupkitten
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  BDMTHRFKR Feb 17, 2012 07:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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. John E. Feb 15, 2012 09:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cowboyardee Feb 15, 2012 10:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    John E. Feb 15, 2012 11:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      cowboyardee Feb 15, 2012 11:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 05:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ChefJune Feb 16, 2012 07:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            momjamin Feb 16, 2012 07:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          bobbert Feb 16, 2012 10:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          " 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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          tjinsf Feb 16, 2012 12:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            John E. Feb 16, 2012 08:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            People actually do use rifles to shoot their food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mcf Feb 16, 2012 08:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ratgirlagogo Feb 16, 2012 09:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Phaedrus Feb 16, 2012 09:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    John E. Feb 16, 2012 01:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      mariacarmen Feb 16, 2012 01:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        tjinsf Feb 16, 2012 04:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          John E. Feb 16, 2012 05:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 05:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ratgirlagogo Feb 16, 2012 04:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nobody on this episode shot any game.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            chowser Feb 16, 2012 04:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              John E. Feb 16, 2012 05:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                chowser Feb 16, 2012 06:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                " 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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  linus Feb 16, 2012 09:01 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    John E. Feb 16, 2012 09:49 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      mcf Feb 17, 2012 05:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, that's the point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      tjinsf Feb 16, 2012 10:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        John E. Feb 16, 2012 11:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What information?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                tjinsf Feb 16, 2012 04:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  John E. Feb 16, 2012 04:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    mcf Feb 16, 2012 05:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      tjinsf Feb 16, 2012 10:50 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tjinsf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        John E. Feb 16, 2012 11:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ratgirlagogo Feb 16, 2012 11:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 05:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ratgirlagogo Feb 16, 2012 09:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    John E. Feb 16, 2012 01:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      512window Feb 16, 2012 02:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        John E. Feb 16, 2012 04:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ChefJune Feb 17, 2012 07:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          <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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            kubasd Feb 17, 2012 07:52 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChefJune
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              huiray Feb 17, 2012 08:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            chowser Feb 16, 2012 02:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Firegoat Feb 16, 2012 03:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And I'm guessing the Heather should be Sarah?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Firegoat
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                chowser Feb 16, 2012 03:07 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                John E. Feb 16, 2012 05:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  chowser Feb 16, 2012 05:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                tjinsf Feb 16, 2012 04:43 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tjinsf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  John E. Feb 16, 2012 05:01 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ratgirlagogo Feb 16, 2012 04:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    John E. Feb 17, 2012 08:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      goodhealthgourmet Feb 18, 2012 06:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        John E. Feb 18, 2012 08:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I hope you're right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ThoughtForFood Feb 19, 2012 09:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          John E. Feb 19, 2012 09:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            chicgail Feb 19, 2012 11:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Leepa Feb 19, 2012 12:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                monfrancisco Feb 19, 2012 04:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 19, 2012 05:36 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    monfrancisco Feb 19, 2012 06:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  chowser Feb 21, 2012 04:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  FoodPopulist Feb 19, 2012 01:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ratgirlagogo Feb 19, 2012 10:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          FoodPopulist Feb 16, 2012 04:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            John E. Feb 16, 2012 05:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              chowser Feb 16, 2012 05:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is Top Chef not Top Pa Ingalls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 05:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  chowser Feb 16, 2012 06:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Or shooting fish in a barrel!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    momjamin Feb 17, 2012 06:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit Feb 17, 2012 06:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mariacarmen Feb 17, 2012 10:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          chowser Feb 21, 2012 04:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            jeanmarieok Feb 21, 2012 06:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Caitlin McGrath Feb 21, 2012 02:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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).


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mariacarmen Feb 21, 2012 04:47 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              debbiel Feb 21, 2012 02:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Caitlin McGrath Feb 21, 2012 02:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  debbiel Feb 21, 2012 02:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DGresh Feb 21, 2012 03:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mcf Feb 16, 2012 05:32 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Phaedrus Feb 16, 2012 05:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          John E. Feb 16, 2012 09:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          tjinsf Feb 16, 2012 10:53 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tjinsf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            John E. Feb 16, 2012 11:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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. b
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      bobbert Feb 15, 2012 09:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        cowboyardee Feb 15, 2012 10:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 05:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            NellyNel Feb 16, 2012 07:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Firegoat Feb 16, 2012 07:49 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Firegoat
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                NellyNel Feb 16, 2012 07:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No way!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              bobbert Feb 16, 2012 10:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                JAB Feb 16, 2012 05:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I sure hope that bobbert was being sarcastic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JAB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 05:26 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    bobbert Feb 16, 2012 06:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Phaedrus Feb 16, 2012 06:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Like. Like. Like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 07:09 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: bobbert
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        JAB Feb 17, 2012 07:14 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bobbert
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ChefJune Feb 17, 2012 07:44 AM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bobbert
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            goodhealthgourmet Feb 17, 2012 08:39 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mariacarmen Feb 17, 2012 11:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i liked the new do too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DGresh Feb 17, 2012 11:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Feb 17, 2012 06:13 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  goodhealthgourmet Feb 17, 2012 06:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        lbs Feb 16, 2012 07:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 09:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Withnail42 Feb 16, 2012 12:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              debbiel Feb 16, 2012 05:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              +5000 lbs. Frozen? REALLY? whodathunk!?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: bobbert
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              momjamin Feb 18, 2012 06:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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. d
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              debbiel Feb 15, 2012 09:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 05:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  FoodPopulist Feb 16, 2012 03:57 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodPopulist
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 04:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      huiray Feb 16, 2012 04:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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_%28season_4%29#Episode_13:_Puerto_Rico_Finale.2C_Part_1)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • 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_%28season_5%29#Episode_13:_New_Orleans_Finale.2C_Part_1)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • 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_%28season_6%29#Episode_13:_Napa_Finale.2C_Part_1)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • 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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 04:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          debbiel Feb 16, 2012 05:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          FoodPopulist Feb 16, 2012 04:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          debbiel Feb 16, 2012 05:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ChefJune Feb 17, 2012 07:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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. w
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Worldwide Diner Feb 15, 2012 08:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          mariacarmen Feb 16, 2012 01:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            goodhealthgourmet Feb 16, 2012 03:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Worldwide Diner Feb 16, 2012 05:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                goodhealthgourmet Feb 16, 2012 07:42 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Worldwide Diner Feb 19, 2012 04:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              JAB Feb 16, 2012 05:03 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JAB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mariacarmen Feb 16, 2012 05:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Kalee Feb 16, 2012 04:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 05:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  yummfood Feb 16, 2012 09:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit Feb 16, 2012 09:47 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Lizard Feb 17, 2012 01:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        chicgail Feb 17, 2012 04:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          souvenir Feb 18, 2012 02:24 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          After reading this article,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            chicgail Feb 18, 2012 07:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mischievous elves. Again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: souvenir
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              John E. Feb 18, 2012 09:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Lizard Feb 19, 2012 12:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cowboyardee Feb 20, 2012 09:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  piccola Feb 20, 2012 06:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    souvenir Feb 20, 2012 08:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      soupkitten Feb 20, 2012 09:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mcf Feb 21, 2012 04:24 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          soupkitten Feb 21, 2012 04:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            chicgail Feb 21, 2012 05:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mcf Feb 22, 2012 05:49 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: soupkitten
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lizard Feb 23, 2012 12:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          John E. Feb 20, 2012 09:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            chicgail Feb 21, 2012 05:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              goodhealthgourmet Feb 21, 2012 12:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                coney with everything Feb 22, 2012 06:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Phaedrus Feb 22, 2012 06:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    linus Feb 22, 2012 08:31 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DGresh Feb 22, 2012 09:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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