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Top Chef Texas Finale Part 1 - Ep. #16 - 02/22/12 (Spoilers)

We're coming up to the end of a pretty lackluster season. Sarah said she thought Paul and Lindsay would be in the top and she thinks she belongs there.

The cheftestants leave Whistler and head back to Vancouver for their final Quickfire. They play some type of word game in the car ride back; Paul notes that the three of them have become friends, except when they're in the kitchen. They arrive at the Fairmont Vancouver but immediately get ready for their next challenge. They meet Padma and Emeril at the Bao Bei Brasserie in Vancouver's Chinatown. Sarah's glad that Beverly is gone, as she would probably have rocked the challenge.

Three Asian Master Chefs join them - Anita Lo, Floyd Cardoz, and Takashi Yagihashi. Sarah's all excited to see Takashi, as they're friends back in Chicago. The cheftestants draw knives - the match-ups are:

Lindsay & Anita Lo
Sarah & Floyd Cardoz
Paul & Takashi Yagihashi

Each team will create an Asian-influenced dish, with 40 minutes to cook, taking turns. Every 10 minutes, they will tag their teammate out and the other team member will cook. The winner of this Quickfire will receive $20,000.

Masters start first; Sarah notes that the first 10 minutes is the organization part. The Masters all scramble for their proteins. Padma and Emeril all peek into the pass window to see how the Masters are doing.

They switch after the first 10 minutes, and Lindsay is a bit confused with what Anita has left. Takashi has chosen geoduck for Paul to work, and Sarah says her comfort level with curry is practically zero. They switch again, and Takashi notes that Paul was starting a dashi broth, so he'll use that as a sauce for the geoduck. Floyd said that Sarah got his vision for the curry, and Anita sees that Lindsay has made a sauté of Chinese sausage that will go great with the scallops.

They switch *again*, and the cheftestants are back for the final 10 minutes to finish cooking and plating. All of the Masters have set up the plates for their cheftestants to finish the dishes.

LINDSAY & ANITA - Scallop Two Ways: Crispy Bok Choy & Orange & Chili, Fried Roe with Sausage & Water Chestnut . Padma asked Anita what she had intended, and while Anita had thought of scallops three ways, the rest of the dish they collaborated on came out the way she envisioned.

SARAH & FLOYD - Pan-Seared Cod with Coconut Curry, Crab Salad with Clementine & Amaranth. Floyd said that Sarah did exactly what he wanted.

PAUL & TAKASHI - Mirugai Sashimi with Yuzu Dashi, Japanese Cucumber, Fried White Fish, Scallions & Chili. Takashi said Paul got exactly what he was hoping for. Padma said that Emeril and she like a lot of chili, but *that* was a lot of chili. (Paul was concerned about that as he finished plating his dish.)

Padma and Emeril reviewed Lindsay's dish - the Chinese sauces were just a bit overpowering. Padma told Sarah her dish was excellent, and she liked the amaranth. Emeril liked the crab salad with the fish, but it could have used more acid. Padma thought Paul's dish was great by letting the flavors stand out. Emeril noted that he was impressed using the protein, but too much chili.

I think it's going to be Sarah winning this...Emeril said that the dish that had all of the notes of Asian flavors is.....SARAH. And Floyd says he's finally won his first Quickfire (despite winning Top Chef Master Season 3, he had never won a Quickfire! LOL). The Master Chefs leave the kitchen.

And we're on to the Elimination Challenge, Padma said now that they've beaten the heat of Texas and survived the cold of Whistler, they thought it would be fun to bring the two together. Tomorrow night, they will be throwing a Fire and Ice cocktail party. Each chef will be responsible for one dish and one cocktail. Each dish is required to have both a hot and cold element. They will be serving 150 of Vancouver's "culinary elite at the Village on Falls Creek" (REALLY BAD voiceover by Padma!) The winner will win a trip for two to Costa Rica. And obviously a place in the Finale.

The cheftestants start thinking about what they can make, and head off to Whole Foods. Paul goes for the king crab, and Sarah's going with a baked pasta, and Lindsay's going with halibut. She knows it will be difficult to cook for 150 people, but says "luckily this isn't Restaurant Wars. I have control over it." She also notes that Sarah and Paul are going a bit gimmicky with a "snow" aspect to their dish, and she doesn't cook that way - she thinks staying true to yourself will bring you out on top.

They head over the next day to the Village on Falls Creek and begin prep. Paul goes to town on about 30 lbs. of lobster for his seafood stock. Sarah is cracking 80 eggs for homemade pasta for 150 people, and Lindsay is hand-grating lots of tomatoes for her tomato water for her take on a Bloody Mary. Sarah thinks she's playing it safe.

Tom Colicchio walks into the kitchen to ask each what they're working on. (won't bother going into the questions and answers). They continue prep and with 1 hours, each of them is saying they're all in the weeds. The bartenders and cocktail servers come in and learn about the drinks that the cheftestants are going to have made.

The guests arrive as final plating happens. The judges arrive - Gail, Emeril, Tom and Padma. They're in what seems to be an outdoor area to eat - everyone remains bundled in their coats.

PAUL - Cocktail: "The Pan Am" with Kaffir Lime, Thai Chilies and Rum
PAUL - Dish: King Crab with Lemon Snow and Seafood Broth

Tom didn't like that arugula was in Paul's dish with no purpose. But he *did* like Paul's drink paired with the dish. Padma noted that she could have used more heat, but Emeril said that yesterday they came down on Paul for too *much* heat.

SARAH - Cocktail: "Agrumi" with Gin, Kumquats and Mango
SARAH - Dish: Five Greens-Filled Pasta with Garlic, Chili and Spiced Sformato

Gail notes that the Sformato is very frozen, but Tom said the flavors are great. Emeril likes the pasta. Gail and Tom say that the cocktail is great, but doesn't go with the dish.

LINDSAY - Cocktail: "Encendido" with Vodka, Tomato & Horseradish
LINDSAY - Dish: Halibut with Fiery Celery Root Salad with Tomato Nage

Emeril and Gail both think their dishes are very hot/spicy. Tom doesn't seem to think it's spicy at all. Tom also notes that halibut is well cooked, the sauce is good, but the kale is raw. Gail like the Tomato Nage, saying she's never eaten a piece of ice "so well seasoned." Emeril likes the cocktail with the dish, but on its own, it was very flat.

The camera catches some of the Vancouver diners critiquing the dishes. Tom is uncertain where he's going with his choice, and Padma notes how difficult the challenge was. Lindsay says this is the first time they didn't go out to explain their dish to the judges. Padma asks them all to come into the Judges Table.

Emeril tells Paul the dish and cocktail was great. Padma notes it could have used a bit more spice. Tom liked the whole idea, the broth was delicious. He asked about the arugula, and Paul wanted a bit of peppery spice. Tom said the ingredient should be made part of the dish; it seemed to be added just because color was needed on the dish.

Gail asked Sarah about the idea of "fire or heat" was supposed to come from. Sarah said that the baked pasta was supposed to be the heat. Gail loved the pasta; but the frozen mousse was so difficult to eat with the pasta. Emeril said her cocktail would have been much appreciated on the hot days in Texas.

Gail told Lindsay that her dish worked well together. She loved the tomato soup, and Lindsay said when she thought about fire, she thought about warmth. And tomato soup means warmth to her. But Tom thought the tomato remoulade and tomato soup overpowered the halibut. Emeril said the fish was cooked perfectly, but the cocktail separated a bit. Tom said out of all of the dishes, Lindsay's cocktail worked best with her dish.

(NOTE: I just re-read my recap above - didn't both Gail and Tom said after tasting Lindsay's dish that her cocktail *didn't* work best with her dish? That's what I wrote above, and I *know* I stopped and rewound a couple of times to get specifics of their dish tastings. Anyone?)

The judges deliberate. They were good, but none were flawless, per Padma. Paul's dish was only warm - Padma didn't have the contrast of hot or cold. Emeril's favorite cocktail was Sarah's. Gail loved the pasta, but the spiced mousse, which was supposed to be a sauce on the canneloni, didn't work. Lindsay's dish didn't give Emeril any heat, and Tom didn't find her dish interesting.

And they're back in front of the judges. Tom reviews each dish again. He then looks to Padma who tells Sarah that she's moving on to the Finale. DAMMIT. And the other person moving on AND the WINNER? It's PAUL! Woo hoo!!!!

And Lindsay is asked to pack her knives and go! I'm *SO* glad that Paul has made it through! Sarah is upset Lindsay didn't make it, but Sarah said she always knew it would be her and Paul - the two Texans.

Previews for next week's Finale-Part 2 show many of the former cheftestants coming back to help as sous chefs, and it looks like family is there to dine on the Finale food.

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  1. Already turned off by this episode. In fact already turned off be next weeks episode too. everyone running around the kitchen calling Chris 'pretty'.

    And Big Tom seems on the verge of one of his OCD episodes.

    They're chefs not bartenders.

    Added: There was so many dumb contradictions in this episode it made my head spin.

    Note to Tom:Yes Paul used a piece of arugula...move on already. Seriously you could have had one heck of a drinking game is you took a shot every time Tom said 'arugula'.

    Sara made a pasta dish now there's a shock!

    From what I got Lindsay cooked her dish perfectly but was eliminated because Tom didn't think she grasped the concept.

    With Sara in the final we are dangerously close to another Ilan/Hossea lame/safe winner.

    PS. Thanks as always LW for your wonderful recaps!

    1. uggggg, why couldn't it have been bev, ed, and paul?????

      the sickly sweet love fest of we're all such good friends and the superficial hugggssss were so sacharin sweet gross. Paul looked uncomfortable with the whole fake bff thing.

      It seems clear that Sarah and Lindsey were coached to be super super super nice and friendly to make up for all the coverage they gave the cameras and editors earlier in the season.

      Some people say 'oh they're not so bad, blame the elves" I say the elves are only given the footage to work with and sarah is a &^%#(*^

      1. Phew. Paul is in. That is all that is important this episode.

        14 Replies
        1. re: debbiel

          I missed the first airing of the episode, so I IMMEDIATELY came on here to make sure that Paul was moving on. I couldn't bear the thought of watching Paul go home and the terrible two-some move on!

          1. re: kubasd

            I think I would have stopped TC altogether if Paul had been eliminated last night. Seeing Lindsay go home for her halibut was a little bit of redemption for Bev.

            1. re: KailuaGirl

              I know, right? Forget curse of the car, curse of the halibut!

          2. re: debbiel

            you said a fiery and icy mouthful.

            1. re: debbiel


              I'm still stunned that Sarah made it into the finale. But I guess she won when she needed to.

              Paul is definitely the most winningest TC cheftestant - EIGHT Elim Challenge wins (yes, that includes 2 team challenges, but doesn't matter - they count in my book!)


              1. re: debbiel

                I would not be watching the final had he not made it.

                1. re: mcf

                  <I would not be watching the final had he not made it.>


                          1. re: marcopolo

                            I would have been


                            if Paul hadn't won. :-)

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Oy, I hated that song the first time I heard it.

                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                You're welcome for the earworm, dear Phaedrus. ;-)

                2. Did anyone else notice that Sarah says she quit HS in her junior year to go to culinary school? damn that takes some balls, to be THAT sure of what you want to do!!

                  27 Replies
                  1. re: kubasd

                    Someone on another post said the Sara comes off as spoiled. I thought the same thing. When I heard the part about leaving high school. I thought it was an odd thing for her parents to allow and at the same time seemed like another example of Sara being appeased and getting what she wants.

                    1. re: Withnail42

                      Wow. That's an interesting take. I was impressed by it. Impressed that she was that determined and focused. Impressed that her parents were supportive of it.

                      1. re: debbiel

                        As a parent, no matter how supportive I am, my kids would finish high school - where do you go without a high school diploma?

                        1. re: jeanmarieok

                          Well, you become a chef at Spiaggia in one case.

                          For many kids who are struggling with high school, a vocational training program is the answer. Sometimes that is a program sponsored through the school and leading to a diploma, but sometimes it is not.

                          Obviously that path is not for everyone or even many people, and it is a decision that should not be taken lightly, but there are cases when it is the right decision. I think it is important to make a distinction between simply dropping out and dropping out with a career path and training in mind. That still would not have worked for everyone, but it works for a few.

                          1. re: debbiel

                            I agree, but that kid better show some steel to me before I would allow it. I knew kids in my high school who were clearly not cut out for schools. A few went the vocational route. One became a cosmetologist and became quite good at it and have a local reputation now as a creative expert in her profession. The others never finished their vocational school and they ended up not having a high school diploma either.

                            1. re: debbiel

                              I wish I had been given that option. Hell, I wish I had been given that option after high school. College was my only option and that didn't pan out so well...

                              1. re: debbiel

                                Hey, if my parents had let me leave HS after junior year for culinary school - I would have loved it. College was my only option, no 'trade school' was good enough - back then chef's were not everyday stars like now...
                                I had my first catering company when I was 14, and cooked proffessionally at 15; self taught tho, no school... learned coming up through kitchens.
                                I admire that Sarah did that! First time I really had some respect for her, cause she is really a beeOch so often.
                                I wonder if that 'tude she gives off is one of those things where she is still young enough she doesn't know what she doesn't know, and thinks she knows everything still.

                                Just glad PAUL WON!

                                1. re: gingershelley

                                  I, too, am glad Paul won.

                                  Didn't Sarah say something along the lines of "Now my parents will FINALLY be proud of me"? I thought that was telling...


                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    I missed that, but telling indeed. Which is why I suggested elsewhere that it is irresponsible to praise her courage for dropping out of HS. There is a lot more to the story then the disney quote.

                              2. re: jeanmarieok

                                Personality wise, Sarah reminds me of a woman I know who came from a very disadvantaged background. Her single, poor, alcoholic mother barely noticed her. This lady is also very driven and has basically always done as she's pleased. She's very successful but not very likeable. Not saying this is the case with Sarah, but it's another possibility. Or maybe she's very privileged and didn't need an education to fall back on should she ever chop off a hand or something. Or maybe her parents couldn't stand her anymore and just wanted her to leave.

                                1. re: silvergirl

                                  Apparently, she got her GED and then an Associates degree in Culinary Arts,
                                  She's not my favorite cheftestant, but it sounds as though she's been working hard since her teens.

                                  1. re: souvenir

                                    OK, I've gone from thinking she's a bit nasty to being seriously twisted. I just reviewed the above article and the show.

                                    "That's probably not my mother's favorite thing that I ever did," noted Grueneberg dryly, when I spoke with her by phone this week."

                                    She then praises her parents but then passive agressively with a smile on her face needs to win Top Chef, so that her parents can finally be proud of her???

                                    That is just too messed up. How would you feel as a parent to hear that on national tv? that you had never been proud of her even though she has a full career at the age of 30 is it? She is damaged.

                                    1. re: Bellachefa

                                      I don't know her. Neither do you. We can agree to disagree about what the words in this article mean about her or to her parents.

                                      1. re: souvenir

                                        Sorry, I was using the sum of the article and her words on Top Chef this past week. There is something sadly pathetic about a succesful woman telling people on national tv that her parents aren't proud of her.

                                        1. re: Bellachefa

                                          Wow. You seem to be reading a LOT into that comment, that had who knows what context in that moment and who knows what back story. It could have been a reference to some running joke between her and her folks. It could have been a reference to some running joke between her and other TC folks. It could have been just a dumb statement without all of the meaning you're attributing to it. It could be a reference to parents who call her every morning and say, "If only you were a neurosurgeon, then we could be proud." It could be...um, a million things. I am not sure how you pull "a bit nasty to seriously twisted" out of that line.

                                          1. re: Bellachefa

                                            Bella, I thought I posted this, but either I somehow didn't (there've been a lot of late nights with sick kids lately so who knows) or I got deleted for some reason, but in this article, it states that her mom is her proudest fan. Also that she feels she has been fairly portrayed. That was in January. I wonder if she still feels that way.

                                            1. re: silvergirl

                                              I think she came off well on the show until Heather left and then, for whatever reason, editing or her behavior, started coming off as the mean girl. But clearly, whatever quotes might have been pulled out of context, the article shows she and her mom have a good relationship:

                                              "The former Dulles High School student’s mother Trish Grueneberg — who still lives in Sugar Land — is easily the proudest fan of the reality show competitor."

                                              I think calling someone "damaged" is unfair, in any circumstance, let alone basing it on one statement. I think we went through this w/ Jen Carroll and her saying her father's attitude was "second place is first loser." I prefer to give someone the benefit of the doubt over jumping to conclusions about a person being "damaged".

                                  2. re: jeanmarieok

                                    I would bet a GED was part of the deal.

                                    1. re: John E.

                                      Re GED: I was definitely hoping that was the case.

                                      I know my parents never would have allowed it, no matter how much I wanted to. It was college or college for me! But seriously, for a field in which it is SO hard to succeed, it is a monstrous risk.

                                      1. re: kubasd

                                        Apparently, Sarah is quite successful, but if it had not worked out, she could have then gotten a college degree. My father did not graduate high school, he got his GED in the army. He was a successful execturive for many years. All of his children and grandchildren who are old enough have university degrees. (My niece almost did not graduate fromj high school and was on her way to getting her doctorate in psychology when she dropped out to raise her children).

                              3. re: kubasd

                                Smart or dumb or lucky? I dropped out of HS to become a dog breeder. 35 years later I own cats.

                                Episode was alright. Glad Paul is moving on. I called Lindsay as going home when she said she new halibut wasn't the most exciting choice and in the foreground of the shot was a giant, glistening geoduck. Doomed right there.


                                1. re: kubasd

                                  ,Did anyone else notice that Sarah says she quit HS in her junior year to go to culinary school? damn that takes some balls, to be THAT sure of what you want to do!!>

                                  Or maybe she was flunking out so quitting to go to culinary school seemed like a good idea to her folks, who could use her "drive" as a foil for ahving to eplain the other to their friends...

                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                    This type of speculation about the contestants is exactly what drives Bravo to make the show less about cooking and more about personal drama. I thought we're here to talk about food?

                                    1. re: fame da lupo

                                      This thread is about food media and Top Chef, so discussion inevitably extends to the contestants themselves. No big deal.

                                      I'm pretty sure the producers aren't taking their cues about what kind of show to make from us, otherwise this season would have been a lot better. :-)

                                  2. re: kubasd

                                    Didn't Bev say she met her mentor at 16? I wonder if she was in high school when she started too.

                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                      hmm didn't remember her saying that. Curious....

                                  3. Oh, and Linda, Gail and Padma say that about SARAH's cocktail.

                                    13 Replies
                                    1. re: kubasd

                                      that's what i thought. it was a great cocktail, just didn't go with the food at all. i didn't look that closely so i could be mistaken.

                                      i have no idea how they put sarah through. pasta with frozen crap on top? i don't really care if individually it was tasty but if you can't eat it together who cares? i do like she blames the anti griddle for it being too cold instead of her taking responsibility for trying a new technique and failing.

                                      all i hope for is paul wins.

                                      1. re: arjunsr

                                        Totally concur with Bellachefa: Ed, Bev and Paul would have been a really fun final 3.

                                        Bring it home, Paul.


                                        I can't even fathom Sarah ("Lindsay's my best friend but, I always knew it was going to be me and Paul in the final two.") ... being .. Top ... Che ... NO!

                                        1. re: Kris P Pata

                                          And then she said to Lindsay her best best best friend for life that she was sad that this was the last time they would be cooking together? Now that is some twisted sister shat.

                                          1. re: Bellachefa

                                            Huh? Sarah saying she was sad that it would be the last time that she and Lindsay would ever cook together is twisted? How do you explain that? They became friends on the show and Sarah expressed that she would miss LIndsay. That sounds extremely normal to me. I just don't get why so many people here seem to feel the need to play armchair psychiatrist with what is said and done on this program. It's a friggin' reality TV show. It ain't real life.

                                            1. re: John E.

                                              But isn't the whole purpose of the 'reality' to fool viewers into thinking (or at least feeling) that they are seeing real people and real interactions? The more the viewers become part of that 'reality' the more loyal they become, and the better the ratings. If a viewer maintains a distance between himself and the show's emotions, he is more likely to be a fickle viewer, flipping over to DDD or Dirty Jobs if Top Chef becomes boring.

                                              1. re: John E.

                                                I thought it was an odd comment mostly because it seemed to imply that she was pretty sure Paul would be moving on, but that either she or Lindsay would be going home.


                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  I had the same thought. Unless the "we" was meant to include Paul as well. But it definitely caught my ear when she said it, thinking just as you did.

                                                  1. re: DGresh

                                                    that's exactly what i took it to mean - last time that there would be 3 of them to cook together.

                                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    I think DGresh has it right and that Sarah meant the three of them and I was wrong to not indicate that in my post.

                                                2. re: Bellachefa

                                                  Bella, I'm sure you mean well, but you are adding A LOT to casual remarks that happen to make it on screen or to the printed page.

                                              2. re: arjunsr

                                                I was thinking that w/ hot pasta and frozen topping. I'm thinking of their poor teeth.

                                                1. re: chowser

                                                  It just sounds like a gross combination to me, but then, I didn't' eat it. Why would you want a nice, hot, homemade pasta... with a ice/melting to cold sauce. Sensitive teefers aside (although that is a significant concern, ouch!!) her dish just did not appear appealing to me.

                                              3. re: kubasd

                                                OK, thanks - I'll see if the Mods can make the change for me.

                                              4. Random thoughts:

                                                - I like the basic format of the quickfire. Whenever they have the chefs do that tag-team thing, the focus of the edit is sort of pushed toward the food and the technique and the thought process. In this particular tag-team challenge, it seemed like the Masterses had maybe a little too much influence on the dishes as a whole - they seemed to really dictate where each plate would go. But still, at least it was interesting and showcased a little cooking and technique.

                                                - I was hoping to see another picture of Paul's plate to see how much arugula he actually used. The judges (or Tom anyway) really went on about it. Its presence doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me either just going from what i was able to make out about his dish, but was it really that damaging?

                                                - Slightly surprised Lindsay went home. She seemed to be cooking with a lot of confidence, which is very important at this stage (Paul's confidence seems to be waning - hope he gets it back for the finale). And besides, personally I think she seems more skilled than Sarah. Not upset or anything, though.

                                                - Is a cocktail-making challenge sort of lame at this point in the competition, or is it just me? Not a big deal, really. But just not the kind of test that I'd prefer to see determine who makes the finale.

                                                - Likewise, I'd rather see em cooking fewer plates at this point, making something a little more complex. I know they've done challenges where they had to make a lot of plates late in the season before, but this season has been especially starved of challenges that let the contestants shine. Even putting aside issues of how late in the season it is or how catering type challenges affect the quality of the cooking, bouncing back and forth between catering and ridiculousness with no balancing measure of straight cooking-to-impress is just getting freakin monotonous at this point. So am I, of course. I'll drop the matter.

                                                - Was sarah's dish the best this week, or did they just get her out of the judging room first so they could create a little drama as to whether Paul would be sent home? I wasn't sure.

                                                - People are gonna be pissed if sarah wins.

                                                31 Replies
                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                  i think sarah was announced first for the drama effect, sarah (we think they say pack your knives) you're in the finale!

                                                  that couldn't have been the best dish

                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                    Paul's dish was the best - he won the trip. Yep, just setting up some drama.

                                                    1. re: bobbert

                                                      Good catch. I forgot about the trip, and wasn't sure if Sarah won a trip as well that I just missed (I wasn't paying particularly close attention to this episode).

                                                    2. re: cowboyardee

                                                      I won't be pissed off. Either the edit made her look like a bitch or she acted badly, but either way, I've eaten at Spiaggia and her food is extraordinary. Yes, she predominantly cooks Italian, but she WON the Asian Quick-Fire! I didn't especially like the V-Bros' personalities. either, but they sure could cook.

                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                        I do agree with you, chicgail. Taking this further, though, I wonder what type of risk a restaurant or cheftestant takes in participating in Top Chef. I can't believe it is always "any publicity is good publicity". For example, I would probably not eat at Moto based on the poor performances of their chefs this season. And, although I may have wanted to eat a Spiaggia at one time, I think I would rather support Stephanie Izard or Rick Bayless when I visit Chicago than support such an unpleasant person as Sarah (even though I kind of like Tony Montuano from TV, hence the risk he's taking by putting a sourpuss like Sarah in the spotlight). In a similar vein, would love to eat at one of Harold's restos in NYC, not so much wherever Marcel is cooking. When these chefs cook well and are nice people, it probably makes sense to go on the show, but when they just cook well, might not anonymity be preferable?

                                                        1. re: cabking

                                                          1) I think you might be in the minority.
                                                          2) I frankly don't think anyone plans for that kind of contingencies. They all go in thinking they are the best there are and no one is better.

                                                          1. re: cabking

                                                            FWIW, Spike's new restaurants are doing really well and not because of the food.

                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                              LOL! That sentence speaks volumes, chowser. :-)

                                                            2. re: cabking

                                                              I'm a Chicago girl and I would agree with you about Stephanie Izard or Rick Bayless restaurants. They're both really nice people in real life -- and they make REALLY good food.

                                                              I would never not go to Spiaggia because of Sarah: the food is just too extraordinarily good. That's called "cutting off your nose to spite your face." Sarah's not going to join us for dinner: she's going to cook for us.

                                                              On the other hand, Sable where Heather is Executive Chef is some place that I will probably not rush to, not just because she came across as really unpleasant, but because Sable is kinda more like a great bar with really good bar food than a great restaurant.

                                                              By the same token, I think the Moto boys represented the restaurant really accurately. You can take from that what you wish.

                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                i hate myself for saying this, because it definitely makes me out to be an old fuddy duddy, but i long for the days no one knew anything about the chefs making their food.

                                                                in the case of a new restaurant, or one that doesn't have a participant of 'top chef' in the kitchen, i cannot imagine checking on the personality of the the chef before choosing to go or not go.

                                                                  1. re: linus

                                                                    Don't think your reasoning is off. I whole hearty agree. It would never occur to me to do a background check on a chef before visiting their restaurant. So no one is calling you a grumpy old fuddy duddy for that,

                                                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                I missed the first 15 min, was the master not allowed to talk to the chef about setting up the dish? And I agree about the # of plates. When they commented that they were hoping they'd be sent some help, I thought that seemed only fair. One person cooking for 150 (was that the number) is ridiculous.

                                                                Did anyone catch the look Anita and Lindsey had when one of the other teams got complimented? It had to be an editing thing but they looked pissed just for the praise the others got (can't remember who).

                                                                I love Floyd.

                                                                I'm surer Eater will make a comment about this interminable season. I thought last nite was the finale but no, it just keeps going and going and going.

                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                  Paul's beauty shot is here - I'm NOT seeing a whole lot of arugula here!


                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    Tom's tweet from last night:

                                                                    "Arugula is what happens when you really don't have anything negative to say."

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          i assumed that was the case - they seemed to be searching for something - anything - about Paul's dish to criticize, and Tom's tweet sounds like confirmation.

                                                                          BTW, i liked the way Emeril piped up to defend Paul's judicious use of chile in the EC, reminding Padma that they had taken him to task for using too much in the QF.

                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                            I loved that, GHG! Especially with Paul noting later that he used the EXACT same chiles in the elimination challenge that he had in the quick fire. You could tell he was confused, haha

                                                                        2. re: jcattles

                                                                          That was my feeling, too. If there were no negative comments, it wouldn't seem as close. I think Paul blew the other two away. But, I love his comment about losing the QF because they were two bad-ass chefs. He's so humble.

                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                            But, I love his comment about losing the QF because they were two bad-ass chefs. He's so humble.
                                                                            yes! i didn't think it was even possible for me to respect him more than i already did...until he said that.

                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                It also appeared that he took time out to show Sarah how to use the anti-skillet.

                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                  One can tell that he really wants it to be a contest about the food. He wants to compete against others at their best.

                                                                                  1. re: kubasd

                                                                                    Maybe the next cycle will be chock full of cheftestants who think they are going take over the show and make it all about food, only to over-estimate their own abilities to do so and wipe out early because they were trying to make a point. Think Suvir utterly failing in Top Chef Masters season 3 with his "lecture on a plate".

                                                                                2. re: chowser

                                                                                  Yeah I thought Tom seemed to be trying to get under his skin there-- "is the pressure getting to you?" as if it wasn't just a close race and he happened to not come out on top.

                                                                                3. re: jcattles

                                                                                  isn't it sort of part of some Asian cooking traditions to have some raw veg on top? I see this for example, in Thai restaurants.

                                                                                  1. re: fara

                                                                                    I think it's usually poached, or lightly cooked, isn't it? Same as with Ramen noodles?

                                                                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                In a way I can see the intent for the cocktail segment: to see how well they pair the dish with a given cocktail. Taste is the name of the game. BUT, every time they do this, they seem to ignore the pairing theme and focus on the flavor of the dish, which is OK by me, or how bad the cocktail is, which I couldn't give a crap about.

                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                  I'm right behind you in that line.

                                                                              3. To quote Lou Reed "...and I guess I just don't know"
                                                                                I don't really know how I feel about this episode.
                                                                                I agree with much of the stuff said above as in…

                                                                                Now they're bartenders?

                                                                                Paul really is not into being one of the "three amigos" but is too nice to tell the others to screw off.

                                                                                Doctor: “Mrs. Colicchio, I’m sorry we could not save your husband. Apparently he was served a piece of arugula and there was simply nothing we could do…”

                                                                                For Linda – what I got from the drinks was that they liked Sarah’s best but it didn’t go that well with the food. They didn’t like Lindsay’s as much but it went well with her dish. Kinda like having a shitty drink paired with a shitty dish – “at least they went well together.” Not really but sort of.

                                                                                I was pretty sure Paul was safe as the arugula was the only thing they could find wrong with it.

                                                                                Lindsay’s dish looked fine but maybe didn’t really meet the challenge. Notice she didn’t grill the halibut. Also a nice touch by Tom mentioning that there was possibly an issue with her directions to Bev on how to cook the fish during RW.

                                                                                Speaking of Beverly, she’s gone. Do we have to keep shitting on her? Et tu Emeril?

                                                                                On the other hand, Sarah tried (and a bit of credit for trying, I guess) but I thought failed miserably. I thought she was gone for sure. The “sauce” for her dish which was supposed to melt reminded me of the Seinfeld episode where they were cutting candy bars and eating them with a fork. That frozen “bar” of sauce looked like a candy bar. That attempt was “nice try but it did not work at all” and Tom gives her credit for the attempt. Luckily, she didn’t have a stray piece of Arugula on the plate or she’d be toast.

                                                                                If Paul lost, I definitely would not be watching the finale.

                                                                                Overall, boring.

                                                                                15 Replies
                                                                                1. re: bobbert

                                                                                  I *did* like the bit of an aside from Tom re: the halibut and that *maybe* Lindsay didn't do well in RW was because of the direction *Lindsay* gave for cooking her halibut.

                                                                                  I'm still floored that Sarah explains that the Afumato was *supposed* to melt and be a "sauce" - and it remained frozen, and yet they passed her through to the finale. I'll have to read the Bravo blogs to see why.

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                    My guess on Sarah moving through instead of Lindsay: It didn't make the edit we saw, but Lindsay actually put two pieces of arugula on her plate. TWO! Please Pack Your Arugula and Go.

                                                                                    1. re: debbiel

                                                                                      "Please Pack Your Arugula and Go." So funny!

                                                                                      1. re: JAB

                                                                                        <"Please Pack Your Arugula and Go."> Tee shirt for this season...

                                                                                          1. re: debbiel

                                                                                            "Have you seen the price of Arugula at Whole Foods lately"?

                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                              same as the mesclun salad mix: I believe $7.99 a pound. but who buys a pound of it?

                                                                                              OTOH, I used to get enormous bunches so big I could hardly put my hands around them from a local Boston farmer for 50 cents!

                                                                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                My post was actually rhetorical in nature. Barack Obama posed that question at an appearance in Des Moines in 2008 before the Iowa caucuses. There is not a Whole Foods store in the entire state of Iowa and I imagine most Iowans do not frequently buy arugula anyway. (I grew up in Minnesota farm country 8 miles from the Iowa border).

                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            yes! LOVED Tom's insinuation that Lindsay had no one but herself to blame for the RW halibut :)

                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                              I think she got lucky that it *didn't* melt. Imagine a cold creme sauce melting onto a warm cannellono? That sounds pretty awful - would make the pasta cold and gummy.

                                                                                              1. re: fame da lupo

                                                                                                Quite frankly, the entire concept seemed very odd to me, no matter how the dish was supposed to come or *did* come out.

                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  agreed. and textural issues aside, the ingredients/flavors were a strange mash-up. burrata, ricotta, greens, anchovy, lemon, turmeric, coriander, sugar...huh?

                                                                                                  plus, since she used a *gelatin* base for the sformato, i don't know how the heck she could have expected it to melt just from the warmth of the pasta.

                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                    I didn't catch the inclusion of gelatin.... just sounds wrong!

                                                                                          3. Sarah was lucky to have Cardoz set the dish up so well ; he made the winning difference, while Paul's sashimi clam + cooked fish duo was probably the most difficult to execute out of the three. He was quite likely the only one of the competitors capable of getting it right, and the margin for error is tiny compared to a rich fish curry. Again with the elimination round, Paul's pairing seemed the most creative, with the higher degree of difficulty to pull off ; for me, he made the only dish worth going to an expensive place to experience. Round after round, he's come up with the most creative dishes that attempt to pull in and harmonize the largest palette of texture and flavour. Lindsey's dish must have been dull indeed (where were the tomatoes from, with that local snowstorm going on, was that the best ingredient to highlight in multiple ways ?) to be surpassed by a filled pasta with frozen topping.

                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: moto

                                                                                              I was thinking the same thing about the tomatoes in Lindsay's dish as well. Although "roasted" and "tomato soup" do seem to be good in cold weather but... I usually think of all things tomato more appropriate for Texas in summer rather than winter in Canada. I guess raw kale didn't help either. I'm also guessing the arugula and Tom was probably more to keep us in suspense than anything else.

                                                                                              1. re: moto

                                                                                                <Sarah was lucky to have Cardoz set the dish up so well ; he made the winning difference, while Paul's sashimi clam + cooked fish duo was probably the most difficult to execute out of the three. He was quite likely the only one of the competitors capable of getting it right, and the margin for error is tiny compared to a rich fish curry.>

                                                                                                I thought the same thing. I haven't eaten Paul's food, but Takashi Yagihashi does aMAZing things with food, and I thought surely they were going to run away with the quickfire. I was screaming at Paul through the tv when he added those Thai chili seeds.

                                                                                                1. re: moto

                                                                                                  I agree--Sarah had no idea how to make a curry, as she admitted and he put the flavors together. But, she was good about trying to figure out what he was going to do.

                                                                                                  Takashi said something about geoduck and mushrooms being an amazing combination and Paul said he was going to use mushrooms but then there were no mushrooms on the plate. I wonder what happened.

                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                    He was looking for mushrooms, but I assumed he didn't use them because he found none.

                                                                                                  2. re: moto

                                                                                                    agree with all of this. There is no doubt that Sarah is an excellent technical Italian chef but Paul is the only one who consistently is creative about his dishes. I think when Sarah does try to be creative, the frozen sauce, she fails but then again Lindsey doesn't even try to be creative.

                                                                                                    1. re: moto

                                                                                                      "Sarah was lucky to have Cardoz set the dish up so well ; he made the winning difference..."

                                                                                                      I agree. It probably didn't hurt that he has had the experience of being on TC before, too. and is somewhat used to the antics.

                                                                                                    2. My dear CH friends,
                                                                                                      This episode was about cooking. Not cross-country skiing or shooting with guns or riding bicycles or enduring 112-degree heat or the Real Housewives of Anywhere or PeeWee Herman or Beverly or anyone else coming back from the dead or anything in Texas. And I am so grateful. Aren't you?

                                                                                                      35 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                            True about the cooking but then they had to throw in that STUPID cocktail thing. That really bugged me. Especially how serious they were about critiquing the drinks. Even after Tom said he didn't like alcohol with food.

                                                                                                            It was Tom who famously said 'this is Top Chef not Top Sommelier' when people paired wine with their dishes on seasons past.

                                                                                                            1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                              that you can't see the difference between being a sommelier and creating and executing a cocktail to pair with food just shows how doomed the producers of 'top chef' can be.

                                                                                                              it's painfully obvious despite all the hue and cry about this challenge and that challenge opinions of 'top chef' come down to the contestants, the judges and their behaviour.
                                                                                                              these three things can be as unpredictable as the reactions to them.

                                                                                                              1. re: linus

                                                                                                                "that you can't see the difference between being a sommelier and creating and executing a cocktail to pair with food just shows how doomed the producers of 'top chef' can be."

                                                                                                                Are you saying that they are doomed because of viewers like me? Or that they are doomed because of own their actions?

                                                                                                                For the record I hope you are not implying that I don't know the different between a sommelier and a bartender.

                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                  i believe linus was saying that the PRODUCERS can't see the difference between a sommelier and creating and executing a cocktail - and that they are doomed to make the same crappy challenges because they're so blind. that was my interpretation anyway.

                                                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                    And I read the "that YOU can't see the difference" as Withnail can't see the difference.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                    when you add things into the conversation like, "this isn't top sommelier," as a criticism of a challenge to create and execute a cocktail, it gives the impression you are comparing the pairing of wine to food to the creation and execution of a cocktail.

                                                                                                                    1. re: linus

                                                                                                                      I didn't 'add' anything to the conversation. The point I was trying to make was that it was silly to expect chefs to create an exceptional cocktail pairing. They're cooks not bartenders, apples and oranges. The 'this is Top Chef not Top Sommelier' line was from Tom when he was complaining that a contestant was paring wine with his dishes. His point being that it is about the food they they cook not the drinks they serve. A mantra the he, and the rest of the Top Chef team, has repeatably said over the years. 'It's about the food'. Yet in this episode they placed an awful lot of emphasis on the cocktails.

                                                                                                                      So if the producers are as 'doomed' as you insinuate in this case they really have no one to blame for their predicament but themselves.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                        let's see...you take edible ingredients, and combine them together to make something (not serve it, by the way. after all, this isn't 'top waiter') pleasing on the palate and harmonious with the other edible things in proximity.
                                                                                                                        if that's apples and oranges, i want to shop where you shop, 'cos it sounds trippy.

                                                                                                                        like i said, doomed.

                                                                                                                        oh, and what predicament are the producers in, again?

                                                                                                                        1. re: linus

                                                                                                                          I can't respond because nothing in that post makes sense. So instead of getting involved in this week's antagonistic thread. I'll let others chime in/decipher if they so chose. I am moving on.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                            Creating a cocktail is more like being a vintner. Pairing that cocktail with a dish is more like being a sommelier. One is actually creative. In this challenge, it's not as if the chefs are using an unmodified, pre-made product.

                                                                                                                            Maybe cocktails shouldn't be the emphasis, but it's not as if the concepts of flavor involved are completely unrelated. It's like saying no one should win or go home because of a dessert because they aren't pastry chefs.

                                                                                                                            I'm actually not that fond of cocktail challenges, but it does actually make sense that the deeper you get into the competition, the more you need to test things other than just what food they put on the plate. I would have liked it if they had more different dishes so that the cocktail was emphasized less, but there's certainly a place for it being 25% of what is being weighed in the judges mind.

                                                                                                                      2. re: linus

                                                                                                                        This is the thread where people offer their opinions and thoughts about the show, Top Chef.

                                                                                                              2. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                I LOVED the QF challenge, especially. It wasn't straightforward cooking, but it took great skill and culinary imagination.

                                                                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                  Agreed. While far from perfect I think it might have been the second or third best episode of the season. (Best, for me, would be the one featuring Charlize Theron.)

                                                                                                                  No stupid stunts. No major gimmicks. I even thought the QF challenge was pretty cool compared with most of them this season.

                                                                                                                  I hope Top Chef will move back to being a cooking show. Otherwise I really don't see the point.

                                                                                                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                    Gail hinted in her blog that the finale would be no gimmicks, straight-up cooking. I hope so.


                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                      The finale is one thing. The next SEASON is quite another.

                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                        Guess you beat me to it. Sometimes Chow's interface, on active threads, leaves a LOT to be desired.

                                                                                                                        1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                          LOL! Yeah, if someone posts while you're reading a thread, it waits to show up until after you get out of it. And you never see it because the software considers it read since it was posted *while* you were reading the thread.

                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            If this annoys you as much as it does me, please add a +1 or something similar here:


                                                                                                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                          That's great for the finale. I mean the next SEASON :-)

                                                                                                                        3. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                          Yes, I loved the cooking, innovation, QF challenge and no drama or odd stunts.

                                                                                                                        4. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                          yes, yes, YES. i could have done without the cocktail aspect, but i was just so *thrilled* that the challenges - both of 'em! - were about COOKING.

                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                              yes, we all remember that dramatic moment last week when padma said, "beverley, your food was fantastic, but the judges decided you didn't ski or shoot well enough, so off you go, then."

                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                ITA! I thought the QF one was really interesting and fun to watch, and they got seriously great chefs to work with.

                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                  I liked last week better (except for Bev being eliminated).

                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                    Definitely a step in the right direction. Would prefer if the cocktail making happened earlier in the season, and would also prefer if they had more challenges where they cook fewer plates. But the quickfire was a good challenge, and the EC wasn't bad.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                      well, IMHO, the quickfire was very interesting, but I didin't like that Sarah won based on the skill and direction of Floyd. I think at this stage of the game you should be competing with just your own merit. Yes you can have help, but it should be your concept and it definitely wasn't Sarah's concept in the quickfire. Yes, the fact that I don't care for her, think her food has been mostly one dimensional, and don't think she belongs anywhere near the finale forms my opinion! I wanted Bev, Ed & Paul.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: nojunk

                                                                                                                                        I don't have the problems you did, but along those lines, the one problem I did have was that the Masters went first, ie they got to start the conceptualization first. It should have been the other way around (ie Masters finished the dish) or the current contestants got 3 rounds and the masters 2.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: nojunk

                                                                                                                                          actually, i agree with you completely - i'd prefer to see the three remaining chefs doing all the cooking at this point. but since they did bring in the Masters, i agree with Lurker Dan that the challenge should have at least been designed with the contestants going first, therefore making them responsible for conceptualizing their dishes. i was just so excited to see a challenge solely about the food without any silly gimmicks or absurd props that i overlooked the design flaws ;)

                                                                                                                                          i also can't help thinking that Sarah REALLY lucked out by getting paired with Floyd. something tells me that if she had ended up with Takashi like she clearly wanted to, she totally would have booted it because she doesn't possess the finesse necessary to pull off his type of simple, elegant approach.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                            I tend to think you are right about the pairings, but I also wonder what Takashi would have chosen if he had been paired with Sarah - probably something easier to accomplish well, given that he said he chose to do geoduck sashimi specifically because he knew Paul is chef at a Japanese restaurant and could pull it off.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                              oh he definitely would have gone in a different direction...but i suspect she still wouldn't have executed his vision as intended, whatever it might have been.

                                                                                                                                              then again, maybe i'm projecting 'cause i just don't like her and i was hoping to see Paul crush that challenge!

                                                                                                                                      2. Could they have pushed the Morton's Salt any harder this episode? Within the first 15 minutes of the show all you heard was, "Where's the salt?" "Does this need salt?" "Can I have your salt?""Oh it's Morton's Salt"

                                                                                                                                        25 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: lawgirl3278

                                                                                                                                          Maybe its time we started a drinking game akin to Hi Bob.

                                                                                                                                          We drink a different kind of libation after every product placement.


                                                                                                                                            1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                              Yes, the tight closeup on the Fiji water bottle wasn't obvious, was it?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                  Which tight closeup?? They also had a long, otherwise meaningless shot of one of the contestants at the fridge, holding it open as the camera caressed rows of Fiji on the fridge shelf, no food obsuring them in the back of the shelf.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                    Tight closeup (like almost TOO tight!) on Sarah's bottle of water at her workstation, I believe, when they were prepping for service.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                      I thought it was Lindsay who took a swig and set it down with it facing just so...?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                        Could be. Can't recall. I *thought* it was Sarah. I'd have to watch the ep again. And you *really* don't want me to do that again, do you? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                2. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                  do the Fijians have any shortage of potable water ? is their spring water a renewable resource, or is it similar to rainforest hardwoods, extracted, profits going overseas, desertification set into motion ? what's the carbon footprint for bottling and transporting all that water ?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                    Actually I don't think it comes from Fiji anymore.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                        I stand corrected LW.

                                                                                                                                                        Thought I read some where there weren't using actual Fiji water.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                          I thought I remembered the same thing, Withnail, and I *think* it's when the bottling company owner was going to move the bottling to New Zealand because of the increased tax levy from the Fijian government. That's the last I heard anything about it, I believe.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                    And the Terlato "Top Chef" wine. It's gotta rock! [snark]

                                                                                                                                                  3. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, when did Morton salt come in to the picture? It as all over the place yesterday.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: StewieBoy

                                                                                                                                                      Branding is a big deal at Bravo. Go to FN if you don't want that.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                        What I don't get is why it bothers people. I find it somewhat entertaining to spot the
                                                                                                                                                        on-camera product placements.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                          I don't mind the camera zoom-in on the product. I *really* dislike the forced commentary of "Let's get into our Toyota Rav 4s and drive to Whole Foods to pick up the Gladware and Healthy Choice frozen foods!"

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, I'm sick of the chefs saying, "we got into the Toyotas..." But I accept that camera shots pay the rent/prizes, etc.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                              The thing I really dislike is how blatant it has become. I kind of enjoyed the cat and mouse game when the camera just happen to linger on certain products. But the ubiquity of the placement makes me think they they don't expect the audience to be quick witted enough to notice the placements, so they have essentially dumbed down the placement.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                puleeeze! product placement is what brought bravo to the forefront when they started Queer Eye and put them on the map. that is what they do, just like Ellen and Oprah do by giving free crap away. BTW Ellen is not giving you that new car, the car company is giving you that new car.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                I've been in advertising my entire career, so I guess I look at it from a different viewpoint.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                  And don't forget to mention how roomy that sweet ride is while you're at it!

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                            Green Mountain Coffee was a new one tonight...and of course they managed to sneak in a mention of the ever-present Terlato Vineyards *and* show bottles of Quickfire branded wine being poured.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Sarah, seriously?! Has anyone ever reached the final with such a fundamentally flawed dish?

                                                                                                                                                          Tom, seriously?! Defending Sarah's fundamentally flawed dish?

                                                                                                                                                          Contestants / Judges / Producers, seriously?! Bev is gone, get her out of your heads.

                                                                                                                                                          Sarah seems to affirmatively answer the question; can she possibly be more hateful?; week after week.

                                                                                                                                                          1. Personally I find Linda's report a lot more enjoyable than this whole "show". Thank you Linda!

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: RUK

                                                                                                                                                              :::blushing::: You're welcome!

                                                                                                                                                            2. Sorry...Sarah moving forward with a frozen sauce....it was supposed to melt onto the pasta...

                                                                                                                                                              This is Bull#@&%!

                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: christy1122

                                                                                                                                                                Funny that she didn't mention that before.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                  I heard Sarah mention several times that her mousse was too frozen. Even though it did not perform as intended, it must have tasted good.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                    Reading the blogs, it sounds like yes, it was frozen and that was a problem, but it was also quite good, as was her dish as a whole.

                                                                                                                                                              2. Paul has been nominated for best chef southwest by the james beard foundation! Well deserved IMO, Uchiko is fantastic.

                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: twyst

                                                                                                                                                                  There go my chances of getting a reservation on my bday. SXSW and this will make it next to impossible.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: amysuehere

                                                                                                                                                                    Make the reservation NOW, amysuehere!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: twyst

                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, that's fantastic news. GO PAUL!


                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: twyst

                                                                                                                                                                      Paul is the only contestant this season whose food I'd really like to try. If he wins TC and gets the Beard award, I guess his next stop will be an outpost in Vegas, so it should be easy enough to sample his fare :-)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: twyst

                                                                                                                                                                        I ate at Uchiko 2 weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Excellent meal. I have reservations at Uchi in two weeks as well so I get to compare and contrast the two. Really looking forward to that.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: samlev

                                                                                                                                                                          They're both excellent. I favor Uchiko because it's in my neck of the woods and "seems" less loud.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Extended Judges Table pretty much said that Sarah's and Lindsay's "Fire" were the same, but Sarah's "Ice" was better.


                                                                                                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                          Well sure Sarah's ice was better. It was frozen solid. Technically and literally she was right on the money. Perhaps Lindsay wasn't overly exciting. But Sarah's dish had a major problem.

                                                                                                                                                                          I could see myself eating Lindsay's dish. But a baked pasta arrives with a frozen element(that even that chef admits is not supposed to be there) is getting sent back!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                            Exactly. Which is why I still cannot understand WHY Sarah was sent through. Sarah herself said it was supposed to melt - as ice does. And it didn't. So I'm not sure how it adhered to the challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                              I thought the concept was really cool (no pun intended). If you read Gail's blog, she says that even though the fact that the mousse was too frozen, it was delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                              What I thought was funny was when Sarah said, "I' haven't seen pasta like this since I was in Italy." Was she complimenting her own dish?

                                                                                                                                                                              I also thought it was funny when Padma saying, of Bev, something along the lines of "She's hiding under the table!"

                                                                                                                                                                              You've got to read Hugh's blog. Man is he ever funny.


                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                I thought Sarah said she hadn't *made* pasta like that since she was last in Italy.

                                                                                                                                                                                And I'll have to remember to read Hugh's blog tonight. With a glass of wine. Which I won't drink while reading because snorting wine is NOT funny. :-/

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, that makes more sense. But, it's not as funny. ;-).


                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                    It is if you not the one snorting...or the owner of the furniture.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                      I think she meant she had not made such a large quantity by hand since she was in Italy. I suppose she has sous chefs to do that work at her current job.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                      "What I thought was funny was when Sarah said, "I' haven't seen pasta like this since I was in Italy." Was she complimenting her own dish?"

                                                                                                                                                                                      I thought she meant the color of the pasta. Did you hear her earlier remark about the color of the egg yolks? They were very orange compared to the pale yellow ones we're used to here in the States. (unless you get farm fresh ones)

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                                                                        I haven't had a pale yellow egg yolk here in NY for years! I buy them at the store, but they are not factory farmed.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                                                                          I thought she was talking about the egg yolks. They looked to me like the eggs we got during a visit to Italy.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Thanks for another nice recap, LW. I haven't seen the episode yet, your recap might be enough... Maybe I'll see it later, or maybe watch it with the final episode, if I do watch that one. Yes, a disappointing season by and large.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. The posters on TWoP really have it in for Sarah Grueneberg and Tom Colicchio this week.

                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                      Wow. They think that Tom wants Sarah to win, huh? Has anyone here seen continual blatant bias from Tom as it relates to Sarah?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                        No ambiguity about their feelings.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                          None whatsoever.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Comments #32 through #39 were amongst the more scathing ones. You [and LW] should read them if you didn't. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                            I must be reall stoopid, because I have never observed Tom to be pushing Sarah to the finish line. I expected Lindsay to go home as soon as I heard her lame interpretation of the challenge parameters.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I thought it was hilarious they stuck duct tape on Lindsey's jacket to cover the North Face logo...and then BARRAGED the viewer with product placement. Morton Salt anyone?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dulcie54

                                                                                                                                                                                          Had NF coughed up the money, Lindsey would have oozed about how wonderfully warm and stylish it was, after being complimented by the others.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Didja all notice that Sheila D of Lexington Kentucky was yet again fan fave of the week....... ugh!

                                                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: secondbecky

                                                                                                                                                                                            Oooh! And Uggh, yes. I really do want to know if this is a relative, an obsessed person, or what?

                                                                                                                                                                                            I want a profile on Top Chef of Sheila D as part of the finale - perhaps she can be a guest judge!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                              How about Henry Winkler as guest judge? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                                She should be on the reunion or one of the Andy Cohen reaps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                  He'll say everything is great and everyone is wonderful. Henry Winkler is truly one person who likes everyone he has ever met. Kind of makes me wonder about him. I wish I could get the same drugs.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: secondbecky

                                                                                                                                                                                                I was going to comment on that myself. Never pay attention to the fan favorite thing. Then it dawned on my I've been hearing this persons name every week, or so it seems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: secondbecky

                                                                                                                                                                                                  seriously, she was? She must just sit there and spend HOURS voting....

                                                                                                                                                                                                  ETA: I never really pay attention during the ads, or when more clearly, whenever the actual show isn't on, so it isn't something I noticed. It would be funny, if Crary wins fan favorite, for her to be the one to announce it to him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kubasd

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I saw and noted her name *last* week, but didn't see it this week. It seems rather stalkerish that she is someone who's caught our attention for fan favorite voter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    And at this point, I think it's a given he'll win FF. He's got 42,412,290 points vs. Grayson's 31,506,785 points. Paul is a very distant third with 14,351,230 points. Sounds like Sheila D. from Lexington, KY is shooting for that foodie trip to Texas they're giving as the prize!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sheila D from Lexington, KY scares me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Can we take up a collection for Grayson, see if we can get her a bit of the $ she probably deserves?

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. did anyone else catch Sarah's strange comment that whomever made it to the finals had better kick some ass? is she so paranoid about Bev that she expects her to pop up again next week and challenge the remaining two?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  53 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I took it that whoever made it to finals she wanted to see them do really impressive dishes. If I lost right before the finale I'd want whoever beat me to do an incredible job.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                      well, obviously i was kidding about the Bev thing...but it just seemed odd for her to say it when they were all still in the running. if she had said it after JT and had been the one sent home, i would have understood her telling Paul & Lindsay they'd better kick some ass. it was the arbitrary nature of the comment when she said it that just had me scratching my head...though i did smile at Paul's perfunctory "for sure" in response :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                      If I were the producer, I would assign Bev to be Sarah's sous chef. And make Sarah cook outdoor in a hot barbecue pit. Just for grins and giggles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                        please don't say "grins & giggles" and Sarah in the same post! it conjures up the image of her clapping her hand over her mouth & squealing like a school girl every time anyone remotely interesting walks into the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                          then think of Bev jumping up and down with her hands clapped over her mouth squealing when she won LCK while Grayson waited patiently to congratule her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I see your point. How about for our sadistic pleasure and vengeance?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ha! Sarah needs to get some more composure and self-awareness. She was like a insane girl going berserk at a Beatles concert.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I certainly appreciate enthusiasm, but it looked to me that the Master Chefs were a bit embarrassed by Sarah's display.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                It was a little awkward, but I think she knows the Japanese chef personally, so I think her reaction might have been in response to seeing a friend... but, then so as not to dis the other chefs, maybe she (awkwardly) expanded her reaction to include them all?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  nah, she has a history of slobbering over female guests in general

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i thought she was going to jump Charlize Theron.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My interpretation: after multiple takes, coherent lines are recited by Padma, and reaction shots are more and more forced, and voila, the editors have the footage they need to construct what they want.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Plenty of material to make some look awkward, others nasty, others worried or neutral or straight-faced...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There was a common complaint about the Voltaggios in their season, that they were boring or expressionless. Turns out they were very smart to behave this way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: souvenir

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Brian was bland, Michael V, far from it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I didn't think either one was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Brian seemed focused on winning the competition. His little brother also was focused but had an obnoxious streak about him that his older brother seemed to not posses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I always thought michael's 'obnoxious' streak was mostly just a combination of the edit and him putting his foot in his mouth responding to a few prompted questions. A little bit of televised sibling rivalry too. But I had a hard time believing that the guy could be all that obnoxious when he seemed to get along just fine with his fellow contestants and easily command their respect. That season didn't have anyone who really played into the villain role especially well, so the editors had to work a little harder and make a bigger deal of mostly-harmless statements than usual.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In fact, I don't recall thinking of Michael Voltaggio as being obnoxious at all. Somewhat curt and certainly driven but nothing he said struck me as being purposefully spiteful or deliberately rude. As you also say, he was also definitely respected by all the chefs there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What you both said, cowboyardee and huiray. While I liked Brian as a person better on the show (based on what we were shown), Michael was and is obviously a phenomenal chef. Brian seemed a bit more easygoing, whereas Michael was very intense, sometimes being curt but always getting respect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    very well said, both of you. i always saw his demeanor as a defensive mask, and figured he was actually a bit shy and it just came off as arrogance on camera...and based on the feedback i've gotten from people who have met him, i was right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    of course if i was still in LA i'd have to head on over to ink. and try to coax him out of his shell ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Michael Voltaggio was just as obnoxious to Robin in restaurant wars as were Sarah and Lindey to Beverly. I wonder if those defending Beverly here would have done the same for Robin?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      TC 6 did not have one actual villain, but both Mike Isabella and Eli whatshisname chose to ride Robin a lot. Robin may have been even more annoying than Beverly, but she was treated even worse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I never indicated that either of the Voltaggios did not command respect. And I did not say that Michael V. was obnoxious, I said he had an obnoxious streak which was intended to mean that that quality only came out occasionally. I believe most of the snarky comments in the confessionals are the cause of the questions from the producers. I don't really take too seriously any of this unlike many that post here. To a lot of people, it appears to them as if this show is actually real life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        while i haven't watched the season since it aired, i don't recall robin getting treated any worse than she deserved.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i recall bravo running a poll during an episode showing the viewing audience overwhelmingly approving of eli's behaviour over robin's.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i am happy to be corrected if i am remembering this wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Robin was annoying, but the treatment was cruel, and hard to watch, from my POV.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Agreed, mcf. Eli stepped *WAY* over the line. Yes, Robin was a PITA, but Eli was nasty and cruel to her with his comments.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I certainly would not enjoy cooking next to Robin or probably living in the same house as she, but I certainly would not have mocked her cancer-surviving status as Eli did. If there was a television poll in which the respondants approved of Eli mocking her cancer status, I missed it. Then again, I don't participate in those texting polls anyway. They certainly are not scientific and do not even represent evenly the TC audience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I would have reacted to her like Bryan did, simply ignore her. That way she cannot irritate you. Of course I do not recall Bryan having to cook with her. I personally do not think Beverly was particularily mistreated. She got yelled at a few times under stressful conditions because she apparently walks to the beat of a different drummer and does not move as fast in the kitchen as do the others. I am likely opening up the same can of worms with this post, but things were slowing down here anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Of course I do not recall Bryan having to cook with her."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              He did, in restaurant wars, together with his brother and Eli Kirshtein who was FOH.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I meant that I do not recall Bryan being 'paired up with Robin' not a group challenge like Restaurant Wars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I could be remembering this incorrectly, and if so, forgive me:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "but I certainly would not have mocked her cancer-surviving status as Eli did. If there was a television poll in which the respondants approved of Eli mocking her cancer status, I missed it. "
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I seem to remember that he was annoyed that she emotionally leveraged her cancer story to the judges in order to help her win a quickfire. I can understand why he might object to that, because it can come off as being manipulative. That said, if it were me in his shoes on the show, I'm pretty sure I would have just sucked it up and shut up about it, because there's no way to air that particular grievance without coming off as the bad guy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As for restaurant wars, I do think there is a significant difference between calling another chef 'retarded' as Lindsay was said to do (I actually didn't catch that in the edit, personally), and curtly telling another chef never to curse at you again. Robyn, like Bev, was the odd man out. But there's a difference between the kind of aggressively assertive talk that just comes with the territory of running a professional kitchen and belittling someone. IMO, that line was crossed multiple times with Bev, but a lot of what happened with Robin fell into a grayer area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree that the best way to deal with her would have been more like Bryan did, simply ignoring her when possible. But I feel like Michael, in particular, only really got confrontational with her about matters IN the kitchen (during restaurant wars, or later when he told her to just get out of his way during a quickfire), which I'm a lot more willing to forgive than picking on someone just for the sake of picking on them. And anyway, Michael made a fairly nice apology to her at the reunion show for any time he might have crossed the line.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  but didn't bev cross the line by being physically aggressive, hitting other people, and constantly not respecting others' space?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Are you being sarcastic, or did you see things I didn't?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I can see how she didn't respect others' space, though I also think that Heather overreacted a bit to something that was sort of bound to happen when multiple cooks are all working out of one residential kitchen (I think that was the housewives of TX episode, but I'm not sure).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As to the physically aggressive and hitting people thing, I have no idea what you're talking about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      it was commented on by a lot of the other contestants. ed lee in one of his interviews specifically referred to bev's hip-checking and elbow-jabbing as reasons some of the other contestants had friction w beverly, and it was ostensibly the whole reason everyone on the show had an intervention-style powwow in the living area of the house... when paul read the etiquette rules/conduct agreement, and bev was specifically shown reacting/not reacting to the recitation. i don't know if my memory serves, but i want to say this was in the ep where jonesy was eliminated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      the early-on instance i recall was in lck nyesha vs bev, where bev runs nyesha over at the fridge or similar. nyesha definitely made some sort of exclamation that it was *not* okay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      it just stood out for the safety concerns, but also that tom c. made such a big deal about physical bullying in the whole head-shaving incident in an earlier season. by tom's own rules it's possible bev should have been disqualified very early on in the competition, but on the contrary, everything points to the production team knowing about the incidents and doing nothing-- even laughing about it and encouraging it. i hope somebody calls tom out, honestly, especially if anyone was hurt, and not just shaken up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't think Beverly's behavior is a form of deliberate physical bullying. It's more a case of a tunnel-visioned, overly focused, frantic-type person trying to get things done in a very limited time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm not saying it's ok but she doesn't seem like she's even aware of what she's doing half the time. She's trying so hard to get everything she needs in the allotted time, that's all she can see. There's a scene at Whole Foods where she bumps into a display. She apologizes to the display stand because she's not even aware that it wasn't a person that she hit with her cart.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bev's not my favorite person - people with frantic energy drive me crazy - but she's a pretty damn good chef from what we can see. I was repelled by her pushy behavior at the meat counter (Quinceanera episode) as much as everyone else but from watching her throughout the season, I can see that she's just one of those nervous frantic types.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chefhound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "I don't think Beverly's behavior is a form of deliberate physical bullying. It's more a case of a tunnel-visioned, overly focused, frantic-type person trying to get things done in a very limited time."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Absolutely. It's obnoxious when it happens, but it's a kind of cluelessness and frenetic reflex. She's no bully.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chefhound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i totally agree with this as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            but i can't believe we're all still talking about it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree with the others above that Bev can come off as clueless, pushy, or even genuinely hazardous in a professional kitchen. And I don't hold it against her competitors that they objected to that. I don't really see it as 'physical aggression' as it's commonly used, which conjures images of physically pushing or hitting someone with intent to intimidate, threaten, or injure. Maybe it's 'physical aggression' in the academic sense, in that she is both physical and aggressive about getting what she needs for a challenge. Not entirely cool, I'd agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Since you mentioned it, I think Nyesha demonstrated the appropriate way to deal with Bev. She got mad, told her that it wasn't cool, but didn't make it a personal mission to belittle her. In a sense, I think the proof is in the pudding - it seems everyone likes and respects Nyesha despite the fact that she's obviously fairly competitive and not very bubbly; meanwhile Heather and Sarah came off badly on TV and probably didn't do their careers any favors by reacting as they did to Bev.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I just remembered how badly it sucked that Nyesha was gone so soon. Bah. :-/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Have to agree especially on the clueless part. Never though of her as mean just simply lost in her own head, bit of a spaz. And building on the is the fact that after she does 'dumb' things (EG: Using the blender in Sarah's space for no apparent reason.) she is clueless about her actions and the effect that they have on others. This makes her act and appear to be the 'innocent victim' which antagonizes people more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Robin mentioned her cancer story, I did not see that as 'emotionally leveraging/ anything. It was part of her life. I also do not believe she won because of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We'll wait and see if the 'Mean Girls' apologize to Beverly. To me, the stress of the kitchen explains that situation better than the way Robin was treated pretty much all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm one who believed Robyn leveraged her cancer story to curry favor with the judges but I very much agree that Eli should have just swallowed hard and kept his mouth shut. Just be happy that you do not have a similar story of your own and let it be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I also think there was a fundamental difference between the reasons for the treatment of Robyn and Beverly. In Robyn’s case, I believe that her fellow chefs did not think too highly of her abilities as a chef, that she should never had gone as far as she had, and they were very resentful that she was still around while other, “more deserving” chefs had been eliminated. I think with Bev, no one really questioned her ability to cook and be creative in her use of flavors (except that they tended to be “Asian” flavors used in creating short rib dishes) rather it was her, to use her own words, “social awkwardness” not to mention her physical awkwardness while moving around the kitchen. With Robyn it was mostly a lack of respect of her as a chef and to a lesser degree an almost generational gap as she was older by at least a decade than the others. If I remember it correctly and I don’t know if this makes it better or worse but with Robyn, for a large part, the nastiness was behind her back (same at it was with Jamie last year) and manifested itself more in the confessionals than in their interpersonal dealings. With Bev and the “mean girls” I think it was more personal – they just did not like her and were in her face about it, which for me makes it much nastier. By the way, I do not think how Robyn was treated was OK, I just think Bev was treated much worse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Finally after several viewings I heard the “retarded” comment made by Lindsay. While Beverly is working on Lindsay’s dish during restaurant wars and is using a spoon, Lindsay chastises her and says “that’s retarded.” She never “calls” Beverly retarded although I think we’d be splitting hairs on that one. The use of the word in that context by an adult in this day is at best insensitive, ignorant and regrettable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What I find amusing is when people suggest a contestant 'got too far' or was 'eliminated too early' on Top Chef. Sure, luck plays a part but they are all playing by the same rules. Personally, in TC 6 Eli and Mike Isabella attempted to group themselves in with the Voltaggios and Kevin Gillespie. At that time neither of them would have been qualified to carry their jock straps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Edit...there has been one contestant who was sent packing too early through only a little fault of her own and that is Nyesha. She was somewhat at fault for not making sure her partner was cooking the venison properly. In her kitchen, if the meat is undercooked and she is represented by that food, then it's her fault too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I recall thinking that very thing during that season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Edit: I agree with your edit as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Robin was treated horribly, in my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No more than she deserved, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Michael Voltaggio was just as obnoxious to Robin in restaurant wars as were Sarah and Lindey to Beverly. "
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Really? I have a very different recollection and take on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They were all rushing around doing stuff, but it was mostly the two Voltaggio brothers doing multiple things while Robin Leventhal was mostly working on her dessert (yet not going all that fast at it). Michael Voltaggio started plating some of her dessert and adding touches to it he obviously thought good. [Remember he was in effect also "leading" the team] Robin L. and Michael V. started exchanging heated words with Robin fighting him and saying it was her dessert (which was true enough), and Michael V. telling her not to swear at him, not to ever talk like that to him again, also saying "I'm helping you...I'm h-e-l-p-i-n-g you..." before walking off. Robin L. continued ranting, Bryan told her it's for the greater good, and finally telling her to "Relax, Relax, R-e-e-e-l-a-x" before walking off quite annoyed at her too (and in her me-me-me attitude). I remember Bryan V. also saying (in a TH?) that she was forgetting that they were working as a team and that whatever Michael (or he) did were for the betterment of their offerings as a team. Something like that. Seems a bit different to me from the Beverly Kim scenarios.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ETA: I also seem to remember that at JT the judges liked Robin L.'s dessert as presented, with Michael V.'s additions (which of course they didn't know about); Robin L. smiling and taking credit for the entire plate; with Michael V. not saying anything, IIRC - insofar as what was shown on the show, also IIRC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't think anyone would argue that Robin wasn't a pill or that she came of as anything but difficult to like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But still, cruelty is not deserved, even if direct confrontation and addressing the issues are.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i don't recall anything i consider cruel being said to or done to robin. all i remember is her insufferable passive aggressiveness, a cruelty she inflicted with relish upon the other contestants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Apart from the passive-aggressiveness, I myself would also consider her inability to simply SHUT-THE-F*CK-UP to be Cruel and Unusual Punishment if I were trapped in the same house (let alone the same room) as her for days stretching into weeks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not surprised. We just view things differently. "We" here refers to you and I, just to be clear.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    yes, that's a great example of robin-like behaviour.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    discussing things like "cruelty" on t.v. shows, even ones that have possible, not probable, examples like pinning down a much smaller person and threatening to shave their head, or telling a younger, more inexperienced competitor they will fail in everything they do, still pale in comparison to the real cruelties that occur in this world.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i, for one, feel profoundly silly for even discussing it. and for discussing season 6 in a thread about season 9.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You really should watch those TC 6 episodes again and come back with your opinion again. Robin was annoying, but she got way more than she deserved in return, even by the female contestants. Robin was pretty much exiled from the rest of the group back at their 'house'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i agree with you in the cold light of many months passing, it is possible i would see the situation differently and change my tune on robin., for accuracy's sake, it would be the correct thing to do.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      however, my memory's not so so awful, this discussion is not important in the grand scheme of things, and i'd rather have voluntary gum surgery than watch robin on t.v. again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Absolutely. I think their personalities so totally reflected their family dynamic growing up, which is why Michael's comment when he won was so funny and emotionally pitch perfect: "I didn't want Brian to win."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Maybe it was just the editing but it seemed like both Lindsey and Sarah did really poor jobs at the elimination challenge. Lindsey didn't really created a dish about fire and ice and sarah failed technically. But it was so nice to have two challenges about cooking food. It was nice that Sarah could put aside her disgust of "Asian food" to follow Floyd's lead and make a good dish. Emeril as the judge of the QF seemed odd.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know why they are dragging the "finale" out over 3 episodes especially when anything other than Paul winning will be odd both in terms of the food and personality. I've eaten both of their food and they are without a doubt both skilled technical chefs but Paul seems far more capable of thinking creatively.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Paul and Ed were both just named semifinalists for James Beard awards. And Sarah's boss was also nominated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I knew he'd be ragging on how long this season is:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think he's sick of his gig but this made me smile: "Padma and Emeril peek through the kitchen window like little elf perverts." And I agree about Lindsay's ugly earrings (Lindsay is still showing off her new earrings. Vancouver is all about earrings for her. Lindsay's asked to pack her earrings and knives and go.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hugh's is okay, he sticks up for Bev and I like this comment: They all have tickets, but only two will go all the way to the final throwdown, which both America and I hope is not a dinner that they have to cook for 200 people while dangling from a cliff over the ocean.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            At least he's back next week (Yes I am on the next episode. Playing third fiddle is never easy. I just keep getting typecast as the monobrowed, sardonic chef. Eat well. Be swell.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I liked this quote from Max:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Paul, as always, second guesses himself. He gets so nervous, I want to hug him and hand him a puppy and show him what unconditional love means."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm hoping Hugh's comments about it *not* being a situation having to cook for 200 people while doing circus tricks makes it way to Tom's and the other producers' ears. As well as the comments throughout the blogosphere asking for straightforward cooking instead of stunt cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I liked both challenges this time, especially the relay QF challenge. I thought all 3 did a bang-on job. Personally, I'd faint if I walked in the kitchen and saw geoduck at my station! Paul nailed it but apparently, Sarah's flavors were the best.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I loved Paul's interpretation of Fire and Ice. Glad he won that.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was wondering if the masters tailored their choices to their chef. Tashiko knew that Paul understood geoduck but he probably wouldn't have picked it for Sarah. Floyd took the obvious route w/ Sarah and made the curry so she could be the sous to finish it off. Floyd picked a choice that would help Sarah win. Tashiko seemed to pick a choice that would challenge Paul and showcase it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Great observations. When the editing elves showed Tashiko opining about how well the geoduck part went with mushrooms, and then viola! Paul goes for the mushrooms.... it all makes sense. Those two were on the same wavelength.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Takashi. Takashi Yagihashi. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Boy's name vs. (probably) girl's name. I'm sure there must be boys' names ending in "ko," just as there are a few girls' names that don't, but I can't think of any off the top of my head right now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Actually - I was referring to chowser and monovano calling the Japanese chef paired with Paul Qui as "Tashiko". That is wrong, as his actual name is Takashi. Takashi Yagihashi. His name is NOT "Tashiko". I didn't have the "gender" of the name "Tashiko" foremost in mind, though it would be doubly improper if the "master" chef was called by both a wrong name and also had his sex changed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Well, as for male Japanese personal names ending in "o" - and say, starting with T - how about Takeo, Tadao, Takahiro... Mind you, Tashiro is a male name... :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            OK, I did a search because my interest was piqued...regarding names ending in "ko". Limiting ourselves to names starting in "T" it seems there are these names which are assigned as boys' names: "Tomohiko", "Tetsuhiko". The name "Tashiko" is not listed on this site, but "Toshiko" is a girl's name. http://epublishing.nademoya.biz/japan...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            NB: "Takashi" is listed and is a boy's name; whereas "Takahashi" is a FAMILY name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            NB2: A name ending in "hiko" would seem to be a boy's name when it is the romanized version (i.e. in "romaji": ) of the specific Japanese kanji, presumably 彥 or 彦 (simplified), literally meaning "a male child; a boy". See: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E5%BD%A6

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            NB3: "Toshiko" , for example, is *not* a term ending with "hiko" as the romaji represents a different set of kanji/hiragana/katakana: See, e.g., http://kanjidict.stc.cx/japkanji.php?...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I used to work and be friends with a Toshiko. And she was a female. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So your personal observation is in keeping with the listings I cited above, then. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (Did you read my NB3?) ("Toshiko" is not "Tos-hiko"; it is "To-shiko" or "To-shi-ko" depending on which way the parents formulated the name. :-) )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I missed your comment that "Toshiko is a girl." Sorry. And yes, it was pronounced "TOE-shee-koe" by her parents according to To. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    :-) No worries.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Your report is consistent, then, with the hiragana for "Toshiko" (see that kanjidict link) indicating how it is pronounced: としこ , regardless of whether it is a two-kanji, three-kanji, or a hiragana/katakana name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Male names ending in "o" are common (Toshio, Yasuo, Tetsuo, Ichiro, etc. etc.), while those ending in "ko" are uncommon. Female names very frequently end in "ko" (Yoko, Kyoko, Masako, etc,) with the usual kanji being that for "child." Of course, there are also female names that do not end in "ko" such as Tsurue, Maki, etc. As you mention, there are "hiko" male names, the "hiko" character being for boy. I knew a Yasuhiko very well in college and later in Japan. That being said, male names ending in a single kanji reading "ko" are pretty unusual. No real hard and fast rules, but there are frequencies of use.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In any case, great job on digging up the kanji and names! I still envision the kanji I attribute to names, and their English translations, when trying to memorize names of new people. It works as a mnemonic trick, even when I do have the wrong character. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks. Sorry about the syllabic dyslexia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. did anyone else think it was weird that Paul was ordering '1000 grams of crab legs' at whole foods? does he normally order food in metric, or was he just converting because he's in canada? metric use in the grocery stores here in canada seems about 50/50 with deli counter stuff in grams, but produce being in lbs usually - it's all pretty nonsensical really.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: marcopolo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The crab he buys is priced at $9.99/unit. My DVR recording of the show does not have enough detail to clearly show what unit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: marcopolo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              and why would you say 1000 g and not "a kilo"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Because you're American, and not thinking in terms of kilos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: marcopolo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've noticed even a lot of American chefs measure in metric in the states so he may not have just been converting cause he was in Vancouver.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: marcopolo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hows the price listed at the seafood counter? I expect they would follow the deli counter model, and price it at $xxx/100gm, or maybe /500gm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. oh, and apologies as I am probably (as usual) totally clueless about what young people do these days, but what the heck is the name game and how does it work?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          when i hear "The Name Game" my mind goes to that Shirley Ellis song (aka The Banana Song) from the '60s...but it sounded like this was what they were playing in the car, sans alcohol:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Re-watched the ending again. Hadn't really been watching the first time. (Just remember Tom repeatedly saying 'arugula'). It gave me a chance to actually see as opposed to read about what was said. Have to say I am even more stunned by flummoxed getting through. To hear the excuses that Tom keep giving her was, to say the least, odd. He lets her off the hook for the frozen item saying it wasn't her fault she was simply following the dictates of the challenge. Or his praising her for working outside her comfort zone when she made past yet again. True we can't taste the food for ourselves but in this case it seems certain that Sarah served a dish that in a restaurant wold have been sent back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          One slight bit of conspiracy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          One thing I did get from Gail's blog which leads me to believe that Sarah's dish was given a second chance was the praise she heaped on the 'sauce'. a first Gail couldn't even cut because it was frozen. She then talks about how great the flavors were of the sauce. The only way she could have known this was to wait for the sauce to melt and to warm up. This would appear to mean that they allowed Sarah that consideration/2nd chance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What ever is really going on I am surprised the show was edited so badly as to make it seem that Sarah is blatantly being given special consideration and treatment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Eh, not a Sarah fan at all...but from what I remember, Gail actually took a bite of the frozen sauce, and while doing so she said "Mmm!". Maybe she meant that despite the sauce being frozen, the flavors were still good.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I still think that she should have been sent home due to poor execution.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. For anyone who doesn't have a fatal Andy Cohen aversion, both finalists are going to be on tonight's WWHL...

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              POSSIBLE SPOILER.....







                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Uchiko isn't closing tonight at their regular time and is offering a 10:00 seating...one would assume to re-watch the finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: amysuehere

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                doesn't necessarily mean anything. the restaurants of chefs who make it to the finale often host viewing parties, and Spiaggia is having one as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Well with 300 posts later, I have to say that the whole challenge left a lot to be desired. This is the third time I have seen parts of the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The masters should not have set the stage. This is Top Chef. It is not Top Chef Masters Sou Chefs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The contestants should have set the tone of the dish, not the ' masters'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Top Chef to the Master Chef? I think not!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I stand down. I thought Sarah said the nasty, 'last time we'll be cooking together' but it may have been Lindsey who said it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I saw this episode tonight as the run-in to the finale. It did strike me how much the Masters shaped the Quickfire. Takashi Yagihashi did "push the envelope" on Paul Qui's behalf and may have handicapped him just a bit as a result, even though it was Paul Q's fault that he overdid the Thai chilies. Anita Lo set the stage just fine and Lindsay Autry just reinterpreted it slightly. But it seemed to me that Floyd Cardoz really did dictate what his dish was going to be, and Sarah Grueneberg in essence guessed what he wanted to do and just did it. It was telling that Floyd C. afterwards said "She did exactly what I wanted her to do." In practice it felt very much like Paul Q. was a co-inventor of the geoduck dish; ditto Lindsay A.; but Sarah G. was the (lucky) executor of Floyd C.'s dish. It was Floyd C. who won the QF, not Sarah G.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well put. I had re-watched this ep some time over the weekend, and thought similarly - it was Floyd's dish, not Sarah's.