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Top Chef Texas Finale Part 2 - Ep. #17 - 02/29/12 (Spoilers)

This is it. The end of the TC9 season. Paul vs. Sarah...with help from previous cheftestants competing to help as sous chef. As Paul said - there have been a lot of battles won; but it's all about winning the war.

They are to create a four-course tasting menu at the restaurant of their dreams, per Tom, and will cook at Black and Blue, and Coast - with "outstanding sous chefs", per Padma.

Paul and Sarah talk about who they'd like to see as potential sous chefs. Meanwhile a large group files into the TC kitchen to compete - some of them were actual cheftestants, and some just missed the Final 16. They are joined by two great chefs - Barbara Lynch - No. 9 Park, Boston and Marco Canora of Hearth in NYC. ALL will be competing to be sous chefs for the two finalist. They have 45 minutes to create a dish.

The horrible butcher who was cut by Tom, Tyler Stone, is there as well. Heather and Chris Crary are getting all gushy in the kitchen. Ick. Barbara Lynch and Marco Canora just buckle down and get their dishes done.

Paul and Sarah show up, and they are to taste 11 dishes. They are to each pick their favorite 4 dishes, and those dish creators will be their sous chefs.

Paul picks first: Dishes from Barbara Lynch, Ty-Lor, Chris Crary, and Keith.

Sarah's picks: Dishes made by Nyesha, Tyler Stone (Baaa haa haa!!! Even Sarah said "I'm not letting you butcher!" LOL), Heather, and Grayson.

Turns out Marco will be joining the judges for dinner. Paul and Sarah have 6 hours to prep and cook in their restaurants, and then have 3 hours to finish cooking and plating tomorrow before serving for ONE HUNDRED guests and judges arrive. Sheesh.

Paul and Sarah both work with their sous chefs to describe their menus. Barbara Lynch offers suggestions to Paul, and while Paul's honored to cook with her, he won't let her take over. Meanwhile, Sarah's concerned with Tyler suggesting things that Sarah's not done before. She says that Tyler has a LOT of balls when he didn't even make it past the first cut.

They head off to Granville Market to shop. Sarah's trying to direct Tyler with very specific tasks; making sure he feels like he's part of the group, but not letting him know she doesn't really give a shit. (her words!) Barbara Lynch tells Paul's group to "stick to the plan! Now's not the time to change your menu!" Then off to Whole Foods to finish shopping.

Sarah gets the Black and Blue restaurant, and Paul gets Coast. All of Paul's sous chefs don't really know his style of cooking, so he'll have to make sure he watches them closely. Sarah deals with Tyler constantly asking questions when she just wants him to "chop the celery!"

Paul and Sarah then go to meet Emeril and Tom Colicchio to pair their dishes with various wines. Tom asks if they've had any experience in pairing wines, and Sarah said she likes to drink, and Paul has less experience than Sarah. Paul chooses a Chardonnay, and Sarah takes a Cabernet. Sarah asks for advice for them, and Emeril suggests they "take a snapshot of Restaurant Wars." Paul realizes he didn't lead as he should have done at RW.

Sarah is shown speaking to her fiancé on the phone later that night.

They all show up at their restaurants the next morning. Sarah notes that Tyler is in dress pants and dress shoes - WHY? Heather said about Sarah that she runs a great restaurant at home, and she thinks they'll pull this out for her. Meanwhile, Paul assigns stations to his sous chefs. Barbara Lynch is impressed with him and she's glad to be working with him. Unfortunately the crab that Paul was going to use got a bit funky, so Keith says to the camera that they'll have to change the game plan.

Paul was smart to have picked up spot prawns at the market "just in case" so he puts Keith on peeling them as his backup dish.

Meanwhile, Tyler argues with Sarah about how to prep something, and she lets him do it his way. Grayson said Tyler's working at his own pace, so the rest of them will "jam out" with what they have to do, and let Tyler do what he's doing.

Guests show up at Coast first. Paul's restaurant is called Qi. Tom Colicchio looks really cool in his striped suit and dark-framed glasses. :-) The judges are Marco Canora, chef of Hearth in NYC; Mark McEwan, head judge of Top Chef Canada, Cat Cora, new co-host of "Around the World in 80 Plates" on Bravo, along with Gail and Tom.

PAUL'S FIRST COURSE: Chawanmushi, Edamame, Pea Shoots and Spot Prawns. It gets rave reviews.

Paul is called out front before his second course, and his Mom and Dad and his girlfriend are there! He starts crying, but also puts him at ease. :-)

PAUL'S SECOND COURSE: Grilled Sea Bass with Clam Dashi, Pickled Radishes & Mushrooms. Gail said "Beautiful" when the plate is put down in front of him. Everyone loved it.

PAUL'S THIRD COURSE: Congee with Scrambled Eggs, Uni, Kale & Smoked Albacore - Tom wasn't as thrilled with this dish, and Cat Cora said while it was good, it didn't seem to fit with the rest of the menu.

PAUL'S FOURTH COURSE: Coconut Ice Cream, Puffed Rice, Kumquats, Mangosteen, Thai Chili Foam and Jasmin Gelée - the first mouthful is a "power punch", but well liked. Tom said that Paul knocked it out of the park.

Meanwhile while Paul's serving his judges, Sarah is serving Padma, Emeril, Hugh and Bill Terlato, and David Meyers, Chef of Comme Ca, show up at Monte Verde, Sarah's restaurant.

SARAH'S FIRST COURSE: Squid Ink Tagliatelle, Spot Prawns & Coconut - also well liked by the judges.

SARAH'S SECOND COURSE: Rye-Crusted Steelhead Trout with Fennel Sauce, Pickled Beets and Gras Pista - the beets seem almost raw.

SARAH'S THIRD COURSE: Braised Veel Cheek with Crispy Veal Sweetbreads - Padma loves the veal cheeks; Hugh loves the polenta underneath.

SARAH'S FOURTH COURSE: Hazelnut Cake with Candied Kumquat and Roasted White Chocolate Ganache - the "roasted white chocolate" was well liked, as she had turned it into a caramel. Emeril seems to think the dessert was the best dish from Sarah.

Meanwhile, Sarah doesn't like the texture of the polenta and buckwheat, so she tweaks the chunky persimmon, and adds a touch of cream to smooth it out. She seems happy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Annnnd.......Verizon Fios has decided to screw up on me again! I can't use the mini fast-forward, so I'm trying to get to a point where I last dropped off by full-fast forwarding to watch the rest of the show straight through without stopping it and try and get stuff down in writing here. DAMN THIS REMOTE!
~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Can't see this portion yet because of recording issues - will re-fill when I can)

OK, I think I'm back.....

The judges switch restaurants. Sarah is asked to go upstairs. She sees *her* family - fiancé, his mother, Sarah's mother and her best friend. Each set of judges go through the dishes; Sarah's fiancé quietly notes to her that his salmon had a bone in it - she rushes back to see if she can pick it out.

Meanwhile, Paul realizes the second batch of Chawanmushi was overcooked, but had to serve it because he didn't have any more eggs to make new dishes. (Thanks ghg for catching that during my DVR'ing mishaps!)

Sarah serves her first course. The judges like it a lot. Paul serves *his* first course, but the judges don't like it at all, due to it being overcooked.

Sarah's 2nd course is enjoyed, and her veal cheeks was *very* well received. Meanwhile, Paul's 2nd dish is loved - deep flavor of the broth, the fish is perfect, the skin is crispy. His 3rd course is highly praised by Bill Terlato, saying he's never tasted anything like it before. Sarah's dessert is well received, as is Paul's.

The judges head back to Judges Table and Sarah and Paul show up. Tom said it's the best finale food in 9 seasons of Top Chef. Gail said there are moments when you're eating a meal and come across a dish that you can't believe it wasn't thought of before, and Sarah's pasta dish was that dish for her. The veal cheeks were perfect, per Tom, but the sweetbreads were too dry. Hugh said Sarah's dessert was the dish of the night. Padma said she hates white chocolate.....but said it was probably the best dessert she's had throughout her experience on Top Chef.

Paul's Chawanmushi was loved with the first round of first courses, but roundly disliked by the 2nd set of judges. His fish was perfect, Hugh said everything sung on that dish, and Emeril loved the broth. Padma liked the congee for the 3rd course. Tom liked his dessert, since he doesn't like sweet desserts, so he enjoyed this savory dessert and said it was *his* favorite dish of the night.

Sarah and Paul leave so judges can deliberate. Tom said they both peaked at the right time. They continue to discuss each dish via each course. Gail said what they saw from Paul was what he does every day, but Sarah took risks. (THAT'S scary to hear, even now, so I'm *glad* I wasn't writing this without knowing what I already know, as I'm writing this a half hour after the show actually aired and I saw the ending first and I'm just filling this part in! LOL)

[ WHOA! Preview of the Top Chef Reunion for next week shows Heather shaking her head and saying "I do not owe Bev an apology." Really, Heather? REALLY? That'll be an interesting reunion show to watch! ]
~~~~~~~~~~~

We're back. Both chefs are in front of family and other cheftestants. All of the judges are there. Padma tells them that one of them will take home the title of Top Chef. Tom tells Sarah that she took a lot of risks and it paid off tonight. Paul was consistent throughout the competition, and he said it was as close as it could get for their final decision..

And Paul is TOP CHEF!!!!!!!!!!!!! Woo hoo!!!!!! Yay, Paul - MOST deserving!

Annnnd another season of Top Chef recapping is DONE. Hope everyone enjoyed. I get tired of doing this by the end of the season, so I do have to say I'm *really* glad the season is done. :-)

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  1. Have to feel for Sarah getting stuck with that idiot Tyler.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Withnail42

      Right?

      I was happy Grayson was picked. Nice to see her in the show a bit more. Nyesha, too.

      1. re: Withnail42

        she only got him because she was trying to get Heather so I don't feel bad and she seemed very hapy with her dishes.

        1. re: tjinsf

          "she only got him because she was trying to get Heather"
          -------
          Yes, it seemed like she was fishing for "Heather's dish" and apparently "recognized" that dish as something Heather had on her menu so selected *that* dish (did she even like the taste of it? We don't hear anything about what the dishes tasted like) just on that basis alone, it seemed. But - ha! - it was Tyler Stone's dish. :-)

          1. re: huiray

            I thought that was a fairly good strategy to use, even though it backfired. There are people you are comfortable working with, you try to figure out which dishes belong to them. Smart in theory, apparently tough to execute accurately.

            1. re: debbiel

              I "only" watched it once, but it seemed like there was some smirking among the potential sous chefs going on at that point. I thought I saw Heather say something. I almost wondered if it was a set up; that someone purposely made something that she wouls think Heather had made.

              1. re: debbiel

                Have to agree can't blame her for trying to get a chef she knows and trusts.

                But what I am curious about is how the dish taste? Did she even care and chose it purely of the assumption that it was Heathers?

                Paul on the other hand seemed to go purely on the dishes that he liked.

                1. re: Withnail42

                  Yeah I know that there were time constraints, but I kind of wish that they showed more of the dish tasting and picking. Did they pick for flavor? Technique? Or like Sarah, for a certain chef?

                2. re: debbiel

                  What a well-respected poster on TWoP said:
                  "I laughed when Sarah picked Tyler. Truly a delicious moment. Apparently there isn't much difference from Farm to Table Heather's dish and a dish made by a crazy man. One more reason not to go to Heather's place."
                  (http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.c...)

            2. re: Withnail42

              Really, poetic justice came to my mind. In the end, the desert for which he contributed in a big way was a hit. He is quite the tool though.

              1. re: Withnail42

                Funny thing is, they didn't bring everyone back so you know the elves brought Tyler back hoping against hope that someone would pick him!

                he may be a good cook, but he's got a long way to go to become a real chef.

                1. re: LurkerDan

                  Or a reasonable facsimile to a human being.

                2. re: Withnail42

                  He is not respected in Sacto....Tyler. We do have fabulous chefs here...fabulous. They are busy running their restos!

                  1. re: melly

                    Thanks for a bit of "local info" on Tyler Stone, melly.

                3. sarah was so mean in the way she treated that guy and said over and over and over the girl power cheer leading.

                  paul'd team was professional. barbara lynch is a team player

                  70 Replies
                  1. re: Bellachefa

                    Paul fan here, but really? Sarah was mean? In what way? She was excited to get pick three women she was comfortable with and whose cooking she respected. She said, "Restaurant Wars again", realized her mistake, then said something like and with one guy this time. Second day, said something about let's cook ladies and gents. And somehow managed to not kick him in the arse for his slow work, his questioning, etc. Maybe I wasn't watching very closely, but I just did not see the mean.

                    1. re: debbiel

                      I thought Sarah bent over backwards to make the most of things with Tyler, no matter how much she regretted "choosing" him, albeit accidentally. She praised him several times, despite his incredibly annoying behavior, let alone his poor skills. My partner, who never learned to cook, cuts celery faster than he could. I blame the producers for including that idiot among the potential sous chefs. How typical of the immaturity displayed all too often by these producers. As far as I'm concerned, the judges really chose Sarah as the winner, but as usual, were overridden by bullying, misogynistic Tom. Paul also did an amazing job, but he made rather predictable food and committed more basic errors. After last night, I'm absolutely finished with TC. I refuse to keep wasting my time.

                      1. re: terrierboy

                        Whoa, you had me up until "...the judges really chose Sarah....bullying, misogynistic Tom."

                        Do you really feel it was such a blowout win by Sarah that you could know this without having tasted the food?

                        1. re: debbiel

                          The editing of TC has always been suspect; I've read some articles about the way the other judges would select one person, then have their votes ignored by Tom as head judge. Tom has shown himself to be misogynistic on many occasions. He's a hypocrite, who does bully anyone who stands up to him, especially when that someone is a woman. Those are also my observations from seeing him interviewed. I don't think either chef scored a blowout; I can only judge by the comments I heard and body language I observed. I've also had many of my comments ignored by Tom on his Bravo blog whenever I disagree with his opinions. He seems rather thin-skinned for someone in his position. I didn't like some of Sarah's behavior during the season, but she seemed to have worked on her behavior between the original competition and the finals. I have nothing against Paul, but it's really hard to believe there has only been one female worthy to be called TC in all the regular competitions.

                          1. re: terrierboy

                            Do you have any examples of Tom Colicchio's 'misogynistic' behavior?

                            1. re: terrierboy

                              perhaps you should consider that the nature of the show and competition might reduce the number of women candidates -- the contestants are taking extended leaves from their jobs with the support of their employers, and for chef/owners the financial risks could even be more onerous. the contrived nature of many of the eliminations also means that the best chefs don't necessarily win ; winning seems to need a combination of skill, luck, adaptability, competitiveness to reach the semi-finals, and then the knack of producing one's best under immense pressure (compounded by cross country ski racing or other stressors).

                              1. re: terrierboy

                                I don't know about Tom having a particular bias against women. In LCK, starting with Nyisha, all he choose were women. In addition to the nature of the challenges as stated above there's the basic statistics to point out. 25 years ago 90% of culinary school grads were men. At the CIA today, 70% of culinary students are men. Those numbers alone would mean that between 70 and 90% of all chefs out there today (let's say 80? %) are men. Interesting in that 50% (8 of 16) of those who made the show were women. That would point towards an unfair bias by Tom, the executive producer towards women. 3 of the 4 finalists were also women so I really don't think the gender bias holds water.
                                Where I do agree with you is that Tom's opinion does appear to hold much more weight than the other judges. Had Tom been served the overcooked batch of Paul's first course the outcome might very well have been different. I also think he, like EVERYONE else watching throughout the season believed Paul to be the top chef and barring a fatal error, he was going to win. IMO, if Tom had a bias in the finale it was based on who he thought was the better chef and not gender. I still believe the finale should factor in the rest of the season as in "if there's a tie it goes to...".

                                1. re: terrierboy

                                  I've also had many of my comments ignored by Tom on his Bravo blog whenever I disagree with his opinions.
                                  ~~~~~~~

                                  Umm, Tom doesn't respond to every single blog comment that is made. In fact if he responds to any, it's usually when a good number of them are similar and he responds in his *next* blog posting to all - not in the comments section.

                                  I think he's got a bit more on his plate then to respond to every dissenting comment on his Bravo blog, don't you?

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    When you consider that most of the conspiracy theories are about his efforts to throw the title to Sarah and his alleged favoritism toward her, it's hard to imagine him feeling compelled to respond to charges of misogyny.

                              2. re: terrierboy

                                LOL, and I was just criticizing Tom in the last episode for defending Sarah without merit.

                                1. re: terrierboy

                                  Did we actually ever see a shot of Tyler cutting celery? I remember only a 1/2 second shot of him with the celery, and you really couldn't get much of a feel for his knife skills from said shot.

                                  Agreed that Sarah handled him reasonably well in the kitchen, though I don't think bashing him in the camera confessionals was really necessary.

                                  I did not find Paul's food any more predictable (conceptually) or error prone than Sarah's meal, and I wonder what gave you that idea.

                                  I have absolutely no idea why you characterize Tom as bullying or misogynistic or what you think is evidence of that.

                                  You're not Heather, right?

                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                    Did we actually ever see a shot of Tyler cutting celery?
                                    ~~~~~~~~
                                    we did, and his technique very awkward. if i saw that clip without knowing who it was, my immediate assumption would be that the person really lacks confidence in their knife skills.

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      What was he doing and how was it awkward? All I remember is a half second shot of him cutting the celery lengthwise, presumably before a dice. He wasn't blazing away at it, but it was only one knife stroke - it just doesn't tell you that much.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                        IIRC, it just seemed like he was kind of poking at the celery with the tip of the knife, and just generally looked awkward. Contrast to Paul taking down an onion in the Asian tag team last episode.

                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                          His knife technique was amateurish. Tyler was holding his chef knife with his index finger extended along the top of the blade. My BF's been cooking professionally for 15+ years and about died laughing at that clip.

                                          1. re: BecaC

                                            That's considered fine technique for some knife strokes among the Japanese, who, generally speaking, put Westerners to shame with their knife skills. Even Westerners who've been cooking professionally for a while. Just sayin.

                                            I'm not saying Tyler was definitely using an elaborate Japanese technique or anything. But seriously - anyone can look bad at using a knife if you take a one-second shot of them distractedly cutting something. Grip is not a great way to evaluate how good someone is with a knife, because there are a lot of people with excellent skills who don't use a pinch grip, and many people with poor-to-mediocre knife skills who do use one. Unless there was another shot that I missed, we just didn't see enough of him to evaluate his knife skills.

                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                              his grip style wasn't the issue for me. it was his general clumsiness and lack of finesse/confidence...and the remaining piece of celery he was attempting to wrangle so he could finish chopping appeared to be pretty hacked up.

                                              but yes, it was a brief shot, and perhaps we're all reading a bit too much into it or being unnecessarily critical :)

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                If you watch the video submission for Tyler that Hugh has in his blog, his knife skills are clearly better (if not up to Pepin status) than what we see of his celery work on TC in the finale, which was brief and kind of fumbling. Plus, the whole video is so shallow and telling that it honestly appears that they chose to include him only as an object of derision, not based upon any chefly accomplishments. Another mark against the producers, IMO, this season.

                                                1. re: mcf

                                                  "Plus, the whole video is so shallow and telling that it honestly appears that they chose to include him only as an object of derision, not based upon any chefly accomplishments. Another mark against the producers, IMO, this season."

                                                  Regardless of the reason he was originally included, he certainly was included last night as the ultimate boobie prize. 2 big prizes (the masters), some other prizes (the other chefs you know), some not so good prizes (the chefs who never made it to the show) and him. And yes, that could be a mark against the producers, though I kinda thought it made for good TV. :shrug:

                                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                                    As obnoxious as he is, I still hate to see him included only as the inevitable object of derision. Or anyone, for that matter.

                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                      "As obnoxious as he is, I still hate to see him included only as the inevitable object of derision. Or anyone, for that matter."
                                                      Absolutely. It was gross. Kind of like the kind of shit they have on those awful Bravo reality shows......

                                                        1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                          no question he was put there as a "booby prize" (and the two other "boobies"-- the people who never made it on the show-- didn't get picked-- was that due to the fact that they really weren't that great after all) but Tyler agreed to come on the show, so "shrug". Unless perhaps their contract required them to show up if requested....

                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                            I think that's pretty much it - you're "owned" by the show until it's done.

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                              +1 Linda... I am sure they are going where told until end of contract, and all editing is still a "mysterious elves' edit situation, that no chef-testant can control...

                                                              Really, kind of sad to bash the also-rans so thoroghly here. They just have to show and do as best they can, perhaps even to save face?

                                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Thanks for the agreement, ghg. I saw poor knife skills with the celery; if some of you didn't, then let's agree to differ. I'll ignore cowboyardee's insulting reference to my being Heather. See my reply to another post above for my rationale for characterizing Tom in a less than favorable light. Several of the judges called Paul's food predictable, so I was recollecting their statements. Given the fast and loose editing style on this show, it's hard to know whether such "attacks" really happen. Again, what sort of professionals would invite a person who didn't survive the first night because of his poor butchering skills to be a sous chef in the finale? That sort of stupidity makes TC increasingly difficult to watch. There just feels like too much Andy Cohen childishness behind so many production decisions. I prefer Next Iron Chef on Food Network to TC these days. By and large, those chefs behave like adults.

                                            1. re: terrierboy

                                              The Heather thing was intended as a lighthearted joke. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings and apologize if I did. I didn't mean to imply that you shared her characteristics or demeanor, even though I realize now that it comes off that way. Instead, your opinions came off (to me) as biased toward Sarah and against the judges in a way that was reminiscent of someone with personal relationship to her and the show, hence the joke. Mainly, I just don't see what would bring you to some of the judgments you did, namely that Tom C is bullying or misogynistic. Making that kind of accusation without really solid evidence is always going to be a little contentious. It's not that different from accusing someone of being racist - it gets people riled up.

                                        2. re: terrierboy

                                          As far as I'm concerned, the judges really chose Sarah as the winner, but as usual, were overridden by bullying, misogynistic Tom
                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                          Please give an example how Tom is/was misogynistic.

                                          I don't think you'll be able to, but if you really feel that way, please read his blog on the Bravo site. He loved Sarah's food. Loved it!

                                          1. re: Bart Hound

                                            Read further down this thread, terrierboy doesn't accept the blogs as source for correct information.

                                          2. re: terrierboy

                                            You might be the only one who believes Tom was anti-Sarah. Everyone else is still astounded about how he fought for her and excused her PYKAG worthy error.

                                          3. re: debbiel

                                            I agree, Debbie, I didnt see any mean from Sarah either, and in fact, I thought she seemed more...what's the word I am looking for "humble"? Or allot less bossy than she had in
                                            during the season,...more open to others suggestions etc... and was quite surprised by it.

                                            Maybe she only treated Beverly so harshly?
                                            I can't remeber if she was really bossy to others during the season.

                                          4. re: Bellachefa

                                            Sarah is an asshole!

                                            I feel bad for Tyler whose friends and family ate probably gathered around a table or bar watching this.

                                            Shame on her.

                                            1. re: C. Hamster

                                              Well, if Tyler didn't realize how his actions would play on TV, that's his bad. His episode where he had been kicked off had aired before this finale was filmed, so he could very well have read what people on blogs thought about him. I just don't think he thinks he's wrong in anything he does...that's his downfall. Don't forget how he spoke to Tom C. during that butchering on Ep 1. He was right, Tom was wrong. Uh-huh. :-/

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                Tyler doesn't listen to feedback..."everyone is just jealous". He's from Sac. Ugh.

                                            2. re: Bellachefa

                                              She had a reason to play the heavy and keep him in line

                                              Did you happen to see how much of an a** he was on the first episode?

                                              1. re: Withnail42

                                                Forget what an a** he was in the first episode. He supplied more than enough new examples in this episode. Every time he opened his mouth, it was to suggest a way to cook using some sort of toy when the situation didn't require it. And, worst of all, from the competing chef's point of view, he could barely manage to execute the tasks he was given. Can anyone say "questionable knife skills"?

                                                Over the years, there have been two instances of camera men deserving a bonus. One was an incident years ago in which the team forgot to pack the protein they had prepped the day before. (Some else will have to supply the specifics.) The camera noticed the abandoned meat and zeroed in for a tight shot that was effectively edited into that week's show. Last night, the camera zeroed in on Tyler cutting up celery. His slow and timid cuts were not the knife skills of a professional.

                                                When Tyler suggested that Sarah sous vide something, did anyone else have a flashback to the final in which Casey recommended that Carla sous vide her meat? We all know how well that turned out.

                                                I have thought Sarah displayed lots of unflattering behavior on the road to the final, but last night, I think she avoided more of the same. She identified the way in which Tyler could do the least damage to her cause and followed her vision of her meal despite his constant nattering about this piece of equipment and that piece of equipment.

                                                1. re: Indy 67

                                                  I *definitely* had that sous vide flashback to Casey/Carla! At least Sarah knew enough *not* to do something new she'd never done before.

                                                  1. re: Indy 67

                                                    Last night, the camera zeroed in on Tyler cutting up celery. His slow and timid cuts were not the knife skills of a professional.
                                                    ~~~~~~~
                                                    yes! my first thought when i saw that tight shot of his technique was that the kid needs to work on his knife skills and learn how to use them confidently. i don't think we can blame a dull blade a la Casey Thompson for this one.

                                                    and indeed i did experience a bit of deja vu when he kept trying to get Sarah to sous vide everything. i'm not sure if Heather was alluding to the same occurrence, but she gave Sarah a knowing look when she said that it was NOT the right time to be trying a technique with which you're not familiar.

                                                    1. re: Indy 67

                                                      You're a helper for God's sake. It's not your show, it's not about you. So put your head down and do your best for the chef. That kid Tyler just kills me. Made me want to reach into the screen and whack him upside the head a few times. And I wasn't even rooting for Sarah.

                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                        i thought sarah treated tyler poorly from the jump. welcomed him with an insult, marginalized him from the beginning.

                                                        1. re: linus

                                                          I disagree. I think his lack of basic skills that were clearly on exhibit last evening showed he was out of his element on the show in the first place.

                                                          Wonder whether the elves chose him for the original 29 to show that in the first place. He clearly didn't have even entry level knife skills. Most home cooks I've worked with are better than that.

                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                            this from a second and a half edit of him chopping celery?
                                                            he also did the dessert, which was universally praised, and made a suggestion about the beets that might have saved them(or might not have, for sure) from being singled out as failing.

                                                          2. re: linus

                                                            She had to. Perhaps you don't recall but he was thrown out of the kitchen by Tom on the very first episode after only a few minutes due to his horrific knife skills and bad attitude. Can't blame her for wanting to keep him in check before he did something stupid again.

                                                            1. re: Withnail42

                                                              i thought sarah's behaviour was mean spirited and unnecessary.

                                                              1. re: linus

                                                                Ironic isn't it...

                                                                No she had to take charge of someone with questionable skills, yet extremely arrogant/narcissistic. It was her night. She had to run her kitchen and staff in her style as she saw fit. In fact she made sure to include him and compliment him.

                                                        2. re: Indy 67

                                                          The first camera shot you have pointed out was from TC4, part 1 finale in Puerto Rico and some pork was left under a prep table and did not make it into the refrigerator. The next day Stephanie Izard took it well and simply prepared a different dish. Richard Blaize won the challenge that day and Antonia was sent packing for crunchy pigeon peas.

                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                            That was it. I thought it might have been something Hung worked on in his season, but it was Stephanie's pork being left out of the fridge. And it was Dale Talde who accidentally left it out and was beating himself up about it.

                                                          2. re: Indy 67

                                                            His knife skills may be rusty because, according to his bio at www.cheftylerstone.com he graduated from a "local culinary academy at the age of 13" which has got to be at least 3 or 4 years ago. I'm guessing it was the Boys and Girls Club Spring Vacation Cooking for Tweens Academy (parents need not worry. We do not let the children use knives).

                                                            To be fair we should not be knocking him until we've tried his personalized line of food and cookware (ironically including knives) available for purchase at www.cheftylerstone.com.
                                                            WARNING: going to this web site might have a similar effect as drinking ipecac. In fact, if someone in your home swallows poison and you do not have ipecac to induce vomiting you can quickly go to www.cheftylerstone.com and have the victim start reading. Just as effective.

                                                            In all seriousness (not really) did anyone else have the same feeling that it was like a Thanksgiving dinner where your well meaning cute 7 y.o. nephew Tyler wants to help in the kitchen and you try to think up things for him to do that may seem important to him but basically keeps him out of the way? "Hey Tyler, you can arrange the celery and carrot sticks orange, green, orange, green and so on. Then you can help stir the ice cream. Yes, you can wear your Star Wars goggles but use this wisk instead of the light sabers. I can't wait to tell your mom what a great help you've been to auntie Sarah"

                                                            Anyone who thinks that having Barbara Lynch might have been tough for Paul to deal with compared to Sarah having Tyler.... I really don't know what to say. There an article with an interview with him - you'll have to Google him - after he got cut in the first episode where he actually has the nerve to criticize Tom and Emerill. Kid's got balls.

                                                            1. re: bobbert

                                                              is that the right web address for him? That leads to some older marketing guy...

                                                              1. re: kubasd

                                                                oops, it's www.cheftylerstone.com Go figure. I left out chef. Thanks, I'll edit the post.

                                                              2. re: bobbert

                                                                It is interesting that people are criticizing Tyler's input in the final by suggesting that he wanted to use technology in the kitchen without really understanding the basics first. . .

                                                                and then you go to his website and he has his QR code on his homepage . . . . which is essentially using new technology without really understanding why people use that technology . . . .

                                                                just saying, kind of a theme

                                                                1. re: thimes

                                                                  Just having a little fun at his expense even though he's so arrogant it wouldn't bother him anyway. I'm sure he's a very talented young chef. In fact, my guess is that the worst chef on the program is probably better than 90% of all chefs out there. It's just a little difficult to have a 22 y.o. personal chef (word is he's a very good personal chef) who, from what we know, has never worked in a real restaurant kitchen (as his chef outfit - dress shoes and slacks will attest to), come in and start making all kinds of suggestions while the other "hardened" chefs who have paid their dues and earned their rights to maybe speak up seem to understand their roles as sous chefs. I wonder if he even knows what a sous chef is.
                                                                  One would think he would keep his mouth shut, his head down, bust his butt and be honored that he was given the opportunity to work with such great chefs. It must be a generational thing as I've seen many younger people come into a new workplace and on day one think they should be running the place. Most of them figure it out after a few months. Some never do.

                                                                  1. re: bobbert

                                                                    <word is he's a very good personal chef>>

                                                                    The kid has a good PR agent. If you know of some other "word" that he has chops, do share it, but I've seen nothing that would support that word.

                                                                    1. re: bobbert

                                                                      " (word is he's a very good personal chef) "

                                                                      His word, yeah. Anyone else in a position to be objective?

                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                        OK, OK, I was trying to say something nice after all the not so nice things I wrote about him. Googled him again and the first 4 pages, which were all I could get through, were publicity about him. He knows how to manipulate his Google. I rescind any nice things I said about him. He's a hack.

                                                                        1. re: bobbert

                                                                          So what's the over/under on how many months until he gets his Food Network show? :)

                                                                          1. re: debbiel

                                                                            I say they are filming pilots now.

                                                                            You can't say he isn't trying - and trying hard. While I may not admire his culinary chops, I have to say I'm impressed with his attempts at building a brand out of literally nothing. That isn't easy.

                                                                            And honestly, its been years since the food network has cared about culinary skills really. So why shouldn't he have a show when you look at the rest of the hosts on that channel.

                                                                            1. re: debbiel

                                                                              Damn. You beat me to that question so I'll go with 6 months.

                                                                    2. re: bobbert

                                                                      Interesting website seems to have been doing a great deal of not much.

                                                                      Interested how there is not a word about Top Chef. Just sayin...

                                                                      1. re: bobbert

                                                                        Hahaa bobbert. Tyler=Ipecac. Priceless!

                                                                        1. re: bobbert

                                                                          One need go no further than the home page to experience nausea...

                                                                        2. re: Indy 67

                                                                          Does anyone know what Tyler wanted to sous vide? Was it the meat course? I didn't catch it even the second time watching. Also, what did the master chef on Paul's team want to put sesame seeds on? As I recall there weren't any sesame seeds in any of the dishes.

                                                                          And was that thing that Tyler was refusing to put in the mixer the poorly-reviewed polenta? Was that what Sarah ended up "fixing" for the second seating?

                                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                                            tyler wanted to sous vide the beets. Tom C. says she should have maybe listened to him.

                                                                            1. re: DGresh

                                                                              it has been a while now and I've kind of moved on but from what I remember

                                                                              Tyler wanted to sous vide the beets - which actually the judges thought were too raw - so one could argue that would have been a good suggestion.

                                                                              I don't remember where she wanted to use sesame seeds but I don't think the judges indicated that they wanted that flavor in the final dish.

                                                                              I think Tyler was doing one of the dessert components by hand to make it "creamy" but Sarah had indicated that she does it in a mixer and it comes out fine and faster. The judges loved her dessert so while it might have come out the same in a mixer, however Tyler did it came out well, as well.

                                                                              So no, that wasn't what Sarah ended up fixing for the second seating. That was her polenta component.

                                                                        3. re: Bellachefa

                                                                          Sarah is no peach at time and she was bit snotty when she first picked him but Tyler is my opinion a chef that really needs to stage and learn from other chefs. Also sous vide is great but first you need to learn the basics like butchering. I think she had every right as the head chef to keep him in line.

                                                                          1. re: tjinsf

                                                                            I'd bet dollars to donuts that Tyler Stone disagrees with you on putting him in staging mode. ;-)

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              I have a feeling he would try to teach Ripert or Patterson "how to cook". I can't imagine he working a station or line.

                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                he'd be happy to have people stage with him.

                                                                            2. re: Bellachefa

                                                                              If Sarah didn't manage Tyler properly we'd all be sitting around saying what a wimp she was and how she should have exerted her say over what he did and how he did it. She acted like an executive chef with a weak member of the team in the kitchen and she did it with class. You may think she's "mean," but she did what she needed to do and she did it appropriately.

                                                                            3. Midway through judge's table. I'm getting very very nervous

                                                                              ETA: The look on Gail's face when Hugh disagreed with her on the progression of Paul's menu was pretty funny.

                                                                              1. Perhaps I'm reading too much into it but...

                                                                                Just saw a live add for Andy Choens little show. Perhaps I'm reading to much into it but Sarah seemed much more up beat and positive. Paul's body language was much more subdued. And when and mention that one of them had won Paul gave her a pat on the knee.

                                                                                To me none of this bodes well for Paul.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                  Luckily you're wrong, Withnail! :-D

                                                                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                    See, I noticed the same things, and interpreted it as, "Sarah lost, and is trying hard to show good face." Easy to say in hindsight, but really ;-)

                                                                                  2. Oh yay. I was worried there for a bit. I never developed the Sarah hate that was so common on these threads, but I sure did have the Paul love. So very glad he won. Might just be my favorite Top Chef yet.

                                                                                    19 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: debbiel

                                                                                      It wasn't hate for me re: Sarah and Heather. Just dislike the way they felt they had to put others down when it wasn't necessary - whether it was in the confessional OR in front of the person they were putting down.

                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                        Oh, I didn't mean you LindaWhit. There just seemed to be some voices on past threads that seemed to spill into hate, or at least extreme dislike leading to, well, meanness.

                                                                                        1. re: debbiel

                                                                                          I know you didn't mean me. Or at least I hoped you didn't. :-) Just voicing my opinion on the two of them and my dislike of how they treated others. Hence my incredulousness at Heather's comment at the reunion next week (noted near the end of my recap).

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            Yes, but we don't know the context for that reunion comment, and perhaps it alludes to all sorts of stuff during the season we did not see. On WWHN, which you probably don't watch because you're not as pathetic as some of us, Andy said of the Bev and Others drama something like, "I thought the conversation at the reunion about this was very interesting. I'm looking forward to other people seeing it."

                                                                                            1. re: debbiel

                                                                                              But he was referring specifically to Sarah/Bev, I believe. Sarah had just said that "Bev is a very good friend of mine."

                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                It was in response to Sarah's comment, yes, but it wasn't clear to me that the conversation he alluded to was only about Sarah/Bev.

                                                                                                1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                  You may be right, will just have to wait and see. That was just my inference.

                                                                                                2. re: mcf

                                                                                                  I could actually believe it. I see them getting along outside TC because Sarah, at the end of the day, respects Bev's abilities as a chef. Heather on the other hand, never respected Bev.

                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            Linda, did you have the same opinion of Michael Voltaggio? He was putting people down all the time. I can remember even one time when he said Kevin Gillespie's food was what he prepared at home for lunch. (He wasn't smiling when he said it either, he meant it as an insult).

                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                              Yes, absolutely, John. I thought Michael V. was better than that, based on the food he had put out by that point. The comment about Kevin's food was one of the worst he made, IMO. It gave off an "I'm so much better than Kevin" attitude that ticked me off. Michael V. is an amazing chef, but that kind of smugness to put someone down is just uncalled for at his and Kevin's level.

                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                I thought that comment was offensive and inappropriately derisive.

                                                                                              2. re: John E.

                                                                                                I wonder if we have more tolerance in general for men behaving that way than we do when women do it. I think there's still some expectation that women are going to be "nice" or "sweet" or at least pleasant and when they're not we judge them more harshly than we do men who do the same thing.

                                                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                  I certainly don't. Bad behavior is bad behavior. FWIW I see it more from women than men.

                                                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                    ... or Heather and to a lesser extent Sarah were just far more mean-natured and vitriolic than M. Voltaggio, who at worst made a vaguely insulting but sort of true comment about Kevin's cooking and yelled at Robyn never to curse at him in the kitchen.

                                                                                                    Marcel, Ilan, even Hosea - did all of these guys get away with bad behavior because of their gender? You do remember seeing the occasional negative comment about them, right?

                                                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                      NO. Some of us don't. The difference in this case was that it wasn't non stop harassment of the person directly throughout the competition, it was an obnoxious remark that aired later.

                                                                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                        Well, first of all, I wasn't stating anything as a fact. I was wondering "aloud."

                                                                                                        Second, I wasn't condoning anyone's bad behavior

                                                                                                        Third, I was referring to how we viewers interpreted and reacted to what we saw broadcast, rather than what actually happened - and I'm not sure that the response here so far isn't also part of that same interpretation. Again, not as a fact, but as a possible way are minds work.

                                                                                                        1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                          I don't think it has anything to do w sex, I think people accepted his arrogant behavior because everyone knew he had the chops to back it up, whereas, I don't think anyone here really has believed in Sarahs skills.

                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                            Thanks for your thoughtful response Nelly. That makes more sense than anything else I have read so far.

                                                                                                            And that being said, that while I know that she is an executive chef at a restaurant that produces extraordinary food, she did show up on my little screen as both a little hesitant and limited in her cooking and as well as defensive around others. Who knows why? Personal barriers? Elves editing?

                                                                                                          2. re: chicgail

                                                                                                            Chicgail, I agree. I have off and on been a chef in a kitchen mostly full of men for 25+ years, and they always say 'shit" to each other all the time, when I did it, often it was like ' oooh! look at the lady trying to talk shit!" when it was no different in tone or quick response than they did, just off the cuff, and normal. Kitchens can be piggy, brutal places, not that there are not master-creative people there, it just gets kind of raw sometimes, after/before 14 hours to come...

                                                                                                            Same happens in politics, corp. biz from my experience and observation. A man is tough, in control, and sets you in your way if he is in charge. A woman does that, and she is a bitch, a control'freak, or such.

                                                                                                            Tho, I will say, women need to watch TONE. Sarah has an issue with tone. She sounds like she is bitching at the mall about someone's outfit she doesn't like sometimes when she complains about behavior, rather than an executive chef who needs to correct technique or timing issues. Tone and authority (sometimes paradoxically) go a long way....

                                                                                                    2. Paul was totally humble and team building. Didn't throw his team under the bus, while Sarah was just playing the victim role with that horrible guy.

                                                                                                      Also Sarah kept on saying "I deserve to win". If Sarah had a better attitude, it would have helped her.

                                                                                                      So glad for Paul.

                                                                                                      56 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Xericx

                                                                                                        Sarah didn't play the victim role with Tyler at all. She kept him in line, never blamed him for anything. She was not happy with all his suggestions but that's not throwing him under the bus. Didn't Beverly have notes all over the place saying she's going to win? How's that different from Sarah saying she deserves to win?

                                                                                                        1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                          watching the replay now, you're right about Tyler. I still think Paul showed better leadership in the kitchen.

                                                                                                          I think Paul's story was more genuine and heartfelt, which is why Sarah's statements looked really lame. Seemed bratty in losing.

                                                                                                          1. re: Xericx

                                                                                                            How was she bratty? The first shot you saw of her after they called Paul's name was of her applauding and then walking up to him and giving him a hug. Then you see her hugging and crying with her friends and family. You see another shot of her hugging Paul again. You also see some camera time afterward where she is, yes, disappointed. And says, "I think I deserve to be top chef, but this wasn't my night." What is wrong with that? I think I'm a great chef, I'm Top Chef material, but it didn't happenf or me tonight.

                                                                                                            I'm looking, but I'm not seeing the bratty there.

                                                                                                            1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                              I see exactly what you are saying. As much as I felt like Sarah was not so nice at times she kind of redeemed herself in the final. So happy that Paul won, however I did end up feeling a little bad for Sarah.

                                                                                                              1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                I thought she handled herself well until the end, but then, her comment - I thought "I deserved it " was pretty bratty.
                                                                                                                Selfish and bratty...

                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                  I can see how it can be interpreted that way, but I also think it was maybe just a simple moment of candor while feeling the sting of disappointment. She cooked what is considered by the judges to be amazing food and the decision was a very tough one. She's been nothing but gracious to Paul, apparently. Not like Fabio, frex.

                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                    I have never been a fan of any loser who says "I deserved it!" after a loss... it's always driven me nuts, so I picked up on that right away. That, and she ALWAYS had a frown on her face after she lost a quickfire or something, so I always had the sense she was a bit self centered in that regard.

                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                      I think there's a big diff between feeling you had a shot and deserved it and suggesting that the winner did not. She's never hinted at any such thing. As for the frowns, the visuals are the editing I don't trust, but she did always look sour. That could have been disappointment at herself, too, consternation. I think she's given us plenty not to like about her all season, but not in the final. Just IMO.

                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                        Don't be so sure Sarah didn't take a shot or two at Paul after the finale. She did. Here:
                                                                                                                        http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...

                                                                                                                        Here's the quote:
                                                                                                                        "I'm really confused... The fact that Paul served broken custard to the majority of his diners I think was a fatal flaw. And at the end of the day, I'M the one that created new food."

                                                                                                                        I understand she was upset, and that she might have honestly thought that she deserved a win with her finale meal. I don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill, here.

                                                                                                                        But she never got to taste Paul's meal, right? So lobbing criticism at him on-camera is sort of lame. Dude's kicked ass all season - the smart thing for Sarah to do would be to assume that his food kicked ass again and just admit that she barely lost to a great competitor. No shame in that. She and Tyler Stone both could use a little humility lesson.

                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                          Judging supposedly went on for 7-8 hours, according to Gail Simmons, until almost 6 in the morning. So during the course of the judging, my guess is Sarah thought she heard very bad criticism of Paul's egg custard, and didn't think she heard anything approaching that level in her criticism. Of course her hearing is filtered; everyone's is.

                                                                                                                          And I'm assuming that both she and Paul had little to no sleep while that judging period was going on; were they in a stew room? Regardless, I can't imagine either of them really sleeping. And now people are nit-picking and over analyzing reactions and words that the editors chose to show, sigh.

                                                                                                                          1. re: souvenir

                                                                                                                            "And now people are nit-picking and over analyzing reactions and words that the editors chose to show, sigh."
                                                                                                                            ---------------
                                                                                                                            Your comment is just as nit-picky and given to analysis as mine. Seriously, can we stop the hand-wringing every time someone makes a post we disagree with? Maybe save it for the vitriol and nastiness rather than just basic criticism of a statement that is, frankly, pretty darned easy to criticize?

                                                                                                                            BTW, she said the words plainly, in one unedited take. The editors did indeed choose to include it in the extras, but they couldn't have done so if she hadn't said the words in the first place.

                                                                                                                            I understand that she was probably tired, upset, yada, yada, yada. But that doesn't change the fact that she took a shot at Paul's finale meal. Do you think she was right in doing so? Do you think I should refrain from even mentioning it because poor dear was tired and upset? What exactly are these threads for then?

                                                                                                                            Keep in mind, I'm not trying to say that she's an awful person. Everyone puts their foot in their mouth sometimes. But she does seem to have an unfortunate natural tendency to go on the offensive when she shouldn't.

                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                              This reminds me of when Lisa thought she came in second behind Steph. It could be human natured to remember your competitor's faults but keep it to yourself!

                                                                                                                            2. re: souvenir

                                                                                                                              The actual lengthy discussion by the judges does NOT happen in front of the cheftestants. Yes, they're there for a (relatively short) period of time to discuss their dishes with the judges, but then the judges sit and discuss amongst themselves.

                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                Yes, my second paragraph recognizes that.

                                                                                                                            3. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                              How quick to forget that she made it into the final with a dish with a fatal flaw. Additionally, this is the first time that I've heard the word broken used to describe the dish as opposed to overcooked and at that only for one of the 2 groups of judges.

                                                                                                                              1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                My thought exactly. Maybe there's an interview with Lindsay pointing out how she should have been in the final instead of Sarah? I don't think so. Additionally, as I said somewhere downstream, Paul did what he does but Sarah's doing something "different" and creative has much more to do with her working for 6 months on her dishes than on how creative she is. My biggest issue with the finale is the 6 month gap since they leave wherever the season was filmed. To pretend that she came up with those dishes on the spot is being very ingenious at best. She definitely worked on those for months probably with a lot of input from other chefs. Paul probably did the same but for Sarah to then claim that she was more creative simply fails the straight face test.

                                                                                                                                As far as showing off their ability to be creative on the spot one needs only to go back one episode and see how her frozen sauce failed miserably. Because of the nature of that challenge, she did not already have the dish worked out and tested. It really highlighted what her weakness was all season and that was an inability to cook outside of her comfort zone.

                                                                                                                                The finale always has the chefs basically cooking and the only real challenge has been with who they end up with as sous chefs. That's why the food is always so good - they've probably practiced it a dozen times but I don't know a better way to do it. I do think that in case of a "tie" in the finale, the tiebreaker should be their performance throughout the competition - like what they do on Chopped.

                                                                                                                        2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                          The producers work to get people to say stuff like that if it fits their story line. Bratty? Maybe. Maybe not.

                                                                                                                          1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                            I'm sure they ask them to describe how they're feeling in the moment while the feelings are very fresh and new and much less likely to be filtered.

                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                              If you notice, when we hear the contestants speak in the highlighted segment, they are not usually dressed the same way they are in the episode they are talking about. That tells us that they are not asked about their feelings when those feelings are "very fresh." How much later? I couldn't say, but later enough for them to have changed clothes and cooled off.

                                                                                                                              It's the producers' job to get sound bites that fit the storyline that they (the producers) and the editors are creating. Their interest isn't accuracy or authenticity. Their interest is "good television."

                                                                                                                              There is certainly a well-honed illusion that it is all happening the way the viewer sees it, but if you talk to someone who has actually participated in "reality TV," they will frequently tell you that they are surprised that an incident appears to have occurred on the broadcast the way it did. That's one reason participants in "reality" shows sign very long, very specific contracts that give them no recourse in how they ultimately appear.

                                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                I may be remembering wrong, but when she was sobbing and saying she thought for a minute that she'd won, I thought she was in her TC chef coat. That's the scene I had in mind.

                                                                                                                                There's no doubt in my mind that the questioner's timing and questions are aimed at producing heightened emotions/contraversy/drama.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                  I'm pretty sure they must have asked her straight after she lost...
                                                                                                                                  I am sure it would be a really upsetting moment, but I wasn't keen on her choice of words...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                    I remembered it differently. I'll have to go back and look.

                                                                                                                        3. re: Xericx

                                                                                                                          It's hard to know if it's the editing or just the human filters that have so many of us casting Sarah as the villan. She's a fine chef at an exceptional restaurant. She did very well on Top Chef and really stretched herself on the finale. Can't we keep it to that?

                                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                Except that last night on WWHL, Sarah acknowledged having treated Bev very badly, so the "editing" isn't the issue, it was her behavior.

                                                                                                                                Still, it's apparently a settled matter and water under the bridge with her and Bev, so should be for us, too.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                  "Except that last night on WWHL, Sarah acknowledged having treated Bev very badly, so the "editing" isn't the issue, it was her behavior. "
                                                                                                                                  ---------
                                                                                                                                  Yes.

                                                                                                                                  And oh, btw, I can still choose which restaurant I wish or do not wish to patronize. ;-)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                    Well, if you pass up a meal at Spiaggia because Sarah is the chef there, they YOU are the loser. Spiaggia is imho one of the best italian restaurants in the US. Food, service, ambiance are all top drawer.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                      @ChefJune: No sweat off my brow if I decide to pass it up. (I didn't say I WAS boycotting it) There are lots of other places with top drawer Italian food and at less ridiculous prices. (Yes, chicgail, there is Cafe Spiaggia) You are quite welcome to dine there at your pleasure and pay into Mantuano's Retirement Fund. :-)

                                                                                                                                  2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                    That still does not mean there was not some editing to maximize the impact of her 'behavior'.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                      Sure. But editing didn't create a false impression, if you take Sarah at her word.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                        Big "if."

                                                                                                                                        The producers on reality shows work hard to get the participants to say what they want them to say that will further the "story line." Like the private interviews where a contests talks about how much s/he really, really, really wants to win.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                          Again, yes Sarah admitted to behaving bad and she did but the editing did make it seem worse. I'm not convinced the "Oh look at that tree comment was not an edited version of what happened. I also know that some of the facial expressions we saw were not necessarily in response to what we saw on the TV screen but were edited to seem as if they were. The contestants are even asked to make various facial expressions while standing in line in the kitchen for reaction shots as well as when they are standing before the judges. The editing has a great deal to do with what the viewers perceive. We are being manipulated through the editing process. I cannot always tell when it is happening but I have recognized some of it.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                            I ignore the facial expressions because I assume they're spliced in from who knows what episode. I don't know if they made her look worse with editing or if they made her look less awful than she was, and you don't either. She sure didn't take the question from Andy as an opportunity to suggest she hadn't been as awful to Bev as depicted, she owned it. She at least gets some cred for that.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                              Sara was also quite gracious to Paul on his win on that crappy show with that Andy fellow. By the way, with digital editing they can also make it seem as if someone "says" something and it is being taken out of context. how many times did we hear someone say something but not actually 'see' them saying it? Voices are slipped into one scene and finished in another all the time on television. The Elves editing this program are manipulating it to be exactly what they want it to be and it is not reality.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                Since Sarah has acknowledged having behaved awfully, speculating about when it happened is kind of moot, I think.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                      also there is pack mentality. It's totally possible that when there was more people, she went along with it and got cut up in it and when there was less people and she had time between the filming and the finale to get to know bev and look at her behavior. Of course this is all armchair speculation.

                                                                                                                                      I will point out you can a fine chef at an exceptional restaurant and still be a horrid person.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                        I think we saw that Sarah is a strong and highly skilled leader, not typical of followers of a pack. I don't think she liked having to compete with Bev, a home town competitor. Both of them are very driven to get ahead, and Sarah may not have been able to calm down and not feel threatened by her. And Sarah is clearly VERY close with Heather, and of similar minds, perhaps?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                          See, e.g., Gordon Ramsey, Anthony Bourdain, et al.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: secondbecky

                                                                                                                                            Yes to the former, not the latter, IMO. Does not apply.

                                                                                                                                    3. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                      Though I was rooting for Paul, I thought Sarah put together an amazing dinner, and I think she had every right to say "I deserve to win". They both did.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                        when Sarah made that 'I deserve...' statement it's very unlikely she'd tasted Paul's courses. she overcooked one of the principal ingredients in her third course. watch the video of the extended judges' table -- the judges didn't really feel much angst about making Paul the winner. the photos of the two dinners are also revealing -- Paul's courses are more harmoniously composed. Sarah found a mentor who sent her to Italy and essentially set her career up for life ; she's not been deprived of anything professionally.

                                                                                                                                    4. re: Xericx

                                                                                                                                      What I thought was appalling was Sarah crying hysterically when Paul was named Top Chef. Pretty sure this was a first for Top Chef. What happened to be grateful and happy for the winner. Save your tears for later Sarah!!!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: christy1122

                                                                                                                                        Wow, sympathetic much? Sarah was not crying hysterically, but yes the tears were flowing. I think she had every right to cry. Her & Paul (& all the other contestants) put their heart & soul on the lines, they invested so much of themselves in this competition. Of course she was disappointed, who would go in thinking "oh this will be fun, who cares if I don't make it to the end?" Her & Paul had go in thinking they were going to win, what other type of mindset would push you to your limits? She gave Paul a big hug & congratulated him. I don't think she was a sore loser in the least, I'm sure the camera's caught her in an emotional state right after the announcement. I'm not going to go back & watch all 9 season's finales, but I'm positive it's not the first time someone cried because they didn't win. They are working under extreme conditions & emotions run high.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                          I Double-Dog Dare anyone finding another Top-Chef runner-up that reacted and cried like Sarah did when she lost.

                                                                                                                                          Her tears and reaction were a perfect example of why quite a majority of the viewing public did not like her. Let alone her persona in the rest of the season.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: christy1122

                                                                                                                                            I tried to think of one and couldn't, but as much as I don't care for Sarah, she's definitely come across as sort of immature and pre teen like, emotionally. Her feelings were her feelings, and I'm sure she didn't plan a teary outburst, she just failed to control it when it happened, and maybe she just couldn't.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                              tears happen. I don't judge someone on that.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                Neither do I. I thought Sarah's reaction on the show to not winning Top Chef was very genuine. ANd she said, "I think I deserve to be Top Chef, but today wasn't my day." That's honest and not really that awful, especially in the heat of the moment. I mean, they say some wonderful things to her at that last JT such as claiming her dessert was they best they'd ever had on Top Chef and telling her that she went out of her comfort zone and it really paid off. With superlative statements like that, and some of the criticisms they had of Paul's food, maybe she really expected to win and was sincerely caught off guard when she didn't.

                                                                                                                                                What I didn't think was so gracious of her is in the interview (with the 6 Chicago chefs) linked near the bottom of this thread is when one of her fellow cheftestants said "Sarah was robbed" she replied "I hear that from a lot of people. " She should have just let that be...

                                                                                                                                                Nevertheless, we are all only human.

                                                                                                                                                (Note, everything above is a paraphrase from memory. I hope I got it all right!).

                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                              2. re: christy1122

                                                                                                                                                I have been rather vocal on this thread about my feeling of Sarah being a mean girl. However, she is the first to admit that she learned a lot about herself and has made changes in her life.

                                                                                                                                                That a person, who I agree is emotionally juvenile to break down makes perfect sense. They weren't crocodile tears, they were an unavoidable exhausted emotional breakdown.

                                                                                                                                                remember this when you hit menopause and cry at laundry detergent commercials. Hopefully it won't happen on camera or in front of collegues, but perhaps it will.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                                                  Oh man, I've cried at Staples commercials before and menopause had nothing to do with it (when the husband told his teacher wife they didn't have the money to buy school supplies for her students then she caught him in there buying some for her). Sun. morning NFL countdown with the token heart wrenching story, Friday Night Lights and Parenthood almost every week, embarrassing.

                                                                                                                                                  But back to the main crier, I didn't think Sara behaved badly at the end of the finale.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                    I agree. She was disappointed, but who wouldn't be with all those weeks of hard work? That being said, I have no problem with her.

                                                                                                                                                    At least she wasn't Jaime, standing defiantly with her arms crossed.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                      wasn't that lisa? (vs. blais & stephanie izard)

                                                                                                                                                      or did they both do that?

                                                                                                                                                2. re: christy1122

                                                                                                                                                  Why does it bother you so much about how Sarah reacted to not winning Top Chef? Sure, she weeped more than others. She cried in other episodes as well. There hasn't been this much crying on Top Chef since Dave on TC 1.

                                                                                                                                          2. Thanks for another great season of recaps, LW!

                                                                                                                                            23 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                              +1. Thanks, LindaWhit, for keeping these threads going these past several weeks. Great work.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks guys, and you are most welcome. :-)

                                                                                                                                                  But someone else will have to start a thread for the Reunion show (which I noted in my last minute additions has Heather saying she doesn't owe an apology to Bev!) I just want to watch it. :-)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                    We all owe you drinks LW. Copious amount of drinks. Andy Cohen approved amount of drinks.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                      LOL! Umm, my CEO might not approve that this morning, Phaedrus. ;-) And considering how sleepy I am, I really don't want a bruise on my forehead when it hits the keyboard after drinking Andy Cohen approved amount of drinks.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                  Does anyone else think Linda gets better and better at these recaps season after season?

                                                                                                                                                  Bravo, Linda, on another great season of Top Chef.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                        Oh my goodness, thank you, CJ!

                                                                                                                                                        No wait - I can't call you CJ - that reminds me of the tall cheftestant, CJ from a few seasons past. Thank you, ChefJune! There. That's better. :D

                                                                                                                                                        And I can thank the DVR for helping with allowing me to pause / rewind (when it WORKS, that is! LOL), so I'm glad to be able to get the deets on the dishes this season, amongst other details. That always bugged me before finally entering the 21st century and getting a DVR. :-)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                          Yes, adding my kudos to Linda here!

                                                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                          +12 or however many we're up to now. Linda's recaps rocked the good episodes and made the bad episodes worth sitting through.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                            Ditto, Linda, even when the season sucks, your recaps save it! You da bomb!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                              Absolutely, thanks so much especially to Linda and to all of the other contributors to these threads with the exception of a few contrarians.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                                if it wasn't for the contrarians these threads would be mighty spare....

                                                                                                                                                                yes, Linda, grazie, gracias, merci, arigato, danke, hvala, tak and yuspagara! oh, and THANKS! You add a whole other level of enjoyment to something i look forward to every week.

                                                                                                                                                                enjoy your well-deserved respite!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                  Respite?! She's not recapping America's Next Top Model?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                      just kill me NOW before making me watch that!

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                      OK, you owe me a new laptop. Do you know how hard it is to clean a spit take laden screen?

                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                      yuspagara? Is that a new strain of asparagus? :-)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                        ( : it's literally "god will pay you" - in Aymara (andean folk in Bolivia).

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                    Linda, thanks so much for your wonderful recaps all these years. You do such a great job and we love you!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. So happy Paul won.

                                                                                                                                                                    And I have to give Grayson quote of the night: "we're gonna jam out with our clams out." Which just seals my impression of her as hottest Top Chef contestant by far :-)

                                                                                                                                                                    All in all, a pretty good episode. Too funny that Tyler actually got picked. Barbara Lynch (whose restaurants in Boston I'm a big fan of) seemed a bit rough for Paul to deal with, so everything was more or less even in my opinion. One got a rank amateur, the other a master who may have wanted to do things her own way.

                                                                                                                                                                    19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                      I liked seeing Paul and Barbara Lynch work SO well together after such a short amount of time. Barbara saying to Paul "You'd better buy me some...." before I think she realized she was on camera saying this and cut herself off! LOL I've not had the pleasure of dining at No. 9 Park, but know it's one of the top restaurants in Boston. davis_sq_pro - wanna take me? LOL

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                        Hah! Now you need to shoot for Menton. It was just named a Relais & Châteaux property either yesterday or today -- hopefully prices won't shoot through the roof (not that it was cheap before, by any means).

                                                                                                                                                                        That said, my favorite of hers is Sportello. Great food, really cool atmosphere, and much more affordable than the upscale places.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                          It *was*? Good for her on the R&C designation! (And you didn't answer my question! LOL!)

                                                                                                                                                                          OK, I'm off to sleep. Have a good (snowy here in Boston!) night, everyone. Sleep well. And GO BOSTON for the next season of Top Chef. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, I'd love to see Top Chef in the NE next year... increases the likelihood of me visiting shown restaurants a hundredfold!

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                            I actually ate at Menton a few weeks ago. Very nice but not quite the wow factor I expected for that kind of money. Altho I did wow with the little croissants they bring fresh out of the oven. Someone didn't nickname me the carbohydrate queen for nothing. Still need to try Sportello.

                                                                                                                                                                            I would have thought that one of the real chefs would be on each team and was surprised to see the people who didn't make the cut come back too. But I guess that's an interesting twist.

                                                                                                                                                                            I really thought Sarah might win cuz it seemed like she did so well with a few less quibbles from the judges, but I think they looked at his great performance overall. I personally would have rather eaten her food. I didn't see any favoritism from Tom for her tho. In fact, except for the comment about taking chances, he seemed to prefer Paul's dishes (except the congee).

                                                                                                                                                                            Paul needs a bit more self confidence, he and Blais should attend a seminar or something.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                              Agree I didn't see the supposed favoritism from Tom as they were talking about on the TWoP thread.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                see, i don't think Paul needs more self-confidence - i think he has just enough - to keep him humble but focused and yet driven and a gentlemen. i think he had normal jitters but nothing like Blaise who seemed to go into massive funks and choke.

                                                                                                                                                                                i'm very happy for Paul.

                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                            I wonder since Boston is suppose to be one of the cities they are consider for the next season if we will be seeing more of Chef Lynch. I thought she was awesome. She was present and made suggestions and comments but was fine with being a sous.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                              TOTALLY agree with having Chef Lynch there. There are so many chefs who would be great to see on the show - Jody Adams (former TC Master cheftestant) and Tim Cushman are two that pop to mind. They could bring back Tiffani Faison as a judge. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                Works for me! I'd actually be surprised not to see Jasper White, Todd English, and someone like Tom Brady or one of the New Kids on the Block (party).

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes on Jasper, but please, dear God - NOT Todd English! LOL Maybe the Wahlberg brother who's got the restaurant on the South Shore?

                                                                                                                                                                                  Guess it depends on who's got the need to shill a new cookbook or new restaurant, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                    Or movie ;-) We're coming off a season with Charlize and PeeWee, after all!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                    Todd English??? oh no. I ate his food way back in the day and it wasn't bad but it was far from great but now, I don't think so.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                      For me it has nothing to do with his food. It *does*, however, have to do with the degree of smarminess that oozes from his pores. It just totally squicks me out.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                        Just brought him up as a popularly *known* chef (outside the chowish community), not for his merits or personality. Perhaps I'm shortchanging the TC talent scouts, who do get some pretty amazing chefs as guest judges. But there are also an amazingly odd assortment of celebrity guest judges.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                          Personally I think that they should have Todd English's daughter come on to a judge a cupcake Quickfire.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                            Agree on the odd assortment they've come up with...I'm sure it depends on their schedules as well - someone they *really* want just isn't available, so they go second, third or fourth string (a la Pee Wee Herman).

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                  My other favorite Grayson quote: "It's like sex in your mouth," to Tom on the BBQ challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: stgrove

                                                                                                                                                                                    Even better was Tom's stunned and slightly delayed reaction. "Ummm...OK!"

                                                                                                                                                                                3. yippee!

                                                                                                                                                                                  i have to say, based solely on their menus, if i had to choose one meal to eat it would be Paul's. the flavors and techniques are more appealing to me, and it just seems more cohesive than Sarah's.

                                                                                                                                                                                  @LW, minor edit for this part of your recap: "Meanwhile, Paul realizes a Chawanmushi ingredient, the eggs, can't be used for the second seating. He can't blame Keith, because he trained him. So he'll have to wing it for his first course. "

                                                                                                                                                                                  that's not how it went down. that batch of chawanmushi was overcooked, but he DID serve it because he didn't have any eggs left to *make new ones.*

                                                                                                                                                                                  oh, and thanks again (as always!) for guiding us through the season. you ROCK, woman :)

                                                                                                                                                                                  26 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                    Chawanmushi is a boring dish. That congee looked terrible as well. I'd love to try his dessert and the fish though. I don't buy that these were the best dishes for Top Chef finales ever. If Paul won, it's because Sarah's dishes just weren't very creative other than her pasta. Of course I am Asian and I grew up eating chawanmushi and congee. Overall lousy season....

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                      and as i've said countless times on these boards, we're all entitled to our opinions, and i was stating *my* opinion. the chawanmushi looked and sounded delicious *to me,* and though the congee might not have blown me away, i'd still be more interested in Paul's meal as a whole.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                        I also thought the chawanmushi looked great (well, the properly cooked one). The congee looked a bit iffy in my opinion -- seemed to have a lumpy texture, but it's tough to tell though the television. Either way, both of those preparations are platforms upon which to build flavor, so I don't think you can call them "boring" any more than you can call a painted canvas boring just because it was once blank. It is absolutely possible to elevate common dishes, and I can only assume that's what Paul did.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                          'both of those preparations are platforms upon which to build flavor, so I don't think you can call them "boring" any more than you can call a painted canvas boring just because it was once blank.'
                                                                                                                                                                                          ____________
                                                                                                                                                                                          Nice analogy, davis.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                              Either way, both of those preparations are platforms upon which to build flavor, so I don't think you can call them "boring" any more than you can call a painted canvas boring just because it was once blank.
                                                                                                                                                                                              ***
                                                                                                                                                                                              Paul did nothing special to the chawanmushi. He added some toppings, which do nothing to the chawanmushi itself. There's no flavor building. I can say a burger is boring, and you can say he must've elevated it somehow. Except he didn't. Here's the recipe. My mom can make this in her sleep. If you start screwing with the dish, I don't think the Japanese would still call it chawanmushi. so a chawanmushi isn't some canvas that you build upon. It's a dish. Just like Peking Duck is a dish. You can cook ducks many ways, but a Peking Duck isn't something you build upon.

                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                The recipe didn't say how he made the dashi, and the quality of the dashi is a big determining factor to the overall dish. But it's just a nice technical way to make a solid 'sauce' for the other ingredients in the dish. As I'm sure you know, a lot of Japanese cooking is really just about the quality of the ingredients and presenting them in a pleasing, technically precise way. Also keep in mind that the Bravo site is notorious for leaving important steps and ingredients out of recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                BTW, you didn't mention the congee, where Paul actually did take some fairly interesting liberties.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I didn't mention the congee because it really is just a bowl of rice gruel and you can add whatever you want. I grew up eating congee and chawanmushi - I don't crave either of those dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I guess it's like saying risotto and frittata are boring. It depends on who makes it and how it's done and they can be elevated. I also grew up eating both and would love to try Paul's version which look nothing that any I've had.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                            congee is such comfort food. sure the stuff we eat every day isn't the same at these elevated ones. Chawanmushi is incredibly popular right now in SF, Vancouver and LA and the varieties have been like nothing I ever ate in Malaysia or Japan. do you like Eddie Huang? your posts remind me of him.

                                                                                                                                                                                            boring is something I would never call chawanmushi especially not the new variations of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't know who Eddie Huang is. Since I live on the east cost, I have no idea that chawanmushi is all the rage on the west coast. I personally think the judges were prepped before tasting the chawanmushi. I can't believe they were all so knowledgeable about steamed eggs if they weren't prepped before hand. I've never seen any Japanese jiggle their chawanmushi. At the same time, they didn't know that "qi" is pronounced chi.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                I also saw it all over NYC when I was there a few months ago but my primary locations are on the west coast hence the comment I would be suprised if they hadn't had it before. I don't know any experience chefs that aren't that knowledgeable about food. Although I did stump one with a rambutan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                  They all had the menus when they sat down. So if one chef wasn't familiar with a dish/ingredients I am sure that the others would have explained it to them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                                                    They may have seen them before then, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I didn't mean to say they never had chawanmushi before. What I was surprised by was how they all seem to be experts on judging chawanmushi - specifically, how it jiggles. Why is chawanmushi so popular anyway?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree with both your comments on this subject. They must have been given a lesson on some of the stuff Paul made because I've never even heard of a couple of the words he used let alone know the proper amount of jiggle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm not in the industry and a lot of descriptors go over my head but they were throwing around "chawanmushi " and some other term that I can't remember now like the rest of us would use "pizza" and "stir fry".

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bart Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                        In a basic sense, it's just a savory custard. The judges should have a basic idea of what consistency he was going for without additional education.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think because the concept of Izakayas are taking off here and you there is a real good markup to be made by taking street food or comfort food and add some luxe ingredients and selling it to westerners. A lot of the chawanmushi are selling from between 10-15 dollars for what is probably only 1 of 4-5 dishes you will have. I've had some pretty nasty ones in Californian westerner geared ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think because the concept of Izakayas are taking off here and you there is a real good markup to be made by taking street food or comfort food and add some luxe ingredients and selling it to westerners. A lot of the chawanmushi are selling from between 10-15 dollars for what is probably only 1 of 4-5 dishes you will have.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          ****
                                                                                                                                                                                                          I hear what you're saying. I kind of have a feeling that's what Paul was doing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Both the chawanmushi and the congee were risky dishes. Good for Paul for going for it and making it work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chawanmushi is boring? That's like saying pasta is boring and therefore Sarah's first dish was boring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I grew up eating chawanmushi, too, and find it far from boring. A perfect chawanmushi is difficult to make and it's one of the most delicious things in the world. For a while, the best appetizer in NYC was Annisa's uni chawanmushi, when it was on Anita Lo's menu (the first winter after reopening).

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Harold Dieterle at Kin Shop had (or has?) another of NYC's best mains for a while: a congee with fermented THai sausage and runny egg. Also divine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The devil is in the details, clearly, and in the execution.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: michelleats

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chawanmushi is boring? That's like saying pasta is boring and therefore Sarah's first dish was boring.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      ***
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pasta isn't a dish, it's just an ingredient. Chawanmushi is a dish. You still think your argument holds water?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Personally I find chawanmushi boring and easy to make, far from the most delicious thing in the world. I accept the fact that your opinion differs from mine and you will never find me fighting you for the last bowl of chawanmushi.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                        This reminds me of that conversation in When Harry Met Sally when she said Ingrid Bergman should get on the plane in the end and Harry asked why anyone would leave the most amazing sex. Sally said any woman in her right mind would get on the plane and Harry said, "Oh, I see...you've never had great sex." So, I believe you if you say you've only had boring chawanmushi but maybe Paul's would send you off another direction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                          You're dodging the point (which chowser helpfully restated): There are boring chawanmushis and pastas, I'm sure, but there are also very exciting chawanmushis and pastas. It's far too broad a statement to say that categorically, all Xs or all Ys are boring, especially when you can make both with a near-infinite number of variations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also, both chawanmushi and pasta are easy to make, but I don't personally think either is easy to make well. But perhaps you are a more gifted cook than I am.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't eat fish or seafood and myself feeling disappointed that I wouldn't eat 3 of Paul's 4 dishes. They looked great and sounded interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Both desserts looked great to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I happened to run into Keith tonight at a Southern Foodways Alliance event here in Charleston. We talked a little bit about the show, so I knew he was pulling for Paul in the finale, ha ha! He struck me as a genuinely nice guy, just the way he came across on TV.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Barbara lynch looked totally ragged....

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Should we be worried????

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Smartest move of the night: Marco Canora sandbagging his dish so that he could eat the finalists' meals instead of slaving away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I haven't read the whole thread yet, but surprised that more people have noted that neither chef picked him! Was his dish really that bad? ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: stgrove

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In Sarah's case, she was focused on finding Heather's dish. If all the dishes were good, they still had to choose, so there's no inference to be made that his dish was bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: stgrove

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Remember, they never tasted his dish, they only got to look at them. Maybe neither Paul nor Sarah were inspired by the looks of his salmon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You're right. I saw them taste the dishes. I was confused with another challenge where they were only looking at them and guessing who made what. I was focused on Sarah attempting to guess Heather's dish because it was on her menu and not on the tasting. Now I too wonder about the salmon dish. It's quite possible that there were no 'bad' dishes and they were both focused on attempting to figure out who made what so they could choose the chefs they liked best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's how I understood it, too. Then they had to choose their 4 favorites.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I thought they (Paul and Sarah) had to taste all the dishes before deciding. That would be idiotic for them to just pick the sou chefs based on looks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: stgrove

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think Sarah's basic strategy was to try to pick specific sous chefs that she liked working with by guessing at who made what.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Meanwhile, paul seemed to be picking dishes on the basis of whether they displayed a cooking style that was compatible with his.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Both strategies wound up excluding Marco.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Interesting observation, cbd. If Sarah had chosen based on the cooking styles, odds are she would have ended up with Marco. But her strategy got her Tyler!!! (heheheh)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I am just over the moon that Paul won! All season his dishes just called to me, I would love to try them. It helps that he's just so cute and modest, too ;) I was rather impressed by Sarah's composure throughout the episode, beginning with her handling of Tyler and continuing through her demeanor after the announcement and on WWHL. I was one of her detractors because of her treatment of other contestants, namely Beverly, obviously, but she earned my respect tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I noticed that when Barbara Lynch said that line about sticking to the game plan, it was when Paul was considering buying the spot prawns. Good thing he went with his gut and got them anyways.... otherwise his first course would not have been such a resounding hit (with the first seating, anyways). She seemed like a very supportive sous chef, not jockeying with him for leadership at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kubasd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Agree that Sarah managed Tyler very well. I still don't like her previous treatment of Beverly or anyone she deemed beneath her, but she dealt with Tyler very well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ha! By no means do I like her now, but she did prove that she is capable of behaving professionally, even with the stakes as high as they were last night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. They both did well but I am glad Paul Qui won.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Both cooked to their strengths - Paul Q. to his version of Japanese-East/SE Asian stuff, Sarah G. to Italian stuff. Yet because of that I am nonplussed why certain judges (esp. Tom Colicchio) kept saying Sarah G. "took risks" etc etc when she cooked Italian food...as she has basically done throughout the entire competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            'Yet because of that I am nonplussed why certain judges (esp. Tom Colicchio) kept saying Sarah G. "took risks" etc etc when she cooked Italian food'
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ________
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The base was definitely Italian. But there were a few interesting departures. The tagliatelle dish in particular used Italian techniques as a kind of basis for a plate that was basically Thai in flavor profile. It looks interesting:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Third course used dashi to braise the veal (I know dashi is basically Japanese 101, but it's not the kind of thing I would have expected from Sarah anyway

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Last course used fernet branca as a major flavor element. Fernet is in fact Italian, but it still seems to me like a risk (to me at least) to use it heavily in a dessert. Or in almost anything, actually. Wouldn't expect to see that in the nice little Italian restaurant round the corner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              what wasn't shown in the judges' discussion, and possibly left unsaid by them and not just edited out, was the inherent risks in each one of Paul's courses because the ingredients were very fragile and subtle. eggs really aren't easy to cook perfectly, and if he'd had enough eggs Paul would have re-made his first course twice (one do-over after he had to discard the crab). Paul's dinner seemed more challenging to the eaters, as the disagreement among the judges over the congee showed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              despite what Cora said about the the congee not fitting with the menu, Paul's meal had an overall cohesiveness and harmony ; he alternated a smooth looking, pale coloured dish followed by another more vibrant, colorful, and one of the judges commented how every element on one course was precisely sculpted to create a visual composition. Sarah's meal seemed like a progression sampler, going from lighter to earthier/heavier in the first three, and from the the judges' comments her dessert was sweeter than Paul's. my impression was that the diners would need to pay closer attention, and want to do so, with Paul's dishes, and be rewarded for it, while Sarah's stuff wasn't as demanding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              there was one comment by Colicchio just before the last commercial break and decision that indicated an understanding of Paul's superior refinement and technique, when he said something to the effect of Paul being in more control of all the components.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Good points about the risks Paul Qui took.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was also apprehensive for him when they sat down to "choose their wines". I'm one who strongly dislikes Western wine "forced" into marriages with East and Southeast Asian cuisine, in general, and after the shape of his menu became apparent it seemed like this compulsory "wine pairing" was a danger zone to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Exactly but, I'm glad that it just turned out to be another in show commercial and really didn't come into play.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't disagree that Paul put out a fine menu that took risks or that he deserved the win. I just thought both chefs were on their game this challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Didn't one of the judges also say something to the effect that one of Paul's dishes was something they'd be "riffing off of" for years?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      actually, it was one of Sarah's dishes - either the pasta or the dessert, i can't remember.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dessert. The roasted white chocolate ganache, which Hugh said had turned into a caramel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My bad. That dessert did look mighty good, though. I'm so happy that Paul won, but Sarah did do a couple interesting things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Which I understand (so far) the much-reviled Tyler Stone had a hand in...yes? :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I haven't any idea, other than I think he was stirring-stirring-stirring the ice cream (I think it was the ice cream) to get it to a consistency he wanted (when Sarah said just do it in the mixer, he refused, so they left him to his own devices.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, the way you explained it makes more sense, thanks. Yet what I had more in mind was about Sarah G. extending herself beyond Italianate cooking; I was also thinking of that comment from Colicchio about her "going out of her comfort zone" (was that this episode or the last, though?) which I thought was somewhat lame when he said it. Her pasta dish in this finale dish, after looking at the recipe, would head in that description I agree, although the overriding feature would still be the pasta component, to me, which is all Italian. The dashi broth for the 3rd dish is surprising, I agree - but again, only after seeing the recipe, while everything else there is what came across on the show and was also all Italianate. I'm not sure if using the dashi broth to braise the veal would have made a difference over something else just as savory and glutamate-laden, though - beef stock, or mushroom stock, say; and I don't remember the judges remarking upon detecting the taste of seaweed - did I miss that bit? (Also, did we hear her talking about doing these things herself, or were any of them suggestions from someone else?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      She did well, though, as I said above.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I just read Colicchio's blog. Interestingly, he found Sarah Grueneberg's tag dish (1st dish) to be quite Italianate... :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Both Sarah, and Paul produced interesting menus (to me), and I wanted to everything...but that tagliatelle sounds absolutely divine to me...I may try to make it this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Very good finale. My final thoughts...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        +++... for Linda on the recaps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Couldn't Chris Crary just take one for the team and hook up with Heather. God knows she needs it and it would probably do her wonders.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Grayson. What a dirty girl.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Barbara Lynch vs. Tyler Stone (a great porn star name). Huge advantage Paul. I thought Barbara was very restrained and Tyler just... wasn't. I thought Sarah handled him well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Kieth overcooks Paul's dish and Paul just goes with it. Never gets pissed. Never throws him under the bus. Class act.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tortured myself with that Andy show after the episode. I really believe Sarah did not like how she was portrayed during the season and made a great effort to be nice when they got to Seattle. I think she succeeded. That's right - that's what I think. Bev was a guest on the show and Sarah could not have been nicer and they do appear to be good friends... now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I thought all the food looked amazing though I would have preferred Paul's. I thought Sarah really had a chance to win it. I was worried.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Paul wins. There is a god.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "I really believe Sarah did not like how she was portrayed during the season and made a great effort to be nice when they got to Seattle. I think she succeeded."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          _________
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I, for one, agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ROFLMAO at Chris Crary "taking one for the team"!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And I agree re: Barbara Lynch vs. Tyler Stone. Seriously - NO contest. Didn't watch the Andy Cohen show as I was finishing recapping - so at least Sarah is aware of how she was portrayed and *tried* to remedy it. Heather, on the other hand....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Paul's dishes were so well composed - beauty on a plate. Lots of things I've never eaten, but would be well pleased to try them. Anyone living in his neck of the woods in Texas is lucky to be able to try his food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              you didn't miss anything on WWHL. i forced myself to sit through it with the hope that i would understand why it's actually on the air and what people find entertaining about it...i'm still at a loss. but it was interesting to hear Sarah say that she & Bev are good friends now - Andy Cohen commented that there's an interesting conversation about it in the Reunion Show. guess we'll see next week!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Paul Qui's dishes looked beautiful - except maybe the congee, I thought. That dish was risky to do and serve in the context of a shootout meal like this, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Concerning Chris Crary and Heather. I really REALLY didn't need that picture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Grayson: I liked her but I like her a lot more after the clam comment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Various thoughts:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                - Glad that Paul won. Though strangely, right before they announced the winner I found myself realizing that I wouldn't mind too much if sarah won either. She cooked a good meal. I might try making that tagliatelle dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                - I liked how distinctive their menus were. Sometimes, the finale comes off as a series of dishes that don't have any real connection to each other but are chosen just because they are knockout stand-alone plates. Or else that the chefs try to show how varied they are with their finale meals. By comparison, these meals seemed fairly cohesive, even specialized, and it made for a cool episode.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                - Inspired for perhaps the first time this season, I went and looked at the recipes on bravo's site. Reliably as ever, pretty much all of em leave out ingredients and steps, or else are inconsistent with what we saw on the show. Bah. Still, I think I could take a reasonable guess at how most of em were made. Some cool techniques.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                - Also, I dig that sarah used fernet branca as a major flavor element in her dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                - Tyler, tyler, tyler. I think he was probably worried about making sure he didn't seem like a hack again. Wanted to prove how much he knows. He would have came off better if he acted like he knew his role and just took orders like a good soldier - 'Yes Chef,' 'will do, Chef,' 'right away, Chef.' But since I doubt anyone else will give him a kind word, here's a little sympathy for the dweebil:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                IIRC, the dude caters but hasn't worked in any restaurants, so it's not surprising that he would need some direction in the kitchen. Also, I think what he was suggesting Sarah cook sous vide was the pickled beets. If so, putting aside the issue of whether it was a smart move to start pushing her to cook anything his way in the finale, he was probably right. Cooking it sous vide probably would have fixed one of the judges' problems with her meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                - Paul must look pretty strong in the hierarchy of Top Chef winners. He probably has the best individual record for any one season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                - For an often-shitty season, that was a pretty good finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  +1 about Tyler - I think he had something to prove about his knowledge in the kitchen outside of butchering, which we all now know he has no skills with. . . . thus all the suggestions about using more modern techniques.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And I also noticed that he suggested cooking the beets sous vide, which would have solved the main complaint about that one dish - that the beets were raw. So that suggestion in particular would have helped. The other recommendations . . . who knows.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm glad Paul won.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think the fact that it was a "tasting menu", the chefs were more likely to think of a properly progressive connection between the dishes. JMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Good point on the sous vide of the beets - some judges *did* saw they were almost raw. But Sarah's call, and I still agree not going with something she's not done before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And yes - Paul *is* the winningest cheftestant in TC history. I think both money-wise *and* challenge-wise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      How much has he won? Was it $70K or $60K - plus the car - before the finale? Which would mean he won something like either $185K or $195K plus the car ($30K?)...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Minus a lot of taxes...but prolly still a lot to him... though who knows after student loans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I thought it was $55K, but there could have been a money win after the one that put him at $55K. Either way - minus the car, plus the $125K - he's at least at $175K cashola, before taxes. A tidy sum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Paul won $60,000 in cash, a Toyota Prius V, and a trip to the premier of the film starring Charleze Theron, all in the preliminary contests. So, Paul got $185,000 in total cash. There were a few others that won quite a bit. Sarah won $30,000 cash and could have have the Prius (she also could have been eliminated) while Heather won a Toyota Venza. That list of prizes obviously is not complete.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh, I just remembered, that trip for two to Costa Rica (I think) as well. Monetary equivalent = maybe 1.5 to 2K?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That Prius would be somewhere between 25K and 29K list (I looked them up) – wasn't it a CVT model which would be 29K?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Trip to the movie premiere - did that include lodging, or just two tickets, value not estimable? (hype, publicity, "by invitation only", etc)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Trip to the movie premiere - did that include lodging, or just two tickets, value not estimable?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i'm sure (or at least i hope!) it includes lodging & transportation - i don't imagine that that they would provide the tickets to the event and then expect the winning chef to pay his or her own way. then again i couldn't understand WTF the producers were thinking with much of the crap that went down this season, so one never knows...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "I think the fact that it was a "tasting menu", the chefs were more likely to think of a properly progressive connection between the dishes. JMO."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ________
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Weren't previous finales served as tasting menus? It's always been a small-plate kind of a thing, IIRC. OTOH, It does help that the judges are now eating one person's meal in one space and then going to another space to try the other person's meal rather than having em alternate courses. I don't remember exactly when they started doing that - was it season 7 or All Stars?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd have to go back and look, cowboyardee, re: the tasting menus. I know they've always been smaller plates; that makes sense when they're trying 6-8 different dishes. Either way - Tom C. specifically said this was a "tasting menu for 100 diners and the judges". That's what stuck out for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Does anyone also remember whether the finale dinners have been for 100 people ever before? I thought it was just usually an extended judges table, with some extra guests?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I guess I'm just wondering what exactly is the difference between being asked to make a 'tasting menu' and being asked to make four small plates that represent who you are as a chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Does anyone also remember whether the finale dinners have been for 100 people ever before? I thought it was just usually an extended judges table, with some extra guests?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ___________
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It seemed like last season's finale (Blais vs Mike I) was very similar. But I'm not sure how many guests were actually served. I think this season's finale was run on the same Restaurant Wars-like format - no complaints, btw, cause I like said format. You're certainly right that traditionally the finale meal is served to a small number of judges and culinary luminaries only.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Perception, I guess. When you hear "tasting menu" you automagically think very small portions. There really is no difference, but using those words just makes it different in my mind, I guess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I just remember Tom saying in the past "create the best menu that represents who you are as a chef" - not "the best small plates that represent who you are as a chef".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think a menu implies some progression and cohesiveness of the whole. Four small plates don't necessarily have to relate to each other that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think that a tasting also implies a certain order or progression the the inclusion of a desert course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Didn't the finale meals always consist of a series of small plates that started off lighter, more appetizer-y, moved to heavier entree-style plates, and then finished with dessert? Of course, one or two contestants have skipped dessert, leading to the 'you must cook dessert' rule, but the vast majority cooked a pretty clear progression ending in dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think the chefs understood that it was supposed to be a progression of small plates, dessert included, even if it was never said explicitly. I also think the contestants pretty much always understood the finale challenge as a tasting menu. These are pros and I just don't see them ignoring all notion of progression just because no one mentioned it. I just think these two did an especially good job with the progression of their meals, each sticking to a more cohesive style than many of the previous finalists.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's a good point about how Tyler was acting--that he was trying to prove his knowledge, in the way a young inexperienced person might, by trying to show off his knowledge. Definitely deserves sympathy and hopefully when he matures, he'll look back and realize his mistakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Paul has far become my favorite contestant ever in TC history. He foams w/out overfoaming, inspires confidence w/out being cocky, secure enough not to over-second guess himself as Blais can do. A good human being and an awesome chef. His parents should be proud.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. i was surprised at the finale from this season. do you think they say that everything is better as a way of making up for any questions? we don't eat their food.. but i think mike/richard in all stars was the best finale dinner in all

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. What a trooper you are!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Ok other than the Snow White Challenge this was the best episode. Both the menu looked great although I'd rather eat Paul only because I like fish and seafood more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Love Grayson's comment, this girl needs a show and I don't even have a crush on her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Still don't get the Heather love that Sarah has but understand the logic of wanting her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hugh's comments are great. I didn't like him on Masters but I think he has a really palate and he gives good criticisms. I wish we could replace Padma with Hugh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Love Grayson's comment, this girl needs a show and I don't even have a crush on her. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What did she say? Did I miss something?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "We're just gonna jam out with our clams out"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I know that Malibu has it wrapped up, but really, Grayson deserves fan favorite. I love her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We're gonna jam out with our clams out while Tyler does whatever he does."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        girl power talk :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          girl power talk? lol. it's so dirty! it's the female equivalent of "Rock out with my c**k out"!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: secondbecky

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, that's how I understood it, LOL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: secondbecky

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i was trying to be couth! at first i had actually typed up an explanation - that it was a female anatomical reference & Grayson's way of saying the women were just going to take control of the situation & do their thing..but i decided no one *really* needed an explanation so i deleted it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              but clearly subtlety was not the order of the day here...so yeah, what secondbecky said :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, couth and any reference to Greyson's comment might just be completely incompatible. Nice try, though! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: secondbecky

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                sure, that phrase is funny, but all kitchen chix have said it for as long as the dudes have been saying rock out w my cock out.... many years now. just sayin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yabbut, they haven't been saying it on TV.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It was clear what she meant but there were a couple of visuals I could have done with out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Although I loved the expression.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yep, on Top Chef nights, Andy whatever needs to be replaced by The Grayson and Fabio Show. They need to cook something while they discuss the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: silvergirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  <>The Grayson and Fabio Show>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ROTFLMAO! ;-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They could call it The Sex and Bourgerr Chew.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: silvergirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They need to cook something while they discuss the show.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    monkey ass served in a clam shell ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: silvergirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      just think of the cursing and sexual innuendos and they can cook! I would so watch that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Because the editing of the show does such a good job of using comments that seem to be equally complimentary of both meals, I would really love to see the unedited version where we hear more of what was wrong with each of their meals, and Sarah's in particular. I think that most viewers who have watched this season felt fairly certain that Paul would be the winner, I felt (perhaps based on the editing) that Sarah did an exceptionally fine job and made it a tough decision. But was that really how it was?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wonder if the Extended JT at Bravo's site gives more insight? Will watch tonight at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Credit where credit it do dept;

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was very impressed to see Sarah in the role of executive chef. She handled herself very well and acted like an exemplary leader.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree. I also thought she seemed to have the edge, and I was preparing myself to live with the injustice of it. Paul was TC all season long, never compromising on his vision and always being all about the food as his personal statement and ticket to the finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i noticed i didnt see lindsey?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          YAHOOOOOOOO for paul

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          grayson is one cool chick

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Great finish!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wondered how they picked the returning chefs that cooked and how they picked the ones who ate. I saw Ed eating and maybe Bev. There were probably others too. Why didn't Bev or Ed or the rest of them get a chance to cook? Did some chefs refuse to participate? Also I thought it was a little strange that a chef who didn't make the show (woman with glasses) got to be in the finale but others didn't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Answers please!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bart Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chuy & Chris Jones were at the table with Ed & Bev. i, too, would like to know about the missing chefs who were neither in the sous chef challenge nor at the final meals - Lindsay and Dakota were conspicuously absent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dakota was definitely there - saw her very quickly when I think Edward was commenting on a dish. But no Lindsay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ah, thanks - i missed her. i wonder if Lindsay will say anything at the reunion about why she wasn't there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Isn't Lindsay in the back row in one of those videos, maybe the one of Heather going wild and Nyesha grimacing? I saw her hair and forehead only in one this a.m.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Somewhere in this thread, someone put up a link, about Heather's reaction and Nyesha's reaction....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah she was in the Eater video clip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks, I couldn't find the link for GHG or remember where it was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ah, saw her - behind Grayson's fur at the winning announcement. i still wonder why she wasn't among the sous chef candidates or at the final meals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I saw a shot of her eating at the final dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Perhaps getting to the final tree you are excluded from having to be a sous chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Bart Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, and Chuey as well. I wondered the same thing as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bart Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They put the young gal with the glasses and Tyler Stone in there to shake things up for television. There was no 'fairness' or anything like that involved in the decision, it was all about drama in the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Hugh's blog is up at bravotv.com. He makes his opinion of Tyler Stone very clear ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's a great blog, I see how Sarah lost better now, the beets and way overdone sweetbreads. Something encouraging in this first quote from Hugh:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Let me address the season overall. Though there was drama, though there were emotional battles, though there was tension, we really did see great food and great chefs. You don’t have to love them all -- that’s not what this is about. Perhaps some of the challenges were over-the-top and exhausting. We hear you. Trust me when I say that the show’s aim is to showcase great food, and show that being a chef is sometimes a matter of working under immensely strange pressure."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And this should be a lesson to future (and recent) cheftestants:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Through the madness rose Paul. All season long he was professional and poised. He doesn’t get rattled, he didn’t start trouble, he didn’t malign others or try to trip them up. I personally think the guy is exactly what we need more of in our chef world: a soft-spoken, smart person, full of empathy and care but truly devoted to the craft of restaurants and the food he loves."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, TC, give us THIS, folks with creativity, imagination and love of food, not stupid Survivor, Top Chef episodes and malignant personalities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ALL of what you said. Here's hoping that the producers take to heart what Hugh (and so many of us!) have said and get back to showcasing the food and not stupid challenges.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thinking aloud here, but I am thinking that Paul's partying and dealing days may have helped him calm down and try not to waste his time with the drama.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And at the risk of raising the specter of "Asian" food being inferior.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Paul won, with a pretty exquisite and specifically Asian menu. So, pfffffffttttttttt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In the nicest way possible of course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "And at the risk of raising the specter of "Asian" food being inferior.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Paul won, with a pretty exquisite and specifically Asian menu. So, pfffffffttttttttt."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          --------
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Heh. Yes, good for the show!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't think it would dissuade some chefs from continuing to put down "Asian" food, though - and I think most of us know who have done so in this and seasons past. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            While his cooking often included more non-Asian flavors than did Paul's, it's been done before, by Hung in TC 3.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hugh was a great judge and blogger, right up there with Bourdain for me, which surely means he will disappear next season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Emeril was pretty meh for me, he certainly wasn't offensive or annoying as a judge, and he certainly has the credibility, but he didn't bring any value either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              <"Through the madness rose Paul. All season long he was professional and poised. He doesn’t get rattled, he didn’t start trouble, he didn’t malign others or try to trip them up. I personally think the guy is exactly what we need more of in our chef world: a soft-spoken, smart person, full of empathy and care but truly devoted to the craft of restaurants and the food he loves.">

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The same could have been (and was) said of Stephanie in Season 4.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So glad he won. That Chawanmushi was so gorgeous, I wanted to reach into the tv with a spoon and eat some. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And Richard Blaize in TC All-Stars. Harold seemed to be a pretty good guy in TC 1, but as I recall, he did not tolerate all the BS in the kitchen and let it be known at times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "Through the madness rose Paul. All season long he was professional and poised. He doesn’t get rattled, he didn’t start trouble, he didn’t malign others or try to trip them up. I personally think the guy is exactly what we need more of in our chef world: a soft-spoken, smart person, full of empathy and care but truly devoted to the craft of restaurants and the food he loves."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What I find fascinating about this comment from Hugh is that he has quite a quick wit and a sharp tongue. I am sure he wouldn't live up to all of the qualities he espouses on his blog. (And I really like the guy).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't know, I've met folks who worked in his kitchen and they said he's pretty mellow when he's working and directing people. he's no zen master like Ripert but he's no Ramsey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I can only comment on what I have seen of him on Top Chef and Top Chef Masters, and his blog of course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I especially appreciated how Paul didn't throw the guy who cooked the custard under the bus. Even when asked, he just said "it was overcooked".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Referring to Keith who overcooked them. Paul was class-act all the way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not only did he not throw him under the bus, he threw himself under the bus. He took responsibility, saying (not to the judges, in the confessional maybe) "I can't be upset with Keith because I trained him".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LOL! Would we expect *anything* less from Hugh? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hugh is great. So funny and such a dry sense of humor. But can we get him to fix that unibrow? ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thimes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      the unibrow is where his gift of wit comes from. It's his power source.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It looked a little more tamed in the finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          hahahaha - you're probably right!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I know that we're not always given a complete picture of the judges' thoughts about the dishes, but it certainly seemed that Sarah's dishes got more favorable comments from the judges and that she made fewer "mistakes." There was the issue with the beets and I think someone - maybe Hugh? - commented unfavorably about the texture of the polenta, which she remedied for the second set of judges. But Paul's chawanmushi was overcooked and the greens were a tangled mess for one set of judges and there were some complaints about the congee. And then Sarah's dessert was the clear winner. While Paul was by far the most deserving chef over the course of the season, it really seemed like Sarah took more risks and had the winning meal last night. I'm glad Paul won - he deserves it based on his track record - but I think maybe Sarah produced the best food in the finale.

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