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

LindaWhit Feb 29, 2012 07:25 PM

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. :-)

  1. t
    tvchick Mar 11, 2012 05:59 PM

    After reading the profile of Paul in today's hometown paper, I'm even more in awe of his composure at the finale. Apparently, he had not seen him parents eat together since he was very young, and he had not seen them together at all since his high school graduation.


    8 Replies
    1. re: tvchick
      LindaWhit Mar 11, 2012 07:34 PM

      Great article! And even more interesting was this - there *were* 5 perfect chawanmushi for the judges - a server delivered them to the wrong table.

      1. re: tvchick
        huiray Mar 11, 2012 07:57 PM

        Very good article.

        I second LW's interest in those 5 perfect chawanmushi going to the wrong table. I must say I also found his narration about his parents' estrangement and unexpected appearance together in Vancouver to be quite interesting too.

        1. re: tvchick
          KailuaGirl Mar 12, 2012 02:44 AM

          Thanks for a great article! I'm even more convinced that the right person won Top Chef!

          1. re: tvchick
            Withnail42 Mar 12, 2012 10:19 AM

            Very interesting piece. Says even more about what a classy guy he is. Never mentioned any of it even when Sarah was going on and on with her sob story and why she should win because of it.

            1. re: tvchick
              mcf Mar 12, 2012 01:36 PM

              Not only am I even more pleased that my favorite TC ever has won, but this quote ought to put to rest all the suggestions that the producers made the interpersonal crap happen:

              "Did Bravo producers try to fan the flames of interpersonal conflict?

              "They let things like that develop organically," he says. "They put us in situations that required our patience. But rather than urging us on, they let us be."

              1. re: mcf
                mariacarmen Mar 12, 2012 01:46 PM

                yes, but wasn't it also Paul who said, in that Chicago newspaper interview, that the producers would badger them if they didn't say mean things? or was that Moto?

                i'm not arguing that Paul isn't a prince among gentlemen. have to admit that that line "let us be" is extremely telling.

                1. re: mariacarmen
                  mcf Mar 12, 2012 02:08 PM

                  Moto Chris. I don't think what he said amounted to badgering, so much as direct, pointed questioning. I think he made it clear that one had a choice not to go there.

                  I think the salient point about that is that no one made anyone look meaner than s/he was.

                  1. re: mcf
                    mariacarmen Mar 12, 2012 02:13 PM

                    ok, wasn't sure.

                    yes, i agree - that is the takeaway.

            2. l
              lbs Mar 7, 2012 07:23 AM

              I'm not sure if anyone is recapping the reunion show since this would fit more into that. But here is an article from the Chicago Tribune with the 6 Chicago chefs for a mini Chicago reunion. Interesting read IMO


              89 Replies
              1. re: lbs
                The Dairy Queen Mar 7, 2012 07:55 AM

                Very interesting read, thank you for linking it.


                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                  lbs Mar 7, 2012 03:46 PM

                  You're welcome! After reading it, I ended up really wishing that we had more of Chuy, Richie, and Jonesy in the later part of the season. If the Elves were looking for "characters", those were the ones that I find interesting. Jonesy fighting for the money to help his family and open up his own little burger restaurant; Richie fighting his own self doubt regarding his skills all while battling his mentor and friend; Chuy, well mainly because I missed his dad stories! I know they all went down because of their own miscues and mistakes but I just think it would of been a much more... fun... season instead of the constant drama being fed to us about the women. But que sera sera - am looking forward to the reunion. I think. If it gets to be a b*tch fest I'm flipping over to MTV The Challenge where at least they are paid to look like jerks.

                2. re: lbs
                  mcf Mar 7, 2012 08:10 AM

                  I don't think Heather did herself any good here. I'm not surprised, but really sorry, to read that Richie had such a tough time getting cut so early. He was intense, very invested. Good for Bev for being both gracious enough to forgive and strong enough to hold Heather accountable.

                  1. re: mcf
                    LindaWhit Mar 7, 2012 08:35 AM

                    What you said.

                    And yes - interesting interview.

                    1. re: mcf
                      The Dairy Queen Mar 7, 2012 08:41 AM

                      I was really distressed by Richie's comments, too. It's a horrible way to treat people. The producers need to be better hosts to the eliminated contestants, I think.

                      I agree with everything else you said and would add that I didn't think Sarah did herself any favors, either, really. Paul won, she needs to let it go now.


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                        mcf Mar 7, 2012 08:59 AM

                        Yes, I thought Sarah's statement about having heard that she'd been "robbed" from a lot of people would have been better left unsaid. I think the judges have made it really clear how extensive, thoughtful, detailed and deliberative their decision making was.

                        Folks who ate the food are entitled to their own opinions, of course, but to use "robbed" and to suggest that Paul won based upon the season, not the meal, was small of them.

                        If that were the case, the judges could have slept through decision night.

                        I don't think supporting Sarah has to be at the expense of dissing Paul. They both made great food, he won.

                        1. re: mcf
                          The Dairy Queen Mar 7, 2012 09:02 AM

                          Exactly. I think it's sweet that the Chicago chefs stood up for her though, whether they were sincere or not.

                          Also, I thought it was interesting how they said they all learned from each other and wished they could have tasted more of each other's food during the competition.


                          1. re: mcf
                            John E. Mar 7, 2012 02:05 PM

                            Your post sort of implies that Sarah said she was 'robbed' when Paul won. The interview reads like Richie brought it up, not Sarah.

                            Sarah's response about the editing is exactly what I have been saying about the editing for several seasons now.

                            I think the producers need to do something about the isolation of the eliminated contestants as well. There has to be some way to keep them occupied instead of locking them inside a hotel room for 21 hours a day.

                            1. re: John E.
                              mcf Mar 7, 2012 02:32 PM

                              No, it doesn't.

                              1. re: mcf
                                John E. Mar 7, 2012 07:08 PM

                                The interesting thing about this site is that everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I was going to respond to TDQ above but chose not to. I do not believe Sarah's mentioning what others said to her is a big deal at all. I also do not believe it reflects poorly on her character. She has said numerous times, both at the finale ans since, that Paul deserved the win.

                                1. re: John E.
                                  mcf Mar 7, 2012 08:19 PM

                                  "The interesting thing about this site is that everyone is entitled to their own opinions."

                                  Thanks for that information.

                                  I guess Sarah's embellishing the comment that she "was robbed" with "I've heard that from a lot of people" reeks of graceless sore loserhood. It's not as if she's shown us a whole lot of good character all season, far from it.

                                  IN MY OPINION. You're may differ. I'm pretty sure I can guarantee it.

                        2. re: mcf
                          huiray Mar 7, 2012 09:16 AM

                          @LW: Ditto.

                          @mcf: Thanks for posting this, interesting read. Agree in the main with you, but I wonder more than you about their comments even in this interview, especially when HT and BK talk about their on-show relationship as seen. HT saying she has "zero animosity" and BK saying something slightly less emphatic - then they go on and demonstrate that what they just said was not quite so. Of course, what else could they say on record - that they hated each other's guts etc etc in an interview for publication?

                          Their comments on who should have won were interesting and I wonder if their respective cuisine specializations/comfort level had anything to do with it.

                          Richie Farina's comments about his dismissal, his experiences and the effect of the show on him were noteworthy.

                          Bravo's reported statement, especially their last sentence: "Sometimes when people see themselves on camera, they can be surprised by themselves.” would probably inspire both head-nodding and head-shaking depending on which side of the fence one is. :-)

                          1. re: huiray
                            mcf Mar 7, 2012 09:25 AM

                            Credit where it's due: I didn't post it, lbs did.

                            I loved that statement by Bravo. Says it all. The mirror can be your friend or your teacher, or both. I don't think BK demonstrated animosity, just assertiveness and not letting HT make herself appear the victim.

                            1. re: mcf
                              huiray Mar 7, 2012 09:29 AM

                              Oops, yes - Thanks, lbs.
                              (Thanks, mcf)

                          2. re: mcf
                            mcf Mar 8, 2012 11:01 AM

                            Another reaction to the reunion and season: http://popwatch.ew.com/2012/03/08/top... Includes this paragraph: "The fun montages about Grayson’s explicit one-liners and Gail’s evil alter ego came later. But first, Andy, who’s used to goading raging housewives, started the reunion off with a steamy nugget of drama. One of the production assistants apparently heard Sarah telling one of the judges to “f— off” after Paul was named the winner of the season. If Sarah won a bit of my sympathy after the finale last week, she sort of lost it again right here. NOT for telling a judge to “f— off,” but for playing the victim once again. Sarah didn’t “believe” that she said that, but she clearly did. She went on to say “I think it’s really s—-y that it’s being brought up now” and to apologize to Emeril — apparently the recipient of the wayward F-bomb — all the while crying and acting like some kind of martyr. You know, everyone brings up the fact that Beverly cries a lot, but Sarah dishes it but really can’t take it. Imagine how Sarah would take it if three awful people harped on everything she said or did all season. She needs to own up to the fact that she turns into a bit of a monster when things don’t go her way in the kitchen. The other judges clearly knew she said it."

                            1. re: mcf
                              Withnail42 Mar 8, 2012 06:22 PM

                              I missed that part. But can't say I surprised. If true it does play into to her role of entitled victim.

                              1. re: mcf
                                debbiel Mar 8, 2012 06:32 PM

                                I don't think she was playing the victim. Thinking it was shitty to bring it up is not the same as playing victim. It was shitty to bring it up. I think it's shitty to pick apart someone's response in that situation. Physically exhausted. Emotionally drained. Incredibly disappointed. How would any of us do under those conditions?

                                And during the reunion, Sarah raised her hand as a big cryer.

                                1. re: debbiel
                                  mcf Mar 8, 2012 07:02 PM

                                  I think it's shitty that she DID it. And again that she lied about it. And that she can't tolerate not getting her own way, or being challenged without treating someone disrespectfully and having a childish outburst at every turn.

                                  1. re: mcf
                                    debbiel Mar 8, 2012 07:15 PM

                                    I think you have read an incredible amount into this. You do not know whether or not she said FU. You do not know, if she did say it, what the context was. You do not know how you would respond under similar conditions. You do not know that she lied about it, even if she did say it. Perhaps she really doesn't remember saying it. It would be odd if she remembered clearly everything from that period after the announcement. You just...don't know.

                                    Too many folks here seem to want to assume the absolute worst about folks.

                                    1. re: debbiel
                                      mcf Mar 8, 2012 07:20 PM

                                      Did you see the reunion video? It was very obvious from reactions there, including hers, Tom's, Emeril's, the fact that production staff witnessed and reported it, and that she never denied it, just complained that she was being called on it. If she didn't remember saying it, she wouldn't have lied. Not one of her friends among the contestants jumped to deny she'd said it.

                                      I am not accepting the rap of fault finding; I've not only given her credit where it's due, I've also pointed out her strengths, defended her teary outburst when she wailed about losing, but something has been VERY consistent with her, and that's her disrespect toward others and lashing out when frustrated or disappointed.

                                      Folks who DO know what happened all made it clear that she told Emeril to eff off.

                                      1. re: mcf
                                        debbiel Mar 8, 2012 07:26 PM

                                        Yup. Watched it tonight. I think she might have thought she said it but certainly doesn't remember saying it. Which led to her saying I didn't say it. I don't remember saying it. If I did say it, I'm sorry.

                                        And we STILL don't know exactly what was said. What was happening right before it was said. Etc.

                                        Sometimes an emotional response is...an emotional response, and we shouldn't connect the same interpretations to a comment that we would under less exhausting/draining/stressful/generally emotional situations.

                                        1. re: debbiel
                                          mcf Mar 8, 2012 07:29 PM

                                          I see it differently than you do. Her reaction to having it mentioned was a guilty one.

                                          And the reactions of those around her were telling.

                                          We just see it differently. Nothing to do after this but repeat ourselves.

                                          1. re: debbiel
                                            moto Mar 8, 2012 08:04 PM

                                            Emeril is a man of the world and accepted what occurred for a lapse and outburst from stress and exhaustion ; he completely accepted the apology. But viewers need to hold Bravo more accountable for going to extraordinary lengths to show people at their worst, and they could not pass up one more chance during an occasion when the contestants probably expected a comforting or humorous denouement.

                                            1. re: moto
                                              souvenir Mar 8, 2012 08:51 PM

                                              Your reaction is pretty similar to mine about holding Bravo accountable.

                                              And, for what it's worth, Grayson, who was there, gave her opinion on twitter:

                                              Darrell W. Robinson ‏ @dwr_55

                                              @Graysonschmitz 'Top Chef: Texas' reunion: Did Sarah tell Emeril Lagasse to 'f-- off'? Also, worst Fan Favorite ever. popwatch.ew.com/2012/03/08/top…
                                              Grayson Schmitz Grayson Schmitz ‏ @Graysonschmitz

                                              @dwr_55 I really don't think that she did,.....Sarah Jayne doesn't roll like that;) @chefsarahjayne

                                              4:04 PM - 8 Mar 12 via Twitter

                                              4h Darrell W. Robinson Darrell W. Robinson ‏ @dwr_55

                                              @Graysonschmitz Neither do I,it's just the opinion of 1. And I can't get that frog song out of my head! EW wasn't very nice 2 Chris either.

                                              1. re: souvenir
                                                The Dairy Queen Mar 8, 2012 09:03 PM

                                                That's worth a lot, actually, thank you for sharing that.

                                                Emeril seems like a kind-hearted soul. It would make me sad if someone told him to f-off under these circumstances.


                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                  NellyNel Mar 9, 2012 06:43 AM

                                                  A few years back, I went to a taping of Emerils show - I had never been a fan, but he was so genuinely warm and kind - during the breaks he talked to everyone and had the children in the audience come up to the stage for treats - watching his interaction with them was truly heartwarming to say the least.

                                                  I gained a huge amount of respect and admiration for him after that..

                                                  1. re: NellyNel
                                                    John E. Mar 9, 2012 06:27 PM

                                                    I never liked the 'bam!' or 'who loves you, babe' of the Emeril Live show. I lost a lot of respect for Emeril when I found out that he was not invited to one (maybe both) of his twin daughter's wedding. He apparently soent so much time married to his restaurants that he did not have time for his family. I understand that's not necessarily uncommon, but I don't have to like it.

                                            2. re: debbiel
                                              huiray Mar 8, 2012 08:23 PM


                                              1. re: huiray
                                                KailuaGirl Mar 9, 2012 12:07 AM

                                                I love Kurosawa Akira's films, but?

                                                While watching the Reunion, and when the F off came up, I was interested in Tom C's reaction. Originally I thought he was the one who'd been told to F off, now I'm unsure. Was he incredulous at Sarah's denial?

                                                1. re: KailuaGirl
                                                  mcf Mar 9, 2012 06:04 AM

                                                  That's how I interpreted his reaction.

                                                  1. re: KailuaGirl
                                                    huiray Mar 9, 2012 06:37 AM

                                                    @KG: Don't you think this argument is Rashomon-like? ;-) And many of the other "discussions" here on the board about TC, too.

                                                    1. re: huiray
                                                      KailuaGirl Mar 9, 2012 01:02 PM

                                                      Yeah, you've got a point there.

                                        2. re: debbiel
                                          JAB Mar 9, 2012 06:25 AM

                                          I love it when people plead temporary insanity. That's not me, I'm not like that. Well, who the hell was it then because it looked and sounded just like you. If you said it and did it, it is you. Accept it, own it and try to better yourself.

                                        3. re: mcf
                                          mcf Mar 9, 2012 08:40 AM

                                          Interesting point raised in the Zagat TC blog about Sarah's reaction to the accusation about telling a judge to eff off; no one mentioned the judge's name:

                                          Top Chef Texas Reunion Special: It's Too Late To Apologize...

                                          By Samantha Zalaznick

                                          1. Sarah told Emeril to eff off. Andy drops this nugget of juicy gossip that he learned from the show's production staff. Scandal! Sarah's reaction: "I don’t believe that. I did not say that…and I think it's really shi**y that it's being brought up now." Really, Sarah? You don't believe that? Then why are you crying? No one's mentioned Emeril yet and she immediately launches into how much she respects him, so obviously she knows what they're talking about."

                                          1. re: mcf
                                            LurkerDan Mar 9, 2012 01:27 PM

                                            Just because she knew who they were talking about doesn't mean it happened. They may not have said his name yet on air, but that doesn't mean that she hadn't been told by someone, sometime, about it.

                                            1. re: mcf
                                              chowser Mar 9, 2012 02:59 PM

                                              I wonder if she had heard about that and defended herself so was surprised and upset that they brought it back up?

                                              1. re: chowser
                                                mcf Mar 9, 2012 03:25 PM

                                                She may have already apologized when it happened and thought that would be the end of it. But that's not the Bravo way. Sarah always gets upset when things don't go her way, she's the biggest of the sob sisters this year.

                                        4. re: lbs
                                          JAB Mar 7, 2012 09:27 AM

                                          LOL @ Heather's reason for doing the show which was to essentially build her brand. Can you say backfire?

                                          1. re: JAB
                                            mcf Mar 7, 2012 10:06 AM

                                            Or EPIC FAIL?

                                            1. re: mcf
                                              LindaWhit Mar 7, 2012 10:55 AM

                                              Except she says they've increased revenue by 60% as compared to the same time the previous year. Yet that could just be a singular bump as it relates to her being on the show. It seems they've *all* had that same singular bump. It's whether it can be sustained that is more important, don't you think?

                                              I still find *this* statement from Heather telling: "Terhune: People say I was a bully to Beverly, it's completely wrong, that is not how I feel it was at all. I will say my opinion. I never said anything derogatory."

                                              That is not how SHE felt. And yet so many others see it differently and called her on it. Bullies never see themselves as bullies.

                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                mcf Mar 7, 2012 11:20 AM

                                                I'm not sure I take Heather at her word. She hasn't struck me as a reliable, accurate source on the other topic.

                                                1. re: mcf
                                                  LindaWhit Mar 7, 2012 12:09 PM

                                                  I found it interesting that it's exactly twice as much as Beverly's stated increase in revenue. ;-)

                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                    mcf Mar 7, 2012 01:49 PM

                                                    How perspicacious of you! It *is* intewesting, veddy intewesting.

                                                    1. re: mcf
                                                      souvenir Mar 7, 2012 02:40 PM

                                                      I thought it might be interesting to look on opentable.com and check availability for the two establishments for 2 people and 4 people from tonight through the weekend. It does actually turn out that there is less availability for Sable than Aria. I don't know the room capacity of either location. If anyone knows, are there more tables at Aria?

                                                2. re: LindaWhit
                                                  huiray Mar 7, 2012 11:49 AM

                                                  Typically, bullies say stuff like how the object of their bullying or observers commenting on the bullying can't take a joke, or that they are too sensitive, that sort of thing.

                                                  1. re: huiray
                                                    JAB Mar 7, 2012 12:20 PM

                                                    Or, that I'm just being myself and I'm not going to change.

                                                    1. re: JAB
                                                      huiray Mar 7, 2012 12:40 PM

                                                      That too.

                                                    2. re: huiray
                                                      LindaWhit Mar 7, 2012 02:09 PM

                                                      So a deliberate choice to not really *care* how others feel. Doesn't say a whole lot for the bullies.

                                                3. re: JAB
                                                  tjinsf Mar 8, 2012 03:59 PM

                                                  well there have been people on here defending her behavior so what's to say there aren't other fans that identify with her that are going there. I can guarantee that more people will probably think about checking out her place even it's just see if she is yelling or if her food is a good as she claims. I've certainly gone to top chef contestant's restaurants that I didn't like personally to see if their food was good. I am happy I have already been to Sable and the food is meh so I don't have to go back there.

                                                  1. re: tjinsf
                                                    mcf Mar 8, 2012 04:19 PM

                                                    There have been people on here defending Heather??

                                                4. re: lbs
                                                  Miss Needle Mar 7, 2012 02:07 PM

                                                  Thanks for the link. It was certainly a fun read. I'm just shocked by the death threats made to Heather. Granted, I'm not a fan of hers by any stretch of the imagination -- in fact, I kept yelling "what a bitch" at the TV when she threw Beverly under the bus during the judge's table. But it's interesting (and sad) how some people get so worked up over the show where they feel the need to threaten violence towards her and her family.

                                                  1. re: Miss Needle
                                                    thimes Mar 7, 2012 02:31 PM

                                                    agreed - fun to be involved while watching the show but to carry any of that "frustration" into your real life or to act on it in any way in your real life is just insane to me.

                                                    1. re: Miss Needle
                                                      mcf Mar 7, 2012 02:35 PM

                                                      IF she's telling the truth, rather than exaggerating to appear victim here, then of course it's awful. I tend to think she exaggerates the extent to elicit sympathy.

                                                      1. re: mcf
                                                        thimes Mar 7, 2012 02:45 PM

                                                        agreed - always a possibility

                                                        but people are crazy these days

                                                        1. re: thimes
                                                          mcf Mar 7, 2012 03:06 PM


                                                        2. re: mcf
                                                          cowboyardee Mar 7, 2012 03:54 PM

                                                          There are enough malicious wackjobs out there that I tend to believe her, even though I don't especially like or trust her. I've heard several stories of reality show villains getting assaulted, threatened, etc in real life.

                                                          1. re: cowboyardee
                                                            mcf Mar 7, 2012 05:59 PM

                                                            I've no doubt it happened. I'm only doubting her truthfulness about the magnitude and her restaurant numbers. I doubt her time on TC motivated that many folks to come check her out, double as many as Bev's.

                                                            1. re: cowboyardee
                                                              momjamin Mar 8, 2012 08:14 AM

                                                              Including Marcel, who was attacked and injured:


                                                              1. re: momjamin
                                                                jcattles Mar 8, 2012 08:19 AM

                                                                I'm begging you, can we PLEASE not go there? We've been through the whole Marcel thing so many times over the years, it's just become redundant.

                                                                1. re: jcattles
                                                                  momjamin Mar 8, 2012 08:23 AM

                                                                  I have no intention of going there, and certainly hope no one else will riff off me bringing up the M-name! (Sorry -- shoulda left it as, "Even Top Chef reality show participants have been attacked.")

                                                                  1. re: momjamin
                                                                    jcattles Mar 8, 2012 08:44 AM

                                                                    Whew! (wiping sweat off my brow) I was a little worried for a minute there ;)

                                                                  2. re: jcattles
                                                                    John E. Mar 8, 2012 09:12 AM

                                                                    The reaction you've shown in your post is similar, to my reaction to all the mean girls vs Beverly BS from this season, although maybe my feelings about it are not as strong as yours. I'm weary of it.

                                                            2. re: Miss Needle
                                                              moto Mar 7, 2012 04:07 PM

                                                              unfortunately, Bravo will probably consider the death threats as a sign of audience approval for their methods. Here we have direct testimony that the contestants are deliberately provoked into making negative comments about each other (and of course, if one just says, let me just work it out with the person, viewers won't see it). And that they are intentionally placed in stressful situations like the 20 hr./day 'lockdown', that are completely unnecessary to produce to show's content, other than increasing the angst in contestants.

                                                              cooks are some of the most down to earth people in the working world in a highly competitive sector that usually requires years or decades of dues-paying. Bravo has succeeded in slicing up bits to remake them into soap opera characters. It's another test for the cooks that have nothing to do with cooking. Most of the winners have appeared to be the most focused on their cooking and least involved with the contrived side stories, and it's probably why viewers who just want to see great cooking keep watching.

                                                              1. re: moto
                                                                mcf Mar 7, 2012 06:01 PM

                                                                I don't recall reading deliberate provocation, only on topic interviews about fellow contestants and events intended to elicit an interesting response. It's not as if these chefs haven't seen other seasons and known it was coming. Chris J. didn't give them any negative stuff, that option was open to everyone else, too, had they been inclined to stay on the high road.

                                                                1. re: mcf
                                                                  LurkerDan Mar 8, 2012 08:46 AM

                                                                  The "deliberate provocation" is discussed in the article linked above, and surely that is what moto is referring to. The chefs are deliberately provoked to say "bad things" about the others, to create drama.

                                                                  1. re: LurkerDan
                                                                    mcf Mar 8, 2012 09:08 AM

                                                                    I read it before I posted. What I wrote is how I interpreted his remarks.

                                                            3. re: lbs
                                                              Joanie Mar 8, 2012 05:50 AM

                                                              I think next season they shouldn't pile on tons of chefs from one city. Why do we never see anyone from Phoenix, Portland (Maine and Oregon), Pittsburgh, Philly, etc.?

                                                              1. re: Joanie
                                                                momjamin Mar 8, 2012 08:12 AM

                                                                It'd be interesting to know where the also-rans of the rest of the 29 finalists (semi-finalists?) came from.

                                                                1. re: momjamin
                                                                  LindaWhit Mar 8, 2012 08:26 AM

                                                                  Ask and ye shall receive, m'dear. :-)


                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                    momjamin Mar 8, 2012 10:21 AM

                                                                    Thankee. So all the Chicago folks got to go forward and none of the Seattle gang! Those are the biggest clusters, though it's not exactly evenly distributed across the country, and not a P city representin' (unless you want to count West Palm Beach).

                                                                2. re: Joanie
                                                                  cowboyardee Mar 8, 2012 09:05 AM

                                                                  Hell yeah! They should totally have a 'brought to you by the letter P' season!

                                                                  Kevin (season 7 winner) was from Philly. Jen Carroll's restaurant was in Philly too, IIRC. But I'd agree that Philly is still underrepresented compared to, say, Chicago considering how many excellent chefs are working in Philly nowadays.

                                                                  Pittsburgh's got a few very good chefs. One in particular (Kevin Sousa), seems like he's a perfect match for TC. But it seems that no one cooking in Pittsburgh is on the national radar at all.

                                                                  I don't know anything much about Phoenix and the Portlands.

                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                    LindaWhit Mar 8, 2012 09:13 AM

                                                                    As for "being on the radar" - other than being recommended by someone like Tom or Hubert Keller to see if they'll make the cut, don't most cheftestants get in by submitting a video resume for producers to wade through to see who might be good on the show?

                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                      cowboyardee Mar 8, 2012 09:32 AM

                                                                      I thought as many of em as not were now sought out by the producers. Can't say for certain though. I know that several high profile contestants have said that TC tracked them down rather than vice versa.

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                        soupkitten Mar 8, 2012 09:52 AM

                                                                        Linda, from what i understand there are also scouts. remember the season where there were all the atlanta chefs? many of them had no intention of trying out for the show, and i think some (kevin?) had not even heard of it, before they were approached and strongly encouraged/recruited to try out. it would seem fair to assume there was a tc scout working in chicago for this season's cast.

                                                                        1. re: soupkitten
                                                                          LurkerDan Mar 8, 2012 11:01 AM

                                                                          TC had a casting call here in Denver not too long ago, it was all over the foodie news here.

                                                                          1. re: soupkitten
                                                                            LindaWhit Mar 8, 2012 11:07 AM

                                                                            Scouting definitely makes sense combined with the recommend and send-in-your-video methods.

                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                            tjinsf Mar 8, 2012 04:06 PM

                                                                            It seems like more and more cheftestants are being recruited. Sarah was basically told by her mentor she should do it and the show contacted her. Many of the chefs of the last three season had folks who had been on masters or on other season recommend them to the show producers or had the show producers contacting them. I think it would much harder for a chef that does not have any industry reg. or connections to get on the show that it was in the first few seasons.

                                                                            This is what I've gotten from talking to previous contestants, chefs who have been contacted by people repping the show etc. I know you can still do a blind submission.

                                                                            1. re: tjinsf
                                                                              mcf Mar 8, 2012 04:21 PM

                                                                              I'm sure they recruit heavily from James Beard Award winners and mentions, F and W best new chefs citations, and other event participants, as well as industry word of mouth. And now they have a large group of alumni to help with tipping them off to talent they should check out.

                                                                          3. re: cowboyardee
                                                                            Joanie Mar 12, 2012 05:47 AM

                                                                            Haha, i didn't realize they were all P's til just now. But the Portlands are BIG food towns and I figured Pittsburgh had to have a couple. I just get sick of Chicago and Calif. all the time. We'll see what happens next time around, if anyone's still watching.

                                                                          4. re: Joanie
                                                                            John E. Mar 8, 2012 09:14 AM

                                                                            TC 6 had two contestants from Philadelphia while TC 7 had a contestant from northern New Jersey which was basically a suburb of Philadelphia.

                                                                            Edit: mcf is almost correct. It's more like the middle of the west side of New Jersey is close to Philadelphia.

                                                                            1. re: John E.
                                                                              mcf Mar 8, 2012 09:22 AM

                                                                              Southern Jersey is a suburb of Philly.

                                                                              1. re: John E.
                                                                                huiray Mar 8, 2012 09:38 AM

                                                                                Hmm, I somehow think Northern New Jersey - y'know, West Milford, Parsippany, Paterson, etc - is unlikely to be a suburb of Philadelphia. :-)

                                                                                Are you thinking of Kevin Sbraga - from Willingboro, NJ ? That would be West Central NJ and Willingboro would be considered as a suburb of Philly, yes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willingb...

                                                                                1. re: John E.
                                                                                  LindaWhit Mar 8, 2012 09:42 AM

                                                                                  Those of us who grew up up in northern New Jersey identified with New York City, not Philadelphia.

                                                                                  But yet - Kevin Sbraga was from central/southern NJ, closer to Philly.

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                    huiray Mar 8, 2012 09:51 AM

                                                                                    I would go further and say that East Central NJ was associated with NYC. It is West Central and Southern NJ that looks towards Philly. AC has a direct link to Philly, of course, and rakes in a lot of Philly bucks...

                                                                                    1. re: huiray
                                                                                      LindaWhit Mar 8, 2012 09:54 AM

                                                                                      East/West Central Jersey didn't exist. Anything from the "elbow" on down was considered "South Jersey" by those of us in Bergen County. ;-)

                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                        huiray Mar 8, 2012 10:00 AM

                                                                                        Heh. Well, I lived in Bergen county too and I certainly considered East/West Central NJ existed. :-) But yes, the "elbow" was a common traditional division between North and South Jersey.

                                                                                        1. re: huiray
                                                                                          LindaWhit Mar 8, 2012 10:16 AM

                                                                                          Perhaps I should have just said "didn't exist for *me*". :-)

                                                                                          To me, north Jersey was "home". South Jersey was "The Shore" and meant vacation. :-)

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                            huiray Mar 8, 2012 11:09 AM


                                                                                            (Have you seen "Jersey Shore" ?)

                                                                                            1. re: huiray
                                                                                              LindaWhit Mar 8, 2012 11:28 AM

                                                                                              No, I refuse to. Because that's not the Jersey Shore I remember.

                                                                                              And besides, I can get enough of that up in the Boston area. Just have to go to Reveah. ;-) (j/k to anyone from Revere!)

                                                                            2. mariacarmen Mar 4, 2012 08:43 AM

                                                                              i just realized i've had a small taste of Paul's food before! we went to Austin for NYE weekend 2010/2011 and i'd researched bars here and found out about Liberty Bar, which houses Paul's East Side King trailer in its large back patio. We only tried two things, as we'd just had amazing BBQ at Sam's and weren't super hungry. Here's my report from back then:

                                                                              "They were out of the pork belly buns so I ordered the fried beets with Kewpie mayo and the peanut butter curry buns. The curry buns were greasy and served with way too much onion, and I just couldn’t eat them, they were just too oil-laden. I absolutely loved the beets – crispy, earthy, warm, with the tangy kewpie mayo and schichimi togarashi – delicious."

                                                                              full report here, with a pic of both dishes: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7575...

                                                                              I didn't know anything about Paul at the time, of course. and I don't blame him for the curry buns, as he wasn't there that night and execution can mean everything - the concept seemed right. But now I wish we'd been to Uchiko while we were there.

                                                                              1. huiray Mar 2, 2012 06:55 PM

                                                                                Interview with Paul Qui.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: huiray
                                                                                  The Dairy Queen Mar 3, 2012 02:01 AM

                                                                                  Paul is just so classy, likable and talented. I'm glad he won. I'd love to eat his food. Also, Sarah's or Beverly's.


                                                                                  1. re: huiray
                                                                                    LindaWhit Mar 3, 2012 07:12 AM

                                                                                    OK, so he realized his gaffe. :-)

                                                                                    TVG: You mentioned your style was "Japanese with Asian influence," which is redundant.

                                                                                    Paul: [Laughs] I thought that was hilarious! I was like, "Did I really say that?" I meant to say a Southeast Asian influence, but that's what I blurted out on camera, I guess.

                                                                                  2. NellyNel Mar 2, 2012 11:37 AM

                                                                                    Various thoughts -

                                                                                    I enjoyed the finale WAY more than I thought I was going to..
                                                                                    In fact, my brother was dying to talk about it, so he forced me to watch it last night!

                                                                                    Sarah did nothing to annoy me, and in fact, I thought she handled everything really well -AND that her menu looked great.

                                                                                    Had to read through the posts to realize what Grayson's clam comment meant!!

                                                                                    Really liked the format of the challenge.
                                                                                    Liked also, that half the judges went to one restaurant first, and then switched.
                                                                                    That seemed really fair to me.

                                                                                    Very happy Paul won!

                                                                                    and of course, a HUGE thank you to Linda!
                                                                                    You do an AMAZING job, and we all really apreciate it!

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                      chicgail Mar 2, 2012 11:43 AM

                                                                                      ditto to everything, NN, except your brother.

                                                                                      1. re: chicgail
                                                                                        NellyNel Mar 2, 2012 12:49 PM


                                                                                        Completely off topic -

                                                                                        I went to Dale Taldes restaurant in Brooklyn Tuesday night - It was amazing!

                                                                                        Really clever food!

                                                                                        Saw Dale as well, and he was humble, very laid back - and DAMN sexy.

                                                                                        if you want to read my VERY long reveiw:

                                                                                    2. s
                                                                                      seamunky Mar 1, 2012 10:10 PM

                                                                                      Nyesha looked pretty unhappy when they announced the winner with an ever-so polite clap for Paul.

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: seamunky
                                                                                        mcf Mar 2, 2012 06:02 AM

                                                                                        Nyesha is a tough competitor, and I'm sure she wanted her team to win. Or it was edited at her one least enthusiastic moment?

                                                                                        1. re: mcf
                                                                                          huiray Mar 2, 2012 06:40 AM

                                                                                          She may well have projected herself more than others onto Sarah Grueneberg & her team - a la football fans in the UK onto *their* team (moreso than sports fans in the US) ?

                                                                                          1. re: huiray
                                                                                            mcf Mar 2, 2012 12:02 PM

                                                                                            You have never seen my husband watching a Giants game. :-)

                                                                                          2. re: mcf
                                                                                            seamunky Mar 2, 2012 12:46 PM

                                                                                            it wasn't the editing. it was a camera pan across all the contestants who were all smiling in congratulatory cheer. You're right, she was probably just disappointed it wasn't her team that won. Like everyone else, I wish we got to see more of her this season.

                                                                                        2. c
                                                                                          Claudette Mar 1, 2012 08:42 PM

                                                                                          Thank you so much for the great reporting job, Linda! This was my third least-favorite season, and your summaries made it much more tolerable for me. Promise you'll do it again next time, please?

                                                                                          1. b
                                                                                            Bellachefa Mar 1, 2012 05:46 PM

                                                                                            I guess I need to rewatch this episode, since so many people think that Sarah acted admirably in the kitchen. I think she mocked the putz to his face, to the camera, and to the other chefs in her kitchen.

                                                                                            I also wonder what she will do next to try to 'finally' be respected or prove herself to her mom.

                                                                                            25 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Bellachefa
                                                                                              chicgail Mar 1, 2012 05:55 PM

                                                                                              Both finalists talked openly about their desire to get their parent's approval in the show. Why is no one talking about Paul saying much the same thing?

                                                                                              1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                debbiel Mar 1, 2012 06:03 PM

                                                                                                Yeah. It's getting tiresome, the anti-Sarag stuff, isn't it?

                                                                                                1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                  Phaedrus Mar 1, 2012 06:11 PM

                                                                                                  Well, she is the least likeable person left towards the end. This is not to say that she is a despicable human being nor is she as unlikeable as say Spike, Steven and Tiffany from season one, or Stefan. But she is all we have to work with so all the antipathy is piled on top of her.

                                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                    debbiel Mar 1, 2012 06:14 PM

                                                                                                    I guess forgoing the antipathy is not in the cards, huh? :)

                                                                                                    1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                      Phaedrus Mar 1, 2012 06:19 PM

                                                                                                      Its a reality show. Antipathy is a big chunk of the ethos and the attraction. We are all looking for the heroes and villains in these situations. Plus, the magic elves promote this stuff.

                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                        debbiel Mar 1, 2012 06:24 PM

                                                                                                        Yeah, but somehow I enjoy it more without the antipathy.

                                                                                                2. re: chicgail
                                                                                                  Withnail42 Mar 1, 2012 06:14 PM

                                                                                                  I thought both stories were touching. Nothing wrong with wanting you parents approval. Is that even something that ever really goes away?

                                                                                                  This is not a Sarah bash: I was struck how much Sarah's mom looked like her right down to the hair cut.

                                                                                                3. re: Bellachefa
                                                                                                  mcf Mar 2, 2012 06:00 AM

                                                                                                  I really, REALLY don't think that's the issue between them that you seem to think it is. I think she's very close to her mom and grateful for the faith she placed in her with her support for her choices. Maybe she's just a good daughter wanting to do her best to repay her mom.

                                                                                                  1. re: mcf
                                                                                                    chowser Mar 2, 2012 06:09 AM

                                                                                                    Given that they've said her mom is her biggest fan and that they speak often, I find it hard to believe there's any more to it than a child being happy to make a parent proud, especially one who has worked hard like Sarah's mom has. And, if that's wrong, most of us are "damaged." It is interesting that women chefs, like Jen and Sarah, are called "damaged" and "possibly abused" because of parents wanting them to succeed and that male chefs are given a pass. Paul was equally proud of his parents' reactions to his win. I wonder if the problem here is with women who want success or whose parents like to see their children succeed.

                                                                                                    1. re: chowser
                                                                                                      huiray Mar 2, 2012 06:44 AM

                                                                                                      Yet her mother-daughter relationship seems to occupy her mind a great deal...

                                                                                                      When they were asked at JT why they each thought they should be Top Chef she came out with a spiel that involved her being brought up by a single mother etc and she deserved it because of that (amongst other things); whereas Paul Qui simply said it was because he cooked the best food.

                                                                                                      1. re: huiray
                                                                                                        Phaedrus Mar 2, 2012 06:55 AM

                                                                                                        This is the difference. And I think it encapsulates the season. While the back story is interesting and may even be poignant. The story should be about the food. And Paul zeroed in on the food, minus the drama.

                                                                                                        "It's not about you, it's about the food." Should be the motto of all the cooking shows, but it isn't.

                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                          tjinsf Mar 3, 2012 03:16 AM

                                                                                                          yes but Paul had his drug dealing back story that was far more interesting than a single mom story.

                                                                                                          1. re: tjinsf
                                                                                                            Phaedrus Mar 3, 2012 12:36 PM

                                                                                                            True, but Paul did not refer to it when he was asked about why should he win TC.

                                                                                                        2. re: huiray
                                                                                                          chowser Mar 2, 2012 07:00 AM

                                                                                                          Paul made a lot of comments about his parents and how happy he was that his father was there to see him win. Sarah realizes her mother made big sacrifices and gives her her due (although that single mom working story was getting old). I think it's a good thing to appreciate all your parent(s) have done, as Paul does w/ his parents and tearing up to see them.

                                                                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                                                                            huiray Mar 2, 2012 07:06 AM

                                                                                                            Certainly both should acknowledge their parents etc. Yet Paul Q.'s comments did not seem to dwell on his parents, whereas Sarah G. seemed to make her mother-daughter backstory part of her claim to the title. (((Shrug))) My impression. I don't want to enter a pitched fight over this.

                                                                                                            1. re: huiray
                                                                                                              mcf Mar 2, 2012 07:14 AM

                                                                                                              I didn't get a whiff of that at all. I think she was just reflecting on what a win would mean to her. Not entitlement. Nor do I hold her disappointment at not winning against her as bratty. This is something she worked hard for, pursued with passion and skill, and came up just short of winning. So she got sad at first, big deal.

                                                                                                              I've been a critic of her attitude and meanness all season, but I think her behavior in the final was fine.

                                                                                                              1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                John E. Mar 2, 2012 08:20 AM

                                                                                                                Wow, I saw it about the opposite as what you did. Paul said something about finally seeing his father smile and finally making him proud.

                                                                                                                1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                  mcf Mar 2, 2012 08:44 AM

                                                                                                                  And post show, he emphasized that his father's smile was more rewarding than anything else.

                                                                                                            2. re: huiray
                                                                                                              NellyNel Mar 2, 2012 08:06 AM

                                                                                                              Mother-daughter relationships ALWAYS occupy ones minds - no matter who you are and what kind of situation you grew up in.

                                                                                                              As well as everyone wanting to make their parents proud...pretty standard, really.

                                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                mcf Mar 2, 2012 08:45 AM

                                                                                                                Not always... but usually. As usual, I'm an exception to that rule.

                                                                                                                1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                  NellyNel Mar 2, 2012 11:22 AM

                                                                                                                  Just curious, do you mean about mother-daughter relationships - or about making your parents proud? Or both?

                                                                                                                  Of course I know nothing about the man, but Pauls dad looked really warm and sweet - he was all smiley, and we saw him wiping a tear away...
                                                                                                                  He didnt seem the kind of man who would be tough to please...but, I guess Paul had a little bit of a rough youth, so maybe it's been hard for him to break out of the stigma that must have caused...

                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                    mcf Mar 2, 2012 12:05 PM

                                                                                                                    I meant this, sorry: "Mother-daughter relationships ALWAYS occupy ones minds - no matter who you are and what kind of situation you grew up in."

                                                                                                                    I think Paul made it clear, and it's certainly understandable, that he'd given his parents reason to worry and be disappointed in him in the past. I don't think it was about his dad being hard to please, so much as he wanted his dad to really see how far he'd come, and be happy, proud and unworried. Sweet sentiment, the way I interpreted it. Paul seems to have all of his priorities in order now, as an adult.

                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                      NellyNel Mar 2, 2012 12:49 PM

                                                                                                                      oh, yes, that's how I see it as well.

                                                                                                                      I thought Pauls dad was adorable!

                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                        soupkitten Mar 2, 2012 10:12 PM

                                                                                                                        well... and dedicated chowhounds totally wouldn't think this way... but i think this is a very common experience w folks in the culinary industry-- no matter how successful you are in the field, one's parents tend to wish that you'd gone into another career path. they wish you'd have something with prestige, high pay, a 401k, better benefits, "normal people's hours," something that doesn't wreak all your shoes... i think they are embarrassed in front of their friends-- as if their kid being a restaurant chef, even an exec at an award-winning place, is like being a janitor or a household servant. "hey mom, i just won the james beard award." "well honey, i'm sure that's a very nice sandwich, but why can't you be like janey's kid, the podiatrist?" ...y' know? ;-P

                                                                                                                        the elves would probably be able to get virtually the same story out of any of the contestants, just by leading with-- "tell me about your folks" and closing with "would you winning top chef make them proud of you?"

                                                                                                        3. re: Bellachefa
                                                                                                          tjinsf Mar 3, 2012 03:14 AM

                                                                                                          Did she make fun of his butchering skills, yes, so did Tom.

                                                                                                          Paul said it was the first time his father had been proud of him in a long time. the reality is that for parents that expect their kids to go to college and take a white collar job having them go to even the best culinary schools and have to work the line is a hard pill for some parents. Most chefs do not get famous and get paid crap considering how much they work.

                                                                                                        4. gaffk Mar 1, 2012 05:40 PM

                                                                                                          LW-thanks for a great season of recaps. The season itself was so bad I stopped watching (and I have watched every episode since season 1). But I kept up with your recaps. Here's hoping next season is better and you continue your most excellent recaps. ;)

                                                                                                          I do hope next season is not Boston, but Philly

                                                                                                          12 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: gaffk
                                                                                                            LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 06:23 PM

                                                                                                            Don't think Philly's in the running, according to rumors, gaffk.

                                                                                                            But thank you for your thanks, and if elected, I think I will serve. :-)

                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                              gaffk Mar 1, 2012 06:34 PM

                                                                                                              Damn, Philly is a legit contender . . . .growl :(

                                                                                                              And if elected, you *must* serve; your recaps are seriously better than the show itself.

                                                                                                              1. re: gaffk
                                                                                                                LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 06:41 PM

                                                                                                                I agree Philadelphia is a great contender.

                                                                                                                And aren't there election limitations in the U.S.? Maybe not in the Senate, but there should be. :-)

                                                                                                                1. re: gaffk
                                                                                                                  Withnail42 Mar 1, 2012 06:45 PM

                                                                                                                  I think Philly would be a great choice! Rediscovered it last year whilst attending a Flyers game. Great food town. Like Boston historic, with a roughness around the edges,

                                                                                                                  1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                    cwdonald Mar 2, 2012 05:18 AM

                                                                                                                    Never going to happen. Top Chef extorts money from cities to have the show in their city. Both Texas and Vancouver put up big bucks. And Philadelphia is broke. Top Chef locations are up to the highest bidder.

                                                                                                                    1. re: cwdonald
                                                                                                                      gaffk Mar 2, 2012 03:08 PM

                                                                                                                      Sad but true I suppose.

                                                                                                                      1. re: cwdonald
                                                                                                                        Withnail42 Mar 2, 2012 04:36 PM

                                                                                                                        Ah too bad...would have been a cool location. But who knows what tricks the tourist board can pull off.

                                                                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                    mcf Mar 2, 2012 05:59 AM

                                                                                                                    <*rolls eyes*> OK, folks, let the bribes and false promises begin!

                                                                                                                    If that's not enough, let's go with threats and intimidation until we elicit a promise.

                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                      LindaWhit Mar 2, 2012 08:06 AM

                                                                                                                      ::::perks up:::: Bribes?

                                                                                                                      As for intimidation, whaddyagonnadu? Yell at me on the Interwebz? Yeah, like *that* hasn't happened before!

                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                        mcf Mar 2, 2012 08:43 AM

                                                                                                                        We can find you if we have to.

                                                                                                                        Not a threat, just sayinzall. <*looks up, whistles*>

                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Mar 2, 2012 09:18 AM

                                                                                                                          Watch out for that open manhole.....OOPS! Too late. Seize ya, mcf!

                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                            mcf Mar 2, 2012 09:37 AM

                                                                                                                            I have Super Mario like defenses for such occasions. Nice try, tho'.

                                                                                                                2. huiray Mar 1, 2012 04:38 PM

                                                                                                                  Silvestri's blog/recap: http://eater.com/archives/2012/03/01/...
                                                                                                                  It seems he is pleased as punch to say goodbye to the season.

                                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                    LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 06:22 PM

                                                                                                                    "Grayson says, "We're gonna jam out with our clams out while Tyler does whatever he does." "Jam out with our clams out" is super and I'm nearly positive that's the first time that's been said on TV. Grayson, marry me. I've got my clam out, waiting. (I am pretending to not know what the phrase means.)"


                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                      debbiel Mar 1, 2012 06:25 PM

                                                                                                                      I have a serious girl crush on Grayson. Nothing like Kentucky girl's crush on Malibu, but I wouldn't mind hanging for drinks and whatever some night.

                                                                                                                      1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 06:34 PM

                                                                                                                        No girl crush, but she would be FUN to hang out with. Great sense of humor.

                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                          debbiel Mar 1, 2012 06:36 PM

                                                                                                                          It's settled then. An evening with Grayson, beers, and cheese curds.

                                                                                                                          1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                            chicgail Mar 2, 2012 04:19 AM

                                                                                                                            Just name the time and the place.

                                                                                                                            1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                              mcf Mar 2, 2012 05:58 AM

                                                                                                                              I'm THERE.

                                                                                                                            2. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                              jcattles Mar 2, 2012 06:56 AM

                                                                                                                              Now that would be a good time, count me in!

                                                                                                                          2. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                            tjinsf Mar 3, 2012 03:09 AM

                                                                                                                            is there anyone male, female or other who wouldn't want to hang with Grayson? that would be pretty damn entertaining and just imagine what's she's like without the camera's watching?

                                                                                                                          3. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                            Phaedrus Mar 1, 2012 06:56 PM

                                                                                                                            Duly recorded in the Top Lines thread.


                                                                                                                          4. re: huiray
                                                                                                                            Joanie Mar 2, 2012 06:27 AM

                                                                                                                            Anyone notice Nyesha's sourpuss in the photo with the goofy Heather?

                                                                                                                            This is one of the best of the season. I'm giggling here at work at a few (many at Tyler's expense):

                                                                                                                            Tyler's the worst and seems bent on Sarah doing things she's not comfortable with, so she tries to corral him by giving her simple tasks. "Tyler, can you count how many aisles there are in the store, then can you find a man with a red hat and ask him what his favorite ice cream is? If you can count backwards from a thousand real slow it'll really help my dish."

                                                                                                                            The day of service arrives, and Tyler Stone shows up in dress pants and dress shoes. That's incredible. He is so elegant! You'll definitely taste it in his food. People will bite into his diced celery and ask the waiter, "What elegant person made this food here? My mouth feels like it's wearing an evening gown."

                                                                                                                            they return to a round of applause from their families and fellow contestants. I am not sure if I see Tyler. I assume he was taken out and shot.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Joanie
                                                                                                                              betcey Mar 3, 2012 11:01 AM

                                                                                                                              <giggle> if you had a "like" button, I'd click it.

                                                                                                                          5. huiray Mar 1, 2012 04:14 PM

                                                                                                                            Did anyone notice that viewer poll airing during the show which reported towards the end that 88% of responders thought Paul Qui should win? :-)

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                              JAB Mar 1, 2012 04:16 PM

                                                                                                                              Yes, telling to say the least.

                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 04:29 PM

                                                                                                                                VERY telling.

                                                                                                                              2. c
                                                                                                                                cwdonald Mar 1, 2012 12:15 PM

                                                                                                                                Games Bravo plays... did I see correctly the tease for the live show at 10 minutes before the end of the show Sarah in the middle, beaming and smiling, and Paul on the side slumped over, which gave the impression Sarah had won? And then after the decision, the two had switched seats? More chicanery on the part of the producers.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: cwdonald
                                                                                                                                  momjamin Mar 1, 2012 12:18 PM

                                                                                                                                  Mentioned somewhere upstream. I was concerned for a second, then decided Sarah was working hard putting on a happy face, and Paul was just being Paul.

                                                                                                                                2. j
                                                                                                                                  jcattles Mar 1, 2012 08:58 AM

                                                                                                                                  I have to admit I screamed a little when Sarah got Nyesha. Then I laughed a little more when she got Tyler. I think she handled Tyler very well. I admire the fact that she didn't bow down to his suggestions (Yes, like Carla did with Casey). She was smart enough to know not to try something she was unfamiliar with, at such an important part of the competition. She seemed like a very skilled leader and took control when needed. I also like that she recognized she needed to fix her dish in between seatings. I don't like nor dislike her, but this episode proved to me that she is a very talented chef. I still think it should've been Nyesha & Paul at the end, but what can you do?

                                                                                                                                  On to Paul. I'm SO SO SO glad he won!!! He is one of my favorite chefs from all the seasons combined. He just has that "something" about him. I like that he didn't get mad ad Keith for overcooking the 1st course. I would've chosen his meals over Sarah's if given the choice. I thought he might have a bit of a tough go with Barbara Lynch, but she turned out to be a very strong team player.

                                                                                                                                  Can I just say how much I like Grayson? She's just so funny, honest, & likeable. I wish her or Paul would get fan favorite but I think Malibu is gonna take it.

                                                                                                                                  I haven't watched a reunion show for many seasons, but I might tune in this time. I want to see what happens with Heather.

                                                                                                                                  All in all, the finale almost made up for the other crappy challenges. I hope Bravo takes a good long look at what type of show the fans would like to see for next season.

                                                                                                                                  16 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: jcattles
                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 10:21 AM

                                                                                                                                    I think the *little* bit I saw of Andy's WWH after the episode aired, Andy noted that Malibu was campaigning for the win.

                                                                                                                                    Plus, don't forget that woman in Lexington, KY who kept being mentioned in the weekly Fan Fave votes - she must do nothing but sit at a computer and vote for Crary. :-)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                      debbiel Mar 1, 2012 10:37 AM

                                                                                                                                      If I were Malibu and didn't know KY woman, I think I'd be a little worried.

                                                                                                                                      I also think Grayson should get a "Fan Favorite of Contestants Who Apparently Did Not Have A, Shall We Say, Overly Dedicated Voter" award. I'd be willing to chip in a few bucks for it.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                        mcf Mar 1, 2012 01:30 PM

                                                                                                                                        Absolutely. Without the campaign for someone who barely stayed around long enough to register, Greyson'd be the fan favorite by a mile.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                          secondbecky Mar 1, 2012 02:54 PM


                                                                                                                                          1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                            John E. Mar 1, 2012 08:09 PM

                                                                                                                                            "KY woman" That's getting a lilttle graphic, don't you think? (We don't need to discuss lubricants here.... : )

                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                              debbiel Mar 1, 2012 08:10 PM


                                                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                            goodhealthgourmet Mar 1, 2012 10:56 AM

                                                                                                                                            I think the *little* bit I saw of Andy's WWH after the episode aired, Andy noted that Malibu was campaigning for the win.
                                                                                                                                            he did. i'd rather see Grayson take it because i adore her personality...or Nyesha because i still think she should have made it farther in the competition, in which case she might have won a monetary prize in one of the challenges along the way (i know, fuzzy logic, but it works for me).

                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                              Withnail42 Mar 1, 2012 11:32 AM

                                                                                                                                              Agree about Grayson. Chris wasn't even all that interesting. And if he hasn't met the woman who has been voting for him there's is a good chance he will soon when he wakes up and finds her in his living room at 2am.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 11:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                ::::LIKE!:::: LOL

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                                  goodhealthgourmet Mar 1, 2012 11:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                  i wouldn't worry about him. if he survived being sequestered with Heather, i'm sure he can handle Sheila from Kentucky.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                    cowboyardee Mar 1, 2012 11:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                    heather is one thing. But I suspect that Sheila from Kentucky has a pig, a sledgehammer, and a typewriter (or saucepan) with Chris' name on it.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                      chicgail Mar 1, 2012 12:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I think I saw that movie with Kathy Bates. "I'm your biggest fan..."

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                                                        LurkerDan Mar 1, 2012 01:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Hah! I was just going to mention that I was picturing Kathy Bates!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LurkerDan
                                                                                                                                                          mcf Mar 1, 2012 01:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Heather is scarier.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                        jcattles Mar 1, 2012 01:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Oh my, y'all are killing me! My co-workers think I'm nuts cuz I just started cracking up.

                                                                                                                                                        Poor Malibu, he doesn't know what's in store for him.

                                                                                                                                                      3. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                        mcf Mar 1, 2012 01:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Or ANYthing scary.

                                                                                                                                              2. JAB Mar 1, 2012 07:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                This was a very intense episode for many of us but, I'd like to point out the much needed levity provided by Chris Crary. Grayson's levity has already been pointed out. Did anyone else pick up on the "pretty" banter and or his double entendre filled exchange with Ty-Lor something along the lines of "hot dish behind".

                                                                                                                                                1. a
                                                                                                                                                  angelhair Mar 1, 2012 06:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                  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.

                                                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: angelhair
                                                                                                                                                    mcf Mar 1, 2012 07:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Not when you read Hugh's description of Sarah's mistakes vs. Paul's. And Hugh liked her polenta, no one else seemed to, in the first group who ate it, so she completely changed the texture later. Basically, the beef cheeks dish failed in a number of ways, though beef very rich, bad polenta texture, and from the blog, completely, badly overcooked sweet breads.

                                                                                                                                                    I think Paul won the night, and the season for those reasons. Two groups of judges got bad sweetbreads and beets, one got disliked polenta, only one group got Paul's overcooked dish.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: angelhair
                                                                                                                                                      viperlush Mar 1, 2012 07:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                      You should read Hugh's and Tom's blogs. Both did a really good job breaking down the dishes and explaining why Paul won. I think it was just the editing that made it look like they were leaning towards Sarah. Per Tom's blog: "And so you see the challenge we judges faced. We had just been presented with two exceptional meals, both reflecting the personalities of the chefs who made them, both highlighting outsized talent and remarkable skill sets. And we were faced with as close to a tie as we’d ever been. At the end of the day, though, even if you were to score the courses 2:2, an “even match,” the details in Paul’s dishes were just a little better thought through and put together, and while I believe that he won three out of the four courses, even were you to decide that both he and Sarah won two each, he won his by a wider berth. It was very, very hard to deny Sarah the “Top Chef” title with the meal she served us that night in Vancouver… but at the end of the day, Paul’s meal managed to edge hers out. It was the better of the two phenomenal meals." http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/season-9/blogs/tom-colicchio/best-food-ever-served-on-top-chef?page=0,2

                                                                                                                                                      According to Gail they were deliberating from around 9/10 pm until 5:30/6 am. Does anyone remember how that compars to other season finales? I do love that they had a breakfast taco truck waiting outside for them.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: viperlush
                                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 08:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                        There was the finale in the Bahamas, I think, whereby one of the judges (Gail?) noted the birds chirping on camera when they were finally done deliberating.

                                                                                                                                                        I'm always glad to read that this takes HOURS for them to decide on the TC winner. It proves it's not a throwaway decision. Except for maybe Hosea. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                          John E. Mar 1, 2012 09:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                          I thought that was the Puerto Rican finale in TC 4 with Stephanie, Richard, and Lisa? It's interesting how they switched from 2 contestant finales to 3 contestant finales and back to 2 in the finale. (I still consider the finale to be when nobody is told to PPYKAG.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                            LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 10:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                            You're right, it was with Stephanie, Richard and Lisa. It was somewhere warm. :-D

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: viperlush
                                                                                                                                                          terrierboy Mar 1, 2012 09:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                          I no longer give credence to anything on the TC blogs, which are so manipulated by
                                                                                                                                                          Tom and the producers, including the clueless, insufferable Andy Cohen. It's impossible to post anything on there that doesn't applaud the company line. The whole show has become one enormous, male-oriented fraud. Everything is so heavily edited as to become a sick joke. Anything that fool Cohen touches becomes reduced to schoolboy antics.

                                                                                                                                                        3. re: angelhair
                                                                                                                                                          bobbert Mar 1, 2012 11:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                          "... , it really seemed like Sarah took more risks..."

                                                                                                                                                          Along with others, my initial thought as well BUT we have to remember that these chefs had 6 months to work up to this meal. One thing that has remained constant in each season is that in the finale the challenge is basically something along the lines of "...blah, blah, blah cook the best 3 (4, 5?) course meals with/without a dessert blah, blah, blah..."
                                                                                                                                                          So even though it appears that the menus are made up on the spot, I think we can be pretty well assured that the dishes have been thought out and tested ad nauseam. IIRC, the finale typically allows the chefs free reign with at least one sous chef thrown in. In this particular finale, the "challenge" was in taking charge of a group of executive chefs and have them become not just sous chefs but, to some extent, line cooks. With this they both did a great job.

                                                                                                                                                          I think it was telling when Gail spoke of Paul's food being what he cooks everyday in his restaurant while Sarah took more risk. I don't think she took that many risks at all. My feeling is that, like Mike's pepperoni sauce, her dishes were practiced many times before they got to Vancouver. It then came down to the execution of the dishes and how well you managed your sous chefs that then determined the winner. Paul almost lost it with the overdone dish - I think he was lucky that Tom got the "good" batch. The fact that he made his regular food but took it to another level shows just how good he really is - he didn't have to go outside of his "comfort zone" - his regular cooking really is that good without him having to try something that wasn't really him.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: angelhair
                                                                                                                                                            silvergirl Mar 2, 2012 04:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                            I googled roasted white chocolate and found an article from Food and Wine (hello, Gail) with instructions from 2008. I'd never heard of it before, but it sounds pretty tasty although not as original as I previously thought. I happen to have a bag of Trader Joe's white chocolate chips and am wondering if they would be considered "good" white chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: silvergirl
                                                                                                                                                              ChefJune Mar 7, 2012 12:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Chips of any kind of chocolate hold their shape because of added stabilizers, in some cases carnauba wax. I don't know what's in TJ's chips, but chips of any kind are not really considered "good chocolate," even though they may be better quality chips than the average.

                                                                                                                                                          2. m
                                                                                                                                                            momjamin Mar 1, 2012 06:24 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                            19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: momjamin
                                                                                                                                                              mcf Mar 1, 2012 06:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 06:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                  Phaedrus Mar 1, 2012 06:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                    huiray Mar 1, 2012 07:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    "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
                                                                                                                                                                      John E. Mar 1, 2012 09:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                      LurkerDan Mar 1, 2012 07:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                        ChefJune Mar 1, 2012 08:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        <"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
                                                                                                                                                                          John E. Mar 1, 2012 09:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                          John E. Mar 1, 2012 09:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          "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.
                                                                                                                                                                            tjinsf Mar 3, 2012 03:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                              John E. Mar 3, 2012 07:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                            Shrinkrap Mar 1, 2012 11:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 11:40 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                LurkerDan Mar 1, 2012 01:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                            LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 06:38 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: momjamin
                                                                                                                                                                              thimes Mar 1, 2012 07:44 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: thimes
                                                                                                                                                                                tjinsf Mar 1, 2012 08:28 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tjinsf
                                                                                                                                                                                  viperlush Mar 1, 2012 08:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  It looked a little more tamed in the finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tjinsf
                                                                                                                                                                                    thimes Mar 1, 2012 08:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    hahahaha - you're probably right!

                                                                                                                                                                              2. b
                                                                                                                                                                                Bart Hound Mar 1, 2012 06:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                  goodhealthgourmet Mar 1, 2012 06:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 06:46 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                      goodhealthgourmet Mar 1, 2012 06:47 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                        mcf Mar 2, 2012 10:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        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: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                          goodhealthgourmet Mar 2, 2012 12:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          what videos?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                            mcf Mar 2, 2012 01:02 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                            Joanie Mar 2, 2012 01:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah she was in the Eater video clip.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Joanie
                                                                                                                                                                                              mcf Mar 2, 2012 01:13 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                goodhealthgourmet Mar 2, 2012 04:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Withnail42 Mar 2, 2012 04:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                      JAB Mar 1, 2012 07:43 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bart Hound
                                                                                                                                                                                        John E. Mar 1, 2012 09:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        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. Withnail42 Mar 1, 2012 05:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                          mcf Mar 1, 2012 06:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                            niccole Mar 1, 2012 06:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            i noticed i didnt see lindsey?

                                                                                                                                                                                            YAHOOOOOOOO for paul

                                                                                                                                                                                            grayson is one cool chick

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. roxlet Mar 1, 2012 05:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 06:15 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. t
                                                                                                                                                                                              tjinsf Mar 1, 2012 12:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                Shrinkrap Mar 1, 2012 11:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                "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
                                                                                                                                                                                                  cowboyardee Mar 1, 2012 11:34 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                                    LurkerDan Mar 1, 2012 01:31 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Shrinkrap
                                                                                                                                                                                                    goodhealthgourmet Mar 1, 2012 11:36 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                    girl power talk :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                      secondbecky Mar 1, 2012 02:28 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: secondbecky
                                                                                                                                                                                                        mcf Mar 1, 2012 02:34 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: secondbecky
                                                                                                                                                                                                          goodhealthgourmet Mar 1, 2012 06:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                            mcf Mar 2, 2012 05:57 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: secondbecky
                                                                                                                                                                                                            soupkitten Mar 2, 2012 07:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                              mcf Mar 2, 2012 07:12 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: secondbecky
                                                                                                                                                                                                              tjinsf Mar 3, 2012 02:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              exactly ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Withnail42 Mar 1, 2012 03:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                            silvergirl Mar 1, 2012 06:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ChefJune Mar 2, 2012 07:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              <>The Grayson and Fabio Show>

                                                                                                                                                                                                              ROTFLMAO! ;-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ChefJune
                                                                                                                                                                                                                mcf Mar 2, 2012 07:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                They could call it The Sex and Bourgerr Chew.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: silvergirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                goodhealthgourmet Mar 2, 2012 08:34 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Mar 2, 2012 09:18 AM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: silvergirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  tjinsf Mar 3, 2012 02:58 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Shrinkrap Feb 29, 2012 11:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                What a trooper you are!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. mariacarmen Feb 29, 2012 11:08 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    arjunsr Feb 29, 2012 10:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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. cowboyardee Feb 29, 2012 10:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        thimes Mar 1, 2012 06:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        +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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 06:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            huiray Mar 1, 2012 07:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mcf Mar 1, 2012 07:15 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 08:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  John E. Mar 1, 2012 09:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    huiray Mar 1, 2012 09:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      goodhealthgourmet Mar 1, 2012 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cowboyardee Mar 1, 2012 08:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 09:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    cowboyardee Mar 1, 2012 09:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 09:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        chicgail Mar 1, 2012 09:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          JAB Mar 1, 2012 10:02 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JAB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cowboyardee Mar 1, 2012 10:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  chowser Mar 2, 2012 05:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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. b
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  bobbert Feb 29, 2012 10:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    cowboyardee Feb 29, 2012 10:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 06:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        goodhealthgourmet Mar 1, 2012 06:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          huiray Mar 1, 2012 07:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Phaedrus Mar 1, 2012 06:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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. huiray Feb 29, 2012 10:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cowboyardee Feb 29, 2012 10:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            '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:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              moto Mar 1, 2012 01:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                huiray Mar 1, 2012 06:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  JAB Mar 1, 2012 07:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cowboyardee Mar 1, 2012 08:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    KailuaGirl Mar 1, 2012 12:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      goodhealthgourmet Mar 1, 2012 12:07 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 12:14 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          KailuaGirl Mar 1, 2012 10:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            huiray Mar 2, 2012 06:24 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit Mar 2, 2012 07:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      huiray Mar 1, 2012 06:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        huiray Mar 1, 2012 09:06 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          NellyNel Mar 2, 2012 07:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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. kubasd Feb 29, 2012 08:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 06:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            kubasd Mar 1, 2012 10:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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. d
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Dave Feldman Feb 29, 2012 08:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            secondbecky Mar 1, 2012 02:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My thought exactly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Dave Feldman
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              stgrove Mar 2, 2012 07:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mcf Mar 2, 2012 07:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  John E. Mar 2, 2012 08:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    goodhealthgourmet Mar 2, 2012 08:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    they tasted all the dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      John E. Mar 2, 2012 08:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mcf Mar 2, 2012 08:42 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Phaedrus Mar 2, 2012 08:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        cowboyardee Mar 2, 2012 12:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ChefJune Mar 7, 2012 12:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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. C. Hamster Feb 29, 2012 08:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Barbara lynch looked totally ragged....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Should we be worried????

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Low Country Jon Feb 29, 2012 08:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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. goodhealthgourmet Feb 29, 2012 08:14 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Worldwide Diner Feb 29, 2012 08:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              goodhealthgourmet Feb 29, 2012 08:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                davis_sq_pro Feb 29, 2012 08:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cowboyardee Feb 29, 2012 09:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  '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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    kubasd Mar 1, 2012 10:39 AM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: davis_sq_pro
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Worldwide Diner Mar 1, 2012 08:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        cowboyardee Mar 1, 2012 09:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Worldwide Diner Mar 2, 2012 06:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            chowser Mar 2, 2012 06:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Worldwide Diner
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    tjinsf Feb 29, 2012 10:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Worldwide Diner Mar 1, 2012 06:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        tjinsf Mar 1, 2012 08:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          viperlush Mar 1, 2012 08:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            mcf Mar 1, 2012 08:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They may have seen them before then, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: tjinsf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Worldwide Diner Mar 1, 2012 09:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bart Hound Mar 1, 2012 11:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cowboyardee Mar 1, 2012 11:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                tjinsf Mar 3, 2012 02:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Worldwide Diner Mar 3, 2012 02:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          chicgail Mar 1, 2012 04:43 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Worldwide Diner
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            michelleats Mar 2, 2012 05:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Worldwide Diner Mar 2, 2012 06:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                chowser Mar 2, 2012 06:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  michelleats Mar 2, 2012 02:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit Feb 29, 2012 08:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks! I'll fix that now! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                debbiel Feb 29, 2012 08:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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. davis_sq_pro Feb 29, 2012 08:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 29, 2012 08:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    davis_sq_pro Feb 29, 2012 08:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit Feb 29, 2012 08:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        kubasd Feb 29, 2012 08:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Joanie Mar 1, 2012 04:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 06:04 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Joanie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            mariacarmen Mar 1, 2012 07:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        tjinsf Feb 29, 2012 10:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 06:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            momjamin Mar 1, 2012 06:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 06:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                momjamin Mar 1, 2012 06:42 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: momjamin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                tjinsf Mar 1, 2012 08:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 08:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    momjamin Mar 1, 2012 11:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      viperlush Mar 1, 2012 11:26 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: momjamin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 11:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              stgrove Mar 2, 2012 07:21 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: stgrove
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit Mar 2, 2012 07:46 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. d
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              debbiel Feb 29, 2012 08:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for another great season of recaps, LW!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              23 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                davis_sq_pro Feb 29, 2012 08:14 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: davis_sq_pro
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  C. Hamster Feb 29, 2012 08:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  +2 Thanks to Linda!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: C. Hamster
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit Feb 29, 2012 08:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Phaedrus Mar 1, 2012 04:12 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 06:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ChefJune Mar 1, 2012 08:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Berheenia Mar 1, 2012 08:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chin Chin to Linda!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChefJune
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Phaedrus Mar 1, 2012 08:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I second that motion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChefJune
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 08:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Dairy Queen Mar 7, 2012 10:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, adding my kudos to Linda here!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          momjamin Feb 29, 2012 08:15 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cowboyardee Feb 29, 2012 09:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            +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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mcf Mar 1, 2012 06:00 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                JAB Mar 1, 2012 07:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  mariacarmen Mar 1, 2012 07:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    debbiel Mar 1, 2012 07:26 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 07:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just kill me now. :-o

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mariacarmen Mar 1, 2012 07:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        just kill me NOW before making me watch that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Phaedrus Mar 1, 2012 07:38 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: mariacarmen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Mar 1, 2012 07:34 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          mariacarmen Mar 1, 2012 07:42 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LindaWhit Mar 2, 2012 07:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            OK, I *like* that! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      jcattles Mar 1, 2012 09:00 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Xericx Feb 29, 2012 08:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Worldwide Diner Feb 29, 2012 08:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Xericx Feb 29, 2012 08:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            debbiel Feb 29, 2012 08:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              my3guys Mar 1, 2012 05:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                NellyNel Mar 2, 2012 06:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  mcf Mar 2, 2012 06:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    NellyNel Mar 2, 2012 07:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      mcf Mar 2, 2012 07:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        cowboyardee Mar 2, 2012 11:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Don't be so sure Sarah didn't take a shot or two at Paul after the finale. She did. Here:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          souvenir Mar 2, 2012 12:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cowboyardee Mar 2, 2012 12:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              chowser Mar 2, 2012 01:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit Mar 2, 2012 01:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                souvenir Mar 2, 2012 03:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, my second paragraph recognizes that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              JAB Mar 2, 2012 12:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                bobbert Mar 2, 2012 03:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mcf Mar 2, 2012 01:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, that sucks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          chicgail Mar 2, 2012 07:58 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            mcf Mar 2, 2012 08:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              chicgail Mar 2, 2012 09:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mcf Mar 2, 2012 09:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  NellyNel Mar 2, 2012 11:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    chicgail Mar 2, 2012 11:42 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: Xericx
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          chicgail Mar 1, 2012 04:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LurkerDan Mar 1, 2012 06:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            well said, chicgail.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              debbiel Mar 1, 2012 07:21 AM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mcf Mar 1, 2012 07:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  huiray Mar 1, 2012 07:36 AM

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

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ChefJune Mar 1, 2012 08:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      huiray Mar 1, 2012 08:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      @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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    John E. Mar 1, 2012 09:14 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      mcf Mar 1, 2012 01:24 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        chicgail Mar 1, 2012 02:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          John E. Mar 1, 2012 08:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            mcf Mar 2, 2012 05:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              John E. Mar 2, 2012 08:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mcf Mar 2, 2012 08:41 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      tjinsf Mar 1, 2012 08:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mcf Mar 1, 2012 08:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          secondbecky Mar 1, 2012 02:03 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: secondbecky
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            mcf Mar 1, 2012 02:20 PM

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