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Chopped All-Stars Finale (5/6/2012) [SPOILERS]

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Finally, Marcus wins one of these cooking competitions.

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  1. You're joking, right? He won Top Chef Masters.

    1. And I, for one, was so glad to see that awful woman go.

      43 Replies
      1. re: chicgail

        Yes, she didn't really do much to improve her image, did she?
        Sorry to see Simon go out on the first round for forgetting the Okra chips, would have been fun to see him go against Marcus head to head.

        1. re: saeyedoc

          I am late to the party....watched the episode this morning and was so dissapointed to see Symon get Chopped first.

          I don't know that Penny woman but I can see why people don't like her. She's got "bragging rights" for outcooking Symon? Puh-leeze........she didn't outcook him at all. He got chopped for missing the okra. If that didn't happen, I believe she would have gone first.

          I was seriously hoping for a Symon/Samuelsson show down.

          1. re: Dee S

            Yeah, the "bragging rights" was ridiculous. As was her complaint about "who knows saffron better?".

            I love Marcus, but as many remarked on in one of his other competitions, he *does* make soup a lot!

            1. re: Dee S

              That was funny about bragging rights. I want to run a race against a serious runner, have her trip and fall so I can run by her and then brag about outrunning her. I had hoped they would send her home, despite his forgetting the chips. They've done it before--I don't know why they didn't do it this time.

              She wasn't just sent home for saffron--she left the skin on the fish, her dish was too heavy with cream and butter. It would be great to see if she watched the show and learns about how she comes off but it didn't help w/ NFNS. She knows how badly she came off and didn't seem to change at all.

            2. re: saeyedoc

              No she didn't but what were her chances of improving her image, realistically? You can't really hide the nasty. You can disguise it with makeup but eventually the ugly shows through. She said something about being cast as the villain in her season but she didn't do anything to dispel that image, did she? She was just as mean and obnoxious as she was on NFNS. And delusional. You beat Michael Symon? Boy, that is some serious self-delusion. And I wish she would stop going on about Middle Eastern food like nobody's ever eaten it before. She keeps talking like she's introducing the world (or at least North America) to Middle Eastern food. Again with the delusions. Ok, enough with the Penny hating for now. Let's consider the Michael Symon elimination.

              Does anyone besides me think that Anne Burrell had something to do with Symon getting chopped? She disagreed when Amanda (I think) said it was ok to excuse his missing okra because the food was so good. It wouldn't be the first time that a chef got a pass even though they forgot one of the basket ingredients because the food was amazing. And Penny's crust fell off. I hate it when things are supposed to be crusted with something and the whole crust comes off as you try to eat it. Like a deep-fried pickle. Or a piece of fried chicken. I think that is a more egregious error.
              Did Michael Symon have anything to do with Burrell's exit from the Next Iron Chef? Can't remember but maybe she's holding a grudge?

              1. re: chefhound

                I got that feeling about Anne Burrell and Michael Symon too. I did get the sense that she was out to get him.

                I just took a look at TWoP and the posters there are exclaiming about how nasty Penny Davidi was, yes, but *also* about how distasteful Anne Burrell was too. :-)

                1. re: huiray

                  the finale deserved a better judge than Burrell ; it seemed rather absurd that she would be evaluating chefs like Symon and Samuelsson. of course, judges ill fit to sup on the fare served them recur on Iron Chef Amerika and Top Chef Masters.

                2. re: chefhound

                  All the judges had something to do with Symon getting chopped. They always do. We don't know how they come to a final decision, whether it is via discussion till they reach on consensus, or voting with colored disks (as in No Kitchen required). Almost always omitting an ingredient is fatal. Yes, in this case we heard a judge voice a contrary opinion, but that does not mean that Burrell had a personal vendetta against Symon.

                  1. re: paulj

                    I've seen more than a few episodes of Chopped where they did not chop someone for missing an ingredient because another contestant's dish was bad and the offending chef made it through based on delicious food.

                    I'm not saying Anne Burrell just had a contrary opinion and that got him chopped. I'm saying I felt something in the way she expressed her opinion. There was something in her demeanor that suggested to me that she was not going to let him get away with it and she was going to try to convince the other judges.

                    Let's not forget that she can be pretty nasty. On the Next Iron Chef, she seemed nice enough until the last few episodes. She kept disparaging Elizabeth Faulkner's skills, saying she keeps making ice cream and did the stereotypical disdain-for-pastry-chefs thing. The chefs don't usually get so mean and catty at that level. At that level, the chefs are usually very supportive of each other. Seems to me that Anne Burrell is nice until she is threatened and then she becomes petulant and spiteful.

                    1. re: chefhound

                      First, even if Anne had it in for Symon, which I don't believe, he was Chopped because at least one of the other judges agreed with her.

                      Second, yes, they sometimes don't chop someone for leaving an ingredient out, if someone else's food was bad. But as much as I dislike Penny, it has always been fairly obvious that she is a very good cook. Yes, her dish wasn't flawless, not even close. And yes, had Symon put the ingredients on the plate, she would have been eliminated. But the conclusion to draw from him being chopped isn't that Burrell had it out for him, it's that Penny's dish, while flawed, was not so flawed as to lead to her getting chopped when another competitor left off one of the mandatory ingredients.

                      The real bummer about the whole thing was that once Symon got chopped, all the suspense was gone. Marcus was not going to lose to either of them.

                  2. re: chefhound

                    I don't think Penny's crust had a required ingredient in it, though, did it? I could certainly be wrong.

                    1. re: chefhound

                      I've seen some speculation that this was actually taped before the most recent run of NIC. Does anyone know for sure?

                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                        Well they definitely didn't give Jeffrey Z the credit for being the "newest Iron chef" so that would be consistent with your suggestion.

                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                          Hmmm, interesting. I did wonder about that during the Chopped judges round when I noticed that Geoffrey was a judge and not a competitor. But then I promptly forgot about that.
                          That would make this Chopped Champions pretty old. The Next Iron Chef finished airing in December and obviously was filmed before that. So if this Chopped was filmed before Zakarian's season on NIC, it would have taken place maybe early to mid 2011? And they're just showing it now? Weird.
                          So maybe Symon has something against Burrell and judged her harshly during NIC? Nah, I still feel like she had it in for him.

                          1. re: chefhound

                            Silence about Zakarian's ICA status is to be expected if this show was filmed anytime before the showing of the NICA competition. We speculated about this after the Iron Chef round, when there was talk about Forgione being the 'youngest' iron chef.

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8431...

                    2. re: chicgail

                      Now, she can't be that bad of a cook. After all, she did "beat" Michael Symon in the kitchen ;=)

                      But seriously...she is insufferable!

                      1. re: gmk1322

                        And she wants to build her "brand" on the Food Network.

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          Yeah, that got me too. She was clearly more interested in auditioning for her own middle-eastern-themed show than actually winning money for her charity.

                          1. re: DGresh

                            Yeah, Penny Dividi and charity aren't exactly 2 words that go together very readily.

                          2. re: DiningDiva

                            ugh I wouldn't want to watch her in Publix cooking Jenny-O's turkey strips.

                            1. re: smartie

                              Now there's a visual for you ;-)

                        2. re: chicgail

                          What awful things did she do? Does she brag? So does everyone else on the show. I just don't understand the hatred.

                          1. re: paulj

                            Paul, it might be more not what she says as much as the way she says it and the way it comes across (or is edited to achieve that impact)

                            I think it's pretty obvious she really is a better than average cook, but her comments tend to be somewhat insufferable and for me it's usually the tone of voice and the way it's delivered.

                            1. re: paulj

                              well, saying that she could brag that she "beat" Symon, after it was completely obvious that she only squeaked by because he forgot his okra.... and saying that she "knows saffron better than Amanda"... that's kind of obnoxious. I didn't hear any comments like that from the other guys.

                            2. re: chicgail

                              Yes, indeed - but it was SUCH a pity that Michael Symon left off his okra chips and gave her the (undeserved) opportunity to gloat over "beating him", as others posted about here.

                              She definitely did not improve her image at all, as saeyedoc also mentioned. Her talking heads were insufferable (yes, yes, editing and all that - but still...) - her MEEEAOOW and hissing with claws out; her disparaging Jeffrey Saad's entree ("with all that skin" etc) with that smirking sneer of a laugh; her superior attitude over "The Boys"; her disparaging Amanda Freitag with her dismissive hauteur about how Freitag couldn't possibly know anything about saffron, which SHE was an expert on; etc etc)...can you say "What a Beeyatch"?

                              I don't know if Jeffrey Saad had gone up against Penny Davidi before, but there did seem to be no love lost between them in the few comments shown of him reacting to her. I thought that was noteworthy, as I consider Jeffrey Saad to be a pretty amiable person with lots of grace.

                              1. re: huiray

                                Davidi seems so over the top with her self-serving comments and put-downs of others that it could be just a performance schtick, to make her appear unique and confident, but she's so thoroughly unpleasant it's hard to tell whether it's schtick or mundane nastiness.

                                1. re: moto

                                  Why would someone adopt such an off-putting schtick? She doesn't appear unique or confident. She just seems to be unpleasant, nasty and out of control. I wouldn't even want to be in the same room with her.

                                  1. re: moto

                                    Yeah, I think we all recognize what the "edit monkeys" can accomplish to create a storyline--Penny = beeyotch--but they've got to have something to work with in the first place.

                                    Never EVER want to see her again. Thoroughly unpleasant indeed.

                                  2. re: huiray

                                    I was really impressed with Jeffrey. He has skills and is personable. It goes to show that it doesn't matter if you actually win NFNS, as long as you have what it takes. The show just gives you exposure. Who won that season? Does anyone remember?

                                    This is what Penny needs to learn. Being on TV is about being likeable. She keeps hammering about how only she knows middle eastern cooking but doesn't take note that Jeffery has beaten her with middle eastern spices and he knows others, too. OTOH, she'll be invited back because she makes a good villain--maybe that's the brand she wants to push. Look at Omarosa (is that her name?).

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      It is a brand the "Chopped-Elves" are pushing, and she certainly doesn't have to work hard to play the part. I thought Symon was chopped to keep her around for another round, so we can listen more to her and roll our eyes? :-)
                                      I liked Jeffrey too, to me he was a pleasant surprise.

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        Melissa D'Arabian won the year Jeffrey was on NFNS. Haven't seen much of her except for all the commericals she does for sponsor brands.

                                        I read somewhere recently that after the show Jeffrey opened a restaurant in L.A. with a partner and is the exec. chef in addition to his hosting duties on United Food of America (or whatever the name of his show is)

                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                          I was wondering if that was the season but they all meld together (as do the shows). Melissa was plain vanilla likeable and probably could never have competed in a competition like this. I like Jeffrey more now but liked him during his season and loved the concept of his show, with spices around the world. I think he could have brought something new but apparently FN wants the same fomulaic stuff.

                                          1. re: chowser

                                            I was rooting for Jeffrey that season too. I've seen Melissa's show a couple times when I've been on the eliptical at the gym. It's actually not a bad show and she has a pleasant delivery, but I think your description of "plain vanilla" really hits the nail on the head. There's nothing particularly bad or offensive about her show, there just isn't anything very memorable either.

                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                              I think the problem is the concept of the show. $10 dinners? I don't remember what her idea was but that's what they gave her

                                              1. re: ChrisKC

                                                And as prices go up and up, how long can she carry that?

                                                1. re: libgirl2

                                                  Not that it really matters, she kind of makes up the prices IMO..."buy sirloin steak on sale for $2.99!" and she doesn't really account well for pantry ingredients.

                                                  Righty-O, Melissa...

                                                  1. re: coney with everything

                                                    Yes that is another one of my issues. I wonder, where is she shopping and what are the real costs of the meal? I cook, I don't use the most expensive ingredients, but she makes 3 courses the times I have seen her... how?

                                                2. re: ChrisKC

                                                  Wasn't her POV something about being a home-cooking power mom?

                                                3. re: DiningDiva

                                                  I was really surprised they gave the win to Melissa that season - Jeffrey was so much more polished and high concept. I was disappointed, too. But I think FN is always trying to reach the average viewer, and Melissa's schtick is kind of average.

                                                  1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                    They both got shows.

                                          2. re: huiray

                                            I really liked Jeffrey on his season. A class act and he can cook!

                                            1. re: chefhound

                                              His personality is annoying. Too much self promotion and gloating. He slammed Penny because she left the bonito skin on, yet he didn't exactly peel all the bonito skin off his plate of disaster. I've been to various Iron Chefs' restaurants (Morimoto, Mesa Grill, Lolita, lots of Batali joints and Garces joints) but none by any Chopped Judges. If I had to pick one Chopped Judges' restaurants to eat at, it would probably be Zakararian's even though I have issues with his business practices.

                                              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                He was getting on my nerves because every sentence he spoke sounded like he was back on NFNS always "on" for the camera.

                                        2. I was so expecting a Samuellson/Symon dessert round! So bummed that Symon got chopped in round one. Marcus' brownie sundae looked SO good, I was glad he won.

                                          Penny's tv persona is very unpleasant to watch. I would not watch her cooking program, if she got one.

                                          1. Are we all sure Penny wasn't scripted to be the villianess? Of course, if it's just a role, it would make her a better actress than she is a cook. She's deliciously detestable, arrogant and mean.

                                            I also felt Anne Burrell loved Penny (??is that why Penny is a single mom??) and wanted Symon to go, making a case against him though he had superior food but forgot an element from the basket, something for which chefs have been excused many times on Chopped. And what Penny made looked like Middle Eastern dog food. But maybe they just wanted to guarantee Samuelson a win and virtually no one wins against Symon.

                                            Not only was Symon cheated of a win, we were cheated by not getting to see what he would do and how he and Samuelson would compete against each other.

                                            Back to Penny: way to go Botox and facial lasering!

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: rccola

                                              In other words, the producers should have manipulated the judging in order to give us a more exciting show.

                                              1. re: paulj

                                                I'm saying they may already have done so. I wonder if Penny is as unable to edit her commentary as she is portrayed.

                                                1. re: rccola

                                                  I really do know how much can be done in the editing suite but Penny seems to provide a lot of material to support the villan persona both on Chopped and on NFNS. That being said, it's highly likely - and there was evidence - that all that bravado & bitchiness hides a terrified insecure and probably unhappy woman.

                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                    Most likely. I haven't watched NFNS. Unfortunately, she's the kind of bitchy that I don't find enjoyable to watch and I watch TV for enjoyment.

                                                    1. re: rccola

                                                      I didn't say anything about her being enjoyable to watch. She made my skin crawl.

                                            2. Just watched this episode today. I shy away from saying Penny is a horrible person, but here is someone who (1) roots for others to make mistakes in a charity event and gloats about it (2) ultimately tries to promote herself more than her charity and (3) is an ungrateful loser. She definitely is someone I would never want to be around, see on TV, or take cooking advice from. She may have made the final round, but Penny is definitely a chopped loser.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: smkit

                                                I just watched the Chopped championship shows, and was not at ALL surprised that Penny didn't win NFNS (which I hadn't watched). I can't imagine that anyone would want to watch her cook. Food aside, her arrogance and narcissism were stunning. She is standing between two incredible chefs, both of whom are totally focussed, and interprets that as them being nervous around her. Honestly, I wanted to slap her. Not sure how she made it that far. I seriously hope that FN keeps her out of all future shows.

                                                1. re: amamgets

                                                  << I seriously hope that FN keeps her out of all future shows. >>

                                                  Don't count on it. TV drama loves a villan. And she's a good villan.

                                              2. I just watched the show tonight, and I have to say that it looked like Symons threw the match.

                                                It looked to me that he took one for the Food Network team,

                                                The easiest way to do threw the match was logically to at the last minute omitted a basket ingredient to what was an obviously superior dish.

                                                Why, would he throw the match?

                                                So we could see a match up between the Next Food Network Star cooks, and in doing so the food network is able to used Chopped to further the Networks Brand for NFNS.

                                                Looking at this thread, the NFNS folks dominate discussion, and the show dominates the FN's ratings.

                                                So was the show rigged?

                                                I think so.

                                                I am not saying i think the Chopped show in general is rigged, but this show definitely felt like it to me.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: chefbrian1

                                                  You know, I just watched the finale last night and I too had the thought that Mikey might have thrown this one. Clearly, he and Marcus are more accomplished chefs than Penny and Jeffrey. And his dish was obviously outstanding. But, on only one Chopped have I seen a chef leave out an ingredient and move on -- and that was because one of the other chefs produced a hot mess. That was not the case here.

                                                  With Michael gone, Marcus was the clear favorite and he didn't disappoint. The guy can do some amazing stuff under time pressure.

                                                  I've not heard of Jeffrey Saad, but I was very impressed with his cooking and his personality. His dishes didn't look great but I know they tasted great.

                                                  As for Penny Davidi, I think her villainess shtick was pretty funny. But I also found her to be pretty hot. 8<D Still, was glad to see her ousted after round two, because Marcus was clearly the better chef and Jeffrey was extremely likeable.