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Oct 4, 2012 07:36 AM

"Life After Top Chef"

DVR'd this so I could watch it.
Of course any time Top Chef anything is on it gets auto taped.

Watching it last night I was perplexed and not sure why they'd choose who they did.
Fabio I understand because he's entertaining, Richard because he won Top Chef Masters, Jen I suppose because she has always shown real talent as a chef, but Spike seems an out of place and odd choice.

Richard intense with Fabio when they met up in the hotel for the food festival.
Fabio was his usual lively fun self.
Jen is trying to get anyone to invest in a restaurant she hopes to open.
My personal take on Spike is that he's entertaining enough but lacks watch-ability.

Anyone else planning on watching this or does it seem a desperate attempt at yet another Top Chef?

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  1. A reality show always needs a villain. Spike fills that role.

    28 Replies
      1. re: Miss Needle

        Villain? I don't see Spike that way at all. But as for why Spike is one of the chefs, il Divo's question was mostly answered by the show itself. Spike is engaged in furious self-promotion and has since he was on Top Chef. Surely he sought out and campaigned for this opportunity, and seeing as how he has competed on two Top Chef's, Iron Chef, etc, it's obvious that he's now a somewhat known commodity, surely more than Jen and possibly more than Richard.

        1. re: LurkerDan

          Spike is loathed by many DC residents because of his crack about it being a "second-tier city." It doesn't help that his burgers are just as awful as his pizzas.

          1. re: monkeyrotica

            That's not really in response to my post, is it? So some don't like him for making an accurate ;-) comment about their city, and some find his food bad. He has tons of reviews on yelp and his average rating for both, while not great, is not awful, so some like his stuff. But that's neither here nor there, because it has nothing to do with my point: that he's an unabashed self-promoter and is on this show for that reason, not because he's supposed to be cast as a villain. In fact, while he doesn't seem like a great chef, he comes off as mostly likeable if a bit (a lot) full of himself.

            1. re: monkeyrotica

              as I watched Spike last night, they showed him at his restaurant a few times cooking/squishing/flattening/flipping his burgers. I wouldn't be surprised if they were dry burgers since he flattens them out with gusto-what about keeping burgers juicy eludes him?

              OT: speaking of burgers, hubby took me to the "5.8 bar" in Minneapolis over the weekend so we both finally got our Juicy Lucy's. Soooooo fun to finally be able to erase it off my list of
              'must go to's'.

              1. re: iL Divo

                Me no likey Spike.

                If he was just a self promoter - fine. Dandy. But he played some mean and nasty games when he was on Top Chef and proved himself to be more of a player than a chef. So he does not get my vote.

                1. re: happybaker

                  I don't even know the premise of the show.
                  Do the chefs actually get booted?
                  Hum, never even thought about what the show was about.
                  Guess I was only hoping to see some good cooking.

                  1. re: iL Divo

                    there were absolutely no critiques from the usual suspects about the foods served by the so-called top chefs. would not have made the producers and sponsors look good if their showpiece personalities were seen to make mere food show/chafing dish/reception level stuff. how far could those quick-thawed shrimp be transformed under those conditions ? (if that wasn't cold water being run over the frozen blocks, and they were handled very carefully, someone could get very sick).

                    1. re: moto

                      not sure I'm in agreement with what you said, not even sure you meant to reply to me but either way good perception I suppose.

                      1. re: iL Divo

                        well, if their food isn't being evaluated, it seems unlikely any will get 'booted'. and the show seemed to avoid having the chef's foods critiqued or put into a cooking competition context.

                  2. re: happybaker

                    Narrative is driven by conflict and resolution. Stick five likeable characters in a situation and watch the ratings go through the basement. Add at least one irritating jerk and you have MTV's "The Real World" since its inception.

                    Guess which one's the irritating jerk?

                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                      "Stick five"

                      5? is there a 5th? or did I read something wrong :;-/

                      1. re: iL Divo

                        Paul Qui was the fifth "Top Chef" alumnus at the 2012 Aspen Food & Wine Festival. He also cooked in the same kitchen that Mendelsohn, Carroll, Viviani & Blais used (remember that brief snippet on the episode?) and was ALSO one of the chefs providing food at the Welcome Reception for the Festival. See: the 1st paragraph in the "The Parties" section here: . However, he is clearly NOT a cast member of this new "Life after Top Chef" series and it is interesting that there was NO mention nor any glimpses of him or his food on the episode as shown in the Reception segment as broadcasted. ;-) :-D
                        See also:

                        1. re: huiray

                          am familiar with all you just mentioned.
                          so the fifth was Paul but maybe next show will be someone else.
                          it sort of surprises me that other top chefs from the past I've not heard of since.
                          who was the guy that at the final said, "what? who me, I won?" can't even remember his name.

                          1. re: huiray

                            I think Richard mentioned it when they were prepping. Paul was there because it was part of his prize for winning TC Texas. He was not there as part of Life After Top Chef.

                            1. re: chefhound

                              Right, he is not part of the cast of this new "show", as I mentioned.

                              Nevertheless, I still find it a bit odd that they didn't even show a snippet of him at all at the reception, not even in passing. The encounter in the kitchen may have been unscripted and/or accidental and the editors decided to leave that brief encounter in; but I wonder if a deliberate decision was made to avoid having him (Paul Qui) in any footage if they could avoid it? He was right there at the reception serving food together with the LATC-cast-of-four chefs...

                              From the article ( I cited previously there was this description:
                              "The crowd made its way to the courtyard for the Welcome Reception featuring food by Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars Jennifer Carroll, Spike Mendelsohn, Richard Blais, Paul Qui and Fabio Viviani. The camera crew was not far behind, as the network was filming for Life After Top Chef which is premiering later this year."

                              1. re: chefhound

                                "Paul was not there as part of Life After Top Chef."
                                you're right ~ part of the prize.

                          2. re: monkeyrotica

                            But, with this show, you're not sticking four people and a jerk in a room and waiting for a conflict to break out. On this show, it seems like Fabio, Richard, Spike, and Jen just interacted at the Aspen Food Festival for the first episode. After this episode, they're all going to go their own way and there's going to be minimal interactions after that.

                            Without Spike on the show, there would still be conflict: Richard's conflict is opening a new restaurant and trying to balance the demands of that while being a dad; Jennifer's conflict is trying to find financing and opening a restaurant.

                      2. re: monkeyrotica

                        I wanted Spike to get booted as soon as possible when he was on Top Chef and I don't see why he's on this show or the Iron Chef shows, but his burgers, at least, aren't 'awful'. In the review you posted, the burgers were called 'quite tasty', 'pretty good', and 'reasonable value'. Even without the notoriety of Top Chef, Good Stuff Eatery would still be a success because of its location- there's not a lot of good options nearby for that price point.

                        The biggest criticism of the burgers was an underlying sense that the place had the potential to serve a truly incredible burger, but clearly Spike is interested more in making money and celebrity than doing that.

                        But, that's true for Fabio too. Its clear on this show that Fabio comments that he's not really that concerned with making his food as good as it could be. So, its not surprising that Fabio's restaurant got crushed by the LA Times where it was given zero stars.


                        On the show, we're seeing this bifurcation between celebrity chefs in Spike and Fabio vs restaurant chefs like Jen and Blaise who want to work in the kitchen most of the time. We're critical of the celeb chefs, but after we see the life of a celebrity chef vs restaurant chef, I think most of us would choose to be the former too.

                        1. re: hobbess

                          hob~I see your point. I do remember Fabio saying on this first show that he doesn't have to or need to make real fancy food because people just like good food that is simple.
                          he criticized how Richard does so many extra steps to create his food. maybe his celebrity is more beneficially important to him as long as he also has his 'doing ok' restaurants. best of both worlds.

                          1. re: iL Divo

                            I think I remember Fabio also saying he wasn't too concerned about perfection in his dishes which I thought showed an underlying lackadaisical, careless approach to his food. Food can be simple and great, but its got to be flawless and perfect in those cases.

                            When Richard was needling Fabio, I thought Richard was basically calling out Fabio for not putting out better dishes. When Fabio was first on Top Chef, he was using some molecular gastronomy tricks as well even though he was copying a famous Feran Adrian dish.

                            But, pretty soon, Fabio fell into a rut which he's gotten rich off of. Part of the problem is that Fabio is just so Italian, and so audiences expect him to make those stereotypical Italian dishes that his grandma in Italy taught him that at the same time will appeal to American palate. Its like how so many black chefs, many of whom were trained in French food, end up doing soul food even though they have no kitchen background in that because we expect them to excel in that because they're black.

                            1. re: hobbess

                              I enjoy watching Fabio on Yahoo! in the Ciao Chow series. What I find remarkable about him is that his English grammar is virtually perfect, but he still has this very thick Italian accent, which I believe he cultivates on purpose.

                              1. re: Tripeler

                                I do think the accent is a little put on, but it's entirely possible for one to acquire complete fluency in a new language while retaining the accent of their mother tongue. He did come to the States as a young adult, no?

                                1. re: inaplasticcup

                                  Well, Fabio must have put all his efforts into learning grammar, but little effort into pronunciation. Anyway, it is a small thing. I still think he is quite fun to watch.

                                  1. re: inaplasticcup

                                    I've heard similar things about Martin whom, about how he will exaggerate his accent for the cameras. Off-the-camera, he still has an accent, but its not as pronounced as the one he has when he's on camera.

                                  2. re: Tripeler

                                    He worked for some time as a private chef to William Shatner - I think it might have been his first professional cooking job in the US. Shatner mentions him repeatedly in one of his autobiographies. I'd guess that Fabio has given much harder and more serious thought for a much longer time than the other Top Chef folks about the best way to present himself as a personality.

                                    1. re: Tripeler

                                      His accent may or may not be put on, but don't assume that it is because of his grammar. Growing up in Africa, we take several English classes per term. Whilst American junior high/high school students take maybe 1 English class per term/semester, we take about 3 or 4 classes(Composition, Grammar, Spelling, and Literature) under the English language umbrella.

                                      Accent is not indicative of a person's language comprehension.

                          2. re: Miss Needle

                            He was certainly annoying enough on his season of Top Chef, but on this show he's coming across rather well. A few years, perhaps he grew up a bit...

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              wow, well, I'm a girl so I don't see that..........but maybe that makes sense.

                              1. re: iL Divo

                                I'm a straight woman and can name a bunch of other female contestants that I think are hotter than Jen. To each his own. But I think that Jen is there because:

                                1. They needed at least one woman
                                2. She's a very strong cook
                                3. She's struggling -- not everybody will turn out to be the "male Martha Stewart"; I think she's a better cook than Fabio or Spike. But this shows you how talent doesn't necessarily equal success in this industry (or any industry for that matter). I've seen a lot of wonderful restaurants shut down in NYC. Even Thomas Keller's first restaurant in NYC ended up closing after a few years.

                                Luckily Jen is opening up a restaurant in NYC soon. I can't wait to try her food!

                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                  I think this is exactly why Jen is on there, ie why they picked her. Plus her raucous exit from All Stars helps (and also probably explains why she wants to "redeem" herself).

                                    1. re: LurkerDan

                                      she said that Eric Ripert was not impressed (or words to that effect) with her performance probably eluding to her verbal tantrum after being let go on the show-her out of control cussing tirade. she probably wants back in his good graces-she may need a job again one day if she doesn't secure a restaurant of her own soon. there is after all probably a good reason why she has lost financial partners, may be she's hard to deal with because it wouldn't be a lack of talent in a kitchen.

                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                        I also got the impression that Ripert was unhappy with the classless way she left the show - cussing and swearing not being the way he wants to showcase his restaurant or his employees. I wish I had TiVo so I could check what she said again, but I'm sure someone here can set me straight. :-) Getting back on his good side, whether for work or just word of mouth, is a good idea. After all, his opinion is highly valued.
                                        I think Jen makes good food, they needed a female, and they wanted one who was pretty. It should be interesting to watch.

                                        1. re: KailuaGirl

                                          She mentioned it in the show's opening, that Ripert wasn't happy. But she also talked later about advice he'd given her on opening her restaurant, so I don't think she burned that bridge or got fired or whatever because of that moment.

                                          FTR, I suspect most "top chefs" (lower case) are hard to deal with in some respects, in that they have to be driven, very technically precise, workaholics, etc to get where they are.

                                          1. re: LurkerDan

                                            Someone like Eric Ripert I think of as someone who has gone the low level celebrity chef route. He's on TV, but he's never been a contestant or had his own show. I think he clearly gets how tv can really push forward a chef's career beyond just being a solid kitchen employee and get a chef to have their own restaurant/bigger career. So if he wasn't happy, I'd see it more as it him being disappointed in her squandering an opportunity. While Gordon Ramsey has made a career out of being a villain chef - have there been any Top Chef contestants who played the role of the villain and that worked out for them beyond the show?

                                            1. re: cresyd

                                              ripert has had his own show, which aired on pbs. has also had his own show on the internet.
                                              has appeared as himself on the hbo t.v. show, "treme."

                                              1. re: cresyd

                                                "have there been any Top Chef contestants who played the role of the villain and that worked out for them beyond the show?"
                                                Spike is probably the closest. Top Chef is somewhat unusual among modern reality shows in that the contestants rarely seem to consciously decide to play up the drama for more exposure. I think Spike is an exception. Still, he wasn't really a willing 'villain' so much as a willing troublemaker.

                                                As for people who have unintentionally been cast in the villain role and still benefited from appearing on the show, Mike Isabella and maybe Sarah Gruenberg or Ilan Hall are the best examples I can think of, and the latter two are debatable. Michael Voltaggio too, though calling him a 'villain' is a bit of a stretch. But most 'villains' probably didn't do themselves any professional favors.

                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                  I think Sarah Grueneberg certainly didn't do herself any favors - but in my view Heather Terhune is one of those who did *great* harm to themselves.

                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                    As I'm sure you've seen me post on the Chicago board, huiray, Heather's restaurant, SableI is a great bar with interesting bar food that you can actually make a decent meal out of. It's not a great restaurant, but it can be fun. I was so put off by her behavior, I haven't been back and don't expect to.

                                                    I know editing and producers' prodding often makes things appear to happen that aren't happening, but if you don't say it or do it, they can't air it. No one can make you say or do things that you're not willing to say or do.

                                                    I just can't support who Heather showed herself to be and I'm voting with my dining choices. Similarly, I would never go to Spike's hamberger joint.

                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                      chicgail, I certainly have seen your posts on the subject matter. I think we are in agreement with regards to HT as I think you have seen my past posts on her and her place too. I too have not been back to Sable since then and do not plan on doing so anytime soon.

                                                  2. re: cowboyardee

                                                    to judge this, wouldn't you have to know what their employment situation was before the show, and after?
                                                    for example, do we know if any of these chefs have had trouble getting work because of how they were portrayed on the t.v. show?
                                                    it's possible even those chefs not currently with a regular gig at a restaurant are happier doing personal appearances, etc. of course, it's as possible they're miserable doing that.

                                                    1. re: linus

                                                      Many of the contestants have talked openly about Top Chef's effect on their careers. That said, there is some degree of speculation involved in my post. Take Sarah Gruenberg for an example - I've heard that her restaurant is doing quite well after her appearance on TC. Better than it would be doing had she not appeared on the show? That's debatable, and my post admitted as much. But it's a reasonable assumption to make that a good showing on TC puts butts in seats at one's restaurant and makes investors a bit more willing to consider a new venture with the former contestant at the helm.

                                                    2. re: cowboyardee

                                                      I think that it's true that what is determined as a Top Chef villain is debatable as is what is success. If success is about getting onto non-Top Chef TV, then both Ilan Hall and Spike have managed that. But there really hasn't been a "Gordon Ramsey II" developed out of any of the meaner Top Chef contestants (unless it's been done in a more local way).

                                                      I think that the show can either help elevate a chef's career - or not. To this point, it's not like we've heard of someone appearing on the show and then being unable to find a job based on their performance. But if I were Heather Terhune's mentor or the case of Ripert with Jen, I wouldn't be happy with how they chose to use that opportunity. If the point of being on the show is to advance your career, then it'd be a shame for the final result to be that you go back to where you started.

                                        2. re: iL Divo

                                          the camera and production/edit didn't extend any effort to flatter her looks-- her double chin was prominent in many shots. in a couple of ways, she's a 'token' character -- the sole femme, and the only chef of the four who has struggled to secure sponsors or financing. with the three guys, Fabio and Spike revel in and seem to flourish in their success and notoriety, while with Blais it looks like it's raising his blood pressure and cracking his marriage. Fabio made a pointed comment about how his career scuttled his marriage and his doubts that Blais can do both as well as he wants to.

                                          1. re: moto

                                            Wow, that double chin comment was rough. I think she's a beautiful girl and looks fine the way she does.

                                            Are they supposed to modify every frame to hide it? This is a show about food.

                                            1. re: nikkib99

                                              This is not really a show about food. Even less so than Top Chef, which became less and less about the food as the seasons went on.

                                              1. re: huiray

                                                The show is more about food than it is about model. These are people who create meals for a reason. The show is about managing their busy schedules to achieve their dreams.

                                                If she looked like she just came off the runway, people would say she used her 'assets' to get to a restaurant or she needs to 'work' harder. But here's someone dealing with the stresses and frustrations of try to start a business and we see comments about a double chin.

                                                I just find it so pathetic.

                                                1. re: nikkib99

                                                  Well, I didn't say it was about "models". I said it was not really about the food, just as Top Chef hasn't really been about the food for a while now.

                                                  IMO the shows use "food" as an appendage, a stage prop, with pretensions of teaching or illustrating food techniques, composition of food and different cuisines or conveying useful info about food that viewers can apply themselves. (*That* would be "about food" :-) ) Rather, this show and Top Chef in latter years has become about the DRAMA, entertainment, conflict (a.k.a. "reality shows"), and certainly w.r.t. Top Chef a GAME SHOW with cooking as a supposed premise and with food items just as decoration, it sometimes seems. Even the head judge of Top Chef has admitted it is a game show. It can all be entertaining and quite watchable but only if one accepts what the shows have become.

                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                    the show was always about drama and entertainment, right from the jump.

                                                    1. re: linus

                                                      I think I actually learned stuff from the shows in earlier days. The "entertainment" and Draaahmaah has always been there, yes, but it has seemed to become worse and worse with the passage of time. Haven't we had pages and pages of discussion on this in many Top Chef threads in the past? :-)

                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                        hey man, you brought it up. and this "seemed to become worse and worse" never seems to be supported by any facts.
                                                        many long time viewers of long running television shows become jaded.

                                                        1. re: linus

                                                          That's your view and opinion, especially with regards to what you consider "facts". ;-)

                                                          Of course I brought it up - in response to nikkib99's post. You are free to pass on by.

                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                            facts are facts, amigo. show me some.

                                                            for example:
                                                            candace calling stephen a tool and a douchebag
                                                            dave saying to tiffany, "i'm not your bitch, bitch"
                                                            stephen and dave not giving 100 percent for tiffany
                                                            the head shaving incident
                                                            elia going off on marcel in the final
                                                            hung alienating many of his fellow contestants
                                                            lisa doing it "for zoi" ad nauseum
                                                            dale throwing temper tantrums.

                                                            there's some examples, aka facts, about big drama in the first four seasons.
                                                            until someone shows me some data about the amount of minutes broadcasting cooking in "earlier seasons" vs. the amount of minutes broadcasting cooking in "later seasons," well, i'm unconvinced.

                                                            1. re: linus

                                                              My dear chap:

                                                              I DID NOT SAY THERE WAS NO DRAMA right from the beginning. I did agree that "The "entertainment" and Draaahmaah has always been there". Specific memorable incidents occurred in every season right from the beginning, such as you list. In fact, in your list the only two things that were major drama were the head-shaving incident and Dale Talde's temper tantrums. The rest were minor stuff. The general tenor of the whole show, however, seemed to drift more towards entertainment/game-playing with time. That is how it seems to me.

                                                              You, on the other hand, reads anything that contradicts your view as saying that it was a PBS demonstration and lecture on cuisine in early years. No-one has ever said that, including me.

                                                              Oh, BTW, just looking at the amount of "minutes of broadcasting cooking" is not inherently useful. Just showing busy-time and hustling in a kitchen does not necessarily mean much in terms of learning something from that. It was definitely my sense that the "minutes of broadcasting cooking" became less informative or less about what was done with the food as time went on (e.g. what and how they did something or why they chose an ingredient), by comparison to the overall dramatic tension and personal angst that seemed to increasingly inform the busy-time.

                                                              We will just disagree on how the show came over in overall tenor, then. Fare thee well.

                                                              Additional ETA: The blurb for Season 10 of Top Chef says they wish to get back to basics. There also appears to be some international flavor/background for the contestant class, maybe a tad more than normal. I hope the new season turns out well.

                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                it appears you have not read my responses, or are responding to someone other than myself.
                                                                oh well. moving on.

                                                    2. re: huiray

                                                      I get your point on the focus of the show - I think I was more annoyed by the comments regarding Jen's looks.

                                                      TC has lost its appeal to me - I'm watching MasterChef AU and while a lot longer than TC, it has a solid focus on food. It also includes purely educational episodes where you learn about food and techniques from skilled chefs.

                                                      The format reminds me of The Great British Bake-off. MC AU can be annoying with the overly dramatic speech, but it's a lot better than TC.

                                                      1. re: nikkib99

                                                        years ago there were about 4 cooking shows on BBC that I looked so forward to watching after they were dvr'd. they haven't shown again here in years but they were light and refreshing ~ I think one was "Master Chef at large"

                                                2. re: nikkib99

                                                  I've always heard beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
                                                  if we made a list of who we each think is the most beautiful woman on earth from the beginning of time, the answers would be completely different.
                                                  our DD used to work in a place that mostly got a celebrity clientele.
                                                  she'd tell me who was in that day and I'd ask is she beautiful?
                                                  our tastes in lady's and men for that matter were totally different.
                                                  I thought that gal with all the tattoos, the blonde girl, was it Jaimie, was adorable.

                                                3. re: moto

                                                  I don't remember Fabio having been married when he was on TC. maybe he'd mentioned it a time or two but it didn't register with my mind. although he's not my type, he is cutie by some I suppose so will end with you a lady somewhere I'm sure. but Richard is an odd duck, he always said he's never happy with what he puts out food wise. when cooking on the past shows his facial expressions are comically eccentric and hard to watch at times, makes me nervous. I know he's trying to put forth perfect food. I see though that he is struggling with his wife on many issues > or so it appears, which to me is awfully sad. he also has 2 little ones on the back burner. wish he could be a wonderful restaurateur and a perfect family man too. I'd love to eat his food one day, that much I know.

                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                    You don't remember that?

                                                    It was reported outside of Top Chef itself and the divorce mentioned by Viviani in an interview. The fight with his father-in-law over the (then) restaurant were said to be quite fierce with hard feelings and much acrimony generated.


                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                      you pay much more attention to the scoops than I do huiray. nope, I don't pay attentions to the details on or off the actual show.
                                                      the links you gave I know nothing of.
                                                      I have no interest in seeking out more info, after the show ends for the evening, I'm done with it until next week.

                                                  2. re: moto

                                                    She's no token, she's a very gifted and highly respected chef. I suspect her emotional and behavioral demons and intense insecurities scuttle her plans some, based upon what we saw of her in competitions, but she's very well liked and well respected by her peers and does an incredible job commanding a kitchen.

                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                      mcf, I think you're correct about your assessment.

                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                        Well put. Of all the chefs, she's one I wonder about, post-top chef. Enough that I thought, hmm, what would it take to help her finance a restaurant....

                                                  3. re: ipsedixit

                                                    especially if you're into weaves.
                                                    jen and richard strike me as two very angry people.

                                                    1. re: linus

                                                      I don't see either as angry, just very intense, but Jen admittedly does seem to have some anger. Richard is just a worrier, always worrying, and I think some see his inability to relax and let go and enjoy himself as anger.

                                                      1. re: LurkerDan

                                                        maybe some do, but i see his acting angry (with fabio when he came into the apartment, with fabio in the kitchen, at the group dinner) as anger.

                                                        1. re: linus

                                                          when Richard walked into the apartment and Fabio was there, I was made uncomfortable by Richards reaction to Fabio. maybe it 'was' the editing, maybe Richard really was thinking "What the &^{*% is 'he' doing here?" or maybe there's bad blood between them. It could be any number of things including Richard being such a perfectionist and overly critical of himself that he falls under simply being somewhat awkward which translates as rude or lacking in social skills.
                                                          seems to me he just has a lot on his plate.

                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                            I have seen many twitter posts by Blais where he is with Fabio, out at a bar, in some place or another, so perhaps it was the editing. I have not seen the show, as it is not on here....

                                                        2. re: LurkerDan

                                                          I caught a repeat of the show this weekend and was surprised that so many people thought Richard was angry. He seemed anxious much of the time but I didn't get the anger thing. I also didn't see him as acting weirdly toward Fabio, if anything I thought Fabio was being more of a dick. Spike doesn't bother me. Jen...I know we're not supposed to comment on looks but she's gained a lot of weight (and Mike Isabella, dude's got at least 30 extra lbs) and the big hair is not a good idea. As I've said before, I've never liked her and am already sick of her saying she needs her own restaurant. No need to add this to the long list and Nov. 7 isn't far off.

                                                          1. re: Joanie

                                                            I don't know if I'd say Jen has gained a lot of weight. Maybe 5 or 10 pounds. She. She's never had a strong chin and I think that is what makes her look like she's gain more than she has.

                                                            The hair during the face interviews makes her look too old. She looked more like Jennifer Coolidge Than Jennifer Carrol. That with the makeup, and self doubt was unsettling.

                                                            If you notice her in the kitchen she seems brighter, more happy, younger and spunkier.

                                                            She needs to continue in the Kitchen. If she had a business partner she could trust to deal with all the business end of opening a restaurant and she could focus on menu and the creative things, she'd be a lot less stressed and a lot more happier.

                                                            I'm not sure I like the name Concrete Blonde though. Doesn't conjure up anything related to food for me.

                                                        3. re: linus

                                                          I think I know what you mean, but I tend more toward unhappy and possibly also humorless (when it comes to themselves). Though Blaise sure seemed to have no problem mocking others last night...

                                                          Then again, the jabs may have been taken out of context,

                                                          1. re: linus

                                                            Linus -

                                                            I confess, I too was surprised by her hair move. A tad silly to me. But, I'm not on TV.

                                                            And man, her first season? With straight hair? She rocked it. She had folks who never respected a girl chef shaking in their boots (MIke) and when she was the facilitator at the military dinner? She was polite, professional - and incredible. She kept stuff moving and on time in a new kitchen with tons of different elements.

                                                            She's incredibly trained AND talented. I think she's simply dealing with the unfair fact that that's not always enough in this world.

                                                            1. re: happybaker

                                                              few thoughts about the hair situation.
                                                              1. editors suggestion
                                                              2. she's into looking more bewitching
                                                              3. big hair is in
                                                              4. someone told her about her previous hair~been there done that
                                                              5. step out of your comfort zone
                                                              6. it worked for Ursula Andress

                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                The more I watch reality TV shows, the more I realize why people make certain changes.

                                                                IMO, the hair is not a big deal at all and not a major change - I think she looked good and she presented a soft, feminine side. If she had walked in with massive boobs, eyelash extensions, etc, I would have said WTF.

                                                                What you have to realize is she's a good chef, but now she has to put on her business hat and do what she needs to do to get herself to the next level. She already has a 'bad' rep and she needs to shed that so people see her as a worthwhile investment, not a liability.

                                                                1. re: nikkib99

                                                                  I don't care about her hair either nikki, but don't get her draw in the show.
                                                                  I've already said she is a talented woman in the kitchen and can put out bang up food no doubt. but to me she's drab meaning lacking in personality and doesn't bring in a lot of what I think a show would want in terms of viewership.

                                                                  for example: I watch the Next TV Food Network Star and have since its' inception.
                                                                  some contestants are cheesier than others, some are quiet but can really cook, some are loud and bold and can really cook, some are cute and mild mannered but are average cooks. when watching that show, I know who I want to win because of what I think I'd enjoy watching
                                                                  this show, 'life after top chef' could have chosen a more watchable person in my opinion. also stating same about Spike.

                                                              2. re: happybaker

                                                                That military dinner made a huge impression on me. Grace under pressure! She was firm and clear and direct, and things got done. No yelling or mania or diva moments. Just a total grip on the chaotic situation.

                                                                  1. re: monfrancisco

                                                                    Yes--and she stepped up to it voluntarily, despite having immunity. I think that's when she caught my attention first.

                                                                1. re: linus

                                                                  I wasn't going to watch this, and still won't add it to DVR cuz there's too much now that it's Sept., but I gotta check out the weave. I don't understand weaves in general and am not a Jen fan, so will be curious to see what she's got going on. And sad to hear that Richard sounds more like a sourpuss rather than his usual self doubting.

                                                                  1. re: Joanie

                                                                    "won't add it to DVR cuz there's too much now that it's Sept"

                                                                    except we're in October........................ ;P

                                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                                      Oops. It's been hard writing 10 instead of 9 this week.

                                                                      I think Top Chef is overdosing us (or at least me), doesn't the Seattle season start in a few weeks? Too much of a good thing.

                                                                      1. re: Joanie

                                                                        you're right Joanie, the TC label probably for a lot seems like over kill.
                                                                        but if it ain't broken...what season are these staples on? and these are just to name a few...
                                                                        amazing race
                                                                        American idol
                                                                        project runway
                                                                        top shot (although relatively new, a favorite of ours)
                                                                        big brother

                                                                        they just keep coming back because viewers are often a sure thing

                                                                  2. re: linus

                                                                    I found it very uncomfortable watching Richard, he struck me as extemely angry as well.

                                                                    1. re: jules127

                                                                      I think that's just his nature. Never satisfied with what he does

                                                                      1. re: jules127

                                                                        I get the feeling that he's intense rather than angry. But, it does seem he's become more and more intense where he looks like he might lose it, not in an angry sense, but in a mental sense.

                                                                    2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                      I'm with you 100%. One of my favorites ever on Top Chef.

                                                                      1. re: donovt

                                                                        Her and Amanda Baumgarten. 1 and 1A.

                                                                        1. re: donovt

                                                                          donovt~ who are you referring to as one of your favorites?
                                                                          I can't find the name anywhere, could you help and now I'll
                                                                          look up Amanda Baumgarten too.

                                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                                            I was referring to Jen as one of my favorites. Amanda was probably more physically attractive, but jen's talent and personality makes her much more attractive.

                                                                            1. re: donovt

                                                                              thanks for clearing up for me, I understand now.

                                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                I. on the other had, personally never found Amanda Baumgarten physically attractive in the least. :::Shrug:::

                                                                      2. I'm going to have to check my DVR when I get home. see if it recorded.

                                                                        1. Because it's entertainment I’ll agree with most assessments. Fabio is a great personality. I love Fabio and enjoy watching him and don't really care that he can't cook a hamburger. Richard is another great character - a bit neurotic - as well as a tremendous cook. Jen, well Jen can cook but when it comes to TV, Jen is at her best by just looking good (remember, this is TV). If she had a more upbeat personality she would be a multimillionaire by now for sure. And then there's Spike. I like him OK and I think he's done a great job at self-promotion - how he got on Next Iron Chef still boggles my mind - I think he's managed another coup to keep himself in the spotlight because just like the Next Iron Chef, I wonder why is Spike here?
                                                                          Yeah, I'll probably watch.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: bobbert

                                                                            I think you mean Fabio can't cook a "hamboooger." :)

                                                                            1. re: bobbert

                                                                              Has Spike achieved the most commercial success of any TC contestant? He's busy chasing the dollar and franchising, rather than cooking. Not that there's anything wrong with it--as he showed on TC, he's not about the cooking about about the winning.

                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                As far as being on tv and getting paid for it, my guess would be Fabio for most commercial success. He's perfect for tv. Some Hounds may have had enough of him but for those who haven't totally immersed themselves in the show he's got to be the most entertaining. Spike has his burger joints which apparently do very well though at some level I think of a top chef doing just burgers as something of a cop-out. He's got to be a great self promoter. How else does he get on the Next Iron Chef with all those really great chefs? If there was ever someone that did not belong it was clearly Spike. Thankfully he was gone after the ffirst episode.

                                                                            2. I guess I saw the episode completely differently than everyone else. My take,

                                                                              Spike is obviously a self-promoter, but still very entertaining and engaging.

                                                                              Richard is intense and kind of a jerk ironically since he made the quip about everyone else being an A**, and dissing spike for not having done anything.

                                                                              Fabio is probably the biggest self promoter, the "I'm a cuddly sweet guy from Italy" act is starting to wear thin.

                                                                              Jen is Jen I guess. She's not the eye candy, if they were going for that, they'd at least get casey. She's just very intense and type A, she seems to be perpetually on the verge of a meltdown(which makes for awesome tv). As far as her losing her financial backing, this is pure speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised if her strong personality turned off her investors and they got out because they realized they were dealing with a headcase. And then again, maybe they were deadbeats.

                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                              1. re: chezwhitey

                                                                                Agreed all around.

                                                                                Personality aside, I think Jen might have an easier time corralling backers if she changed the name of her concept. "Concrete Blonde" hardly sounds like food, IMO.

                                                                                1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                  I thought "Concrete Blonde" was a strange name too.

                                                                                  However, I've been watching Masterchef Australia - in the episode that I'm on now, the contestants cook in a restaurant named, you guessed it: Concrete Blonde.

                                                                                  1. re: jw615

                                                                                    the name kinda denotes to me hard & soft.
                                                                                    maybe that's how Jen sees herself or wants others to see her (?)

                                                                                    1. re: jw615

                                                                                      I just came here to say that. Concrete Blonde was one of the restaurants in episode 10.

                                                                                      So much for that concept. :)

                                                                                    2. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                      Concrete blonde is a rather silly name and too in-your-face gimmicky. If the meaning was a tough blonde girl, at least go with CB. It's obscure enough to work.

                                                                                      The first 6 months, concrete blonde might work, but then that name is going to get old and silly real quick.

                                                                                        1. re: linus

                                                                                          Might also explain her new hair style.

                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                            Though, ironically, Johnette Napolitano, the front person for Concrete Blond (the band) had jet black hair.

                                                                                        2. re: nikkib99

                                                                                          Well, CB is already the name of a restaurant to Australia.

                                                                                      1. re: chezwhitey

                                                                                        probably agree with you mostly
                                                                                        I love beautiful women and often tell them they're beautiful if I think they are, although (I'm a girl) and my husband has even heard me say that to lady's. but Jen to me isn't eye candy, she 'is' very talented in the kitchen however and I don't doubt her talent, Casey wasn't as talented just ask Carla.
                                                                                        Richard seemed uncomfortable on the show and I was uneasy due to it.
                                                                                        Fabio is cute and Italian and smooches the lady's on their cheeks a lot oh but he does that to guys to, so...Spike is Spike. the first time I saw him featured on any cooking show whatever it was, now been so long I've forgotten, I couldn't figure out why he was there either. he's often at the bottom of the leader board not the top so again, maybe it's his shtick.

                                                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                          Il Divo -

                                                                                          Regarding Casey? Sa - lam!

                                                                                          So um yes. +1.