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"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: http://303magazine.com/2012/06/food-w... . 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 (http://303magazine.com/2012/06/food-w...) 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. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8696... 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.

                                                                                      2. I could barely stand to watch Fabio Viviani. He was disgusting. I felt I needed to take a shower after his scenes, especially after every one of his oleaginously smarmy routines and bragging. His ego. Wow. Those women (like at his "cooking classes") fawning over him and eating out of his hand. Ick ick ick. "Male Martha Steward"? Oh PLEASE!!

                                                                                        Richard Blais is one angry man. The amount of snark coming out of him was remarkable.

                                                                                        I didn't mind Jennifer Carroll and felt for her a bit in her current circumstances even if it was at least partially self-inflicted and her ego (and abrasiveness) is still pretty large. But what is it with her Jersey Girl Big Hair?

                                                                                        Spike Mendelsohn was the self-promoter as usual but in no way did I feel as repulsed by him as I did with Viviani. GOOD for him for taking away that oily Italian's cellphone(s) at dinner!

                                                                                        Then, as far as the production values were concerned - wow, the editing monkeys were having a field day! In that short sequence with Blais talking in his ? living room ? while scenes of him touring his being-constructed-restaurant w/ his family and partner were shown, I counted 5 different hairstyles and 3 different outfits in his TH...plus his at-the-restaurant persona, that equaled 6 hairstyles and 4 outfits - all within 1 minute or so. :::::rolleyes:::::
                                                                                        The most Carroll achieved were 3 hairstyles and 2 outfits in her TH in some room with the white Phalaenopsis orchid in the background.

                                                                                        Overall character of the show in one word? MEEEAOOWW!!!

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                          "Overall character of the show in one word? MEEEAOOWW!!!"

                                                                                          you just may be right huiray

                                                                                          1. re: iL Divo


                                                                                            And what was that with Viviani spritzing everything in sight with whatever it was he was spritzing everything in sight with?

                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                              No wonder Richard was getting a headache. Fabio said it was Hugo Boss. I think it was Obsession. Isn't that what guys wore in high school to attract the girls?

                                                                                          2. re: huiray

                                                                                            I agree with you regarding Fabio - I only saw a few minutes before I got tired of his arrogance.

                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                              I didn't think Richard was angry - I thought he was disgusted at the way Fabio has been "whoring" himself and shaking his head because Fabio wasn't a "real" chef anymore. I can't disagree with him. It's disappointing when a chef becomes more interested in fame than food.

                                                                                              1. re: chefhound

                                                                                                Isn't that what most TV chefs have become? A couple weeks ago, I was watching Michael Chiarello's program and he was making different types of party foods. Looked really interesting and tasty. At some point, he goes to chop onions and garlic and this guy puts what appears to be a slap chop over them, slaps away and resumes cooking.

                                                                                                Now, this might not be a big deal, but I thought what the hell was that. Here's this guy in a beautiful kitchen, fully-equipped with multiple ovens, stove tops, chopping boards and knives, yet he uses a slap chop?

                                                                                                Ok, I get it... it's advertising and product placement but what the hell!

                                                                                                I wonder what goes through Emeril's head when he has to bleat like a wounded goat during his cooking routines.

                                                                                                As disappointed as we may be to witness this, these guys are all about the cash.

                                                                                              1. I felt bad for Jen, could do without Fabio's giving other folks a hard time, and overall, didn't feel entertained. It was sort of stressful. I didn't notice when it went off, and found myself wondering, is this ongoing? I guess it is.

                                                                                                1. I watched the first one, and didn't get much out of it. Bravo will do just about anything to keep something spinning. I love Top Chef, but this is diluted, and I'm afraid that next will be another special: Life After Top Chef/The busboys and dishwashers from the series.

                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                      Exactly. Looking forward to the next "real" Top Chef in November. This feels like painful filler and I should have known better than to get my hopes even marginally up.

                                                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                        The busboys might be more interesting.

                                                                                                        Eater has this show on Deathwatch.

                                                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                          That's all this show is - filler between TCM4 and TC/Seattle. I don't think *anyone* is supposed to get a whole lot from it. It's just to keep Top Chef top-of-mind before the Seattle season starts.

                                                                                                        2. BTW, Spike Mendelsohn will be competing again! on Next Iron Chef come November 4.

                                                                                                          Oh, so will Marcel Vigneron. :::raisedeyebrows:::

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                            Given that Spike wants to take his burgers to franchises, he'll want all the publicity he can get. I wonder why they want him on the same show when he was crushed in the first round.

                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                              Maybe it's Next Iron Chef To Lose Again?

                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                Except IIRC, he wasn't "crushed" in the first round, he actually availed himself admirably (or at least that's how they edited it to look ;-).

                                                                                                            2. Watching Fabio speak condescendingly to Alex was such a turn off. I used to think he was ok but now his "charm" is getting pretty tired. And watching him eat a burger in his car was really sad. I kept thinking: why are we watching Fabio eat a burger? Have they run out of footage?

                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: chefhound

                                                                                                                what turned me off more was listening to that woman utterly fabricate parts of her conversation with fabio.
                                                                                                                she claimed she smacked him down and made him apologize. the footage showed him saying, "i'm not apologizing."

                                                                                                                1. re: linus

                                                                                                                  I agree that she made that up and that was not cool but I did not like his "don't worry your pretty little head" attitude.

                                                                                                                  I am also ultra organized. I need to know that everything is in order. I don't want someone that I am working with to tell me not to worry. I think she was well within her rights as the coordinator to ask when to expect the people to arrive. After all, she doesn't know him. She can't be expected to trust that he will show up on time or that his staff and prep will be ready.

                                                                                                                  1. re: chefhound

                                                                                                                    Poor, poor Fabio V in his Mercedes. Bad, bad Alex with her overwrought "wronged woman" fantasies. Sigh. I think it is all of a piece with this "reality show" spin-off of TC, whatever that may mean.

                                                                                                                    Blais continued to stew in his hot tub and get shot at by his wife, Mendelsohn continued to be beaten around the head by his MOTHER and family, Carroll continued to look for the next best thing. (I do feel some sympathy for her. So shoot me.)

                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                      well, i don't think it was a mercedes, but i'll agree alex's behaviour was affected by the cameras. it's probably established fabio's is.
                                                                                                                      calling up the talent, stuck in l.a. traffic, and telling them about your feelings strikes me as well outside anyone's rights.

                                                                                                                      1. re: linus

                                                                                                                        Um, Fabio Viviani apparently does drive a Mercedes.

                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                          thanks, i thought we were talking about a different fabio.

                                                                                                                  2. re: linus

                                                                                                                    I was amused by Fabio's mixed idiom in reference to Alex "She handed me a new ass", which I can only assume is a combination of "got my ass handed to me" and "ripped a new ass hole".

                                                                                                                      1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                                                                                                        Either that or they got along better than we were allowed to see.

                                                                                                                    1. re: chefhound

                                                                                                                      Fabio Viviani reminds me of a snake oil salesman.

                                                                                                                      1. re: chefhound

                                                                                                                        Fabio's shtick works best in limited quantities.

                                                                                                                        When he was paired up with Stephan on Team Europe, I though Fabio was fine back then. But, now, its like Fabio started believing his own press releases too much.

                                                                                                                        And, what's up with continually bad mouthing an ex-wife on TV after how much she helped him:


                                                                                                                        In the comments section, it seems like his father-in-law took on the risk of opening up a restaurant for Fabio to run. But, then after he became famous from Top Chef, Fabio stopped pulling his weight at the restaurant and the father-in-law was understandably upset by that.

                                                                                                                      2. I didn't enjoy last nights show.
                                                                                                                        I kept wondering why they're skipping around from one play-uh to the next. I got dizzy keeping up with which subject (chef) are we on now.
                                                                                                                        don't care the kind of car FV drives
                                                                                                                        sad at the end of a day all he can think to grab is In&Out
                                                                                                                        he seems to have too many gnocchi on his plate in life
                                                                                                                        his patience is very low probably due to over stress mode
                                                                                                                        I liked seeing Jen outside the kitchen loving her dad and caring for her mom
                                                                                                                        Spike still seemed like a kid on a mission-that mission-promote Spike
                                                                                                                        I saw a taped "the chew" today with Richard and family on-it was painful to watch and I turned the channel

                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                          I'm curious, what was it about the Blais' appearance on The Chew that was hard to watch? (I don't watch that show)

                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                            huiray ~
                                                                                                                            this is only my opinion and I watched probably less than a minute so that may factor.

                                                                                                                            Richard seemed forced and almost deer in headlights in his speech, deliverance, camera focus.
                                                                                                                            not sure what his little girls reason was for being on.
                                                                                                                            his wife appeared annoyed with the whole venture.
                                                                                                                            next part paraphrased please know these are not quotes.
                                                                                                                            negative comments like when asked if she cooked-her reply was something like well he's not home very much then looked at the kids and said they gotta eat and someone's gotta feed them.

                                                                                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                              Thanks, interesting. Your caution is duly noted.

                                                                                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                I feel a bit sorry for Richard. It may be the editing of the magic elves at work, but he appears to be earnestly trying to balance family and work while making the most of his celebrity status window from TC to build a future for his family, and his wife seems ready to lynch him for not being home every night to tuck in the kids.

                                                                                                                                1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                                                                                                                  Me too. I'd be glad if I had a husband who was so driven. I certainly wouldn't complain that he was working too much - especially since he's doing it to provide for the family.

                                                                                                                                  Richard, if she doesn't want you, give me a call!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: chefhound

                                                                                                                                    Me, too! You really have to strike while the iron is hot and she must have known he was like that when they got married. We all did, after watching Top Chef. He's OCD about getting it right. Being in a military family, I've seen spouses are shipped out for months with a potential of not coming back/or not coming back healthy, at a fraction of the pay, so it's hard to feel bad for someone who has to put the kids to bed herself.

                                                                                                                          2. I though the most interesting tidbit in this weeks episode was the revelation by Jen that her deal fell apart when she tried to get more equity from her partners.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: saeyedoc

                                                                                                                              saey, I can't even imagine how hard and stressful it would be to even attempt getting financed for a project such as a restaurant. I'll bet big chef names even struggle.

                                                                                                                            2. Im a fan of the TC series and these chefs, I know this show has opened to some pretty harsh reviews but I was wondering if anyone knew where to watch the full episode online, not on a streaming site? I dont own a TV anymore and I'd really like to check this show out. Thanks

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. Biggest delusion--when Spike was at the Food and Wine fest with big chefs he always admired and said he's "kinda sorta" their peer. Umm, just because you're there doesn't mean you're close to their peer. It's like Kim Kardashian thinking she's Meryl Streep's peer just because they're both at the Oscars. Spike is about the celebrity, not about the food. He really doesn't compare to Jacques Pepin, except kinda sorta in his head.

                                                                                                                                39 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                  OK, I just cracked up at the Kim Kardashian/Meryl Streep analogy! Perfect.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                    Can you say media whore? Sure you can.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                        while i would in no way consider spike the equal of jacques pepin, i find your analogy to be utterly inaccurate.
                                                                                                                                        spike has worked in kitchens for years and runs a couple restaurants. he has cooked on t.v. and in front of people countless times.

                                                                                                                                        if we're going to get facts wrong, can we make the jokes better?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                          Kim Karsdashian has a few successful TV shows, workout DVDs; she models, produces a line of clothes, has appeared in movies and other TV shows and has made millions. I'd say she's done better than Spike.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                            "done better" is irrelevant.

                                                                                                                                            she whose name i will not type, has, indeed, appeared in a movie and t.v. show or two appearing as someone not herself. however, those roles are few and far between, and i'd like to think she'd agree she's not an actress.
                                                                                                                                            i think she and the people reading this board would agree meryl streep acts for a living.
                                                                                                                                            spike cooks, runs restaurants, and does demos live and on t.v. to earn his daily bread. that is what jacques pepin does for a living.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                              Okay. You obviously care more and put more thought into it that I do. All I base it on is what I see on TV. I don't follow either really.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                nope, didn't take any thought at all, actually. it's that obvious.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                              I don't like Spike as he is certainly a media whore. However, he graduated from the CIA and has worked at Bouchon and Le Cirque, so I imagine he can really cook. He just prefers to make money and be "famous."

                                                                                                                                              1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                o.k., just for the heck of it. again, not taking into quality or skill level, what is it jacques pepin does now that spike doesn't, food wise?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                  umm . . . I was taking linus' side?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                    You cannot compare Spike to Jacques. Jacques is a true master at his craft - and he is humble. Chefs are awed by him as they were by Julia Child.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                                                                                                                      I really liked seeing how the other chefs on the panel, like Ming Tsai and Richard Blais revered Jacques Pepin on the panel. Vs the "kinda, sorta' putting themselves in the same category because they all happen to be at the same place.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                        i really liked seeing how spike revered jacques pepin on the panel.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                          Spike wasn't on the panel with the others.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                            i thought i saw him up there with everyone else.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                              Everyone else? There were just five chefs, maybe, no Spike. And, only Richard and Ming Tsai were shown talking about Jacques Pepin being a god of cooking. Either way, I see your point that Spike has some cooking skills but I just threw out a flippant remark about it w/out giving it much thought. I have no idea who Kim Kardashian really is or does, only that she's a celebrity. Had I known it would generate heated discussion I would have picked someone else but really can't be bothered to raise my level of antipathy here. My only point was that Spike is no where "kinda, sorta" the league of the chefs he thinks he is, just because he's there.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                  "My only point was that Spike is no where "kinda, sorta" the league of the chefs he thinks he is, just because he's there."

                                                                                                                                                                  Exactly. Spike has a LONG way to go to be at the same level of Jacques Pepin. Not that I'd ever expect him to make it to that level.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                    That's the thing, too--he doesn't seem to have an interest in it, just in the celebrity/money/winning. Even in Top Chef, he grabbed the proteins not that he wanted but that he wanted to prevent others from using them. Contrast that with Chris Constentino's sharing his pork belly or Takashi sharing his egg. Both wanted to show they were the best cook there, not to screw the other to win. He's not "kinda sorta" in their league. He was invited because he's a celebrity, not because of his cooking chops.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                      Here. Here.

                                                                                                                                                                      I assert that Spike isn't even a real celebrity. He just paying a good PR person to keep his name out there.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                        I'm not sure why this was directed at me?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                            LOL! OK, that made me spit my morning coffee, as it was the last thing I expected to read!

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: wincountrygirl


                                                                                                                                                            I love and admire Jacques Pepin as well as Julia Child. I think of them both as brilliant in any kitchen and thoroughly enjoyable to view on television.

                                                                                                                                                            I'm happy to say I enjoyed last nights' episode. watched it this morning after I got my husband out the front door, lunch and coffee in tow.

                                                                                                                                                            Spike seemed more palatable, Jen was fun to watch at the catered event and racing the car, Richard celebrated his wifes' birthday and Fabio, well, Fabio......he was a bit annoying only because he gave little real personal time to his mom. he also can't put down a flippin phone for anything on earth. geeeeze, you'd think his phone was connected to his hand.

                                                                                                                                                            Jen became more real to me seeing her love her mom so much, seemed to really be a home body if only she'd have the chance...
                                                                                                                                                            I loved the bag Richard got his wife for her birthday plus the gun club shooting range thing, my husband would adore if I took an interest.
                                                                                                                                                            Spike seemed to genuinely enjoy the wedding of his cousin.
                                                                                                                                                            Wish Fabio could or would relax, I hear it extends a life :;-/

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                              Hmm. Did we watch the same show?

                                                                                                                                                              Whatever one might think of Spike Mendelsohn or Fabio Viviani (and I have my opinions) I thought the episode portrayed familial (mother) abuse. As for Richard Blais and his wife - I thought the show decidedly implied that his wife did NOT like the backpack (even if you did) and it seemed to me that RB was experiencing a mild level of spousal abuse.

                                                                                                                                                              But - to each their own, and to each their own interpretations.

                                                                                                                                                          3. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                            If you don't take into account quality or skill level, there is probably little difference between what Jacque Pepin does than what Spike does, food wise. But there's also little difference between Pepin and Paris Hilton, food wise. Or Pepin and me, food wise.

                                                                                                                                                            Isn't quality and skill level all we are talking about, food wise?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                              that's just silly. paris hilton doesn't make her living in the food industry. and we were talking about peers, not skill level.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                You said we were talking about skill level and quality.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                  the original point was about who was whose peer. look at chowser's post about spike claiming to be pepin's peer.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                    In fairness to Spike, who would we consider to be Pepin's peer, to compare well against him? Dude has the bona fides of Thomas Keller, the charisma and affability of Julia Child, and has spent decades in the spotlight without a single misstep.

                                                                                                                                                                    Spike has indeed gotten more attention than some TC contestants who were better competitors because he's good at playing the game and using his airtime to his advantage. And IMO - more power to him. He's a clever guy, and his cleverness has been rewarded. Getting more airtime is good for his restaurant, his coworkers, and his family - it's not necessarily an exercise in egomania.

                                                                                                                                                                    But being good at playing the game doesn't mean he's a bad cook or a bad chef. There have been a bare few Top Chef contestants who've struck me as bad or mediocre cooks, and Spike is not one of them. The nature of the competition tends to make even very good cooks seem quite fallible. Sure, he's no Voltaggio or Qui or Blais, but he's cooked a few things that have shown a respectable degree of skill, especially considering the constraints of a competition.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                      "But being good at playing the game doesn't mean he's a bad cook or a bad chef. "

                                                                                                                                                                      That's a good point, although playing the game, to bring others off their game is what bothers me about him. This is about being the best chef for a lot of them, not about being the best Top Chef contestants. I think of it more like the Olympics--I root for the contestant who wants to be the best athlete, not the best one because he tries to cause the others not do perform their best. I do realize it's a personal thing and some don't care about that, only about the final results. I don't remember details as well as other CH about who cooked what well but I can't remember Spike doing that well as cooking goes. I just looked it up and he never won. He was "low" five times, only bested by Lisa who was also overrated in her mind. He was "high" only once. He played the game well. What did he cook that wowed the judges?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                        It's true that he didn't distinguish himself on TC (although he had one "high" on season 8 as well). But saying he was middle of the pack is no small compliment, as many of the chefs are quite accomplished. He clearly is at a minimum a decent chef, but has chosen a career path (at the moment) that place business success over culinary craft. And who can blame him? If his businesses are thriving, providing income for his family and the families of others, that's an accomplishment.

                                                                                                                                                                        As for him and Pepin, they are peers of a sort. The fact that Pepin is FAR more accomplished and talented -- something I doubt Spike would disagree with -- doesn't make them not peers of a sort. Someone on my local city council or my local state representative can rightly call themselves a peer of a sort with a US Senator. They face many of the same challenges and rewards, even if the scale is vastly different. And yes, a person making their money from acting can rightly call Meryl Streep a peer; it doesn't mean they think they deserved an Oscar too.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                                                          We just have different definitions of what a peer is. I grew up playing the violin, was number 1 in the state in high school, played in the university orchestra at 14. In no way would I consider myself a peer to Joshua Bell or Itzak Perlman. That would be laughable to me.

                                                                                                                                                                          Spike is great at playing the game, capitalizing on fame. I'm not putting that down.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                            so, if a group of people were to a) ignore your resume, b) had never heard you play, c) said all your accomplishments were because you knew how to play the game (finagle your way through competitions, con judges, etc.), d) were invited to subsequent music festivals and panels merely because you were 'famous,' for having been #1 in the state and playing in the university orchestra, and e) said you're no itzhak perlman, would that be a fair assessment of you?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                              Edit: this is in response to chowser, not linus.

                                                                                                                                                                              No, I would say that you weren't much of a peer of those people either. However, if you played professionally, in local orchestras and small chamber ensembles, and made your living by doing so, then I would say you were their peer, generally speaking, even if you couldn't match their skill.

                                                                                                                                                                              Note that there are different kinds of peers. If I go to college, then others who also attend college are my peers generally speaking, in that we all go to college. Those who attend my specific school are in a smaller peer group, those in my particular class even smaller still, and those who, like me, are on the Dean's list are peers of an even smaller peer group (hey, if I'm creating a hypothetical I should at least be smart in it ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                              The point is that as a professional chef who runs his own restaurants and appears on TV, it is pretty fair to say that he is a peer of a sort of Pepin. It does not necessarily mean that he is Pepin's equal in cooking skill or grace.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm not sure Spike would agree with that. He never said he's alway been a peer to these chefs but that now he's at the f&w festival, he kinda, sorta is. Honestly, I don't know how I get sucked into these discussions. I really couldn't care less about Spike. I just thought it was funny that he said that. I'm done with this, hopefully.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Anybody watched the 3rd episode?

                                                                                                                                                      I thought this was the "family abuse" episode.
                                                                                                                                                      • Fabio Viviani treated by his mother like an infant.
                                                                                                                                                      • Spike Mendelsohn twarted and drowned/smothered/crushed by his mother at every turn.**
                                                                                                                                                      • Richard Blais feeling emasculated by his wife.

                                                                                                                                                      Only Jennifer Carroll seemed to have a supportive family (the father-daughter relationship seemed decent) although the competitiveness still came through (getting her to competitively drag-race against seasoned pros?? WTF)

                                                                                                                                                      **Maybe his passive-aggressive behavior (like deliberately continuing to ski only 90 minutes before that wedding and just getting off the ski lift at minus 40 minutes to the wedding!!) is wrapped up in this? Just a wild speculation.

                                                                                                                                                      Just some impressions that came over from a single viewing of the show with cursory attention paid.

                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                        Agree with the overall characterization of the episode. Spike's an idiot. I don't care if he "does this all the time". It's totally done to be P/A against his mother. And geez - Spike's mother needs to back off. Her spouting off what she didn't like about the restaurant they were in where Spike took some inspiration - with the owners right behind them - was a bit much.

                                                                                                                                                        Fabio's mama needs to loosen the apron strings, although Fabio's going to have a massive heart attack if he doesn't slow down; Jen's family is very supportive. Although the drag-racing seemed to try and tie in with the "here's what we do in our off time" theme of the show.

                                                                                                                                                        Interesting dynamic between Blais and his wife. I understand she wants him home more - but she knew what she was getting into when she married him.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          Here's part of the blurb [http://www.bravotv.com/life-after-top...] for Episode 5 (posted as being on at 10 pm on Wed Nov 7...:-D ):
                                                                                                                                                          "Then, it’s back to D.C., where Spike scouts his new bistro location and serves up a tasting only to have his parents derail his every decision."

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                            Except TV Guide says it'll be shown @ 9pm. :-)

                                                                                                                                                      2. It's readily apparent that the Elves picked a story line for each of the cast members and are running with it with their cooperation as well as their family's.

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. Richard Blais and wife--editing or do they have a scary marriage? After watching last night, I thought, she'd better hope nothing ever happens to him or she'll be a prime suspect.

                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                            As many others have said, the editing elves can't make hay without what the participants actually allowed to come out of their mouths. IIRC, Richard Blais actually said some pretty worrisome things - e.g. that he had to constantly prove that he was worthy to be her husband, his rhetorical question about whether he should be concerned with his wife's display of aggressive shooting at the target ...and something about his image affixed on that target. Etc.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                              Yeah, but giving them the benefit of the doubt on the butter knife and target shooting comments, I thought those might be an odd deadpan sense of humor that he's shown throughout the seasons. That he has to constantly prove he's worthy seems to be a recurring them in his life overall. If these comments are straightforward, then someone in his life needs to step in. If they're taken out of context, his poor wife.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                Richard Blais probably feels he always has to prove himself worthy of his wife because he was at a real low point when he was dating his wife- he was way overweight and his restaurant had closed. When he's with his wife, he probably still sees himself as the chubby guy who got locked out of his own restaurant and had no money even though he's no longer that same guy.

                                                                                                                                                                I know raising kids is tough, but I find the Blaise's wife a bit too much. First of all, she first met Richard when they worked at the same restaurant so the hectic lifestyle of a chef shouldn't be a surprise to her. If anything, with the fame from Top Chef, Blaise might have a more flexible, accommodating schedule than if he was just another faceless executive restaurant chef.

                                                                                                                                                                And, isn't his wife a stay-at-home mom? At the very least, I think I remember she has a nanny for help. That's a lot more than some single moms who have to both work and take care of the kids all by themselves.

                                                                                                                                                            2. So...some selected vignettes from episode 4 as viewed with a slightly jaundiced eye:

                                                                                                                                                              • Richard Blais buys a knife as his present to his wife for their Anniversary. Maybe he does have a death wish.
                                                                                                                                                              • Fabio Viviani still has Mommy Issues, and still can't stop himself from making comments about Angelo Sosa wearing tight pants. Really, Viviani, you don't know what tight pants actually look like.
                                                                                                                                                              • There is a Top Chef parolees group-mosh in NYC. The swan-necked Happy Dancer and the Pretty Mermaid-man join our Intrepid Duo at the place run by the Angry-Cabinet-Basher who cooked for them. The only one in that group who actually won a Top Chef series continues to wring his hands about being worthy enough.
                                                                                                                                                              • Spike Mendelsohn & Jennifer Carroll keep getting lost with the aid of on-board GPS, paper maps, and internet-enabled hand-held gizmos but finally get to do farm stuff. Carroll screams like, uh, a little girl at turkey-catching time but later sneers that Mendelsohn is a kid trapped in a man's body, "If you want to call it that." Whoa. Mendelsohn talks himself out of having his way with a drunk Carroll, and...nighty-night.


                                                                                                                                                              14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                Yup. That's about it. Essentially, this is 4-5 weeks of filler for Bravo before TC-Seattle starts.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                  I thought the revelation into Fabio's childhood, scrapping for food, working crazy hours at a young age, his dedication to his parents, was great. It totally puts him in to a different light for me. I get that people think he's bombastic, a media whore, etc. But guess, what, if you grew up with nothing, and now all of a sudden this Fabio image is what brings in the bucks? I'm doing the exact same thing. Kudos to him for a remarkable rags to riches story (assuming it's all true).

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                                                                                    I thought the same thing. I thought they all seemed more interesting and likeable this episode.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                      yeah, actually the one guy who i increasingly dislike is Blais. Jen seemed so much more human and spike really brought some joy out of her. Spike just seems like a good dude - he realizes he's a douche and that's part of his schtick and it works for him. But man, richard needs to relax and live life - i remarked to my wife that when they were sititng at Talde, i was so annoyed that all he could do was talk about how others were doing and comparing himself. I hate those types of people in real life and almost never become friends with them.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, I feel bad for Blais. He's that tormented genius who will never be good enough in his eyes and he seems like that in all aspects of his life. I like him, though, maybe because I feel motherly. He doesn't put down the others for their accomplishments and that would bother me. He seems genuinely happy for their successes but he has to stop trying to live up to everyone or he'll never be happy.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, it's definitely not about him being a bad person or being envious of others. But, man, is he ever a debbie downer to be around, it seems. Everyone else, even Jen, seems capable of loving life.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                      I want to go to Dale's restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                      I thought Spike's descriptions of Jen were great--eg like Paris Hilton on Simple Life. I liked seeing their relationship. I didn't think he talked himself out of having his way as much as he was making a joke that whether he did or didn't, she wouldn't remember.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chefhound

                                                                                                                                                                            he is who he is. he's the type of guy who would go on some silly road trip with Jen because a) it's what friends do and b) it seemed like fun. seems like that's the type of person i'd like to hang out with.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                            > I want to go to Dale's restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                            ME TOO. He had me at "pretzel dumplings."

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                                                                                              uh yeah, all the food looked great. it's added to my list next time i'm back in ny.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Is any press really good press?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. it may have been filler until next show starts but tired and half asleep as I was, it entertained

                                                                                                                                                                            1. I just re watched "Good shuck with that". . Did I understand Richard to say his asparagus dish was inspired by the smell of (asparagus in ) his urine?

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                yea Shrink, he did. I think he took them aback.
                                                                                                                                                                                I'd recently heard that same statement about asparagus and wondered where the statement came from too other than out of left field/no where.

                                                                                                                                                                                this morning after hubby left I watched the taped show from last night.
                                                                                                                                                                                basically all in all I took away that it was about 73% enjoyable.
                                                                                                                                                                                there was a lot of Fabio and his bromance thing.
                                                                                                                                                                                there was a lot of Spikes family involvement.
                                                                                                                                                                                enjoyed Jen and Spikes adventure and Richards tenacity about his upcoming restaurant.
                                                                                                                                                                                I'm starting to see the light for Jen.
                                                                                                                                                                                enjoyed Spike more this episode.
                                                                                                                                                                                loved the horseback riding with Fabio and do hope he starts to relax and enjoy life one day.
                                                                                                                                                                                Richard is passionate about his restaurants as well he should be. he entertained.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. a lot of yawn moments last night for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                  How long does this thing go on? I assumed it was a lead up to the real Top Chef but obviously it's got more legs than that.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                    The upcoming episode on Wednesday is supposed to be the finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                      That's what I thought, and I stopped watching when Top Chef-Seattle started up. Besides, Shemar Moore on Criminal Minds is awfully nice to look at. ;-)