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Top Chef Seattle - Ep. #3 - 11/21/12 (Spoilers)

It's Thanksgiving during a Seattle summer! And based on the previews, they'll be cooking under Tom C. and Emeril to dish out a Thanksgiving dinner.

But first, we have a Quickfire. The cheftestants enter the TC Kitchen, and Dana Cowen, editor of Food & Wine, is there as guest judge. Padma shows them a world map that has 17 different knives that note where 17 different dumplings have been created - so each cheftestant has an hour to make the dumpling. Each chef will get a Kindle Fire to research their dumpling - they have 5 minutes to grab their dumpling knife and figure out how to make that particular dumpling. Carla is having problems figuring out how to make fufu (from Africa) as she cannot type it on the Kindle with her cut hand.

And Kuniko never got anything on her plate. :-(

Stefan - Klopse/Germany - Ground lamb, mashed potatoes, and caper sauce.
Lizzie - Szilvas Gomboc/Hungary - Plum & cinnamon filling in a potato pastry.
Carla - Fufu/Africa - Chicken & lamb filling with a red sauce (she didn't get to read the recipe online so she created her own)
CJ - Pierogi/Poland - Veal and pork filling with demi-glace
Kuniko - no dish to judge
Josie - Mandu/Korea - Pork, tofu, shiitake mushroom filling
Bart - Potetball/Norway - Potato ball with lamb & fried spaghetti
Kristen - Momo/Nepal - Pork & chicken liver with ginger and cumin
John - Kroppkaka/Sweden - Potato dumpling with bechamel sauce
Sheldon - Jiaozi/China - Pork & shrimp filling with shiitake mushrooms
Brooke - Siomay/Indonesia - Chicken & shrimp with peanut sauce & daikon (she didn't get any flour)
Micah - Manti/Kazakhstan - Ground lamb with dates, curry & cinnamon

We don't get to see the remaining five dumplings.

Bottom group - Brooke, Carla, Kuniko
Top group - Josie, Stefan, and Micah

And the winner? Josie! And Stefan looks bent out of shape that he didn't win. Good. ;-)

For the Elimination Challenge, they're cooking Thanksgiving dinner for FareStart, the recent James Beard Foundation award winner for Humanitarian of the Year. Padma asks the 8 on the left to be one team, the remaining 7 will be the other team. And Tom Colicchio and Emeril walk into the TC kitchen to be the team leaders. As CJ said "Holy f*ckballs, we're going to be working with Tom and Emeril - it's crazy!" Tom will lead the Red Team, and Emeril will lead the Gray Team. Tom C. and Emeril will help guide the teams, but the teams themselves will do the actual cooking.

Emeril goes with a Creole type of Thanksgiving, while Tom C. will go with an Italian-American style Thanksgiving. Both teams get cooking, and Tom and Emeril are helping with prep. They look like they're actually having a lot of fun.

The next day, they have 5 hours to cook their meal for the volunteers, students and chefs of FareStart. Josie calls the South vs. the northern Italian as the Civil War of Thanksgiving. Stefan bitches about not having any room for him to work because the other team has taken up all the space. He and John Tesar *just* barely start to get into a bit of name calling.

CJ is looking to take the lead to ensure his team is getting things done on time. John enlists Kuniko to help him because "her dish is basic and simple". Kuniko knows she has to time herself very carefully today so she doesn't run out of time. Kristen asks Kuniko "how is your dish?" and she replies "Haven't touched" (because she's so busy helping out John). Kristen asks her if she has time, and Kuniko says "I think so."

Tyler reveals that he's been sober for the past 7 months He said one of the traditions he had at his house was to get hammered really early. He's struggled with alcoholism for about 25 years, but feel he's now on a good path. Josie looks at her turkey, and she's not happy with the color of the bird. She drops down the temperature to try and go low and slow so it doesn't burn.

Tom C. and Emeril walk in to see the dishes - Emeril's concerned about how dark the birds are on his team, and is hoping it's not too dry. He said "as long as it's not overcooked" and Josie said "no." (She took responsibility with the turkeys because she has immunity).

Carla freaks out when Stefan and CJ both taste the base of what will be her soup. She's hollering there's no seasoning, and they both tell her they *know* there was no seasoning. She continues to harp about not being called sweetie or honey, don't tell her what the f*ck to do. Stefan says "That's why I left Europe - European women!"

The diners arrives, and Emeril's Gray Team is going to serve first. The director of FareStart, Megan Karch, is with the judges, along with Dana Cowin, and Thierry Rautureau, chef/owner of Rover's & Luc.

Josie explains that they are serving a Creole/Cajun Thanksgiving.

The turkey is carved, and it shows quite a bit of pink in the middle. Emeril said the seasoning is right, but Dana notes it was too raw on the inside. Josie was obviously not there when it was carved, as she said in a camera aside that she was happy with the turkey overall. She wasn't sure if it was overcooked, if it was dry, or if it was moist. I think it's VERY good she has immunity, as she would go home for raw turkey!

Danyele did Emeril's Mom's Bread Stuffing with Chorizo & Cayenne

John nailed Emeril's Cornbread Stuffing with Ground Turkey and Diced Bacon

Kristen did an Assiette of Root Vegetables, Parsnip Truffle Puree and Creme Fraiche - Tom didn't think it needed the creme fraiche, and Emeril thought the root vegetables were underseasoned.

Tyler's Andouille & Shrimp Gumbo - Emeril thought it had a bitter finish. Thierry said it was lacking depth. Emeril said he doesn't think Tyler added the Worcestershire and hot sauces.

Kuniko's Potato Pave - Padma and Dana both note the potatoes were raw, and Tom C. said it was also underseasoned. Back in the kitchen, Kuniko asks John who asked about pave, and John said "just one gentleman asked."

Sheldon's Braised Greens with Ham Hocks were well seasoned, but needed to be cooked more.
Brook's Sweet Potato Buttermilk Biscuits - Dana loved the "slight crunch of the [pumpkin] seed" and Tom said it could be a new tradition.

Chrissy's White Chocolate & Pecan Bread Pudding - both Padma, Thierry and Megan Karch all loved the bread pudding.

John's Spiced Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Ricotta Torte - Thierry loved it, but others noted it was a bit grainy, which John even noted in the kitchen when speaking to another chef.

Next up is the Red Team's Italian-style Thanksgiving Dinner.

CJ's Braised Turkey with Tom's Stuffing (which has foie gras, sausage, fennel and kale). Tom said there's probably 3 lbs. of butter used to baste the bird, and CJ said he's never basted anything so long in his life.

Carla's Carrot Soup with Turkey Meatballs - Megan said that there's a lot of carrot soup at FareStart because the students learn their knife skills on carrots. Dana loves the meatballs and the creamy soup.

Bart made Fennel, Gorgonzola, Orange & Pumpkin Seed Salad - Dana liked the bitter greens as a palate cleanser, but Padma thought the salad could have used a bit more refinement.

Josh made Sweet Potato Ravioli with Pecans - Emeril said it was the weakest thing on the plate - the dough was a little tough. Tom noted that the sides of the ravioli was double thick, and that he should have pressed down on the sides so the thickness was the same all around.

Michah made Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries, Bacon & Shallots - Thierry was looking for seconds very quickly! But Dana and Tom both think they weren't seasoned and a bit too greasy.

Lizzie made a Potato Puree - essentially Mashed Potatoes. Emeril was surprised to hear they were doing that, but said they were really, really good mashed potatoes.

Stefan made Panna Cotta with Orange Cardamom Crisp & Candied Pecans - the jam in between wasn't working for Thierry and Padma said the cardamom wasn't working for her, but Tom liked it.

Eliza made Chocolate Tart with White Chocolate & Mint Syrup - Emeril said the first bite was very good, but the second bite was an overload of chocolate. Thierry said the white chocolate wasn't necessary as it was already a chocolate bomb.

Tom said that since both he and Emeril were helping with the dishes, that the two of them shouldn't be part of the judging. Padma, Dana, Megan and Thierry have to decide which team is the winner. Megan and Thierry both choose Tom's Red Team, and both Dana and Padma also agree that the Red Team was the overall winner.

They discuss who should go home, and Dana tosses out Tyler and his Gumbo. Emeril notes that Sheldon's greens weren't cooked long enough, although all the taste components were there, and Tom notes that another 5 minutes and they would have shown. Next up is Kuniko and her Potato Pave. Emeril notes that they were cut to be plated - shouldn't she have tasted it to see if they were tasting properly? Tom noted "forget tasting them - you couldn't even put your knife through them!" Megan didn't mind the potatoes, but she only ate the top. Tom said that he knows Josie has immunity, but thinks that she needs to hear that she blew it for her team.

They head back to Judges Table, ad Padma comes in and tells the Red Team they are the winning team. She asks to see CJ, Carla, and Lizzie. She tells Carla that she loved her soup. Emeril loved Lizzie's potatoes. Dana asks her if she knows Joel Robuchon's potatoes - and was she aiming for his half butter/half potato? Lizzie said yes she was, and Dana told her she hit the mark. Tom and Padma tell CJ that his turkey was perfectly done.

Dana announces the winner - and it's Carla's Carrot Soup!

Padma asks them to send back Tyler, Kuniko, Sheldon and Josie. (WTH is John going off on Danyelle in the Stew Room about how she did/didn't do with her dish?) Josh and CJ both are amazed at him doing so. (Couldn't understand what they were saying though.)

Tom notes that Josie's turkey was undercooked, although she thought it was on the medium side. Emeril asked about Tyler's gumbo - what did he do? Tyler said he put more roux in - Emeril asked if he tempered it, and Tyler said he did. Dana asked what flavor he was going for, and Tyler said he probably should have added more Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce after he added the roux, adn he decided not to. Tom said the end result was it was underseasoned.

Kuniko said she learned about the history of Louisiana and southern cooking, which she didn't know. Dana noted the potato pave was undercooked, and Kuniko said she was pushed for time. Tom said they had 5 hours to cook - Josie jumped in to say that Kuniko jumped in every single place where she needed to, but Padma said she can only judge on the potatoes she got - and it was plain and undercooked. Sheldon's greens were supposed to be melted greens and Sheldon didn't want to cook them to mush. But Emeril said they should have been cooked more.

Back to JT for the decision - and it's Kuniko who's asked to PYKAG. I'm sad - I wish she had made it further in the competition. But she said that she has no regrets helping everyone else, as she thinks it would have been worse just taking care of herself.

And astonishingly, John Tesar is being a jerk back in the Stew Room by saying while he's one of her [Kuniko's] biggest fans, as a chef you can do potatoes in your sleep. They had 5 hours to cook, her mind was some place else. (YEAH! It was helping YOU out, John!) CJ asks why John has to say something like that *now* - John said "I'm not lecturing you" (speaking to CJ) but CJ said everything ends up being a lecture from John. Looks like it might be beginning with John getting up in people's faces. And some people aren't going to take it!

The preview for next week? They look to have to butcher a side of beef for one of the challenges!

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  1. Ha! I'm in ATL, so I'm first after Linda tonight!

    11 Replies
    1. re: Shrinkrap

      LOL! And it took me an hour and a half to get everything written (was the show 75 minutes long? I couldn't tell as I kept rewinding to get the details of the dishes).

      1. re: LindaWhit

        Naw, it was still an hour. And Carla is still annoying. And Stefan made another mediocre dessert, the same reason he did not win TC 5.

        1. re: John E.

          Yeah, but Carla's soup (once it was shown to be soup, as I had no idea what she was making when she started out!) looked really good.

          And yes - Stefan just ISN'T "all that", is he? :-/

          1. re: LindaWhit

            I just read on TWoP a post which pointed out that Stefan Richter has now had two narrow escapes in a row. In the previous episode because he was "edged out for the loss" by hockey-puck fish, and this time because he was on the winning team - after his dessert was heavily panned by the judges.

            1. re: huiray

              But because of the editing, we really do not know how Stefan's dish stacked up against his own team's dishes let alone the opposing team's dishes.

              1. re: John E.

                If the Red Team were the losing team then his dessert would have been on the chopping block from the comments about it. It would not have mattered how his dessert compared with those on the Grey Team. YES, the editing can skew our perceptions but, AGAIN, what we see/hear is what we have to go on.

                I think we hashed out the "editing, editing" screed exhaustively the last time.

              2. re: huiray

                Isn't this also twice now that Josie (who I otherwise like) has been comically hedgey when confronted with a bad dish?

                But also I'm getting tired of the "you had five hours" accusation on these shows. Was Kuniko to have cooked the potatoes five hours before serving? Should she have put them on a very low stove, perhaps cooked them by sunlamp? I'm not a pro so maybe I'm completely wrong but this just seems disingenuous on both Tom's and Tesar's part.

                1. re: ennuisans

                  Keep in mind that Tom had no idea Kuniko was helping everyone else out until Josie said so at JT. He knows only that she had the Potato Pavé to make. So I understand his questioning why the potatoes weren't cooked properly.

                  Tesar, on the other hand, was either deflecting attention away from the fact he enlisted Kuniko's assistance, or was clueless that she spent so much time helping him and others. Remember - Josie said that Kuniko jumped in to "help anyone who needed it" - *we* only saw her helping Tesar. So he gets the blame from the viewers' perspective.

                  But push come to shove, it was Kuniko's responsibility to manage her *own* time to prepare and cook her dish properly. She wanted to help others out, but it was to the detriment of her own dish because she couldn't say "I can't" to others.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    Undercooked potatoes are approaching risotto status for being the cause for PPYKAG.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Here's what a poster on TWoP had to say about John Tesar & Kuniko Yagi (and also Sheldon Simeon's greens):

                      I have to say I tend to agree with all the points there.

                      (BTW, regarding CJ J.'s reproach of John T.'s comment about Kuniko Y.'s time-management issue at the end - remember that he himself (CJ) commented in a voice-over in the QF that he was glad Kuniko Y. didn't manage to plate on time.)

                2. re: LindaWhit

                  but i have to say i LOVED that pic of a chubby little Stefan sitting by a river eating klopka with his mama. too funny.

          2. Did it seem to anyone else like John was blaming the team's loss on Emeril's heritage/background or am I just reading too much into his comments?

            I didn't expect Kuniko to go out so early but it seems like she might be one to get distracted easily which seems odd.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Boudleaux

              I think that's reading too much into John Tesar's comments.

              Pity about Kuniko Yagi. But yes, she does seem to have time-related issues. (Don't many of us!)

              1. re: huiray

                I think it was just the way he was saying it, the tone of voice, it made it sound accusatory. But you're probably right.

            2. Tom Colicchio wanted to send Josie Smith-Malave home. Pity about the immunity thing.
              (Don't they have meat thermometers?? Couldn't she have stuck one in the turkeys???)

              Too bad Kuniko Yagi went home. Still, even though John Tesar got her to help him out she needed to attend to her dish, and she didn't. He *was* being uncharitable, though, when he dissed her in the stew room for being unable to cook potatoes, since she had been helping him. Yes, looks like the "villain edit" is kicking in.

              I would have been fine with Tyler Wiard going home instead of Kuniko Yagi. Emeril Lagasse said the gumbo was "perfect" when he tasted it in the kitchen - so WHY did he mess with it and screw it up after that?!! And after Emeril L himself had set up the base for it himself!

              Carla Pellegrino seriously needs a tubful of Valium even though she had a point about CJ Jacobsen & Stefan Richter "honey-ing" and "sweetie-ing" her and also their telling her what to do. It is noted that the editors are starting to subtitle her dialogue. :-)

              52 Replies
              1. re: huiray

                And yet we never actually heard Stafan or CJ referring to her as "honey". Or did I miss it? So far, she has shown herself to be difficult to work with (rhymes with you know what). Or, she's getting a seriously negative edit. (My guess is she is actually a rhymes with witch).

                1. re: John E.

                  I think I did, but would need to rewatch to confirm. Or, maybe they did call her all that but those occasions were not shown on TV. But yes, she seems to be difficult to work with. I certainly would have difficulty with her. She needs to shut.the.fuck.up.

                  1. re: John E.

                    You missed it. Stefan did call her honey. And they've subtitled her dialog before (and I wish they'd continue doing so! She's such an excitable poodle type.) Here's a clip with him calling her honey http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Thanks for the link. I did miss it, because Carla was already throwing a fit before Strfan's offense. Carla seems to be an unpleasant person to work with in the kitchen.

                      1. re: John E.

                         "Carla seems to be an unpleasant person to work with in the kitchen."
                        Now that's the understatement of the season so far...

                        1. re: John E.

                          Stefan Richter is shown calling Carla Pellegrino "honey" **right before** CP uttered that sentence complaining about being called "honey" and "sweetie" etc.

                          1. re: huiray

                            You have better hearing than I do. Mostly all I heard was Carla's ranting, which by the way, she also does to her female contestqnts. I wonder if the women are also calling Carla sweetie and honey?

                            1. re: John E.

                              I heard it also and I don't think it was an editing insert. It did occur as patronizing. I don't think Stefan knows how to deal with someone like Carla. I don't think I know how to deal with someone like Carla, but calling her "sweetie" would not be my first tack.

                              1. re: chicgail

                                Is the reason Carla has gone off on her female competitors because they called her sweetie and honey?

                                (By the way, I have not indicated tgat believed editing was invooved in this bizarre exchange).

                                1. re: John E.

                                  No argument. I was just wondering and speculating.

                                  1. re: chicgail

                                    Speculation?!??!! We don't do that here, chicgail! ;-)

                                      1. re: chicgail

                                        Good. If I ever get back out to Chicago, you can reward your love with a visit to The Girl and the Goat. (To keep it Top Chef-centric, of course!) ;-)

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            How fun would that be! Just give us enough notice to get the rez.

                                              1. re: huiray

                                                I don't think Sprout has the brunch anymore. But, huiray, do join us for a threesome!

                                                1. re: chicgail


                                                  No more brunch at Sprout? Then they need to update their website. (Look at the blurb beneath the slideshow on their home page)

                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                    I saw that, but they don't show a brunch menu on the site. So I called and their recording said they are closed on Sunday and Monday. Maybe brunch moved to the new place, Frog and Snail.

                                                  2. re: chicgail

                                                    "do join us for a threesome!"
                                                    I beg your pardon? LOL

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      ahhhh linda linda linda..... we love how your mind works!

                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                        Gutter? Why yes, don't mind if I do!

                                                        :::: stepping down with chicgail, since *she* started it! ;-) :::::

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          Oh, great, now I get blamed for how Linda's mind works. But I did LOL at the whole exchange.

                                                          1. re: chicgail

                                                            please scoot over. there's room for plenty of us down here.

                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                another member of the dirty minds club, where's my pledge pin?

                                                                1. re: JenJeninCT

                                                                  just climb on down, mind the sewage.

                                    1. re: John E.

                                      " I wonder if the women are also calling Carla sweetie and honey?"

                                      We have no idea but it's not shown. We have no idea whether Padma or Tom or Emeril or anyone calls her or anyone else sweetie. Stephan was called out for it and he was shown doing it (and the order shown on TV of her complaining about it to the camera first, before you heard him do it, could have been changed. I can't imagine, as you're suggesting, that she predicted the future and assumed he would and then he did). But, Stephan is patronizing when he calls her that and that's all that matters in this. I don't like Carla, I couldn't work with someone like that but I'd never call the person "Sweetie" or "Honey" to put them in their place. That's not professional, though it is very Stephan who is anti-European women.

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        I'm not defending Stefan. My point is that it appears Carla does not need anyone to speak to her in a patronizing manner to set her off. She was was just as vocal to other contestants not named Stefan.

                                        1. re: chowser

                                          "...and the order shown on TV of her complaining about it to the camera first, before you heard him do it, could have been changed..."
                                          As I posted above (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8787...) about the episode as screened, Stefan Richter says, "Carla, Honey, Relax" JUST BEFORE the camera cuts back to Carla Pellegrino [continuing in her speech] saying, "You guys [note plural] decide to call me sweetie, and honey...and tell what the f**k to do is another."

                                          Take it for what you like and apply all the "editing, editing" arm-waving some posters here like to keep going on about.**

                                          Yes, I've rewatched that scene a few times now (I DVR'ed it) with headphones on and with the rewind/play buttons at fingertip on the remote.

                                          ** p.s. Here's a snippet from TPTB's "new" guidelines at the top of the board for discussing food TV shows:
                                          "Similarly, everyone knows that shows are edited -- unless you have solid reasons to believe that a specific edit is giving a wrong impression, pointing out that things are edited and it might be wrong isn’t helpful." ;-) :-P

                                          1. re: huiray

                                            Yes, I realize that. I was just saying that John E's original point, that Carla went off about being called "honey" and "sweetie" before Stephan was shown saying them didn't matter, even if it were true, which it isn't.

                                      2. re: huiray

                                        I never call anyone honey or sweetie.

                                        But I'd make an exception in her case, just to piss her off.

                                        1. re: sal_acid

                                          I would not want to piss off anyone who is good with knives. Although her knife skills are questionable since she hacked her own hand.

                                      3. re: John E.

                                        Am I the only one who noticed Stephan actually putting his hands on Carla at the end of that exchange? It kind of freaked me out, and I would have come unglued at that moment if I had been her. She was already mad, and now you're going to shake her by the shoulders? (yes, I realize that later in the scene, they then showed Carla with her hands on his face- plucking his eyebrows? or something?)

                                    2. re: John E.

                                      Missed those two "honeys" from Stefan during Carla's diatribe, despite repeated rewinds to figure out what she was saying. And I'm pretty sure I remember Stefan calling other female chefs "sweetie" or something like that in the kitchen in his season. And considering how demeaning he is to females, I wouldn't have put it past him to have done so for Carla - he obviously has no respect for her and many other female chefs...despite the fact that two females won the QF and EC this week.

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        I wonder why it seems to be ok for a woman to call a man 'sweetheart', 'sweetie', 'honey', or 'hon', but it is not ok for a man to use the same words when talking to a woman? By the way, I get called those words by women frequently, usually they are waitresses.

                                        1. re: John E.

                                          Not sure "it seems okay". There is one person, who in my life, on occasion, calls me honey. She copies charts, makes calls....so much more. Medical records.Might be worth it.

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            Waitresses might call everyone that but I've never heard a woman call a co-worker that in a professional workplace. Stephan doesn't call the male chefs nor treat them in the same way, eg comment about leaving Europe because of the women w/ eye rolling.

                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                            Yeah, I may not like Carla, but I'm on her side on this issue. As she pointed out, it seems Stefan calls the guys "chef" but the women "sweetie" or "honey," which is totally condescending.

                                            Speaking of which, CJ looked like he appointed himself head chef, tasting and adjusting other people's dishes. I don't know how well I would've taken that if I were one of the other cheftestants...

                                            1. re: piccola

                                              That was my feeling about CJ, too. Tom seemed to view it favorable at JT but I think it would be annoying for someone to self-appoint himself to oversee everyone else.

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                I also winced a bit when CJ Jacobsen familiarly patted Tom Colicchio on the back and chummily said "How's it going" to Colicchio. I wonder if his stint at Noma has given him (Jacobsen) a swollen head.

                                                1. re: huiray

                                                  I had the same thought about that back pat. Seemed presumptuous.

                                              2. re: piccola

                                                It's damned if you do, damned if you don't. If things fell apart, they, the judges would pound on the veterans if they did not take a leadership role. We also don't know if CJ jumped right in and took charge or whether he waited for someone else to step up. Magical editing and such.

                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                  " If things fell apart, they, the judges would pound on the veterans if they did not take a leadership role."

                                                  Why do you think so? Tom was in charge.

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    Weren't Tom and Emeril in the kitchen only on the first day?

                                                  2. re: Phaedrus

                                                    I'm not sure they would have blamed the veterans, though they definitely would have pointed out the lack of leadership. In any case, CJ would have been safe based on the turkey's merits.

                                            2. re: huiray

                                              I take this episode as evidence that the chefs are denied meat thermometers. That turkey looked like it was below 130 near the rib cage, and I can't imagine any chef sending a turkey out like that if they had a thermometer they could use to check it.

                                              I tend to disagree that Tyler should have gone home, just because undercooked potatoes are a more basic error than missteps adjusting a fairly complicated soup. I don't know why he kept adjusting it, but there are a few possibilities that could have been edited out. It's a shame that Kuniko went home as she is a talented chef who spent a lot of time helping others out, but that's always the story on Top Chef - there are no points awarded for generosity or being a team player, and people who help out at the expense of their own dish get sent home early.

                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                I distinctly remember past seasons of TC where chefs used instant read thermometers. I also remember seeing an instant read thermometer in the bicep pocket of somebody's chef jacket. But I do agree with you about sending out an underdone bird. Did they never learn the 'shaking the leg to see if it's done' technique?

                                                1. re: John E.

                                                  I seem to remember them using instant read thermometers in the past as well. I suspect they have been barred from using them either for this season or for some specific challenges, not that they have always been barred from using em.

                                              2. re: huiray

                                                I can't imagine working w/ someone like Carla. I agree about the CJ and Stephan attitude. I wonder if they do it to all the female chefs, or just her. OTOH, she was really funny when she said she had said "carrot and not cabbage" and that maybe she needs subtitles when she talks.

                                                1. re: huiray

                                                  Carla Pellegrino seriously needs a tubful of Valium even though she had a point about CJ Jacobsen & Stefan Richter "honey-ing" and "sweetie-ing" her and also their telling her what to do. It is noted that the editors are starting to subtitle her dialogue

                                                  This season would be like a tubful of Valium if it weren't for Carla.

                                                2. Reading the blogs on Bravo - Acheson and Reyhani took note that Micah Fields doesn't know that Kazakhstan is a real country. :-) Acheson further notes that Fields says that if it were real he would be "putting it in his Middle Eastern file" and notes further that it ISN'T in the Middle east and wonders about Fields' geographical illiteracy. :-)

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                    I was wondering if I'd misheard that Middle East comment! But I won't lie: I kinda like seeing smug Micah make a fool of himself. :)

                                                  2. sad Kuniko went home, as she seems talented and considerate of others.

                                                    Carla is annoying AS HELL but damn, that soup looked amazing. and i of course was suckered in to her story of raising her sisters because her parents both died at an early age. she got my sympathies up. but still annoying.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                      That soup looks amazing. I went to Bravo's site in search of the recipe,but all they have is a 10-minute video. Bah. Just the recipe, please!


                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                        Yes, I want to see that recipe as well - hopefully sometime in the next few days.

                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                          I was really hoping the Kuniko would go the distance. I can see why John Tesar is the most hated chef - he's an ass! Kuniko's generosity of spirit in helping him doomed her, and then he trashed her. What a jerk! Stefan continues continues to be a sexist pig. When will they send him home? I hope that happens soon...
                                                          Carla really is a pain. Even just watching her makes me want to yell at the TV. But oh my, that soup looked fantastic!

                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                            Carla is a selfish a-hole who gets her way through intimidation. Don't care how well she cooks or what story she gives to account for her shitty behavior.

                                                            1. re: sal_acid

                                                              I hate the idea of calling any female co-workers by "honey" or "sweetie," but given her outbursts - to say nothing about her comments about her own ass - I think it's a totally appropriate way to apply (in kind) to her. Condescending? yes. Sexist? yes. Maybe it's just the Elves, but I don't think the male chefs referred to any of the other women that way.

                                                              Behave with dignity and you get dignity in response. Behave like a jerk and expect it returned. I can't imagine anyone addressing Jen Carroll or Stephanie Izard as "sweetie".

                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                Yes! While I generally find it annoying when men refer to women as "chicks", "babe", "honey", "sweetie" etc., I agree that Carla was getting back what she gives out. I doubt any of the guys would have called Kuniko "sweetie".
                                                                Carla's selfish insensitivity would drive anyone crazy. How can anyone get anything done when there's someone constantly screaming incomprehensibly beside you? Yes, you might be the type of person that needs to talk to yourself while you work, but do you need to scream? And do we have to hear that you admire your own ass? This is not an episode of the Real Housewives or Top Model!

                                                          2. I, too, was sad to see Kuniko go home so early, but I thought from the beginning that she might not have the.... toughness, to make it. Just too dang nice :/ I have to say though, I let out quite the laugh when Carla called Stefan crazy. I thought to myself... really?? HE'S crazy?? lol I thought it was funny, too, that Stefan lost cooking his OWN traditional dumplings... that HAD to hurt! OH and the comment about the foie gras stuffing... "Oh I'm SURE it was passed down generation to generation!"

                                                            15 Replies
                                                            1. re: kubasd

                                                              I, too, was sad to see Kuniko go, but she had a bad day, first not being able to plate the QF and then her undercooked potatoes.

                                                              is there a LCK this season? Maybe she'll be back?


                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                It wasn't surprising that Kuniko went home early. Personalities like hers can never win TC. She made a comment that it is worse not to help someone than to go home for a bad dish. Good team player, good sous chef.. not an executive chef!

                                                                Once again we didn't get to see all the Quick fire dishes. The editing is driving me batty.

                                                                1. re: cwdonald

                                                                  i don't think this television program has anything to do with determining who would be a good executive chef.

                                                                  1. re: linus

                                                                    I agree.. BUT. There are leadership qualities that are show in the show, there are team work qualities shown, and what we saw from Koniko is her willingness to help without regard to her own position. Personalities like that like to please others, even to the detriment of her own situation. She didn't have the backbone to stand up and say its time for me to start my potato dish.

                                                                    1. re: cwdonald

                                                                      Just curious - do you have the "Heather Terhune type" in mind when you think of an EC?

                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                        There are worlds between Heather Terhune and Koniko Yagi. Worlds.

                                                                        1. re: chicgail

                                                                          Indeed there are. Worlds of difference. Hence my mild curiosity about what the poster had in mind instead as the sort who would have the personality to be an EC.

                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                            Koniko's gentleness and reticence do seem to be counter-productive to her being an effective EC - or an executive of any kind. It's just that Heather is so at the other end of the spectrum that I would not consider hiring her for a position with that kind of authority.

                                                                            1. re: chicgail

                                                                              Regarding HT - heh. HEH. Neither would I, personally.

                                                                              But regarding KY - dunno. Perhaps not in a generalized USAmerican context (again, in general) but she *has* already served as the EC of Comme Ça in LA and her boss (David Myers) has seen fit to have her as the EC in the shortly-opening Hinoki & the Bird. I might think of her style as "Japanese" in a way - seeking consensus, leading by example rather than by tyranny where needed, leading by virtue of her position (which does require deference from the others) and so on... [Sure, if you do it the "Shogun" way you would do it a little differently... :-) ] Let's also remember that in this present situation she is working with folks who are her equal or better, and it could be thought that she is aware of that. I wonder too if she knows of John Tesar's background (miles ahead of her's in terms of experience) so she, in "Japanese fashion", might have deferred to his "seniority"...just speculation on my part, I sure others will dispute my speculations...

                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                I thought Kuniko left with class and would much rather have a team player like her than someone who has a CYA attitude. You won't win TC but you'll leave knowing you did what the team needed. Did she realize her pave was bad? It never showed it but she was willing to serve it. They were small pieces, as Tom said, and she should have tasted it.

                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                  Good point. We didn't see her taste it. With the time issues she may have just sent it out.

                                                                                  It is odd that she wouldn't taste it or a team mate taste it before sending it out.

                                                                                  She has my respect though. I feel that she must be a very talented and hard working chef but not everyone does well at challenge type reality shows.

                                                                  2. re: cwdonald

                                                                    Kuniko Yagi is/was the Executive Chef at Comme Ça in Los Angeles. She was the chef de cuisine at Sona before that. She will be the EC at the upcoming Hinoki & the Bird, also in LA.

                                                                  3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                    Yes, actually I think it was noted last week that LCK starts either this week or next week.

                                                                  4. re: kubasd

                                                                    Stefan was among those in the best of the QF dumpling challenge so that while he did not win the QF, he certainly did not lose. If a loser was named, it would have to be Kunico.

                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                      ok, I should have phrases it better.... he didnt' win using his own homeland's traditional dish. :P

                                                                  5. From the Voltaggio "Top Recipe" video, I've attempted to put together a recipe for Carla's carrot soup with turkey meatballs here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8787...

                                                                    I don't see any leftovers involved... Do you?


                                                                    1. Just getting caught back up with this show after sitting out the opening. LW and her narrative style are back in my life. All is good.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                        Aww, thanks Phaedrus! I was probably a bit more verbose than usual last night, however. But there was no way I could leave out CJ's "Holy f*ckballs!" comment. ;-)

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          Yes, nice recap as usual, LW. Bravo & thanks.

                                                                      2. Just a few thoughts on Kuniko, who I loved.

                                                                        I knew she wasn't the type that does well in a competition like this. She is highly talented and when she was successful I loved her food. Her issues with English and time management was sure to get her at some point. I just wished it wasn't so soon.

                                                                        I don't think she needs Top Chef right now. She's young and should focus on her career. No doubt she is doing well. Good luck to her I hope she accomplishes her dreams.

                                                                        and if shes in LCK she could run for a while if she beats Jefferey because she'll only be focused on her food and lets hope she gets something on the plate.

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                          i'm not sure anyone "needs" top chef.

                                                                          1. re: linus

                                                                            Bravo or maybe the Magical Elves, maybe?

                                                                            1. re: linus

                                                                              Needs Top chief in the sense of money or notoriety, getting a foot in the door. Look at Spike, he surely needed Top Chef.

                                                                                1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                  I'm sure Spike a decent chef, but couldn't say that he's a great one. I can say that his PR agent is worth his/her weight in gold.

                                                                                  1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                    I think it's true of most of the TC contestants. There are some who are winners of awards but most are "up and coming" chef awards, not well established. There are few established, well known chefs who compete on the regular series. If so, they'd be on TCM and be competing for charities, not themselves. Look at the fame that's come to many of the TC competitors--it does jump start a new career.

                                                                              1. So - Last Chance Kitchen was supposed to start on Nov. 21st - which was yesterday. But it looks like an introductory video narrated by Tom C. So far, we have Jeffrey and Kuniko. Perhaps they're waiting for one more cheftestant to be eliminated from the TC Kitchen to add to the LC Kitchen for the first playoff game? (Although last year they started out with two eliminated cheftestants for their first LCK video - Janine and Andrew didn't make the Top 16 to win TC chef coats, and on this season, they've already established those with the TC chef coats).


                                                                                1. So John's asshole side came out a bit. I didn't like how he slammed Kuniko. She was helping him and that got her all sidetracked from her dish.

                                                                                  Also just to note about John's glasses. to me it looks like he's farsighted, maybe only uses them to read even. which is why he puts them up but it is weird, you'd think he'd put them on top of his head or use an eyeglass chain.

                                                                                  Also I would think the lenses would get smeared from the contact of the forehead skin.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                    Just noticed on TWOP that someone mentioned that putting the glasses on your head and pulling them on and off could cause hair to fall in food. So maybe it's a sanitation thing.

                                                                                    1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                      There are no sanitation issues at Judges Table.

                                                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                                                        Hahahaha true! Somebody get that guy a a eyeglass chain.

                                                                                  2. Winners and losers aside, it was nice to finally see an episode in which every contestant had to actually cook. No ceviches, no salads, and no tartars!

                                                                                    32 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: drubenero

                                                                                      Winners and losers aside, it was nice to finally see an episode in which every contestant had to actually cook. No ceviches, no salads, and no tartars!

                                                                                      I'm sorry. But that *is* cooking.

                                                                                      May Jiro Uno never read this thread.

                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                        I did overlook the salad, but at least the pumpkin was cooked, or was it marinated in lime juice for 20 minutes?

                                                                                      2. re: drubenero

                                                                                        Bart Vandaele made a fennel, gorgonzola, orange & pumpkin seed SALAD.
                                                                                        Application of heat was pretty minimal. :-)


                                                                                        1. re: drubenero

                                                                                          I thought it was disappointing in that many of the foods didn't take creativity or anything more than what most of us did at home on the same day. And, most of us didn't have burned turkeys on the outside, raw on the inside, raw potatoes, undercooked greens. I like seeing chefs be creative, more than the average decent home cook which is what the menu read like.

                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                            Until reading your post I had not realized that I can cook like a Top Chef. Lizzie's mashed potatoes were one of the top three dishes. Yesterday I cooked 25 pounds of mashed ootatoes using a pound of butter and nearly a half gallon of whole milk.

                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                              Wow. How was it? I have to try that some time. Why whole milk instead of cream--are you all watching what you eat?;-)

                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                I was assigned to peel potatoes nine years ago at our large extended family's Thanksgiving at my cousin's house. I ended up making the mashed potatoes as well. I joke that I try to make them crappier and crappier each year so I can be assigned to bring beer or buns or something easy like that. So far my strategy has not worked. I cook the potatoes in a 32 quart lobster pot on an outdoor propane burner. I had to buy the milk at a convenience store because I forgot the 1/2 & 1/2 at home.

                                                                                              2. re: John E.

                                                                                                Except according to Dana, the Robuchon formula is 2:1 potatoes:butter. So for 25 lbs of potatoes, you'd need 12.5 lbs butter. I was so intrigued by that, I had to google the recipe (I like butter and milk in my mashed, but really?)

                                                                                                Looks like he scales it back to a 4:1 ratio for the US (so you'd need only 8+ lbs of butter :) and about 3/4 - 1 gallon of milk.

                                                                                                Talk about a once a year recipe.

                                                                                                1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                  When I heard the comments from Dana I did not believe that she was speaking in literal terms. I don't think I would want mashed potatoes with that much butter. When I made the potatoes yesterday, I used about half again as much butter as I would normally use and that was enough. If I am making a small amount of mashed potatoes I prefer to use a ricer and then a whisk.

                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                    At that point, it's not exactly mashed potatoes. It's more like a very rich potato puree of which you eat a tiny portion.

                                                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                      If I were to listen to my cardiologist, a very small portion. If I were to listen to the glutton in me? A significantly larger portion.

                                                                                                2. re: John E.

                                                                                                  I was watching the same thing and was amazed at the excitement over the potatoes from the judges.
                                                                                                  I was taught by my grandmother, 50 years ago, the same technique. Granted she cooked in the French method, but I thought everyone made them this way. I've rarely eaten anyone else's mashed potatoes other than mine so I was surprised.

                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                    Really? I would consider these 1:1 or 2:1 or even the 4:1 potato:butter mashed potatoes to be exceptional and NOT something that i would either prepare or expect in a restaurant on any regular basis. YOU may do it all the time but that does not mean it is the normal mashed potatoes that everyone else on earth makes.

                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                      Nope, not something normal; something extraordinary for a special occasion. Like a meal at Robechon or a once a year Thanksgiving meal. In a small amount. (Unless you eat at Joel Robuchon's several times a week.)

                                                                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                        That's the point....I thought, and obviously I'm wrong, that's this is the way mashed potatoes are made. I make them about once a week at my home, not just on special occasions.

                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                          Then you better invite me to dinner every month. (I'd say every week, but I wouldn't survive ;)

                                                                                                          Then again, unlike the American mound of potatoes, Joel says 1-2 tablespoons would be good.

                                                                                                          ETA: 5 lbs of potatoes with a 1/2 lb of butter and a cup of whole milk is my once-a-year potatoes.

                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                          Well thank you latin. Do you know how painful it is for Jameson's to come through your nose in a fit of laughter?

                                                                                                      2. re: latindancer

                                                                                                        I just came back from Paris where I had the famous Joel Rubuchon's mashed potatoes, and it is phenomenal. I never knew mashed potatoes could taste so good, by far the best I've ever had (even commented on it on the France board before I saw the TC episode today). Someone on the France board replied to me that he uses 2:1 potato:butter. I think it's part butter, but I could see the kitchen, and they were hand whipping the mashed potatoes for a looong time, ensuring fluffiness and airiness but maintainging creaminess.
                                                                                                        When I saw the episode today, I wondered if it was similar to JR's, and the judge made that comment, so I figured it must've been pretty damn good.

                                                                                                        1. re: spicychow

                                                                                                          Bourdain's went to Robuchon's restaurant a couple of seasons ago with Eric Ripert. That was one of the main dishes he was served. In fact he asked Robuchon what he would like to eat as a last meal, and Robuchon said the whipped potatoes. They also showed the preparation of the dish.

                                                                                                      3. re: chowser

                                                                                                        Perhaps, but they also didn't have much time - that included prepping from scratch and 5 hours cooking for everything plus they had to cook for 5 tables of 8 diners each = 40 diners besides the judges. Don't forget too that it was Emeril Lagasse and Tom Colicchio who basically specified what sort of dishes they had to do - all of which were "traditional dishes" according to their individual family histories - so the cheftestants didn't have that much wriggle room. I thought they came up with decent/interesting stuff in general within those constraints, whether the execution was successful or not. The stuffing that John Tesar did, for example, was basically a recreation of Emeril Lagasse's mom's stuffing - which appears to have been laid out by EL - and which EL said John "nailed". OTOH, Brooke's sweet potato buttermilk biscuits seemed very well received with Tom Colicchio suggesting that it might establish a new tradition - and I'm not sure that every average decent home cook would have done something like that. And so on.

                                                                                                        I'm sure there are many Chowhounds here who turn out exquisite and wildly imaginative dishes in a Western/European tradition (when they are not putting out the "specified"/"expected" traditional recipes that allow no variation that their families expect) but how much time did it take you?

                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                          I thought Tom's directions gave them a lot of room to play--an Italian twist on American favorites. I've made sweet potato rolls, sweet potato gnocchi before. Not that out of the box, although there is a skill to making biscuits. I'm not putting down how it tasted, just that the menu didn't seem to stretch them much. They had 5 hours to do one dish. Panna cotta--that takes little time other than letting it refrigerate.

                                                                                                          I'm your basic home cook. The night before, I made the base of a key lime cheesecake the night before (hands on cooking time less than 20 minutes). The next morning, slept in, got in a 5 mile hilly run, coffee w/ friends. Then got home to make the second layer of the cheesecake w/ candied cranberries, mashed potatoes, stuffing, peanut butter w/ chocolate chip cookies, cleaned the house, including the bathrooms and floor, set the table, etc. and got in a nap. We had 25ish people. If I had five hours to make just mashed potatoes, I hope I'd pretty much nail it.

                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                            I somehow doubt you're a basic home cook. :-)

                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                              Thanks, but I am--a little ADD so I do a little here and there but pretty much Sandra Lee-like, as much as I'd hate to admit it. Well, Sandra Lee w/out the processed food.

                                                                                                            2. re: chowser

                                                                                                              It would take some serious illegal drugs for me to do all that.

                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                LOL, or fear of in-laws in my case.

                                                                                                          2. re: chowser

                                                                                                            I think one problem with telling the chefs to cook Thanksgiving food is they feel compelled to cook something familiar and traditional, lest their glazed torchons of turkey with microgreens get criticized for not evoking thanksgiving. It tends to make the chefs play it safe. As I said in last week's thread, the cooking on thanksgiving episodes of Top Chef tends to be kinda lame. This was probably the best-looking thanksgiving meal I've seen on the show.

                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                              That's true--it's hard to play w/ tradition. No foam gravy or cranberry sauce.

                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                " It tends to make the chefs play it safe"
                                                                                                                I think that is the operative phrase at this point in the season. You take a shot at it in the creativity department for the QF to win immunity (nothing to lose) and play it safe for the EC. The two who have gone home were overcooked fish and undercooked potatoes. Others on the chopping block included undercooked turkey, overcooked quail and some poorly seasoned dishes. At this point they're not even getting a prize for winning an EC. At this point in the season properly season don't under/over cook your food and you should be safe. Now is not the time to try and "wow" the judges. Play it safe and let someone else screw up would be my advice.

                                                                                                                1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                  Agreed. The most interesting early-competition cooking has often seemed to come out of rivalries, where a few chefs are attempting not only to survive but to run over the competition and their competitor of choice - Hung vs Tre (s3); Angelo vs Kenny (s7); Voltaggio vs Voltaggio vs Kevin vs Jen (s6); Stefan vs Fabio/Hosea/everyone (s5); Blais vs his own massive inferiority complex (s4).

                                                                                                                  In absence of those kinds of rivalries, the go to strategy seems to be to play it more or less safe and wait to make an impression once the final episodes give you a real chance to show off your cooking. See Dale L (s3), Kevin Sbraga (s7), Mike Isabella (s8), Sarah G (s9), All of em came off well (in terms of their cooking, anyway) against superior competition by not taking too many big risks early and holding back on their most impressive tricks and innovations until the final stretch. And I suspect we could name just as many very talented competitors who went home very early and got very little exposure by stretching themselves too far too early. Even some dominant competitors (Paul Qui, Hung, Angelo) seemed to settle for a lay-up occasionally early on because it was smart and because they could get away with it.

                                                                                                                  This is one of the reasons I wish TC didn't start with so many contestants each season.

                                                                                                          3. The only real shocking part of the whole segment was Josie's turkey. I could not believe a *chef* could make this mistake.
                                                                                                            In my opinion Josie should have gone home with this ridiculous mistake. I'm just wondering how talented she really is....time will tell. Had it not been for Kuniko screwing up, please tell me they'd have sent her home??

                                                                                                            22 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                              She had immunity. Otherwise, she'd surely have gotten the boot.

                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                  Yep, I'm not a pro, but I would never have a turkey that close to the top of an oven. Charred top and raw inside? I've never seen such a thing. And Tom's comment regarding the meat thermometer makes it clear they did have thermometers available.

                                                                                                                  I'm an amateur and I've produced dry turkey at times, but never raw.

                                                                                                                  I would have sent gumbo boy home. Emeril pronounced it good in his walk through and then the guy adds more roux but no more seasoning. (OK, I'm bitter, I think Kuniko showed more promise than several of those still standing . . .I'm looking at you Josie and Tyler.)

                                                                                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                    What was Tom's comment? I had assumed they weren't allowed to use a thermometer.

                                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                      No, he clearly stated that they had thermometers and why didn't they use them.

                                                                                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                        I missed it if he said it. That makes her mistake even more baffling.

                                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                    Tom Colicchio's Bravo blog most definitely said that Josie would have gone home if she didn't have immunity. And I think that's also why he chose to have her brought to Judges' Table, even though she couldn't be eliminated. He wanted her to konw she screwed up badly enough that she *should* have been eliminated.

                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      Do you remember in TC 6 when Mike Isabella was brought out twice, for being in the top AND the bottom? (What am I thinking, of course you remember that).

                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                        LOL! Actually, I only vaguely remember that. He was brought out twice - once because his team was the winning team, but his dish would have been at the bottom, right?

                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                          He was brought out for the high scoring dishes because he was paired up with M. Voltaggio who essentially made the winning pork belly dish by himself. Since he had time, Isabella made a shrimp salad that was terrible. If it were not for somebody else's (Preeti?) bad pasta salad, he may have been sent home.

                                                                                                                        2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                          I was reminded more of Brian from season 3 who, despite immunity, was brought before the judges for his "low cholesterol" lobster dish.

                                                                                                                        3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                          He also told her the turkey is the reason her side was at JT. It didn't seem that close, though. Few of Emeril's team seemed to do well with this challenge.

                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                            The desserts on Emeril's team were enjoyed more than Team Tom's, from the comments at the dining table, but -- since the good desserts were on the losing team and the bad desserts on the winning team -- we didn't get any Judges' table feedback.

                                                                                                                            1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                              Yes, but other than the sweet potato buttermilk biscuits, did anything else get rave reviews on Emeril's side? I'm trying to remember. There were definitely fails on Tom's side, just not nearly as many as Emeril's, it seemed, even if you discount the turkey.

                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                In addition to the stuff already noted and conceded by you, there were:
                                                                                                                                • Danyele McPherson's stuffing, after EL's mom's recipe - EL praised her saying she did a wonderful job; Megan Karch loved it with the chorizo in it; Thierry Ratureau praised it.
                                                                                                                                • John Tesar's cornbread stuffing after EL's - EL said he nailed it, Tom Colicchio praised it.
                                                                                                                                • Sheldon Simeon's greens were well praised for the taste although they all said the collards needed cooking more.
                                                                                                                                • At the end Dana Cowen said the (Grey) Team came together well in the planning, that it was a well-balanced plate.

                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                  I didn't notice until now that they had two stuffings. I realize it's all editing but it seemed obvious to me that the red team would win. Although they have done it with editing to make it seem that way and then lose. Unless we're there, we really are at their whim.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                    I guess you didn't even read LindaWhit's review of the dishes in the OP. ;-)

                                                                                                                                    If the editing is troubling to one I wonder if it might be an idea to simply stop watching the show. :-)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                      LOL, I did read it (thanks, Linda!) but I didn't study and memorize it. ;-) Nah, the editing doesn't bother me and if I stopped watching, I couldn't follow these threads and it's probably more fun than the show itself.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                          Usually. Although I fully admit to getting sucked into discussions I really don't care to be part of, or care about for that matter. Lack of will power, I guess.;-)

                                                                                                                                        2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                          It's possible that I watch the show so I can participate in these threads.

                                                                                                                        4. Finally watched this week's episode. A few comments:

                                                                                                                          1) LindaWhit is one of the seven wonders of chowhound. I'm not certain that there are actually six others, but it seems with her recaps we need a list.

                                                                                                                          2) I thought the kale looked great. Absolutely great. I hate mushy kale, and I am quite pleased that I can now get southern greens not cooked to mush when I'm in the south.

                                                                                                                          3) Umm...how on earth does a cheftestant not have access to flour? (Brooke was it? The quick fire?) That seemed bizarre. How could that be allowed to happen? Shouldn't everyone have equal access to basic ingredients required of the challenge?

                                                                                                                          4) How on earth could Carla not search for her dumpling?

                                                                                                                          5) I haven't had a sweet potato biscuit in years and will now have a craving for at least a week.

                                                                                                                          6) John...ew. Stefan...ew. Carla...whoa.

                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                            Yes, especially to #3. It makes no sense not to have an ingredient and then be penalized for it. Can you imagine the EC--you have turkey but there is no turkey, sorry you go home. I also hate mushy greens and wondered if Sheldon cooked it to his taste. Even if Carla couldn't find her dumpling, the least she could do was make one that tasted good.

                                                                                                                            Oh, and no one mentioned Tom saying to take all the herbs. He had a mischievous smile on his face but they never followed it up w/ his sharing, or Emeril's team being underseasoned.

                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                              Regarding Sheldon Simeon cooking the greens (collards, I think) to his taste - that also seems to have been said on TWoP by at least one poster who seems to be based in Hawaii, where they would *not* want greens cooked to death. I also read that he seemed to have balanced the "Hawaiian preference" with "Southern-style cooked-to-death" preferences, but unfortunately the expectation for the Nawlins-inspired meal *was* the "cooked-to-death" style of greens. So he was penalized for that.

                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                I cold have sworn at the end of the quickfire judging I saw a 1/2 bag of flour on one of the tables. Maybe someone didn't share!

                                                                                                                                1. re: delong99

                                                                                                                                  It just seems that it should have been readily available for everyone!! It's just so wrong. I don't read the blogs any more; was there any mention of this in those?

                                                                                                                              2. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                this is an excellent recap of the recap!

                                                                                                                                and on 1): yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes!

                                                                                                                                1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                  "4) How on earth could Carla not search for her dumpling?"

                                                                                                                                  Not a fan of Carla, but since we are going there , I would have to agree about the "don't call me sweetie" diatribe...( with some exceptions....my MIL ....) , and she had a hurt finger, so....and have you tried to surf the web on a kindle fire? Get a Samsung Galaxy tab, 2.0, seriously.....

                                                                                                                                  1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                    I thought the same thing about the flour. Totally unfair.

                                                                                                                                  2. A few points about that dumpling QF they had that no one has yet brought up:
                                                                                                                                    1) The "Indonesian" choice, Siomay, is shown on that world map they had on the TC kitchen wall as being illustrated by the Celebes/Sulawesi. WOW. That is but a small part of the Indonesian Archipelago. Siomay is also the analog in those parts of the Cantonese food item more commonly known as siu-mai, e.g. in dim-sum, where in Indonesia (specifically, in JAVA, not the Celebes) the Hakka Chinese population had adapted the siu-mai into that thing called "siomay". It is NOT an "indigenous"/Malay/native Indonesian food item. I though how this item was presented on TC was quite misleading and incomplete.
                                                                                                                                    2) That "African" dumpling (fufu) was represented by a swath of Africa that included West/Central Africa and parts of western/SW sub-Sahara Africa. By no means was it ALL of Africa. Another gross misrepresentation on the part of TC.

                                                                                                                                    LibdaWhit mentions Kuniko Yagi being unable to plate her stuff. FTR she grabbed "Japan". The other five countries not specifically shown/specified in bravo's photoset of these dumplings were: Mexico/USA, Peru, Russia, India, and Mongolia.

                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                      I had a childhood friend whose mom fed me fufu. I also had the similar cou cou. I never thought of it as a dumpling.....Nothing like the recipe on the bravo website. Where was she supposed to find a recipe like that?...edited to say....oh I see...that was her made up recipe! Oh well. Can't delete.

                                                                                                                                      This might be a more reliable source than my childhood memory.

                                                                                                                                      "Sub-Saharan African fufu

                                                                                                                                      A similar staple in Sub-Saharan Africa is ugali, which is usually made from maize flour (masa) and is eaten in the eastern African Great Lakes region and Southern Africa. The name ugali is used to refer to the dish in Kenya and Tanzania. Closely related staples are called nshima in Zambia, nsima in Malawi, sadza in Zimbabwe, pap in South Africa, posho in Uganda, luku, fufu, nshima, moteke, semoule and bugari in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and phaletshe in Botswana. In Ghana, before cassava became known, fufio was made with yams. In some situation it is used with plaintain. In Nigeria and Cameroon, fufu is white and sticky (if plantain is not mixed with the cassava when pounding). The traditional method of eating fufu is to scoop some of the fufu in one's right hand and roll it into an easily-ingestible ball. The ball is then dipped in soup and swallowed whole....."

                                                                                                                                      Maybe a dumpling as in "chicken and dumplings"?

                                                                                                                                      Ah, yes; this entry


                                                                                                                                      "Dumplings are cooked balls of dough. They are based on flour, potatoes or bread, and may include meat, fish, vegetables, or sweets. They may be cooked by boiling, steaming, simmering, frying, or baking. They may have a filling, or there may be other ingredients mixed into the dough. Dumplings may be sweet or savoury. They can be eaten by themselves, in soups or stews, with gravy, or in any other way. While some dumplings resemble solid water-boiled doughs, such as gnocchi, others such as wontons resemble meatballs with a thin dough covering....Fufu fit the definition of a dumpling in that they are starchy balls of dough that are steamed....."

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                        Nice exposition, Shrinkwrap. Good to have it posted here.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                          I wondered myself why nobody was assigned a drop dumpling of any kind. I was kind of hoping for matzoh balls. Or spaetzle.

                                                                                                                                    2. I probably wasn't paying attention but did Kuniko really help John *that* much? I didn't notice an excessive bunch of help altho I did see someone ask her about her timing. Was that in reference to her helping other people or because of the quickfire problem? I also didn't think it was *that* big a deal that he said if you can't cook potatoes in 5 hrs... So maybe I really did miss her busting her ass for others but it still seems like she should have been able to get them done in the time allotted. I obviously am not ready to declare him the ogre that they're aiming for yet.

                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                        I seem to remember at some point someone asking her if she'd started her own dish, and she said "not yet", which i assumed was because she'd been busy helping others. and i'm not coming down on him or his defense either, just saying it does appear she didn't give herself enough time to do her own dish properly.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                          In my original post, I note who asked Kuniko about her own dish:

                                                                                                                                          "John enlists Kuniko to help him because "her dish is basic and simple". Kuniko knows she has to time herself very carefully today so she doesn't run out of time. Kristen asks Kuniko "how is your dish?" and she replies "Haven't touched" (because she's so busy helping out John). Kristen asks her if she has time, and Kuniko says "I think so." "

                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                            I know that's been said and we can't know how much time she spent on each dish, but it just didn't seem like she was around John's dishes *that* much. Was she helping with the stuffing AND the dessert?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                              THIS is when a 75 minute episode would help flesh things out a bit for the viewers.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                              oops - i didn't go back and re-read your OP.

                                                                                                                                        2. Thanks for the recap Linda! I just got to watch the episode last night, due to holiday travel...

                                                                                                                                          I was sorry to see Kuniko PYKAG... I thought she was very interesting, with lots of potential on the show as a "dark horse".

                                                                                                                                          John was an all-around a**, asking for Kuniko's help then bashing her for not cooking her potatos properly!

                                                                                                                                          WTF Josie... raw turkey???

                                                                                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                            I disagree with John Tesar being an "all-around asshole". He seems to be a highly talented chef with personality issues - like speaking his mind, which some may find distasteful, true. He was ungenerous, true, with faulting Kuniko Yagi about her being unable to cook her potatoes within those 5 hours - but she *did* need to attend to her dish, which she did not do sufficiently; and she *did* help others in the team apart from John Tesar.

                                                                                                                                            As for CJ Jacobsen taking issue with JT's criticisms of KY - it did seem like it was more about himself rather than JT. He himself (CJ J) had said that he was glad KY did not manage to plate in the QF - and now he's all touchy-feely about KY?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                              Ungenerous. That's a good descriptive word for how John was acting re: Kuniko not getting her potatoes done in time. The time issue was Kuniko's alone. It was obvious she has those issues; see: the earlier Quickfire. And while I wish we knew who else Kuniko was helping, it appears on screen that she was only helping John. But she alluded to having helped others as well in her farewell speech to the camera, as well as Josie saying at JT that Kuniko jumped in to help wherever it was needed.

                                                                                                                                              But again - Kuniko not paying enough attention to how long she was going to need to prepare/cook her dish is Kuniko's fault alone.

                                                                                                                                              I viewed CJ's and Josh's comments to John Tesar as "why bash someone when they're already down?" It was an inappropriately timed comment by John.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                Yes, Kuniko Yagi does have time issues - certainly within the strictures of a timed competition at the least. In her own kitchens surely matters would play out differently.

                                                                                                                                                BTW it should be noted that John Tesar has now been shown twice to have "saved" someone else by alerting them that their dish was burning. Once with his team-mate's (the erstwhile Kuniko Yagi) chili oil and the other in this episode with someone else's whatever-it-was on the stove.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                  I'm not certain blame can be placed on John for Kuniko's undercooked potato pave. As I understand it, the way she served the potato pave, it is cooked, cooled overnight and then cut into squares and then reheated by being sauteed in butter. It seems likely she undercooked the potatoes the day before and then since all she had to do was to cut them and saute them, she had plenty of time during the second day's five hours of cooking time to help others.

                                                                                                                                                  So, to sum it up again, it doesn't seem like Kuniko ran out of time so much as she just undercooked her potato pave. That's another theory anyway.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                    I didn't put the blame on John. Kuniko was responsible for managing her own time - and I noted that in my 2nd paragraph.

                                                                                                                                                    What I disliked was John's comments in the Stew Room after Kuniko was let go. It was inappropriately timed, as I noted.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                      I guess was a bit subtle in making my point. My point really was not about John and his behavior. My point was that maybe he had nothing to do with Kunico's underdone potatoes. It seems possible she undercooked them the day before.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                        True. But that damn time management bugaboo of hers then prevented her from reheating the pan of potato pave in the oven to cook them properly.

                                                                                                                                                        I don't know this recipe, so I'm not sure if that would have been feasible to do so, cut them, and *then* pan-sauté them for browning, unless she was just doing the pan-sautéing for reheating purposes.

                                                                                                                                                        Again - 75 minutes would have helped a *lot* with this episode! LOL

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          The way I understand the recipe is that the potatoes are sliced thin and layered with grated parmesan. Cream is poured over and it is cooked in the oven. If it is served hot it is basically scalloped potatoes to me. It is cooled overnight, cut into squares, and then reheated, ie browned in a saute pan. The time in the pan would reheat the potatoes but would not really help to cook them much if they were undercooked in the oven. So the mistake was made the day before and at that point, I don't know how you would rescue those potatoes. That's the theory I am proposing anyway. Sure, maybe if Kuniko had paid more attention to her own dish she would not have failed. I put all of that blame on her.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                  Actually, didn't CJ say he was torn over Kuniko's inability to plate her food for QF? On one hand, he was happy because she's a fierce competitor. On the other hand, he was sad because something-to-the-effect that she was so sweet and her eyes were so sad.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                    yes he did. i thought it was sweet of him.

                                                                                                                                              2. I'm surprised that Josie didn't temp her food. I thought thermometers were a part of a chef's tool bag.

                                                                                                                                                Another surprise is Tyler's gumbo, make a change taste the results to season as needed. Maybe he just doesn't know the flavor profile of gumbo.

                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                  Isn't the 'burned on the outside, raw on the inside' a really amateurish mistake? Even if she didn't have an instant thermometer, doesn't she know how to wiggle the drumstick? She turned down the oven because the skin was getting too dark. If she was surprised the turkey was underdone instead of dried out, she has not cooked enough turkey.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                    Maybe he doesn't know the flavor profile of gumbo, but surely he tasted it after Emeril said it was okay and could remember how it was supposed to taste?

                                                                                                                                                    I agree it's strange about Josie and her underdone turkey, especially when she knew she was having issues with the oven (ie., not being happy with the color of the bird when she checked it early on...)


                                                                                                                                                  2. Where is Max Silvestri's recap on Eater? I always look forward to reading it - almost as much as I enjoy Hugh's blog on Bravo.

                                                                                                                                                    Having withdrawal symptoms.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chefhound

                                                                                                                                                      I was wondering the same thing, thought he was delayed cuz of Thanksgiving and it would be up by now. I like this from Hugh's review:

                                                                                                                                                      "we hear about Tyler’s battle with alcoholism. In all seriousness, I wish him the best of luck and strength in that battle. It’s a malaise in our industry and has taken out many a great chef. I had a soft spot for him before cause he just speaks his mind, but now I find myself holding pompoms and cheering whenever he comes on-screen."