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Top Chef Seattle - Ep. #17 - Finale Part 2 - 02/27/13 (Spoilers)

Well, we're at the end of a pretty darn good season - two really good chefs are poised to be the winner of TC10. It's a "live" audience finale - and the audience includes all the previous TC winners. Each chef has their own team, and they have to serve 5 dishes to be served to 160 diners and the judges.

But before we see the final service, we see a brief review of how Kristen and Brooke both got to the finale. In the TC Finale Kitchen, the cheftestants arrive, and see their teams. BUT neither cheftestant realized there was going to be a "stadium" of people watching them. They have 3 hours to prepare their best 5 dishes, and the dishes will be served head-to-head. The first cheftestant to have 3 winning dishes will be crowned Top Chef.

Kristen's team is Sheldon, Josh and Lizzie, and Brooke's team is Stefan, CJ and Kuniko. Brooke describes Team L.A. - Stefan as a bit scatterbrained, but he's quick. CJ has a great palate, and Kuniko adds a level of precision. Kristen notes that her sous chefs as "just good people - no egos". Brooke notes they are required to use scallops for the 2nd round and red snapper for the 4th round.

There are 300 people watching them, including Emeril, Hugh, Gail, Tom, Padma, and all 9 previous Top Chef winners. Gail asks Stephanie Izard if she's ready to share her tiara with another woman who will join the Winners Table. Stephanie says "It's about time!"

We're getting *right* to the service - just a few minutes and Kristen and Brooke will be sending out their first dishes to the audience and judges. Each cheftestant notes that their first dishes are very familiar to them. Kristen is concerned about cooking for so many people - for the past few years, she's cooked for just 10 people at Stir/Boston. She's got Lizzie butchering for the 4th course, Sheldon working on the scallops, and Josh beginning dessert.

Brooke notes that something's burning in her kitchen, and CJ is shown in front of a large vat of pigs ears that are burning. Even the judges notice that he's just not focused. The audience counts down the clock for the last few seconds. The chefestants bring the dishes up to the judges.

KRISTEN (1st COURSE) - Chicken Liver Mousse with Frisée, Mustard, Prune, Hazelnuts & Pumpernickel - Emeril notes it's not the first time he's seen chicken livers from Kristen in the competition; he loves the mousse - very classic. Tom notes it was well seasoned, nicely put together. Gail said her chicken liver mousse was perfect.

BROOKE (1st COURSE) - Crispy Pig Ear & Chicory Salad, Six-Minute Egg, Apricot Jam & Candied Kumquats - Tom thought the dish had good flavor; Emeril said his cracklings were overcooked. Padma said her pig ear was crunchy and not burned, like others' were. Hugh said her salad dressing was awesome and had good balance.

ROUND 1 VOTES (first 3 out of 5 votes):
Hugh - Kristen
Gail - Kristen
Emeril - Kristen

Round 2 features scallops. Kristen asks Sheldon to make a cure for the scallops. Brooke is making sure that Kuniko cleans the scallops very very well to ensure there's no grit. Stefan calls out to Kristen "Kristen - I chose light blue!" She calls back "Light blue for what?" and he replies "For the baby's bedroom!" She laughs and says "Shut up!"

The Peanut Gallery of former winners calls out "CJ!" and he raises his arm to acknowledge their busting his chops. A bit of a look back into how Brooke made it to the finale, going through each challenge, getting feedback from those who have worked with her as to how she got there. Gail interviews Brooke's husband, asking him "Did you ever imagine you'd be watching Brooke in the finale?" and he said "Yes, I really thought she'd be in the finale!" Brooke and Nick's son, Hudson, has fallen asleep on his lap. Brooke's Mom and Dad said she watched The Galloping Gourmet when she was 5 years old when other kids were watching cartoons.

They finish plating, and Michael Voltaggio says "I'm jealous, dude! I want to be down there with them!" (He loves the competition!) Kristen asks Brooke to save one dish for her to taste. Countdown again to 2nd course service.

BROOKE (2nd COURSE) - Seared Scallop with Salt Cod Purée, Speck, Black Currant & Mustard Seed Vinaigrette - Someone (Richard Blais?) says to Hosea that his scallop is overcooked, but others at the TC Winners' table are saying "I think it's a tie now; this is really good!" Tom says he enjoyed the combination, he said the scallop was perfectly cooked and that everything worked very well together. Hugh said the flavors are bright and well balanced. Emeril said he's a salt cod lover, and the flavor of that with the scallop really drives it home for him.

KRISTEN (2nd COURSE) - Citrus & Lavender Cured Scallop with Bitter Orange, Meyer Lemon & Apple - Tom said her dish is exactly what he expected from her - really flavorful, really delicious. Padma said "There's nowhere to hide with this dish, and you did the scallops really proud." Emeril said he loves the simplicity and that she didn't over-complicate it.

ROUND 2 VOTES (first 3 of 5 votes):
Gail - Brooke
Emeril - Brooke
Tom - Kristen
Padma - Kristen
Hugh - Brooke

So they're tied, 1-1.

They have 34 minutes to plate the next course.

[Can I just say now that I *LOVE LOVE LOVE* how well their sous chefs are working with them? There is (so far) no drama, and each sous chef is listening to Brooke and Kristen and doing exactly what they need. LOVE IT.]

Kristen's road to the finale is shown, including her friendship with Stephanie, who was in the initial episode at Emeril's restaurant, both trying to get into the competition. Kristen also says that learning under Barbara Lynch has helped her immensely to focus her vision. Her trip through LCK is quickly shown, and she said that she plans a trip to Korea. She was adopted and moved to Michigan when she was very young, but she said she misses seeing two people that "look like me. I just need to see where I came from." Gail interviews Kristen's family and friends. Kristen's brother said he remembers dropping her off in Boston with a suitcase, and now she's a big-city girl and teaches them what's going on. Her father was sad to see her voted off of TC the first time, but he said he texted her afterwards and said "Kristen, you're my Top Chef!"

BROOKE (3rd COURSE) - Vadouvan-Fried Chicken Wing with Sumac Yogurt-Tahini & Pickled Kohlrabi Fattoush - the judges dig in, and Brooke said "I forgot the Wet-Naps - sorry!" and Tom says "Yes!" Harold said the wings were awesome, as did someone else at the TC Winners' table (Kevin Sbraga?). Hugh said he was not expecting the wings, and Brooke replied there was a reason for the wings. She said she felt she had to redeem herself with some chicken on the bone and fry it properly. Emeril said it was delicious. Tom said "I get why you're doing it, but I don't get why you're doing it." He did like the vadouvan, but wasn't sure how the salad went with it.

KRISTEN (3rd COURSE) - Celery Root Purée with Bone Marrow, Mushrooms, Bitter Greens & Radishes - Emeril loved all of the earthy tones of the dish. Tom asked why she stewed the mushrooms instead of roasting them. Kristen said she wanted the bone marrow to be the primary flavor, and the mushrooms to be an undertone. Padma said "I just wish it was hot! It wasn't." Gail thought the purée and mushrooms were both velvety and the bone marrow just cut through all just like she wanted it.

ROUND 3 VOTES (first 3 of 5 votes):
Emeril - Kristen
Tom - Kristen
Padma - Kristen

So Kristen has got 2 rounds under her belt - it's an all-or-nothing for Brooke for Round 4. CJ asks her what happened, and when he finds out that Brooke is down 1, he says "We'll kill this one." It's the required Red Snapper round coming up.

In the in-betweener, a confessional interview with the former winners - Hung says to relax and be yourself; Ilan can't remember the funny thing he was going to say; Hosea says do what you do well; Michael Voltaggio is just silent; Richard Blais uses a sports analogy of "don't fumble the football"; Stephanie Izard says "Try to make something that doesn't suck!" (I *love* Stephanie! LOL); Kevin Sbraga says to go out and rock it; Paul Qui laughs; Harold Dieterle says keep your adrenaline in check. They then show Ilan going crazy in the kitchen stadium, and he ends up breaking a glass. Sbraga is shown shaking his head.

Kristen is most confident with the Red Snapper dish as she's practiced it before she got there. Brooke says knowing the next dish could be the deciding factor is weighing on her nerves. Richard Blais notes that there are a lot of pressure cookers being used, but he says it's smart if someone is doing a braise. There's a quick review of previous TC Winners, showing what they've done since they won Top Chef. In total, they've opened 17 new restaurants among them.

Padma interviews the winners. Richard Blais says he's the only one at the Winners' Table who will know how both of them will feel tonight - but the verdict either way will be life-changing.

BROOKE (4th COURSE) - Braised Pork Cheek & Red Snapper wtih Collard Green Slaw & Sorrel Purée - Hugh said the snapper is perfectly cooked, and if collards are the new kale, he's all for that. Tom said he liked the combination of the pork cheek and snapper, the sorrel brings a nice brightness to it, and there's a bit of crunch with the pomegranate arils. Emeril liked the sorrel addition. Gail likes the play between the pork and snapper. The TC winners all seem to like it a lot as well.

KRISTEN (4th COURSE) - Red Snapper with Leeks, Little Gem Lettuce, Tarragon, Uni & Shellfish Nage - Tom said the snapper is great, there is great depth of flavor in the shellfish stock. Gail said the texture is spot-on. But she found the leeks a bit hard to eat. Hugh said the braised leek was a nice balance with the fish.

ROUND 4 VOTES (first 3 of 5 votes):
Gail - Kristen
Emeril - Kristen
Tom - Kristen!!!

And she WINS!!! Congratulations to Kristen Kish - a Boston chef wins! Woo hooooooooooooo!!!!!!!

And THAT, ladies and gents, is the end to a damn good season. Right up there with TC6 and TC8/All-Stars seasons. Just good cooking, only a bit of drama from you-know-who, and the best two cheftestants in the competition in the finale. This was a good season.

Signing off. I hear they're casting TC11. I've got 6+ months to get my strength back and make sure my remote control battery is working, I guess. ;-)

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  1. I know i havent posted all year - even though ive read all your threads (thanks linda for another great season of recaps).....but i hate this format for the finale - thats it :)

    1. I hate this format!!! 13 minutes left, fourth course not served. Clearly there won't be a fifth course. No drama at all.

      29 Replies
      1. re: donovt

        Ditto. I'd rather know there were hours of deliberation and discussion.

        1. re: momjamin

          Awful. Then they needed all of this filler, talking to families, talking about previous winners.....I hope they never do this again.

          1. re: momjamin

            6 minutes left and they're in commercial break. I thought there was no way they'd be so blatantly obvious, and that they'd throw in a twist by having Brooke win round 4 and then have the show run late. Wow. But I'm happy Kristen won. The shots with her dad and brother were so sweet. Still a great season overall. Thank you, Linda!

            1. re: KrumTx

              Based on when you all were posting (close to 11pm), it was obvious that they weren't going to have a 75 minute show.

              1. re: LindaWhit

                Are we (I) in trouble with you? Ha. As someone posted below - did they think we couldn't tell time? I can't imagine that they did, so I was looking for a twist of it being 2-2 and running late. But then I thought they wouldn't risk the ire of those who'd used DVR to tape it. But honestly, for a few minutes I was thinking of any reason possible that the outcome wouldn't be so obvious!

                1. re: KrumTx

                  I liked the format, but was pretty surprised that the timing made the outcome so obvious.
                  I didnt care, really becasue I was pleased that Kristen won!

                  1. re: NellyNel

                    Me too. I'm not going to nitpick here anymore because it was a fantastic season overall, and I'm happy Kristen won.

                      1. re: NellyNel

                        agree with KrumTx! loved this season, happy for Kristen, but sad for Brooke.

                        thanks Linda, as always, for a wonderful job - give those wrists a good soak and a massage, and a drink while you're at it!

                        1. re: mariacarmen

                          The glass of wine has been poured, mc. ;-)

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            Better hurry up and drink it! See link for TCM news:)

                            http://eater.com/archives/2013/02/08/... (Spoiler)

                            1. re: KrumTx

                              Ahh, I only recap TC, no TCM. But I *will* watch. :-)

                              1. re: KrumTx

                                How about flagging that as a spoiler alert for those of us who might end up watching TCM??? Luckily I have a terrible memory for names so I'm not going to remember come screening time...

                                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                  I'm sorry. It honestly didn't even cross my mind to spoiler-alert it. My apologies.

                                  1. re: KrumTx

                                    No worries, just something to keep in mind next time. I wasn't joking about a bad memory; all I can see in my mind now is a vague image of some really fat dude. I think I'll be all set :-)

                      2. re: NellyNel

                        I was rooting for Kristen so I wasn't too devastated with the obvious time spoiler, but my daughter was going for Brooke, so she was more disappointed.

                      3. re: KrumTx

                        Oh not at all, KrumTX! I'm always behind the clock when it comes to getting the last bit of the recap done, so when I see a few posts in the 10:45-10:50pm time frame, I knew that it was probably Kristen, as they didn't have enough time for the 4th AND 5th/dessert courses.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          Last post, promise, as I don't want to hijack this thing. I love your recaps. My family members and friends don't watch TC, despite my prodding, and you continually create such a sense of community here. I look forward to what fellow TC posters have to say (it's the little things in life, you know?) It's been fun and I'm looking forward to next season! Thank you, as always.

                          1. re: KrumTx

                            Thank you very much, KrumTX. I think I'm just the only dumb one who's willing to spend so much time recapping the show while it's airing. ;-)

                2. re: donovt

                  Yeah, I realized that Kristen won after she got the 3rd course. AND I also saw something on Facebook from Kristen today that led me to believe she was the winner - something about "Exciting things to talk about!"

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    I also noticed that Padma was looking left, where Kristin was standing, when they announced the winner, so I pretty much knew it was her.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Yes, and that's been a tell in previews of previous years, too, IIRC.

                      1. re: mcf

                        Yes, and as I meant to say, I saw this in the promo...

                  2. re: donovt

                    And much too much time of filler and re-cap.

                    1. re: chicgail

                      Think about how much more time filling they would have needed to do if Kristen had won three straight courses. I'm sure, if you were actually there live with no deadline (a 1 hour show) it was pretty dramatic. Major oversight by the producers for them not to realize that after editing, it would be easy for anyone with a clock to be able to figure out the winner. If Kristen had taken it three straight we would have probably have had to sit through video of family vacations, the two as babies in high chairs eating cherios, anything to take up the hour.
                      I'm still really happy with the season overall. In fact, I can't really think of one overtly stupid challenge compared to Texas where I can't think of any challenge that wasn't stupid.
                      And of course there's Linda. I sometimes feel as though I'm cheating on my wife while I anxiously wait for your recaps:-)

                      1. re: bobbert

                        "I sometimes feel as though I'm cheating on my wife while I anxiously wait for your recaps:-)"

                        ROFLMAO!!! *BEST* line of the season, bobbert! Please tell Mrs. bobbert that I have no designs on her man. Just on his opinions of Top Chef. ;-)

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          I'm not telling Mrs bobbert anything... there's a good reason I've been married for so long.

                    2. re: donovt

                      I was thinking the same thing last night. Time time factor was a giveaway. No time for a fifth course means Kristen wins.

                      1. re: donovt

                        I loved that Kristen won, but I really did not like this format. At the fourth course I realized there were only 4 minutes left so I knew who won. I really prefer to see the deliberation and the reason behind the judges' decision. This was almost like a foregone conclusion. I hope the go back to the old format next year. This was awful

                      2. I'm happy about the outcome, but not so happy about the format. I guess it was the lack of deliberation and not having the last course served that bothered me most.

                        Awesome job, Linda. Thanks for bringing us all together on this!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: roxlet

                          I wondered why they didn't have 'em both cook a dessert course anyway, and edit the show tighter (no sweet babies or family), then just disregard the dessert round.

                        2. I wonder why hey changed the format? Were ratings down last year? If so, I don't know if it was the format that was the cause. I realize that those who are frequent writers on these TC threads are likely not the same as he average Top Chef viewer, but I prefer the old format. This finale showed much less of the actual cooking. We saw none of the planning, and I would like to know how the teams were chosen. I would like to see all of the courses. They were voting with about 2-1/2 minutes to go, of course Kristen was going to win. Why didn't Tom vote first? I also think that cooking for 65 on the finale is a huge change in the format. I am glad for Kristen however I am not a fan of LCK.

                          22 Replies
                          1. re: John E.

                            Agree that we saw none of the planning, but I disagree we didn't see enough cooking. I was actually pleased with the amount of cooking. Wasn't crazy about the format, and think having to cook for 160 in the finale is stupid.

                            As for why Tom didn't go first, I think they staggered the voting so in case everyone voted for Kristen or Brooke in a single round, the same people wouldn't be saying the cheftestant's name each time.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              I just do not like the sudden death format. I want to know all of the votes for all of the dishes. I also want to hear what the judges think about all of the courses. We saw a lot of the kitchen activity in the Iron Chef format, I don't think we saw the cooking, at least not in the same way as we have in the past. I want to know more about what they are going to cook before they cook it. II liked to see them shop for their food and plan there menu. I also don't care what the former winners are doing while the finale is going on. I would love to see a Top Chef special where they get all the winners together.

                              I usually watch each episode twice before makng too man comments here. I don't have any desire to watch this episode again. (And it's not as if I'm disappointed in who was chosen as the the winner of Top Chef Seattle.

                              1. re: John E.

                                I'm with you, I want to know if the other judges would have voted for Brooke, wanted to see them make dessert.

                                NOT loving this format!

                                I'm looking forward to reading the blogs... tomorrow. :)

                            2. re: John E.

                              I wonder if part of it (the change in format) was the whole bit about the save-a-chef in LCK -- they let viewers vote so recently. Or maybe they wanted to shake things up since it was the 10th season. (I hated the live reveal in S3 when Hung won (tho' I take no issue with Hung winning), but that was separate from the actual cooking.)

                              I would also have liked to see how the teams were chosen (all pretty strong, a couple burnt pigs' ears notwithstanding), and also see the judges talk about the dishes a bit more and persuade each other about high points and low points.

                              The bit with the previous top chefs giving "advice" was pretty funny, though.

                              1. re: John E.

                                I agree. I don't like LCK but this year I did only because it brought Kristen back. Maybe they changed the format for just that reason - change?

                                1. re: John E.

                                  Just came across this:


                                  How did you choose your teammates?
                                  So, after the last challenge at Craft, we flipped a coin and Brooke got to choose first. We got to choose two people and she chose Stefan [Richter] and CJ [Jacobsen] and I chose Sheldon [Simeon] and Lizzy [Binder]. Then later on we were informed we could choose one more, and that’s when I picked Josh [Valentine] and she took Kuniko [Yagi].

                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                    There's a pic with Kristen and all the other winners. Would it kill Voltaggio to smile?

                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                      The Chowderhead who wrote the BosMag story (and writes about food-related topics for BosMag) can't even spell Gordon Ramsay's name correctly. :-/

                                      And I see what you mean, LurkerDan - Voltaggio stands out, doesn't he?

                                      Interestingly, Kristen *liked* the format of the finale, because they knew right away whether the dish was good or not.

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        What makes good TV isn't necessarily the best for a contestant, and vice versa.

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          There was a correction added on 3/5 with the correct spelling of "Ramsey."
                                          I think the 2 chefs who look happiest are Hung and Paul, two of my all time favorites. Voltaggio does look uncomfortable. Too bad. He's another of my favorites in terms of his food, if not his general personality.

                                          1. re: KailuaGirl

                                            Interesting. I posted a comment yesterday @ BosMag re: spelling Ramsay's name correctly and they fixed it at 7:18pm last night. :-)

                                            1. re: KailuaGirl

                                              Paul and Hung did look happy, as did pretty much everyone in the photo. But MV looked like he always does. Which doesn't seem uncomfortable to me, just super serious (plus some people never smile in photos anyway). He never smiled during his season, no reason to start now I guess.

                                              1. re: Joanie

                                                But he can smile, that's just it - and he looks better when he does!




                                                (But yes - most pics of Michael V. were sans smiley face! LOL)

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  That first one makes me have even more of a crush on Brian. I'm planning on going to his restaurant for my anniversary in a couple months.Can't wait!

                                                  1. re: DGresh

                                                    Are you going to Volt, or one of his newer restaurants?

                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                      Planning to go to Volt. Actually chose that area for our annual weekend away precisely to eat there. My DH thinks I'm nuts, but it's an excuse to go to a part of the country I haven't been to before.

                                                      1. re: DGresh

                                                        "Actually chose that area for our annual weekend away precisely to eat there. My DH thinks I'm nuts..."

                                                        And yet we all understand you. :-)

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          Which makes us what? Nuts as well? Or discriminating in our taste?

                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                            EXTREMELY discriminating in our choice of nuts.

                                                        2. re: DGresh

                                                          It's a nice area--lots of little shops, places to walk around. It's a great experience. We just did it last fall and I have to admit that I'm the geek who asked to have pictures taken w/ him after dinner. My husband took the picture and when Brian asked if he wanted to be in the picture, I said,"No, this is fine, just us." Ha, happy anniversary, honey! After I asked, everyone else, who had been too cool to ask, popped in line.

                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                            I've done that, and it's lots of fun. I went to Chicago for my birthday one year just to go to Charlie Palmer's.

                                          2. Thanks Linda, for another great season of recaps and threads!!!

                                            Terrible episode, in my opinion. Disjointed, not enough information shown (*how* did they pick the teams? the menus?), too much information given away (ooh, let's put a commercial in right before a vote, with only 8 minutes left in the show. I wonder who will win. Huh.)

                                            Happy Kristen won. But 20 minutes in I was completely bored and ready to fast forward to the end. I slogged through it, though. Figured I'd already watched the entire season :-)

                                            1. Tom gives more details about each course from his viewpoint on the Bravo blog:


                                              Interesting last comment on his blog:

                                              "In general, I was very happy with this season. I was really pleased with the decision to focus on the food and, in general, to only present drama inherent in the kitchen, as opposed to any drama that might have been unfolding in the house. I thought that where personal stories were highlighted, they were rich and meaningful, such as the interaction that transpired between Roy and Emeril at the home of the Governor of Alaska. Lots of people have been reaching out to me to say that they really liked the season and how food-focused it was."

                                              YES. This is what many viewers have been saying for awhile - glad someone finally listened to us!

                                              1. I liked this format. I have often felt like the judging in the finale is skewed by first/second seating (last season comes to mind - the judges that saw Paul first and Sarah second definitely seemed to get better food from both). This way, the judges were all judging the same dish, prepared at the same time...in real time, not by memory. The live audience was a lot of extra pressure, but the friends and family have been in finales before. But yes, the timing of the episode did spoil the ending. Perhaps synchronized cooking, secret ballot judging is the way to go in the end...that way they get to cook all 5 of their dishes, but the audience is kept in suspense. There also is no one judge serving as the tie-breaker...oh, wait...that doesn't make good TV, does it? ;)

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Wahooty

                                                  I completely agree!
                                                  I was skeptical about this format, but I ended up quite enjoying it, and thought it was more fair!

                                                  1. re: Wahooty

                                                    I liked the head to head presentation of the dishes but I think that even if they did judge them at that time, the votes should be tallied at the end of the full five courses.

                                                    1. re: tjinsf


                                                      I think they should vote and tally after each dish and keep the results from the judges themselves and the audience, then have the big reveal and interview the judges at the end about each of the courses.

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      This really made me laugh (from Hugh's blog):

                                                      The marrow sung with crispiness, and the puree was rich and the mushrooms beauteous. I loves it. Mine was hot. Padma breathes cold air a lot, so you have to make her food extra hot.

                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                        Yes, his blog was the last thing I read before I headed to bed last night, and I was giggling as I read it. LOVED it!

                                                        Also noticed that Padma was uber-snarky on camera to Ilan when she "interviewed" them all, asking what was different from when they were on the show (or something like that). I can't remember the specifics, but it was a pretty snotty comment. She attempted to laugh it off, but you could tell Ilan was bothered by it.

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          Was it the part where she asked him something about what he'd change about his season and he said, "I was fat, my hair was horrible and......" and then Padma said, "well nothing's changed"

                                                          I thought that was pretty funny and that she didn't come off jerky at all, just sort of goofing around with the chefs. Haven't rewatched it yet though.

                                                          1. re: Bart Hound

                                                            THAT was it! Couldn't remember exactly what Padma had asked.

                                                            1. re: Bart Hound

                                                              I'm remembering something along the lines of "what was it like watching yourself," or "what would you change after seeing yourself on tv." Maybe it was right after a montage of previous winners?

                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                              I didn't think it was snotty at all, it sounded more like a friend busting someone's balls.

                                                              1. re: MVNYC

                                                                I bet there were a lot more worthwhile video clips to include rather than that little exchange between Ilian and Padma.

                                                                1. re: MVNYC

                                                                  I thought it was actually pretty tactful of her, given the awful behavior displayed by much of the cast in his season (and including him, really).

                                                          2. I started out actually liking the format although that disintegrated as the time ticked down. STUPID! They really ruined it once I realized it was over well before judging began on the forth course.
                                                            On the other hand, I did like the live audience - kinda Iron Chef like. I liked the sous chefs although I would have liked to have known how they were chosen. My initial feeling was advantage Brooke it her choices of chefs.

                                                            I think they could easily have had them do all five courses and then had the judges vote afterwards or have had their votes secretly tallied until the end. I'm still pissed. Did they think we didn't know how to tell time?

                                                            For those in previous threads who believe this is all fixed and/or the judges play favorites, everything pointed to that not being true. Surely there would have been a 2 -2 tie going into the end if the producers had their way. In fact, I assumed at the beginning that it had to be a 2-2 until I looked at the clock.

                                                            Finally, in the end it looked like the judges really wanted to vote for Brooke but just couldn't. Thank goodness the last, winning, vote did not belong to Padma.

                                                            14 Replies
                                                            1. re: bobbert

                                                              Yeah I was thinking it was okay (kind of, didn't like the constant clapping and counting down) then I realized how close to the end it was and kept checking that it wasn't a 75 min episode and was bummed that that was it. I was kind of pulling for Brooke and was surprised she lost fairly handily to Kristin. I personally would have rather eaten Brooke's food I think.

                                                              As far as the sous chefs, I kept thinking that Stefan would have been on K's team and Josh on B's but who knows.

                                                              I did like seeing the old chefs there. Padma wasn't very nice to Ilan (sp). Richard's point about knowing both feelings was well taken.

                                                              1. re: Joanie

                                                                I thought the same about Stefan, but then I remembered that they are friends that go way back, and it made sense

                                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                                  I was pretty surprised that Josh was on Kristin's team. During the Andy Cohen show, when asked who stayed longer than he or she should have, her response was Josh, not Josie!

                                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                    I think that's because of how far Josh got with a very limited focus/repertoire, not because he can't cook or prep. She chose chefs she liked being around.

                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                      And I thought that she tried to be positive and fair, as far as Josie goes when the caller asked her to name three things she liked about Josie. But I also noticed that when Josie came up to congratulate Kristin after she was declared the winner, Kristin kind of iced her.

                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                        I rewound that a couple of times - I did see Kristen raise her hand to high five Josie (as Josie had her hand up) and we got to hear Josie's grating donkey laugh, but that was about it. Kristen was in the midst of family being congratulated, so that's all she gave to Josie....a high five.

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          Max's eater.com recap has an animation of the high five ;)

                                                                    2. re: Joanie

                                                                      @Joanie barley even saw Ilan. Never saw any interaction between him and Padma. What did she do to him?

                                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                                        She made a weight gain comment, I believe.

                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                          After Ilan himself made the comment. Padma's reply was something along the lines of "Nothing's changed then, has it?" and broke out laughing. Ilan just grimaced a bit.

                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                            Yeah, I didn't think it was mean spirited, though I think it found its target. :-)

                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                              OK, that's better put. Perhaps she didn't do it deliberately, but the barb was felt....and perhaps Padma realized as soon as she said it that it was slightly mean, which prompted the laughter from her.

                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                i haven't watched it again, but "but the barb was felt" - as far as the elves let us know, right? he could actually have laughed with her after she said it, but they chose to show a shot of grimacing Ilan. i'm guessing, just because it just seemed like a tease to me.

                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                  Good point. Those damn editing Elves.

                                                                  2. I almost never post to these threads, but I need to get this out, and I have no one else to say it to: I hated, hated, hated this format. Didn't see how the teams were chosen, didn't see the meal planning, didn't see the prep, didn't see the actual cooking, and knew as soon as the fourth course was served that Kristen had won. What a disappointing end to what was otherwise a pretty good season.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                      Your description of what was disappointing with this episode is exactly what I think of it as well. You wrote your thoughts much more succinctly than did I.

                                                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                        If I had to guess, it was straight-up gym-class style. Not good TV, but nobody got handicapped with bad staff either.

                                                                        1. re: Wahooty

                                                                          I seriously doubt that that methodology gave Kristin the three chefs that lasted the longest. Surely Brooke would have chosen one of those three for her team.

                                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                            I dunno, they had very different criteria; Brooke chose Stephan for speed, and Kristin chose those she felt were "good people" in a personality way.

                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                              If they took turns picking I doubt Brooke would have passed up Sheldon, Lizzie and Snidely.

                                                                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                Maybe in post finale interviews we'll get more information about how that process went. Til then, hard to know.

                                                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                  If I were picking a team to work for me - to do what I say and do it well - I'm going to choose people as close to my style of cooking as possible, preferably those who know my work. I think Brooke's team fit that very well - all LA chefs, and I'm betting her knowledge of them extends well beyond TC. She had some of the most seasoned chefs in the competition. If I found anything odd, it would have been that Kristen picked Sheldon, who got so far based on having a different point of view. He obviously worked hard and delivered - I'm not trying to knock him in any way. Josh, while he tries to play himself all down-homey, seems to have a fairly classical style, which suits Kristen. And Lizzie is clearly nothing to sneeze at, but I felt all season that she was underestimated.

                                                                                  1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                    I suspect that after the Restaurant Wars experience, Kristen's focus would have been to pick chefs who would put their heads down and work for her, and be great team players. From that perspective, her choices make perfect sense.

                                                                                    1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                      Yeah, but all of the chef there were team players - none of the chefs chosen would have had any issue with doing their best.

                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                        Of course not, I'm not criticizing CJ or Stefan or Kuniko (who we barely know). I AM explaining why she may have chosen those others. Stefan and CJ, at least, would be far more likely to offer their own input and try to convince her of their tweak to her vision. I have no doubt they'd do her bidding well, but Sheldon, Lizzie and Josh are more likely to just execute her vision without doing that.

                                                                                        Obviously, this was one of the failings of this format. We would like to have seen 5 minutes devoted to the selection process, to see how it happened and hear why it happened that way.

                                                                                      2. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                        I'm also wondering WHEN they picked their sous chefs. If it were, say months ago, Brooke might have gone with the "local" L.A. chefs who I would assume she got together with many times these past several months.
                                                                                        They apparently also had a very good idea what they would be cooking, with plenty of time to perfect their dishes. Tom pointed out as much - that's why they had pig ears there and even Kristen stated that she had practiced the snapper dish several times already.
                                                                                        Oh yeah, Josh. We seem to forget that Josh is now a pastry chef. I'm sure that had something to do with Kristen picking him. He went right to work on dessert.
                                                                                        I've said it before re. the finale: too much time is allowed to pass from the end of the season to the finale. Even Sheldon, someone who doesn't do dessert, probably had a kick ass dessert ready for the finale had he made it. Would that have meant he was a great pastry chef or would it have meant he was able to learn a great dessert in 6 months?
                                                                                        I'll go back to last year. Paul was clearly the top chef but, given 6 months to prepare, Sarah almost beat him. They need something to keep the creative and spontaneous part in the competition to the very end.

                                                                                        1. re: bobbert

                                                                                          I agree Bobbert. Some delay is appropriate, but 6+ months is absurd.

                                                                                          1. re: bobbert

                                                                                            agree, I wish they had maybe a few days or a week of down time before the finale and have it not be at home.

                                                                            2. I'm another hater of the format for this episode.
                                                                              -- The "first one to three wins" idea just didn't work for the audience. As everyone else has noted, the clock pretty much gave away the outcome. Also, as soon as they explained it, I wondered what they would have done if one of the chefs had just blown through the first three courses with a straight victory. Because of time, you knew that couldn't happen--what were they going to do, pad the episode even more with filler (probably!)--so it just felt suspicious.
                                                                              -- It seemed a waste to bring back all those past winners and other contestants and not really get a chance to hear them talk much about their feelings about the food prepared. A more intimate setting--the usual dinner table--would have allowed for a more interesting discussion.
                                                                              -- I felt like I didn't get as much of a sense of what was going on with the actual cooking as I usually do when they're working in a kitchen. The setup here just looked like a couple of small stations with a lot of lights and people running around.

                                                                              All that said, I'm happy with the outcome. Goodbye, Top Chef! And goodbye, Bravo--no interest in any of your other shows.

                                                                                1. The best part of the whole episode was the brief interlude with past winners doing their best at giving "advice." They're chefs. They talk with food, not words. Everything else was disappointing and boring. They could have done this episode in 30 minutes, easy.

                                                                                  1. I agree, hated the format, but on the other hand, was glad the winner wasn't decided by a dessert.

                                                                                    1. Well that was a let down. Horrible format. I really missed seeing how they planned their menus and picked their sous chefs. And, yes, I feel like Brooke was robbed. There, I said it!

                                                                                      1. I'm glad Kristen won.

                                                                                        Just think how much better this would be if it was a blind tasting.

                                                                                        Glad to see Padboobzma back on her game.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: Scagnetti

                                                                                          Heck, I could have told you without tasting which dishes were from Kristen and which were from Brooke. Blind tasting wouldn't accomplish much -- they have such different styles.

                                                                                        2. Linda, thank you again for doing what you do connecting us all on these threads.

                                                                                          1. The best thing, Linda, is that Hell's Kitchen is about to start and JP is back! (I'm guessing you won't be recapping?)

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                              HELLZ NO! LOL I haven't watched HK for several seasons, Firegoat.

                                                                                              1. Thank-you Linda! You are such a faithful reporter- I would find it a total chore after all this time. So happy our Boston girl or chick as we say won. She really seemed to be a cut above everyone else IMHO. Last night's show was like Good Morning America does Top Chef. Totally unlike the real thing. What is wrong with the producers? Does the phrase don't mess with success mean nothing to them? I fear a reality format complete with guffawing audience is in the future. Maybe they can film it outside the GMA studio in Times Square. The EC would be to cook for one of the instant weddings. yuck.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                  You're welcome! Surprisingly, this season, because it was *mostly* a good group, was less of a problem for me than last year with the stupid challenges.

                                                                                                  But the more I think about it, the more the format does bother me. I would have preferred they cook for the judges, the previous TC winners, and their families. And that is IT. Get rid of the Iron Chef Kitchen Stadium audience - totally unnecessary.

                                                                                                  And let's not give them any ideas about filming the next one in Times Square, OK? ;-)

                                                                                                  Also pleased that a Boston chef won. But why am I *not* surprised that Boston.com has no mention of it online today in their Lifestyle section?

                                                                                                2. What I liked about the finale was it's "no gimmicks" presentation. I like the head to head competition with no limits, just present the best 5 dishes you can.

                                                                                                  I could do w/o the Iron Chef format, but did like the simplicity.

                                                                                                  They could have definitely changed it up to make it more suspenseful though. With 5 minutes left in the program, it was easy to tell that Kristen would win. If they would've waited to reveal each round's winner until the end, it would have been better.

                                                                                                  Personally, I liked that the judges had to make a decision on the spot. It puts pressure on them to just choose & not deliberate for hours. I don't know that I'd like it for a whole season, but I thought it was a fun change for the finale.

                                                                                                  Reading the comments on the Bravo blogs, I never had a problem with LCK. I didn't like Save a Chef, I thought it was overkill, but I like that someone who got kicked off too early has a chance to redeem themselves.

                                                                                                  Overall this season was a huge improvement over the silliness of last season. I'm not talking about the chefs from last season, most of them were very talented. I'm talking about the stupid challenges that didn't focus on the food.

                                                                                                  Finally, how about a HUGE shout out to Linda for her commitment each & every episode, each & every season.Thank you for all your hard work. We love you!!!! I think she deserves the Top Chef Favorite Fan Award!

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                    I actually liked how they did it. (picking the winner after each dish) .
                                                                                                    The more I think about it, the more I liked the change up, the only suggestion is that they did'nt make the winner so obvious...maybe if they announced Kristen as the winner, and then showed us how she won LCK to use up time at the end - Yeah, that would have been perfect!

                                                                                                    I also liked that they both had to use the same protein for 2 dishes, I thought that was good.

                                                                                                    Overall, an excellent season!

                                                                                                    Linda, thank you so much for taking the time to write your re-caps... I think you know we all enjoy reading them and appreciate the work you put into it!!

                                                                                                    1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                      LOL! Thanks jcattles. Most obsessive fan award, perhaps? ;-)

                                                                                                      I also found it interesting to read Tom's blog and the fact that he thinks perhaps individual round winners would have been changed had they had a chance to discuss their choices.

                                                                                                    2. Thank YOU, Linda for another great season of Rapid Rewind and Copious Note Taking!

                                                                                                      I would have been happy either way, but this is the result I've expected (as most have, I think) all year.

                                                                                                      What a breath of fresh air this season is after the stinker of a show last year. Viewers demanded focus on cooks and their cooking and they delivered us from Dopey Challenge Hell.

                                                                                                      1. Many thanks to LW for her wonderful recaps!

                                                                                                        1. I'll add my thanks to LindaWhit for her awesome recaps.

                                                                                                          However, I was really bothered by the outcome. I went in thinking I'd be fine if either of them took Top Chef, but in the end I felt dissatisfied. I couldn't put my finger on the reason until I read the comments on Tom's blog.

                                                                                                          Essentially by going back into the competition at the end, Kristen got to skip four Elimination Challenges, competing instead against four other eliminated chefs. Yeah, the way she got eliminated was a travesty, but so was the way she got back in. While she had to win a Quickfire every week, Brooke had to beat several other chefs in a tough elimination.

                                                                                                          Don't get me wrong. I loved Kristen. But Brooke was robbed.

                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: JonParker

                                                                                                            But Kristen also had to beat someone in an Elimination Challenge in LCK. She just had to do so against one person vs. the remaining cheftestants on TC.

                                                                                                            1. re: JonParker

                                                                                                              Lots of people are complaining about LCK and that Kristin had it easier, but here's how I see it. For Brooke to make it to the finale, she did not have to beat anyone, all she had to do was not lose. Someone had to be worse than her for every elimination challenge, that's all. She didn't have to win the challenges (even though she won many of them). There were 9, 8, 7, 6, etc. other contestants who could have been eliminated each episode. In order for Kristin to win LCK, she had to WIN every time, not just be "safe" - so I think that made it even more difficult for her, not less. So in the end, I think Kristin's return was justified and her victory was deserved. (OTOH, I thought the "save a chef" idea was idiotic.)

                                                                                                              1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                Agree with everything you say here....all Brooke had to do was come in second-to-last in all but the last rounds. I think LCK worked perfectly in this instance, and Kristin deserved her ultimate victory. And yes, the "save a chef" thing is stupid....never put anything in the hands of the general public!

                                                                                                                  1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                    Sorry, I don't buy it. "Use a bad pan and cook a dish to impress Tom" is orders of magnitude easier than any EC challenge. Plus, in LCK you're only competing against chefs that have been eliminated. Plus, you only have to be on your game once cooking one dish for one person.

                                                                                                                    1. re: JonParker

                                                                                                                      Except in LCK, you *have* to win. You can't just skate by in the middle as you can in the majority of ECs.

                                                                                                                1. Thank you, Linda!!! You're totally awesome to do this for us.

                                                                                                                  Add me to the list of those who hated the best of 3 format.

                                                                                                                  I did like the fact that the previous winners were there. I would have liked to see some other past seasons' contestants like Betty, Jamie, Mikey, Dale, Angelo, Robin....

                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                    What was wrong with having the previous winners? I thought it was interesting and this being the 10th season, a good time to do something like that. Do we really care what Betty thinks at this stage of the game? I actually was surprised that there wasn't a table with all of season 10 chefs eating the food.

                                                                                                                    One thing I was surprised about was that the mandatory courses were both fish courses.

                                                                                                                    The more comments I read, the less I like the finale format but it wasn't too bad. Surprised they didn't automatically make this a 75 min episode. What's their thinking on the couple times a year they do that anyway? This certainly warrants it more than some random time at week 6.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                      Agree - I'd much prefer the 75 min. episode for the finale rather than somewhere in the middle of the season.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                        Ummm... I think you misread. I said I liked that they were there.

                                                                                                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                          Oops, sorry. Altho I think there's only so many from the past shows that we need on one program. And where were the chefs from this year? Don't they usually all gather at some point during the finale.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                            At least some of them were there. They showed Josie a few times.

                                                                                                                    2. I actually liked the finale, I didn't mind the format. I don't care that we didn't see the final two shopping or picking their sous chefs. I didn't like the obviousness of the outcome, but other than that, I enjoyed the finale a lot.

                                                                                                                      One thing that has me scratching my head, though. In years past, there was always a big deal made about how long the judges deliberated over the outcome, yet here they made their decision a mere minutes after each course. If they had not judged each course immediately and did deliberate after the entire meal, would it have still been such an obvious decision? According to Tom's blog, Kristin was the clear winner. Yet that has seemed to be the case in other years and still they deliberated for "hours." But then again, most years (that I can remember) there were only four judges at the finale, not five. So I wonder if by having five judges, it made the decision more clear, because there would always be a majority favorite for each course?

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                        In the other format, the judges would count the # of courses won by each contestant. But they would also take into account by how much the contestant would win by. For example, if Contestants #1 "won" 3 courses out of 5 but totally bombed on the 2 losing courses with the 3 winning courses being close, the judges most likely would have picked Contestant #2 as the winner.

                                                                                                                      2. All but the most deserving chefs (the 2nd and 3rd place finishers) get at least a 2nd chance via LCK. Sheldon and Brooke did not get a second bite at the apple. That is the biggest problem with the season format.

                                                                                                                        1. I didn't mind the live format so much - though the countdown and clapping business was pretty annoying - but *really* have a problem with this sudden death voting / per-course reveal business.

                                                                                                                          Besides the fact that it totally changed the dynamic of the competition (Brooke was an underdog after the first course, which changes the pressure & mentality)...

                                                                                                                          - in the past judges have taken into account the progression of each course and how harmonious the meal was as a whole. This is a really important aspect that was completely disregarded.

                                                                                                                          - Dessert has often been an Achilles heel on the show, and in my opinion is a key part of how well-rounded the chef is. Hypothetically Kristin could have bombed dessert so badly that it took away from the rest of her dishes and swayed the judges' assessment of the overall performance.

                                                                                                                          Plus I wanted to see what Brooke had in mind for this chocolate miso cake and feel a bit cheated.

                                                                                                                          Not saying this would have affected the ultimate outcome but it definitely affected the suspense and quality of the show. Boooo!

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: reiney

                                                                                                                            These are really good points. If they had to follow the Iron Chef format, then they could have done something similar w/ deciding at the end, not voting per course.

                                                                                                                            As suspense goes, I have to admit to reading Linda's recap before watching the show--only the end because I need to know how things end first. It would have been obvious watching but I didn't know until closer to the end.

                                                                                                                            1. re: reiney

                                                                                                                              Yes about the progression. Also, what if one chef barely beat out the other on three dishes, but was blown away by the other chef on two dishes? Which is the meal you would rather eat? The more I think about it, the more I dislike this format.

                                                                                                                              Also, while I have no problem with Kristen winning (she seems to be extremely talented and focused) I also seriously dislike LCK and save a chef.

                                                                                                                              OK. Glad I got that out of my system.

                                                                                                                              1. re: reiney

                                                                                                                                Per Gail's blog:

                                                                                                                                "Just to be clear, the challenge was to make the best of five dishes, head-to-head. The only qualifications were that the second dish needed to be scallop and the fourth needed to be snapper, so that there was a little bit of consistency in terms of how we were judging, but there did not need to be trajectory of the courses. I believe they didn’t even have to do dessert, if they didn’t want to, but in this case both chefs chose to, even though neither was plated and served. They could have done five appetizers if they wanted, they could have done five desserts if they wanted. We just asked them to bring us their five best dishes possible."

                                                                                                                                So as the challenge was set up, there need not be a progression. This wasn't a "meal" challenge, it was a "five dishes" challenge. So they knew that going in.

                                                                                                                              2. 35,764 words.

                                                                                                                                That's how many I wrote (including subject lines) for the entire season's recap, according to Microsoft's Word Count.

                                                                                                                                Some might say verbose. I prefer detailed, meticulous, and all-inclusive. :-)

                                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                  I didn't know I could read that many words

                                                                                                                                  1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                    You've come a long way from "See Spot Run!", bobbert. ;-)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                      Thanks. I'm going to print that off and put it up on the fridge.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                        Don't forget the hand-drawn crayon picture of your wife.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                    When people ask me what I've read for the year, I'll have to make sure I include your recaps.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                      I prefer writing these recaps to the book reports I used to have to write in grade school. ;-)

                                                                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                      I'm so glad we're not paying you by the word!

                                                                                                                                      Check's in the mail... ;-)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                        Ooh. I think (no, I KNOW!) I like that idea!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                          Just watch for it.

                                                                                                                                          It'll be there any day now.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                        Linda, Thank you so much for being such an excellent recapper!

                                                                                                                                      3. Interesting article from the Washington Post with some insights into the taping of the finale:


                                                                                                                                        And another one from EW correspondent Laura Hertzfeld, who was present at the taping and was one of the audience members who got to taste all of the food (including Kristin's dessert):


                                                                                                                                        After reading them, it's easy to understand why (1) Brooke's son conked out and (2) why the audience got a little rowdy.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: lisavf

                                                                                                                                          have you ever been to a studio taped show with live audience? it takes forever! and that's just a sitcom so i can understand when cooking is added to the formula that it can take 8 hours.

                                                                                                                                          disliked the "iron chef" format as time gave it away. in fact, after the 3rd course we basically called Kristin FTW.

                                                                                                                                          interestingly, i have a mutual friend on FB as brooke (i'm in LA and have friends in the food industry) so i was trolling her page for some answers but no give aways!

                                                                                                                                        2. Linda-Thanks as always for the excellent recaps all season. I definitely enjoy these threads more than the show itself.

                                                                                                                                          And put me down as another vote for hated this finale format. But this season was so much better than Texas, I'll forgive the Elves.

                                                                                                                                          1. Maybe its just me, but I almost feel like the whole season became "waiting for Kristen's coronation" right after she won LCK. Not that I didn't think much of the other chefs, it is just the feel I get from the TC coverage and the way the other contestants talk about her chops.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                              Yeah, it seems like there was an inordinate amount of respect for Kristen's skills. And as much as I like Brooke, it seems like Kristen almost blew her away in the finale, too. The round that Brooke won wasn't as one sided as the ones Kristen won. I was very happy that Kristen won, but have to say, at the same time,sad that Brooke lost. I liked both of them, and Sheldon, too.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                Yep, exactly my thoughts, too.

                                                                                                                                            2. Linda,
                                                                                                                                              thank you so much for your wonderful recaps! I enjoyed this season of Top Chef a lot and your excellent work here made it certainly even more enjoyable. Lots of good posts this season from everyone too! :-)

                                                                                                                                              1. Tom tweeted today: I hear you out there you didn't like the format well neither did I and I doubt we will do that again.

                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                                                                  That's kind of funny since Tom's the producer. I wonder if he objected beforehand or if the last-minute nature of "Save a Chef" threw the whole production crew for a loop.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                    He's *a* producer, not the only producer, yes? Perhaps he was outvoted. Perhaps he thought it might work until he actually tried it. He did say in his blog that he missed the deliberations (although I couldn't help but notice he mentioned it specifically in the one course Kristen lost).

                                                                                                                                                    I still like the real-time aspect. I hope they incorporate that in some way next season...was it a previous season or TCM that had them serve one course at a time, but from both finalists simultaneously? I think this is more fair. If they want to do a best-of-five...have them serve all five courses/dishes with a secret ballot, then reveal the winners of each course at the end. I did feel cheated not even getting to see what they would have done in the 5th round.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                                                                      I liked the real-time aspect, too, and also thought of the secret ballots, and cooking all courses through dessert.

                                                                                                                                                      With a segment on how they picked the sous chefs!

                                                                                                                                                  2. For those who didn't catch Watch What Happens, this was a funny clip:


                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                          Does anyone follow her tweets? I wonder what her response is to all this. Does she realize how poorly she's come off at this point? It seems a lot of chefs saw themselves and found an opportunity to change. I have such respect for those who have.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                            Based on what someone posted of her Tweets after Kristen fell on her own chef's knife and Josie remained in the competition, Josie remains quite oblivious to the fact that she comes off as a complete and utter asshat. Either that, or she just doesn't care.

                                                                                                                                                            She seems to be of the mind that she was right in everything she did, and that she did nothing wrong - it was all someone else. Surprisingly, she actually got atta-girls from other Tweeters, cheerleading for her. Boggles the mind.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                        This was also a funny clip:


                                                                                                                                                        And I was very happy that Sheldon got fan favorite.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Debbie M

                                                                                                                                                          So was I! He deserved it, the happy ukulele strumming menehune. :-)

                                                                                                                                                      2. More thoughts on the finale, which was linked to Richard Blais's tweet about hating the format:


                                                                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                          Spot on. And best line of the blog:

                                                                                                                                                          "...with 10 minutes to go and Kristen leading two courses to one, we were suddenly served bland filler toasting the success of previous winners (and suffering a renewed bout of heartburn over Hosea, the biggest fluke in history not to be pulled from the icy waters of the Long Island Sound)..."

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            I know. And funny! They have all opened successful restaurants and Hosea has...a catering company?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                              Hosea is better than you say. I don't know why he hasn't opened a restaurant yet (he's been "threatening" to for a long time) but I've eaten his food and there's no doubt, none at all, that he has the chops to do so. From what I saw of TC, I'd say Ilan was less deserving of a win than Hosea.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                I've eaten all the winners' food and Hosea catering company is pretty good, the worse has been Ilan and that was several years ago and he's developed as a chef since then.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                This article nailed it. For me, it all comes back to giving the finalists the time and consideration to make the best meal of their lives, rather than asking them to take a rapid-fire approach to serving (potentially) five dishes - a test better suited to an earlier challenge rather than the finale.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ooroger

                                                                                                                                                                  I have not read the article, but somewhere along the line it was said that Kristen had the advantage because of all the 'quickfires' she did in LCK. I agree that she performed well under these parameters. However, as a viewer, I like the old format better where there isn't so much jumping around. I don't really like the 'kitchen stadium' aspect either. Take the chefs out of their element up until the finale, then turn them loose in a real kitchen with time to plan and to cook. I don't really need to hear from past winners during the competition either. I would love to see a show where they were all there and we really got to hear some insights rather than just having Padma insult them.

                                                                                                                                                                  Edit: I just read the Grantland blog on the link provided by Roxlet. Yep, he nailed it. I am especially glad that it appears even Tom Colicchio was disappointed in how the format change for the finale finale turned out.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                    "somewhere along the line it was said that Kristen had the advantage because of all the 'quickfires' she did in LCK. I agree that she performed well under these parameters."

                                                                                                                                                                    No doubt she did well, but she did well under all parameters! ;-) And I don't think the format gave Kristen an advantage. This was nothing like a quickfire or LCK. While we do not know the exact details, we do know that they had plenty of time to plan their dishes, and clearly had a good bit of time to cook them. While they may not have been given huge amounts of time between courses, saying "you have 30 minutes to plate your next course" (that you already planned and have prepped and have some elements already cooking) is nothing like providing the challenge that minute and saying "you have 30 minutes, now go!"

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                                                      It appeared to me that there was much more time pressure in this finale finale than in the past. It wasn't all time constraints though, serving 65 certainly added to the pressure which is what LCK and QF are all about. I still think she did better because of her experience with LCK. Kristen won a single QF to Brooke's 3. I'm just glad it appears this 'sudden death' way of deciding the winner will not be coming back.

                                                                                                                                                              2. I wasn't able to watch on Wed., and have only caught the first course being judged on On-Demand. I was prepared to hate the format, but I have to say it was pretty exciting. Even though I knew who was going to win. I think it creates an electric atmosphere. The issue seems to be with how the scoring was done. They should change that, perhaps keep each judges vote secret until all courses have been served and then tally, announce and drop balloons.

                                                                                                                                                                I look forward to watching the rest of the show.

                                                                                                                                                                And thanks and kudos to Linda for the awesome recaps.


                                                                                                                                                                1. I just watched this last night. I didn't look at the clock so it wasn't spoiled for me in that respect, but I agree that it's a stupid mistake. I didn't mind the stadium/live aspects of the show, but agree with those who pointed out the following:
                                                                                                                                                                  1) We should see how the sous chefs got chosen. This would take 5 minutes; you couldn't cut out some of the filler?
                                                                                                                                                                  2) similarly, we should get more menu discussion from the chefs
                                                                                                                                                                  3) not hearing each judge's opinion on each dish was disappointing
                                                                                                                                                                  4) losing out on any deliberation amongst the judges was disappointing
                                                                                                                                                                  5) losing out on meal progression was also wrong
                                                                                                                                                                  6) not seeing all 5 courses was disappointing

                                                                                                                                                                  I can understand why they chose this format; I could see how it might seem interesting on paper. Glad to hear that Tom didn't like it.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. I have to say I liked the last few episodes because the chef's who were the drama kings and queens had all been eliminated.

                                                                                                                                                                    Just two very good chefs cooking for the title. I loved the civility of the finale. When Kristen asked Brooke to save her one of her scallops in round 2..... well that about said it all.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Are there photos of the dishes somewhere? I found the recipe for Brooke's salt cod puree and scallops on the Bravo site, but there's no photo accompanying the recipe...

                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                        From last week's thread:


                                                                                                                                                                        But it doesn't look like any recipes from the finale are up there. Not sure why Bravo doesn't put the damn pic up there from their own show.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                          I found it on the Bravo web site somewhere, and now can't find it again. My husband wants to make Brooke's scallop dish for a dinner party this weekend. Or at least a version of it...

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Did anyone else notice that on this most blatant of product placement shows the very recognizable King Arthur flour had its name on the bag covered by grip tape? Guess the TC producers couldn't get the KA millers to ante up. Otherwise, I agree with those who were glad to see the last several chefs actually get along pleasantly so we could concentrate on their cooking rather than the middle school antics; would be nice if this would carry over to next season's crew. Also agree that finale format was a mess; winner should be judged on entire meal not dish by dish. Brooke already owns two restaurants and now has national exposure; Kristen, merely a sous chef, now poised for national recognition. Both winners.

                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alfairfax

                                                                                                                                                                          Actually, Kristen has been chef de cuisine at Stir in Boston since the fall of 2012.


                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                            Is that a school or a restaurant that has classes? Website seems like it is a school; good, though. And chef de cuisine at a school would probably be a lot different than at a restaurant, I am assuming. BTW, I join those admiring and thanking you Linda for your fine recaps.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alfairfax

                                                                                                                                                                              It's both. They have classes, such as basic butchery (fileting a fish), making pasta, wine and cocktail-making classes, but they also have private dinner parties. It looks like she's responsible for cooking every night for small groups of 10 every night.

                                                                                                                                                                              And you're welcome. When it's a season such as we just watched, it's enjoyable to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Thanks for the recap! Great season. And I am definitely going to try to make the chicken liver mousse dish!


                                                                                                                                                                          1. And in a little flashback to earlier in the season, the NY Times magazine today has an article about Canlis, and a recipe for the famous salad


                                                                                                                                                                            1. Seriously what the F? Finally got to download and watch the episode (if I got the message-"can not stream this video in your region one more time" I would have screamed) and it was a pretty whack set up. I'm ok with the iron chef set up but this get to three course first to win was so stupid. I wanted to see all the dishes including the dreaded dessert and I want to have all the judges (well maybe not Padma) get to vote.

                                                                                                                                                                              What I liked:
                                                                                                                                                                              1. they didn't have some stupid twist that wasn't food related.
                                                                                                                                                                              2. they had to use some of the same ingredients
                                                                                                                                                                              3. all the past winners there

                                                                                                                                                                              And of course I loved the winner. She could be dog ugly and I would still find the plates she made appealing just based on how they look and the judges all appreciated the taste. I hope she guests at some places on the West Coast or NYC so I can try her food.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. I read everyone's comments and was surprised no one discussed Brooke's choice to make chicken wings for course 3. I liked her reasoning, thought she seemed to put a good spin on it. But do you think making "something that wasn't worthy of this point in the competition" (one of the judges said something along those lines) was a mistake? It was clear Tom didn't like all the components of the dish, but was the concept for the dish its downfall more than execution?

                                                                                                                                                                                Of course, maybe Kristen's 3rd course was just so much better it wouldn't have mattered if Brooke picked up KFC on the way to the taping, as there was no chance she would have won that round :)

                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: erin_grogan

                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, it definitely was a mistake. Reading the blogs makes that clear. Basically, no matter how good her wings were, she needed Kristen to falter to win that round. You need to make dish where, if you knock it out of the park, you win, even if the other person made a really good dish. Wings wasn't it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, got it. I didn't read any of the other blogs.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: erin_grogan

                                                                                                                                                                                    I think the problem with Brooke's wings is that they are not considered by many to be 'fine dining' food. No matter how good Brooke's wings were, Kristen needed to make a fatal flaw in her dish for her to lose that round.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: erin_grogan

                                                                                                                                                                                      Tom C. told them to make "the best food you've ever made." Brooke chose to try and redeem herself for a past failed challenge. And while the wings were good, they weren't knock-it-out-of-the-park good. As others have said - Kristen would have had to not plate everything she wanted to in order to lose Round 3.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. LindaWhit - Thank you for a terrific job at recapping each episode!

                                                                                                                                                                                      I stopped watching due the forced drama and the time the show comes on. I'm a get to the facts/bottom line type of viewer. Your recaps were clear and concise w/o the drama... Perfect!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                        Wow, you really didn't watch, dave? I found the drama (except for you-know-who) to be a lot less forced this year.

                                                                                                                                                                                        But thank you (and thank you, all!) for the nice compliment!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. in past seasons hasn't there been an after the show reunion? did I miss it already? I really enjoy the out takes they show.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. My husband made Brooke's scallop dinner as a first course for dinner last night. It was fantastic.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. And of course, Jon Stewart compares the sequester with Top Chef http://www.thebraiser.com/watch-jon-s...
                                                                                                                                                                                            It's the clip with Dennis Leary in the pic. About half way through he gets to Top Chef. Sounds like he actually watches. Funny.

                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                              you beat me to it, by a few hours! loved it.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                That was hilarious! His swipe at Dennis Leary's smoking was funny, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I love this, but I adore John Stewart anyway!

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Soooooo... what did everyone else do last night?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JonParker

                                                                                                                                                                                                    LOL! Well, I think I was in bed just before 11pm. THAT hasn't happened in about 3 months. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JonParker

                                                                                                                                                                                                      hah! the BF said to me as i was leaving to go to my dad's for the evening, "don't forget to get back in time for your TC" and my heart actually leapt until we both remembered.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JonParker

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ha! The finale seems like so much longer than a week ago. Sucks that it's gone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                                                                                                                                          So when does our next fix start?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was thinking it seems like such a long time ago I don't hardly recall the earliest contestants and why they got tossed. Who is Kuniko again?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Was there a 'reunion' show this season or did I miss it.?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Nope. We looked for it last night. No reunion this season?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                              They seem to have dispensed with the reunion show these past few seasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                They had one last season for TC9. Sarah started to cry when she was asked about telling Lagasse to go eff himself, allegedly.