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Sep 12, 2013 09:17 AM

Top Chef Masters 9/11 (Spoilers)

So Sang goes home. I thought he would have outlasted David and Jen. I'm a bit sad. I thought he was an amazing chef with exciting new ideas. Sure he was controlling and sometimes an ass but he was a extremely talented cook.

I hadn't realized that Bryan hadn't won any money for his charity yet. He's usually in the top group, so I assumed that he had won something. It would be strange if he won the title without winning any of the challenges.

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  1. Who's the annoying quick fire judge?

    19 Replies
    1. re: Worldwide Diner

      David Handler, otherwise known as Lemony Snickett, who writes the A Series of Unfortunate Events young adult novels.

      1. re: roxlet

        I just read Hugh's blog, and am kind of loving his take:
        "Daniel Handler is a wonderfully loopy man who half of the world would think is just plain weird and off-putting, while the other half would regale in his eccentricity. Basically, I think I have found my twin, and what better twin to find than one who is a multi-millionaire best selling author. Call me, bro."

        I once found Hugh off-putting too...but have since seen the grievous error of my ways. And I'll admit I laughed when Handler tried to hump Curtis.

        1. re: Wahooty

          I'd forgotten I'd initially found Hugh off-putting.


      2. re: Worldwide Diner

        I loved David Burke's thoughts about him. Why do they keep asking people who know little about food to judge a food competition? Can you imagine how he'd feel if they asked the judges to judge something he wrote? At least we haven't seen an appearance of any Housewives.

        I also think a judge (the blond one w/ the hipster glasses who kept talking about drinking) who says, "I don't like to be told by the chef how to eat my food" should not be a judge for a show like this. The chef prepares the food to be eaten in a certain way and you can't expect the same results when you eat piece parts of it. It reminds me of that singer a few seasons back who said she thought every part of a dish should stand alone. No, it doesn't.

        1. re: chowser

          I think it's disingenuous of Burke to say that. He's on a show where they jump out of aeroplanes and wrestle (what do those have to do food?). He had to have known before he accepted the offer to go on the show that there would be ridiculous things going on that he would be part of, so he has no business complaining as far as I'm concerned.

          1. re: Chatsworth

            Just because he's agreed to the ridiculous doesn't mean he can't comment about it. The guy was obnoxious and it did seem like Curtis couldn't get rid of him, as David said.

            1. re: chowser

              I actually felt a little bad for Lemony Snickett . It seems unfair to bring someone on the show, when surely the expectation will be that he's going to do his schtick/persona, then for everyone, including the host, to behave so visibly annoyed. They all seemed rude to me, especially Curtis. If you don't want Lemony Snickett and all of his Lemony Snickett-ness, don't bring him on the show. But once he's there, roll with it.

              That said, he didn't seem like a good fit as a guest judge.He's a writer. Most writers spend most of their time in their own heads. Maybe he's just shy and has no social skills and gets by in public doing this annoying, intended-to-be-entertaining-to-adolescents schtick.

              Chefs have their food judged by laypeople all the time: that is, by every single diner. So I find it totally laughable when a Chef complains that someone isn't qualified to judge their food. I eat, therefore I judge. If this show were truly only about cooking, I'd get the complaints about the lay judges. But it's not. So, as a chef who is used to serving the public, size this lay judge up and figure out what kind of dish is going to make him happy. It's part of the "game" and, fundamentally, part of figuring out how to serve a meal to an ordinary person, which chefs are supposed to do every day anyway.


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                I don't know the character of Lemony Snickett but they didn't invite him to the show. They invited the writer who spoke endlessly, adding nothing. It seemed like he was trying really hard to be verbose. That drove me crazy. If they could have invited Theodor Suess Geisel, I wouldn't have expected, "Ham is bad, bad is ham" type sentences the whole time.

                Yes, everyone is a food judge but that doesn't make him/her good and we have as much right to judge a food judge as they do judging food. They can criticize the chefs but we can also judge whether they know what they're talking about and whether the criticism is warranted. As Douglas said early on, he didn't realize one group was unsophisticated when he prepared his entree (the one where Odette was sent home and people were surprised to find egg yolk in her raviolo). They do try to prepare for their audiences, just look at the children episode. But, if they're not successful pleasing the audience, it doesn't necessarily mean the food isn't good.

                1. re: chowser

                  See that's the confusing part, Lemony Snickett IS the author of the books, not a character in the books. (Here's Lemony Snickett's bio: Annoying, right?). Lemony Snickett is a pen name and a persona, equivalent In your example to Dr. Seuss, not to Theodor Seuss Geisel.

                  My guess is that Daniel Handler only does appearances as Lemony Snickett, the same way Paul Reubens does all his appearances as Pee Wee Herman. Everyone seemed to be fine with Paul Reubens showing up on Top Chef and doing the Pee Wee Herman schtick (which I found utterly annoying, by the way. I've never understood the PWH phenomenon, unfortunately, even back in the day.), so it seems that the expectation should be the same when Daniel Handler shows up and does the Lemony Snickett schtick.

                  Of course, I don't know who they invited to be on the show and what expectation was set, but it's clear that who they got was Lemony Snickett. Well, at least I hope Daniel Handler isn't that annoying.

                  And yes, of course it's fine for us or anyone else to judge any judge, whether lay or professional, but my point is that part of being a chef, in fact, for the most part, the biggest part of being a chef is cooking for regular people, not just for professionals. So, for the chefs to be dismissive of the opinions of regular people is to miss the point of being in the hospitality industry. But, yeah, of course it doesn't mean the food wasn't good, or that a professional or even another layperson wouldn't have judged the food differently.


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I see what you mean. I don't know the Lemony Snicketts series, although my children have read them years ago. I assumed they inivted Daniel Handler, not Lemony. I did find PeeWee Herman annoying. Actually, I find all these types of guests annoying from the Housewives to Gabagoo. I know this is not just a cooking competition but I think it has so much more potential than cheese. Even Master Chef doesn't go down to this level. I actually like those challenges when they cook for the military or firefighters--showing appreciation for real people. And, TC has had good judges, like Charlize Theron mentioned below. Someone who is famous but also knows food.

                    I think chefs do try to take into consideration the audience but sometimes misjudges them, and also people are all different. When I ate at Volt, there were times when we were given directions on how to eat the food. Eating each piece part wouldn't make sense. So, for a professional judge (who was the blond lady w/ the hipster glasses, I can't remember) to say she didn't like being told how to eat the food shows a lack of food knowledge. That's fine for a celebrity judge or someone off the street but I expect more from someone at JT.

                    1. re: chowser

                      Yeah, I don't like the celebrity/stunt casting either. :(

                      I've seen a number of references to the blond lady with the hipster glasses. Are people referring to Jane Goldman, founder of (I don't think of her as a blonde, but I can't remember another judge with hipster glasses either).



                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        No, that's not her. Jane's never said anything I thought was odd/unusual and seems to provide good insight. I didn't know she was founder of Chow, though! Or, probably heard it but didn't take note. I'll have to look for the blonde lady.

                        1. re: chowser

                          This is she (it sounds wrong to say that but since grammar drives some CH crazy, I decided to go w/ the correct pronoun):


                          I will say, too, that w/ all the free flowing alcohol, people might say things that are off the wall and it doesn't mean that they don't have good food knowledge. I wonder if any of them see themselves after and think, "Oh, did I really say that?"

                          1. re: chowser

                            Oh her! Yes! Lesley Suter (not Jane). I don't know what her deal is.


                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                  I'm with you TDQ -- this is not advanced art appreciation. It's food, and everyone who eats is qualified to judge whether something is good or not. The chefs may have the expectation that they are above that and should be judged by so called experts, but personally, I always thought that Curtis's qualifications as an expert were rather thin, and I always find it interesting that former cheftestants who "failed" to win, are sometimes called back as judges. David Handler is clearly an awkward character, but from the looks of him, he certainly knows his way around a dinner plate.

                    1. re: JonParker

                      Yes, as I said in my post upthread.

                    2. re: roxlet

                      This sub-thread about people's opinions is getting quite unfriendly, and we've removed a number of posts. We'd ask that everyone please let this part of the discussion go and return to talking about the show in a friendly way. Thanks.

            2. re: Worldwide Diner

              believe me, his books are about as annoying as he is. They are popular among a very certain age group, but even then, I think kids get sick of his "schtick" pretty soon.

            3. I cracked up at Doug choosing "ketchup" as the ingredient with which they all had to work during the QF. And he ended up in the bottom group. Oops. Thought some of those dishes using ketchup were pretty inventive!

              Laughed at Bryan and Doug wrestling in the Vavoom ring as well.

              I thought for SURE that Bryan was going to win the Elimination Challenge over Jennifer. The compliments for his dish seemed to be pretty high. But I was expecting Sang to go over David. He was supposed to make something Mexican, but went Vietnamese?

              I thought the twist of reversing the sous chefs was interesting. Wasn't it Sang who noted that the sous who was switched to him (Jennifer's sous, Jorel) *could* upset the apple cart for him and sabotage his EC dish? I would sure hope that the sous' wouldn't do that, and since Jennifer won, I guess Sang's sous, Ted, didn't do that.

              And so far, Team Voltaggio is continuing to win over Team Keane in the online voting, so there will be *some* money for him should that continue. He's up to $7000 via the Viewer's Choice vote so far.

              And WwD, the annoying QF judge was the writer of the Lemony Snicket books. I thought he was a tool - and it seemed Curtis and the chefs did as well.

              2 Replies
              1. re: LindaWhit

                who on earth did "Lemony Snicket"'s agent blackmail to get him on this show? There seemed no rhyme or reason to him being there, and that feeling seemed to be shared by Curtis and the chefs as well.

                Why Bryan first said he was doing buffalo wings I thought "uh oh", sounds pedestrian. But when I saw his dish I wanted it right then! It looked beautiful.

                1. re: DGresh

                  Me too on the buffalo wings. He should have won that one. He's brilliant. Is it any wonder that we love him?

              2. HAH! Check out Chef Sang's Twitter page background. :D


                4 Replies
                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    That's funny. I can't wait to see next weeks with ketchup and him as a judge.

                    1. re: chowser

                      Uh oh. Is that a spoiler??? I've looked this AM, but I've looked no further. Hope that helps.

                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                        I don't think it's a spoiler. It was on the previews for next week at the end of the episode.

                  2. ACK! I just watched the "Battle of the SC" that FiOS put up and it is the Battle for NEXT week! So now I know who the final three are. I'll keep my mouth shut! But beware of On Demand!

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: DGresh

                      DGresh, I was going to issue he same warning for FIOS subscribers. I switched to On Demand after watching TCM. The title said "Battle ep 9," but obviously it was ep 10. So now we know who gets eliminated next week, who won next week's challenge, who has an advantage in the finale and who has a finale obstacle. To add insult to injury, I then had to watch the "real" ep 9 on my laptop.

                      1. re: gaffk

                        once I realized what happened, I stopped watching. So I only know the first two of the things you listed!

                        1. re: DGresh

                          Heh. Spoilers don't spoil my viewing pleasure (I've even been known to read LindaWhit's regular TC recaps before watch the episode), so I watched the whole thing.

                          But I know most folks HATE spoilers, so I wanted to make sure the FiOS spoiler was out there. By the time you realize it's the wrong Sous Chef battle, you already know both the winner and loser for next week.

                        2. re: gaffk

                          I'm terribly confused by which "battles" go with which episodes and I don't understand why they even put these out there so early and spoil their own shows.


                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            And I think they stopped showing them on demand so I'm not even watching them anymore. I hate watching online.

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              The frustrating thing is that it really *shouldn't* be that confusing. After I watch, say, TCM episode 5 on my DVR, I will switch to On Demand and watch Sous Chef episode 6, which sets up the next week's TCM episode 6. Except this week, what FiOS On Demand had labelled as Sous Chef ep 9 was actually Sous Chef ep 10.

                              As I said, they have since fixed it. However, I was going to apply for a FiOS On Demand job based on my strength of being able to count to 10 in the correct order ;)

                          2. I don't get why Brian never wins. He had Curtis's favorite dish. Everyone loved the tongue.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: wincountrygirl

                              That's what I've heard.

                              I know people hate it when there's less cooking and more activities, but this was the most fun episode I've seen in a long time. Taint cam!

                              1. re: wincountrygirl

                                as much as I dislike overly fussy plating, I thought Jenn's dishes looked like "bowl-o-food". Everyone raved over the flavor, but it looked like something that might be dished up at a potluck.

                                1. re: wincountrygirl

                                  Yeah I really thought Brian had won the challenges, esp. the quickfire.

                                  I was sad to see Sang go even tho he could be a putz. There was one criticism he got at judge's table that I thought really wasn't true but of course, I can't remember it now. The woman w/ the blonde hair said it. He took it very well.

                                  Funny when the "hot girl" turned out to be a guy.