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Top Chef NOLA - Ep. #5 - 10/30/13 (Spoilers)

Top Chef Episode 5?? World Series Game 6?? What do I dooooo???

Torn between two loves, feeling like a fool
Loving both of you is breaking all the rules
OK, enough cheesy mid 1970s music. Let's get on with the real cheese. (HAH! That was written before I even saw anything of the episode tonight - I must be prescient!)

It's almost Halloween in Top Chef World. In the summertime. But OK, it'll be a Halloween party for Lea Michele, catered by the chefs. But before that...

Back at the house, Travis calls home after almost being eliminated on a Vietnamese challenge. He says his Mom knows that he's gay; his Dad doesn't know. (Dad will know when he watches the show!)

Quickfire time - Gail Simmons joins Padma. And everything is wrapped in foil in the TC kitchen! Pots, pans, kitchen tools, every last bit of food and any possible ingredient are all wrapped in foil. Gail's and Padma's mothers join them. The chefs are split into 2 teams - Team Lakshmi and Team Simmons. They'll have 30 minutes to create 3 dishes - the Moms are going to personally shop for both teams (within 5 minutes) to grab all of the ingredients and the cooking tools. The teams will have to use every single ingredient that the Moms choose. The winning team will share $10,000.

The chefs have to unwrap everything within their 30 minutes as well as cook. The assortment for both teams is crazy - buratta, cheddar cheese, mustard, strawberries, avocados, branzino, okra, lamb chops. Carrie thinks she'll make sabayon....but then realizes she doesn't have a whisk.

Dish 1 (Sara & Stephanie) Lamb & Fonduta with Sharp Cheddar & Roasted Mushrooms

Dish 2 (Justin & Michael) - Red Snapper Papillote with Rice Pilaf

Dish 3 (Carrie, Louis & Shirley) - Compressed Buratta with Pickled Apples & Balsamic Sabayon

Dish 1 (Carlos & Travis) - Clams Poached in Fish Sauce with Coconut Cream

Dish 2 (Nicholas & Patty) - Snapper & Branzino Papillote with Mustard Vinaigrette

Dish 3 (Bene, Brian & Nina) - Soup with Beans, Carrots, Chiles & Okra with Cherry Chutney

The winning Team? Team Lakshmi!

Padma introduces the guest judge for the Elimination Challenge - Lea Michele. Stephanie notes she loves Glee and Lea Michele. She said "We can hang out! It won't be creepy at all!" (with lots of laughter). Lea is hosting a costume party, the cheftestants are catering. They'll be working in teams of 2 - pairing up with the chef to the right. And Nina and Michael are together - Michael says he loves it as he knows Nina knows her stuff, and he's been in the bottom too many times. And Nina HATES it! LOL

They're responsible for 2 dishes for each team. They have 5 minutes with Lea her likes and dislikes. She informs them that she loves the vegan lifestyle, but on occasion, gives herself a break and goes to vegetarian - she allows cheese. But she's not a big sweets fan. She likes pasta, pizza, things that are fried, most vegetables (but doesn't like beets). And she loves lots of spice. She just wants it creepy and spooky as possible.

They head off to WF for shopping, and then back to the kitchen for 2 hours of prep. Nicholas and Patty are having problems coming up with dishes that are spooky, so they go with an Autumn theme. Tom shows up to chat with the cheftestants. Justin notes that Lea Michele hates beets, but he made beet pasta for "blood veins". Tom finds out that 3 teams are making arancini, and Nina's making gnocchi. Nicholas starts to rethink his dish after finding out Nina is also making gnocchi.

Finally, Nicholas does decide to change his dish - a butternut squash cannoli, and Patty's OK with that. Nina and Michael argue a bit during final prep. He said he's not sure why Nina's concerned that he's bringing the team down - "It's not me!" Ummm, didn't he just say earlier that he knows Nina is the best chef in the group and he's not done well himself?

They head back to the house and go over to an abandoned nursing home behind the house that is supposedly haunted - appropriate for the Halloween challenge.

The next day, they find that they are cooking at Mardi Gras World, and it's all decorated for Halloween. Nina said that at this point, she and Michael are just trying to not piss each other off. Michael keeps calling her names - Boo-Boo, Sweetie, Babycakes...Nina refuses to let him get into her head.

Guests arrive - Padma has got an enormously tall feather hat on, Leah's in a cat costume, Hugh is in a prince outfit, and Tom is in a straw boater and looks a bit like a silent film star, Buster Keaton. And Andy Cohen shows up in the show. (Later Lea said that Tom is playing The Great Gatsby. I think he makes a better Buster Keaton!)

BLACK TEAM - Carrie & Stephanie
Doomed Shrooms - Mushrooms with Black Garlic & Radicchio
Freaky Leeky - Ash-coasted Vegetables with Fontina Fonduta

YELLOW TEAM - Fall Theme
Nicholas - Butternut Squash Cannoli with Ricotta Salata
Patty - Lemon Arancini with Smoked Mozzarella

GREEN TEAM - Spooky Spa Theme
Brian - Crispy Quinoa Salad & Mushroom Espuma
Bene - Heirloom Tomato Salad with Wilted Kale

Nina - Candy Corn theme - Ricotta Gnocchetti with Kale Pesto
Michael - Bloody Eye theme - Yellow Arancini with Saffron and Tomato Jam

RED TEAM - Dios de las Muertos Theme
Travis - Vegetable Ceviche
Carlos - Goat Cheese Fondue with Fried Zucchini

Louis - Severed Thumb Theme - Braised Quinoa and Onions with Potato Puree
Shirley - Worm Salad Theme - Hand-cut Noodles & Fresh Daikon Radish

Justin - Blood Pasta Theme - Beet Pasta with Green Tomatoes
Sara - Evil Eye Theme - Arancini with Moroccan Tomato Chutney

The judges go to deliberate. The cheftestants are in the Stew Room. Nina tells Michael that she feels he thought "Oh, I'm with Nina? ...straight, I can chill." And Michael says "No! You needed me in the beginning!" Nina replies "Umm, excuse me?" She knows this could be trouble for her.

Judges deliberate while the cheftestants listen and watch. Patty's arancini was most appreciated by Lea, and Nicholas's dish was one where he truly listened to Lea as to what she would like. Justin and Sara - Tom liked the flavor; Lea said when she was eating it, she was scared of it! Carlos did Lea right by ensuring there was enough spice.

Padma said there were several dishes where one dish was good on a team and one wasn't. Nina and Michael was one example - Nina's gnocchetti was excellent; Michael's arancini wasn't. Lea said they should have tasted each other's dishes to ensure both was good. Bene and Brian's dishes were heavy and the tomato dish wasn't seasoned.

Padma comes in and asked to see the Yellow Team (Nicholas and Patty) and the Red Team (Carlos and Travis). They are the top teams. The winning team is the Red Team!

The judges now wanted to see the Orange Team (Nina and Michael) and the Green team (Brian and Bene).

Lea said to the Green Team that she wanted the opposite of Spa cuisine. Tom said that if Bene is here to win, he needed to come up with something other than tomato salad. Michael was told his arancini came up on the bottom, and his sauce was too sweet. Nina gets called out by Padma when she is told "Nina, if you're on a team, his dish should be as important to you as your dish is to you."

Bene and Brian's salads *seem* to be the least favored, and Brian is heard saying in the Stew Room "I'm not going to lose any sleep over it!" Umm, maybe you will if you are told to PYKAG!

And we're back. :::Whooshing camera of cheftestants::: Tom reviews their dishes. Padma tells JUST Michael to pack his knives and go. Wow - I thought a team would be going!

And we're done! Quick proofread after I hit POST and back to the World Series - it's 6-1 Red Sox in the bottom of the 8th inning. GO SOX!!!

(And I think that is the fastest I've ever finished a recap - in 65 minutes.)

And Wooooooo Hooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Red Sox are the 2013 World Series Champions!
There go the local fireworks near me! LOL

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  1. I was stunned that it was Michael, but glad. I thought tomato guy would be axed. It seemed like a pathetic dish.

    Tom seemed smitten with Lea. Back to baseball.

    10 Replies
    1. re: KrumTx

      I really thought Bene would go as well. I will be very interested to read Hugh and Tom's blogs tomorrow as to why Michael's arancini was worse.

      1. re: LindaWhit

        Sideshow Bob was totally clueless! He had no idea Nina hated his guts. And him telling Nina that she needed him was just weird.

        I still think Bene should've gone home.

        1. re: Worldwide Diner

          same here. at least Michael trued to cook. a tomato salad with no cooked components, and his partner did a salad too. guess they just drank beer for an hour and 55min

          1. re: Worldwide Diner

            Sideshow Bob thinks EVERYBODY loves him and his cuisine. The number of times he's been at the bottom should have tipped him off, but no.

            1. re: Phaedrus

              I missed something. Why are we calling Michael Sideshow Bob? Not that I think it's inappropriate. I just don't know where it comes from.

              1. re: chicgail

                Sideshow Bob is a character from The Simpsons with crazy hair.

                1. re: chicgail

                  chicgail - because Michael's hair makes him resemble Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons:


                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Thanks for the explanation...I was clueless.

                2. re: Worldwide Diner

                  In a way, she really did need him since she was responsible for her team. Or rather, she needed him to be good. Since her food was so delicious, I didn't feel that there was a chance she's go home, but it certainly put her on the bottom with Sideshow Bob.

            2. Can I just say how much I loved Hugh's costume!

              I was thinking it was going to either be just Sideshow Bob gone or both on team green. I had this feeling Nina would be safe since they hadn't announced a double elimination.

              1. A couple of early, random thoughts.

                Those beards are fugly.

                I thought for sure one of the salad guys were PPYKAG.

                Santa cannot be 'slutty'. He can, of course, be 'horny'.

                Travis, your dad has known you were gay since you were about 10 years old.

                Linda, congratulaions on the win, and thank you again for the recap.

                Once again, those beards are fugly.

                12 Replies
                1. re: John E.

                  Those beards are horrendous except for Jacoby E. and Big Papi. I'm not a baseball fan but that was pretty cool (now if the Pats can pull out a Cinderella ending, that's a different story). I was shocked to see Linda do a full wrap-up. So shocked that I read the review before watching so have nothing to say re: the show. Other than Bene doesn't seem long for this competition.

                  1. re: Joanie

                    Agreed - Papi's always had a cool beard, and Jacoby's works. The rest are just too Duck Dynasty for me, and I hope they shave before the Duck Boat parade on Saturday.

                    I still laugh at you all that read the recap before watching the show. But I agree - I still thought Bene was gonzo, but he won't be around long. He at least got a share of the $10K for being on the winning team. Now it's time for him to go.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      I don't watch baseball during the regular season and only watched two WS games, so clearly I missed something. Why was Papi wearing a helmet in the dugout and during celebration time? Was he planning on riding his bicycle home?

                      1. re: KrumTx

                        I was wondering the same thing. He looked a bit ridiculous.

                        1. re: KrumTx

                          Let's just say the celebrations get very very raucous, and noggins can get hurt. Although I think the manager, John Farrell, told Papi to remove the crash helmet while in the dugout, as the game hadn't yet been won.

                          They also hand out goggles in the clubhouse for the champagne that tends to fly around as bottles are opened. A local reporter was in there and didn't have a garbage bag pulled over his suit, nor did he have goggles.
                          Suit = to the dry cleaners.
                          Eyes = stinging very badly from spraying champagne.

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            I remember the year that the Braves won and Deion Sanders had it in for Tim McCarver so he kept draining bottle after bottle of champagne on McCarver head as he was trying to interview people in the locker room.

                            McCarver got seriously pissed.

                            1. re: Phaedrus

                              OK, I've officially fallen in love with Deion Sanders. :D :D :D

                              Ahh - looks to be 3 coolers of water thrown on McCarver. And McCarver was bad-mouthing Sanders for playing for both the Braves and Falcons in the same day. Guess Sanders got a $1000 fine.


                      1. re: roxlet

                        The only good one was David Ortiz's, as he kept it well trimmed - and he had it shaved off this morning for charity. He'll be on Letterman tonight sans beard.

                        And while most looked messy and ugly to look at, it was a bonding thing for the team that started back in February or March before the season even started. If it was a motivator for them to do what they did, I'm all for it!

                        They played as a team; they won as a team. Kinda like what Nina and Michael should have done. ;-)

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          Nina and Michael reminded me more of last years Red Sox .. bickering and self centered!

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            Several players have said that it's the only team they've ever played on without one jerk on the roster.

                      2. DING DONG, THE DOUCHEBAG'S GONE!

                        I might be a little bit satisfied by this result. If I didn't already hate him, his comment to Nina was beyond the pale. I was afraid they'd send Bene home instead...but given his previous experience as a sous on TCM, I think some aspects of his dishes are getting lost in translation, and they're not quite as bad as they've been portrayed.

                        But Michael...Michael wasn't just a tool, he was the whole Home Depot. Good riddance.

                        Hugh's take:
                        "If Carlos is our shiny, then the King of Krazy, Michael, is hands down the matte. Right now he is babbling on about something, but I have an all-time high resistance to him, so I don’t even hear him talk. It’s my form of television Darwinism.

                        Michael got laid once when he dressed up as a pregnant nun. Some people just say strange things to socially ostracize themselves from the pack. Michael is the poster child of those people.

                        Michael leaves the show with some uncomfortable hugging. He feigns shooting himself on re-entering the kitchen, and there is an odd quiet to the crowd."

                        1. Some thoughts...

                          Red Sox!!!

                          Like everyone else, I'm glad Michael is gone and I'm liking Nina for how she dealt with him.

                          I sometimes end up watching Andy Cohen after the show. Was it really necessary for him to be ON the show?

                          Every woman who ever hooked up with a pregnant nun on Halloween has got to be rewinding scenes with Michael in them while staring intently at the screen and constantly repeating "please God, no. Please God, no."

                          Travis seemed rightfully humbled by last week and was pretty gracious after the win. I don't know if anyone else get this feeling, but I think he might be gay.

                          I'm also liking Carlos a lot and he has a good story.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bobbert

                            I hope not many women have gotten laid by a pregnant nun on Halloween, although if I had I would certainly be thinking "Please God, NO!!!" I'm sure that whoever the unlucky lady was is cringing now, if she remembers it at all. Hopefully she was so drunk she just blacked out.

                            I'm also glad that Michael is gone, especially after his crack about Nina needing him! What an a-hole! The silence when he shot himself in the head was positively deafening. Apparently the Magical Elves didn't make him seem worse than he actually is. And he thinks he "represented NOLA?" Shame on him!

                            I was happy for Patty to be on top for a change! She needed it, and deserved it, although I think Nicholas did earn the win. Talk about thinking on your feet!

                            And I agree completely that Travis's father has known since he was a kid that he was gay. Parents always seem to know, unless they're willfully blind or never at home. At least now he'll have to come out officially to his Dad.

                            Great job, as always, Linda Whit! Congrats on the Sox winning, too!

                          2. Is Michael high?

                            It seems to me that he is high most of the time. He seems to be living in this relaxed carefree world where everything is peace and love. He thought that Nina needed him? He must be high.

                            And I know he's laid back but he's so laid back that he's practically unconscious.

                            I'm glad he's gone. I thought Bene was a goner but I'm happy that they chose Michael. He was really annoying - calling Nina sweetheart and boo boo all the time!

                            Also, why couldn't Michael find the butter in LCK? He must have been high.

                            And Hugh, you might not be a prince but you're definitely charming!

                            15 Replies
                            1. re: chefhound

                              Hugh was not in the costume of a primce. He was in the uniform of an RCMP officer.

                                1. re: John E.

                                  I thought he said he was supposed to be Prince Charming?

                                  1. re: chefhound

                                    Yep, and he reiterates that in his blog.

                                    1. re: chefhound

                                      Did he say that during the show or was he responding to someone? He's Canadian and it looked like an RCMP dress uniform to me.

                                      1. re: John E.

                                        It's in his blog.

                                        He says:
                                        The judges enter and someone named Charlotte has given me a Prince Charming outfit. She sent me this picture in advance to set my mind at ease for how I would be dressed. No joke -- she really did.

                                        I still adore her, but this is a really suspect outfit. I feel like a weirdo. I mean I am a weirdo, but this is not helping. Just so you know, I am neither charming, nor a prince.

                                        1. re: chefhound

                                          The best line in his blog was "Nobody chose the foil wrapped Hosea in the corner."

                                        2. re: John E.

                                          The RCMP uniform doesn't have a big blue sash, nor all of the assorted tassels and medals Hugh was wearing. His costume looked more like Prince William's wedding attire.

                                      2. re: John E.

                                        Hugh also said in the show he was Prince Charming when someone asked him if he was dressed as Prince William.

                                        1. re: boogiebaby

                                          Yeah, that's what the 25 year old female producer was going for. The red jacket, plus Hugh's Canadian citizenship made him look like RCMP to me. That certainly would have been a more appropriate costume for him.

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            i wish he had been a RCMP...there is just somethinnnnng about them.... that...wellllll neverrrrrr mind

                                      3. re: chefhound

                                        Michael is such a sexist pig! I love Hugh calling him the King of Krazy! For some reason he seems to think that he's irresistible, women like to be treated with contempt, or he's just completely oblivious to his total lack of charm. He's lucky that none of the women have accidentally spilled boiling liquids on him!
                                        I'm looking forward to the LCK thread!

                                        1. re: KailuaGirl

                                          He strikes me as the Carrot Top of the kitchen.

                                          1. re: hambone

                                            I think he's the spittin image of Kramer from Seinfeld

                                        2. re: chefhound

                                          I thought Hugh made a good Prince Charming -- he has the right look.

                                        3. Good riddance to Michael. the presentation of his arancini alone was dull as dishwater. not spooky, boring.

                                          I'm so glad Nina did well. I like that others think she is a force to be reckoned with.

                                          I'm again feeling empathy for Travis - whether his father "knows" or not, they obviously have never talked about it and that's a big thing to have to be thinking about when you're trying to compete on such a high level.

                                          that Glee chick was annoying. i don't watch the show, tho, so maybe people love her. but what was up with Sara checking her out??

                                          thanks LW, for choosing us first! as your payback, something good happened concerning a ball! yay you!!!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                            Wait - I'm going to a Ball? With my own Prince Charming???? mc, can you see into the future????????? ;-)

                                          2. You rock, Linda! I agree the chefs seemed to like Lea, and Lea seemed very comfortable, and to know her stuff.

                                            So the guy who was Vietnamese last week is now Mexican?

                                            Phew! Close call for Nina. You go Nina!

                                            1. I thought Tom was supposed to be Harold Lloyd. Gatsby? No way.

                                              10 Replies
                                              1. re: Skippy1414

                                                Dammit - THAT is who I was trying to think of, Skippy - not Buster Keaton! I knew there was a silent film star called Harold, but I couldn't think of it during the recap (and didn't want to head to The Google to search). All I could think of was him hanging from a large building's clockface.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  I think that would have been Harold Arlen,

                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                    Who - hanging from the clock? Arlen was a composer, was he not? And Lloyd was the comedian.

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      Yep, probably best known for the songs from Wizard of Oz. Arlen, that is.

                                                      1. re: acgold7

                                                        Yeah, but Tom Colicchio didn't look anything like Harold Arlen in his costume.

                                                2. The two-person confessionals really brighten up the place. I hope they get to stay.

                                                  1. Thanks, LInda. And congratulations.

                                                    Delighted to see Michael go. What a DB. He has no sense of himself, his skills or the foolishness that comes out of his mouth.

                                                    Travis' conversation with his mom left me sad. Of course his father knows he's gay. The least Travis can do is honor his father (and himself) by having that straight (irony intended) conversation with him.

                                                    12 Replies
                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                      Michael is clueless but I don't think he's the least bit mean spirited. On the other hand, Nina is definitely harboring a grudge, presumably because Michael dumped the stuff she plated on his plates onto the prep table.

                                                      Right now I'm most impressed with Justin.

                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                        I wonder if Michael just isn't suited for a competition such as Top Chef. He must do something right when the cameras are not on because he is the Executive Chef at Galatoire's.

                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                          For Nina to say he's got no talent is pretty lame. I know he must be good for some things if he's the exe. chef at Galatoire's, which is as famous (or almost as famous) as Commander's Palace.

                                                          1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                            McDonald's is pretty famous...

                                                            (Just playing devil's advocate :-))

                                                            1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                              I know his personality rubs people the wrong way but I'll cut him some slack because he doesn't seem to be a bad guy. On the douchebag scale, Jason is alot douchier. I personally think Travis is douche, and I'm not so sure that Nina isn't a douche (albeit one with talent for making gnocchi). We shall see.

                                                              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                Travis is a douche about Asian food but he was presented in a more likeable manner this episode, as was Sarah.

                                                                But I'm fickle about chefs. I'm already like, Bene who?

                                                                1. re: ennuisans

                                                                  travis gets by with his doucheiness because it is almost like puppy douchiery- he would be the first the hand over an extra lemon grass to someone without them without asking... he just doesnt know what he doesnt know and is a bit tooooo verbouse in telling what he does know..

                                                              2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                Ah, but how about the McDonald's in Paris?

                                                              3. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                Galatoire's is fabulous -- great fun to eat at in NOLA, but the dishes served there are mostly traditional from a set menu, and don't require a lot of creativity.

                                                              4. re: John E.

                                                                Anyone who watched Padma's "pre-competition competition" -- which Michael won -- can see he has talent. Honestly, I think we're mostly past the days when TC had no-talent folks. Take a look at the resumes of the people already kicked off, these aren't scrubs. And as you say, regardless of what Michael did, or even what one thinks of Galatoire's or its menu, to get to be EC of a place like that means you must have some skills.

                                                          2. I knew my Cardinals were goners when Andy Cohen showed. St. Louis native, and went to one of the snobbiest private schools in town. Oh well, at least we made it in.

                                                            I found it incredible that a self professed vegan doesn't know what quinoa was. SMH.

                                                            I thought Nick and Patti were roadkill. Bully for them. I liked Patti's reaction when Padma asked her how it felt to be on the other side.

                                                            Brian was disappointing. He has shown some great chops but he is working real hard to blend into the background, and when you are paired with Bene, you just can't do that.

                                                            How about Louis and his thumb. Nice come back for him.

                                                            7 Replies
                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                              "I found it incredible that a self professed vegan doesn't know what quinoa was. SMH."

                                                              Where did you get that idea? I believe what she said was something about assuming she wanted quinoa because she was vegan. I think she was trying to point out that it wasn't very creative.

                                                              1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                I think she was also trying to point out how narrow minded we non-vegans/carnivores/omnivores can be when asked to provide vegan or vegetarian food. There is such a wide variety of delicious vegan/vegetarian food out there. I was surprised that no one had anything really original to offer.

                                                                1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                  Meanwhile as a carnivore/omnivore I was disappointed the gruesome challenge was vegetarian. The one on a previous season was so much fun. This was ... Yawn

                                                                2. re: boogiebaby

                                                                  It's been a week so I don't remember the exact line of the conversation, but she was asking Tom about quinoa and how to spell it. Maybe she is just a crappy speller, but probably not.

                                                                3. re: Phaedrus

                                                                  If someone is a vegan - or a vegetarian - or an omnivore - isn't it always self-professed? Does anyone over the age of 10 have something like that imposed on them?

                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                    I am sure it is not always self-professed. I am quite sure there are many children who have that diet imposed upon them.

                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                      quite a few children have died from parents imposing diets on them sadly enough.

                                                                4. Number one thing I learned: Lea Michele is incredibly annoying.

                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                    I had no clue who Lea Michele was before last night. Come to think of it, I still don't know who she is and why she was a guest judge.

                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                      She lipsyncs bad covers of pop songs on the TV show "Glee."

                                                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                        That *is* her singing voice. She was also in the original Broadway cast of "Spring Awakening" and has been in other Broadway or off-Broadway shows.

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          Yeah, I was half giving her crap and half serious.

                                                                          I'm sure most of it is her, but after watching some live stuff by the cast, I'm convinced that extensive post-production is taking place on that show. They sounded REALLY rough compared to what we hear on TV. Contrast that to live performances by some REALLY great singers (Adele, for example), and Michele and the rest of the Glee cast simply don't come close.

                                                                          1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                            Oh yeah, most DEFINITELY there's a lot of post-production! There's no way in hell most of the actors can dance, move about, etc. on stage or the "high school stairways" as much as they do and still be in full voice. Broadway actors are trained to do so, but 99% of these actors aren't Broadway actors.

                                                                            But I'd still say that Lea Michele could compare quite favorably in a live performance. Again - being on Broadway, you have to learn to project and be able to belt it out and still be in tune. Otherwise, you don't keep the part for that long. Or even get it to begin with.

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              The scenes in the halls, etc, are what I was referring to when I mentioned lipsyncing -- they're not even singing at all when they're filming those scenes. The songs are recorded in a studio and then played over the filmed scene.

                                                                              In the live footage I saw, they were signing on a stage. Not much dancing or movement. No excuses.

                                                                              Anyway, we're way too far off topic here. Her taste in food sucks. :-)

                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                "being on Broadway, you have to learn to project "

                                                                                not like the olden days when my mom was on stage..we went and the first thing she said was " wow they are all miked"... it would have been unheard of in her day for them to have had microphones inbedded in their hair

                                                                                1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                  Yeah, I hate going to musicals now, as they're all mic'd and it's WAY. TOO. LOUD.

                                                                                  And it wasn't THAT far in the "olden days" as I remember going to Broadway plays and musicals and the singers/actors projected their voices. Then again, I'm probably your mother's age or older. ;-)

                                                                        2. re: John E.

                                                                          cheezy vegan gory food challenge.....no wonder they got a bunch of crappy arancinis.

                                                                        3. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                          It's not been that long since her boyfriend died, which made the flirty parts uncomfortable. This may have taped before that event.

                                                                          1. re: ennuisans

                                                                            According to Wikipedia, production occured from early May to late July. Since this is a show that is shot in sequence, it would appear that this episode was shot before the death of her boyfriend.

                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                              I was wondering about that, and I thought that would be the case.

                                                                        4. If the show takes place on an organic vegetable farm, have a vegan guest judge. But for Halloween you need a carnivore, preferably one who loves offal cooked rare.

                                                                          Not sure why Bene didn't go home. Maybe the producers thought Michael was too irritating without having the entertainment value some of the previous bad guys have had.

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: hal2010

                                                                            <If the show takes place on an organic vegetable farm, have a vegan guest judge. But for Halloween you need a carnivore, preferably one who loves offal cooked rare.>

                                                                            I couldn't agree with you more!

                                                                            1. re: hal2010

                                                                              The only episode of the TC Texas season that I loved was the one with Charlize Theron that had the chefs make scary/creepy food. The dishes were prepared individually and most looked amazingly creative. Something like that would have been better suited for last night.

                                                                              1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                I loved that episode and thought some of the dishes were fabulously creepy looking - way more suitable for a halloween episode - producers take note next time

                                                                              2. re: hal2010

                                                                                "But for Halloween you need a carnivore, preferably one who loves offal cooked rare."

                                                                                Then 100% of the chefs would have done just that, which half of them do throughout the season anyway. Better to challenge them with something that makes them think for a change. And while this is perhaps just a function of who I know, all of the vegetarians I know love Halloween more than any other holiday.

                                                                                1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                  It's one of the few holidays not associated with meat! (Turkey for Thanksgiving, some kind of roast for Christmas, Ham for Easter, burgers and hot dogs for Fourth of July).

                                                                              3. Am I the only one who thinks that wrapping everything in tin foil and then having two people who aren't going to cook grab a bunch of it so that three dishes can be made out of every ingredient is just stupid?

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: hambone

                                                                                  Sometimes the Quick Fires lean towards stupid. But I still like the episodes with QFs than those without.

                                                                                  1. re: hambone

                                                                                    No, you're not the only one. It was stupid, and a stupid way to get the moms involved. Still, I liked seeing Gail and Padma's moms on the show.

                                                                                  2. Is this the third episode where someone involved in judging says specifically, I do not like food X, and one of the chefs has done exactly what were told not to do?

                                                                                    1. Way to multi-task LW. Congrats on the recap and the win!

                                                                                      I too was shocked that Bene didn't go home. Seriously? Tomato salad? And underseasoned tomato salad at that.

                                                                                      And not to nitpick, but Nicholas originally planned gnocchi I think and changed when he learned Nina was also doing that. The poor judges were forced to eat three different arancini.

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                                                        Ahh, misheard that Nicholas was going to make gnocchi as well. Will ask the mods to fix tonight. Thanks!

                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                          Well I had the benefit of watching without distraction ;) (Though I was happy to see my favorite former Phil hit 4 RBIs.)

                                                                                        2. re: gaffk

                                                                                          That's right. Nicholas was going to make butternut squash gnocchi and Patty was making arancini so they were even going to have the same combo of dishes as Michael and Nina. Seems like he made a good choice, since the judges liked the dish he made instead.

                                                                                          Something about the way last night's show was produced -- I never did get a good look at some of the finished dishes.

                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                            Oooh, I hadn't caught that they'd changed her dish as well. Great adjustment on their part.

                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                              No, they didn't change her dish -- Patty made the one arancini dish they liked:

                                                                                              YELLOW TEAM - Fall Theme
                                                                                              Nicholas - Butternut Squash Cannoli with Ricotta Salata
                                                                                              Patty - Lemon Arancini with Smoked Mozzarella

                                                                                              But to have two teams that each made a gnocchi dish and an arancini dish could have made them look bad by comparison. As it was, they were in the top group!

                                                                                          2. I just read the Eater recap (I know, why do I keep reading it?) and it's a little better. Still pretty lame but there were a few good lines. And then she ruined it by making fun of Hugh.

                                                                                            First of all, nobody gets to mock Hugh on my watch.

                                                                                            Secondly, Alison Leiby, you know he didn't have a choice - they made him wear the costume.

                                                                                            Third, making fun of Hugh's costume doesn't make you a better writer or negate all the predictable, lame single-girl whining in your recap.

                                                                                            Fourth, he's a much better writer than you'll ever be.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: chefhound

                                                                                              I still couldn't finish it. She's not funny but she tries soooo hard. Bring back Max!

                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                Yeah, she's brutal to read. Most decidedly not funny.

                                                                                                And apparently no more Amateur Gourmet comic recaps either.

                                                                                                1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                  His 'comic' was so funny. But Australia is more important.

                                                                                                  Linda, thanks once again. And congratulations!

                                                                                                  I am very happy that Michael is gone. He...I just don't know what to say - someone above said maybe he shouldn't have even done this, and I agree.

                                                                                                  Onward and upward to next week -

                                                                                            2. I hate the new format of the judges deliberating, via a TV screen, in front of the cheftestants. At best, it gives away the winners/losers before they are summoned; at worst, it feels as though the cheftestants are eavesdropping on conversations they should not be privvy to (at least prior to Judge's Table).

                                                                                              Anyone here like this format?

                                                                                              14 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: ooroger

                                                                                                I don't like it. They get feedback anyway when they're brought in front of the judges, I don't think the whole group should be listening in. And I wonder how long the TV is on with them hearing judges' discussions. Just a quick roundup or longer (since it sounds like some decisions can take forever).

                                                                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                  I think the contestants are sitting there watching that monitor for hours so the producers can get the few seconds they use for the show.

                                                                                                2. re: ooroger

                                                                                                  I don't like the format either. I think the producers believe they have to change things up or the ratings will go down. That's why they changed the finale last year to a 'kitchen stadium' Iron Chef kind of show. I didn't like the sudden death part of that format either.

                                                                                                  1. re: ooroger

                                                                                                    don't like it either. and i found it disengenuous when Padma said, when the winning people came out, that they were smiling so they must have known already. What, like the judges don't know they're being watched?

                                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                      Even before this season, the first ones called were almost always the winners. Showing the deliberation doesn't really tip them off to anything.

                                                                                                      What the judging tv does do is save the judges from having to talk about how good or bad the food was and then repeat themselves when the chefs are brought out. It saves some production time and so it's probably here to stay.

                                                                                                      (This is assuming, of course, that what the chefs see is actual deliberation and not a canned rehash.)

                                                                                                      1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                        The key is "almost always." They changed it enough that there was still wonder. OTOH, I guess it's nicer to the chefs.

                                                                                                      2. re: ooroger

                                                                                                        I miss the extended judges' table that we used to get online. I guess they dropped that when they added LCK.

                                                                                                        1. re: ooroger

                                                                                                          I agree. I still think they're fishing for another product placement company.

                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                            Speaking of product placement, as a home cook who knows nothing about pro kitchens, do chefs really use yards of plastic wrap around their trays of food? Just wondering.

                                                                                                            1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                              Sometimes. But especially when there is any transport involved. You don't want anything getting in the food or falling off a tray or out of a speed rack when transporting things.

                                                                                                              1. re: thimes

                                                                                                                Plus, I'm guessing that it keeps them from accessing their food outside the allotted time.

                                                                                                          2. re: ooroger

                                                                                                            If I was a contestant, I definitely want to see the whole judging. You can find out what was successful and what was not, who is good and who is not, who judges like and who they don't like. There's no better way to learn than to have honest and unadulterated reviews.

                                                                                                            1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                              It also means that chefs who are not in the top or bottom group get to hear their food critiqued.

                                                                                                          3. Reading some of the responses about Michael has got me thinking, yeah I'm glad he's gone but it also appears that he was basically throwing in the towel. He's obviously a good enough chef to be the exec in one of NOLA best restaurants so why did he do so poorly? My latest theory is that he basically said "f*&k it, I'm not doing this any more" and just stopped trying. Unfortunately, he almost took a chef who does want to be there down with him.

                                                                                                            27 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                              I often wonder that about contestants on these type of shows - they had the skills to get on so what happens.

                                                                                                              I think the nature of these quick turn competition shows work to specific personality types, not just to great chefs.

                                                                                                              That said, I also think that not every personality comes across well on TV.

                                                                                                              So I hope he just was served up a doubly whammy because this didn't go well for him.

                                                                                                              1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                Being a great chef doesn't mean you'll do well on a show like this. Just watch the chefs who fail on TCM.

                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                  I made a similar comment on last week's thread. I think there's a learning curve, too, as the cheftestants get the hang of how to approach the challenges.

                                                                                                                2. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                  I wonder what kind of restaurant Galatoires is (I mean I know it's old and famous). Is it possible Michael took over a kitchen with a long-established menu that he just has to execute, or oversee the sous chefs execute? That would be very different than some of these other chefs that create their own menus, change menus regularly, etc.

                                                                                                                  Just a thought . . . based on no real knowledge of Galatoires or the other chefs' restaurants.

                                                                                                                  1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                    I wonder about that. I doubt he intentionally threw in the towel. After all, he is cooking in "his town," where all the folks in town are probably watching TC to see "their" home team serve it up. I'm afraid things might not go so well for him, or not as well as they would have had he come closer to the ultimate TC position.
                                                                                                                    While I don't like him, I do feel kind of sorry for him. I'm sure there was a lot of fanfare about 2 real NOLA chefs competing making NOLA cuisine. If I were a local, I'd certainly want my team to win and would be disappointed watching Michael's performance.

                                                                                                                    1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                      Agreed. (The part about not liking him, but feeling sorry for him). And I seem to remember he came by way of Padma's Picks, AND in a seemingly unusual circumstance where she picked two, rather than send someone packing. Am I remembering correctly?

                                                                                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                        Yes, you have passed your alzheimer's test--your memory is intact.

                                                                                                                        1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                          I was thinking he reminds me of someone who knows he doesn't measure up and puts on a front of bluff and bluster to distract from that.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Leepa

                                                                                                                            All the more reason to feel sorry for his public exposure to possible ridicule. No matter how much he puts on a front, he's got to know he's not measuring up. How sad!

                                                                                                                            On a happier note, according to the CH Team Travis came out to his Dad and all was fine and dandy. Turns out his Dad is a child clinical psychologist. If he didn't know before, living in the same house for his own kid's lifetime, I'd wonder about how much insight he might have into my kid if I sent that kid to see him for counseling. He might be a fantastic clinician, I'd just wonder about his reasoning skills. It's mentioned on the Bravo CH blog.

                                                                                                                            I guess I should mention that I'm an academic (university professor) child psychologist's kid. Just in the interests of full disclosure...

                                                                                                                            1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                              That does seem odd! Even if Travis was hesitant to bring the subject up, you'd think if the Dad suspected he would have given him an opening to talk about it.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                I'm glad he came out to his Dad.

                                                                                                                                The unfortunate reality is that coming out is very complicated and most parents don't "know" even if you on the outside think they should.

                                                                                                                                It's complicated. I'm glad it went well.

                                                                                                                              2. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                You know what they say; Cobbler's kids!..Not implying he's unshod or anything....And I should mention I'm a Child Psychiatrist! AND a psychologist's kid.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                  you all know how worldly and experinced I am( insert snort and laughter here) but...a lot of the time it reallllllly it isnt a matter of coming out... it is a matter of " ok so you know that elephant that has been sitting in the corner....well ya"

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                    My dad was a psychologist on Riker's Island. Never did the take your daughter to work thing there.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                      there is a book called Al Capone Does My Shirts about the kids who use to live on Alcatraz with their parents who worked there.

                                                                                                                                      haha just notice your name "shrinkrap"

                                                                                                                              3. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                I just saw this episode and didn't see a couple episodes in mid-October, so maybe I missed a lot more douchebag-ness from this guy, but he didn't seem *that* bad. Yes his "boo boo" and other cutesy names for Nina were obnoxious but it didn't seem that horrible. If he's the worst anyone has to deal with, then they've got it pretty easy I think. And not sure why everyone thinks he was throwing in the towel making arancini. Were the other arancini makers throwing in the towel too?

                                                                                                                                Speaking of arancini, did anyone notice Hugh's misuse of cini and cino in the discussions?

                                                                                                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                  I'd call it arrogant cluelessness from Bob more than anything else.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                    Yes, he was attempting to pluralize it.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                      Right but 'cini' is the plural and 'cino' is the singular. He got it mixed up, Padma got it right. I feel like there was another slip up with that word but who can remember at this point.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                        You could tell that he was struggling with it as it was coming out of his mouth. I found it humorous.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                          I thought it was just one of those brain farts when your mouth says the wrong thing and you can't quite control it.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                          Could the other slip up be when Hugh said he wasn't in love with Michael's aranSini?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: seamunky

                                                                                                                                            Thank you, that was exactly it. I was thinking, wow Hugh, really? Next thing he'll be pronouncing it "bruSHetta". After all, I took one course of Adult Ed Italian and I *know* these things.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                        My thoughts of Michael possibly throwing in the towel are more based on my feeling that he appeared to just give up. I think you can be a great chef (which Michael probably is) and do poorly on these shows. It's rare that someone throws a batch of ingredients into a professional kitchen and starts a clock expecting a great product. My feeling is Michael realized that this type of competition was not for him and decided to light up a joint (or two) and switch to cruise control. Also don't think cooking arancini was the problem. Cooking bad tasting arancini was the problem.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                          One could argue that a few of the chefs appear to be on autopilot, rather than really creating innovative dishes during the challenges. Bene and his partner both making lame salads comes to mind. I think the partner thing was important for this challenge in that each person's partner should have been an honest sounding board. I don't get the impression that the chefs were really looking for much feedback from their partners. It seemed like it was every person for him/herself. Aside from Carlos and Travis, few, if any, were interested in how their two dishes worked in tandem, which obviously worked to their advantage.

                                                                                                                                          On a different topic, I'm amazed at how meek Patty is. This is a competition. She must have some skills if she's a contestant. How can she willingly accept supporting roles in group efforts and let others dictate what she should make and how? I understand that she is not an executive chef, but she works in a top kitchen. Has nobody fostered any creativity and independent thought from her, in the course of her grooming to become an executive chef someday soon? Maybe she's just slower to find her footing in this competition. Maybe she's playing possum. I don't know, but the doormat role she's adopted is tough to watch. She's currently the female equivalent of Bene, and that is not a flattering comparison. Thus far, he and his cooking have come across as anemic.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                                                            Patty obviously has skills, but not everyone handles competition the same way. Plus, while I have no doubt that she has creative talents in the kitchen -- I don't think she could have gotten where she is without them -- she probably has always had a superior to act as a sounding board for those ideas. And without that sounding board, she seems lost because she hasn't adjusted to the competition aspect. Whether she will ever adjust is unknown.