Top Chef 8/15

I just realized that with Hell’s Kitchen being over, this is the only show on TV that I make it a point to watch.

It seems like the last of the deadwood was cut adrift last week, and although there are definite favorites, everyone left has a chance at winning.

So who goes tonight? I can see Hung going due to his pure arrogance pissing off the judges, and Howie is one more team challenge away from hanging himself unless he gets a clue. The only ones I see as being safe even if they screw up are Tre and CJ. Clay either sucks, or wins. Casey has been skating through, she needs to come through with a great performance soon.

Casey seems a little odd - in one episode we saw her enter a hot tub in a skimpy bikini, but last week when they thought they were going clubbing all night, she wore something an Amish person would be fine with.

I need Survivor and Amazing Race to return.

Well, wasn’t that a surprise!

I can see why the judges/producers/whoever wanted both teams to redo their restaurants. There were glaring mistakes on both teams, but except for Howie’s risotto, you couldn’t really point out anybody who did badly enough to warrant elimination.

(Besides, I could see why they couldn’t vote on just Howie alone – that entire Garage menu was so out-of-place for the area and season, save Hung’s tuna tatare).

I felt bad for Brian. Front-of-the-house is a lot more nerve-wracking than what it seems at first glance, especially if you don’t have prior experience.

Can’t make up my mind re Casey or Sara. There’s something about both of them that I can’t put a finger on that makes me want to say…eh, I don’t think I’d like working with either of you. But maybe that’s just me shrug

There certainly wasn’t an obvious choice this time, which makes sense because everyone left is competent. Howie did seem to learn something after the last couple of weeks, although I think he will be the next to go.

On a personal note, I hate having a stereotypical gay man as my waiter. I am there to talk with friends, not to make small talk with my server. I want the server to answer my questions about the menu, then never speak again. Maybe it’s just me.

There were some obvious fumbles
The scented candles, horrible service, dirty dishes, poorly planned menus, so-so food.

Howie, who seems to have made himself into the majority’s favorite to next make the dreaded pack your knives walk, actually played nice and didn’t try to throw any of his team members under the bus. While his risotto may not have been the favorite dish, it wasn’t the worst either. The smoked potatoes from high flying Tre takes that claim.

Personally, I would have voted Brian off the island tonight. Hard way for a chef to go down, but he fell flat on his face. If it was my opening night, I would damn sure confirm that the plates being used were clean. Did they just bring them from the store, throw food on them and serve? Just the thought of that makes me want to hurl.

I think that was a mistake of negligence, whereas Dale’s mistake (scented candles) was a result of poor judgment. I can excuse some oversight, and to be fair it’s not like the plates were covered in mud, but such a remarkable lack of judgment is inexcusable.

What I didn’t get was why Tre looked so upset when they said it was a do-over. He completely stuffed his dish, he was probably the one most likely to be booted for cooking performance. Hung, on the other hand, got it right after so many weeks of making an idiot of himself. Now he lost that little victory.

At any rate, the scented candle thing was enough to boot someone, IMHO. Give the win to Hung and call it a day.

In Brian’s favor, he did have to deal with the judges at the very opening, so the restaurant hadn’t worked through any of the problems at that point. Did they ever mention whose idea the watermelon on the oysters was?

The scented candles were probably the worst single item, but I can see why they wouldn’t want to send anyone home for that alone. Also, it seemed like Dale got most of the blame for the decor when Hung was right there with him the whole time, including smelling the candles in the store.

Personally, I’d hate to see anyone kicked off for something like choosing scented candles or being a crummy waiter. It’s a cooking competition; the person being kicked off ought to be the one who made the worst dish. I don’t even think they should be doing challenges where not every chef has to cook.

I’m guessing now that next week, we’ll see two people booted off. I believe there’s precedence for it - didn’t they do that on one of the previous seasons?

I loved the blogger’s wording (and the way Padma read it): the suffocating stink of vanilla.

Yeah, they didn’t boot anyone when they had that low calorie challenge last season, because the winner (Betty, I think?) deviated from her planned menu and added sugar. I’m pretty sure they kicked off two the next week.

So, are two going next week? :confused:

They haven’t said. We’re just speculating.

Question for people who cook well: obviously, the vanilla scented candles last night were not intentional and absolutely a mistake…but could a chef do something like that purposefully? Especially with a prix fixe menu?

Say you had made a bunch of courses that all had cinnamon in them or went really well with cinnamon - might you put a cinnamon votive in the middle of the table and claim that it was there to enhance the flavors of the food? Or could that/would that never be done?

Dale has a poor sense of smell, and he wants to be a chef? What’s he going to do, hire a food smeller? :smack:

No scented candles, even if they “match” the food.

For me, it’s not that Howie’s risotto (“I make mine different from other chefs”) was lousy, but they also had to wait 20 minutes for it. Then he claimed it was because it had sat. It didn’t sit - they practically ran it out the of the kitchen. Brian was nervous and it showed, but I think allowances should be made since that’s not his job. The potatoes were a big problem, but Tre’s been so good I’d hate to see him eliminated on one dish. The heavy menu was a big mistake, and Howie’s “If I see braised meat on a menu, I’m ordering it” seemed so bombastic. He doesn’t know how to take any sort of criticism gracefully.

I disagree that cooking is all it should be about. Running a restaurant is much more than the food. In fact, I was at a fairly fancy restaurant locally two nights ago, and one of the things that bothered me was that the server’s cologne was noticable. If you can smell something over the food (as opposed to enhancing the food) that detracts from the meal.

It’ll be interesting to see who remains after the shakedown.


I wonder if his sense of smell is really all that bad, or if it was something he exaggerated as justification for getting the scented candles.

Would Garage’s menu have gone over better if Howie’s risotto had been lighter and more traditional? It seemed like the menu turned out heavier than it was intended to be.

I haven’t read the blogs (and I doubt they’d write about it) but I think they always intended to keep everyone around this week. Unless there were some liberties granted with the editing (which I have no doubt of (and my GOD did anyone else catch that horrific Padma dubbing near the beginning? (I’ll stop with the parentheses now (always remember to close them all up)))), it seemed clear that was their intent. They brought them in and Padma said right off they were not the winning team, but didn’t say they were the losing team. Then they brought the second one team in and railed on them. At no point did they say “we’re having a difficult time figuring out who to keep here, one of you should go home…who of the 8 should it be?” At no point did they even talk of elimination.
Yet suddenly at the end, Tom comes up with this brilliant idea and then we get an editing montage of every judge looking in every direction and, TADA! Here’s our new plan? Nah, they knew what was going to happen pretty early on.