TOP CHEF Now Being Served - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

TOP CHEF Now Being Served

February 19, 2009 by  

It wasn’t until yesterday that I realized that GMMR readers were such big fans of Bravo’s TOP CHEF! But with the comments that were flying around it was obvious that it’s a show we should be talking about here on the site.  I’ve seen the show and have always liked it, but it’s more of a show that I catch from time to time and as a result I’m not qualified to talk about it with any knowledge.  Lucky for all us, SB from Team GMMR is a huge fan.  Better late than never, SB is going to take on TOP CHEF duties for the rest of the season.

Over to you SB…

TOP CHEF! Big thanks to GMMR for adding it, even if we are at the end of the season. It’s never too late to join the party, I say! Just to give you a little background on where I’m coming from, I’m not a foodie at all, but I like the artistry and competition parts of the show, which I actually started watching because Billy, my boyfriend who can cook a mean chicken breast on the Foreman grill and not much else, became obsessed with the show out of the blue. He does like to eat, though, and he thinks Padma is the hottest thing on two legs, which just goes to show that men DO only think about food and sex. Thankfully, Top Chef is so entertaining that I can indulge him on this one.

So it’s Part One of the finale, and my first thoughts are … CARLA! Why did you do that to your hair?!?! And FABIO! Why did you do that to your hair?!?! But they don’t leave me a lot of time to think about it before jumping right into the Quickfire Challenge, where none of the final four would be participating. Instead, they brought back Leah, Jeff, and Jamie for another shot at the finale.

Now I will say that I hated Leah (or GonnoLeah, as she is known at my apartment) because she was so damn whiny all the time. I couldn’t believe that she stuck around as long as she did, and I think Tom Colicchio hated her almost as much as I did. And she’s one of those girls who obviously thinks she’s prettier than she is and that that should get her through life. I’m sure she’s a decent chef and she certainly wasn’t the worst, but my personal hypothesis is that the producers angled for her to stay until they were sure they’d milked the HO-sea (as he’s known in my apartment) drama for all it was worth.

I also hated Jamie. Fabio calling her out (well, talking head calling her out, at least) about it not being Top Scallops was so true. If I saw her make one more scallop I was going to lose it. COOK SOMETHING ELSE! But mostly, I just thought she had the snotty, better-than you attitude of Stefan but with less humor and less talent to back it up.

Now that said, I also thought that the way Jeff went was pretty lame, and I know that in that challenge, they made their rules and it came down to him, Fabio, and Stefan and that he probably was the right choice there, but from really early on, I expected to see Jeff in the finale. And yes, he was kind of an ass, and yes, his restaurant is called Dilido and we were over halfway through the season before I realized that it didn’t say “Dildo”, which is what I’d been calling him most of the season. But I actually think Jeff was the most ambitious chef there—I think he was really challenging himself and pushing himself as hard as he could go, and while that strategy didn’t work out for him in the competition, I did admire it, so I was happy to see in the Quickfire that he went simple and came in with a solid win (and that I didn’t have to suffer one more second of Jamie or Leah).

So then they sprung the news on Jeff that he would have to win the elimination challenge or he wouldn’t be able to stay, and I think that once again Jeff got screwed on predetermined rules. And again, I understand that that’s the game and that they kind of had to do that for fairness, but it still sucks.

I really thought that if Jeff did a good enough job, like considerably better than two of the other people in the competition (which he did), that they might fudge a little and hand him the win. They didn’t, and I respect that decision, although I wouldn’t have held a Jeff win against the show, either. But Carla really earned that win and that car, and she was so cute running up to get the key and I felt so happy for her. And, in a way, I felt happy for Jeff too, because I think he got to come back and redeem himself, and cook for a famous chef who had nothing but good things to say about his dishes and style, and I think he should be really proud of that.

And on a sidenote, I loved Emeril as a judge. I don’t watch his show because he’s a little too … shall we say, rambunctious … for my taste, but he’s obviously incredibly talented and listening to what he said, I could feel that he truly and passionately loves food and loves the process of cooking it. Also, did they just kick Toby Young to the curb the second Gail became available again? Am I going to see him sitting in a cardboard box and begging for foie gras on the side of the road or something?

And finally … how freaking hot was Padma last night? I mean, seriously. That dress was bangin’, and her hair and makeup were great. While Billy always thinks Padma looks great, I think she can be a little hit or miss. But last night … whoo! I couldn’t stop talking about how hot she was!

Anyway, back to the chefs, right? Like I said, I think that win was well-deserved and hard-earned by Carla, and I would love to see a Carla win. And you know, everyone is acting like it can’t be done in the face of The Mighty Stefan, but I think she could possibly pull it off and the thing is, everyone hates working for Stefan. So can’t you just imagine the other chefs coming in and wanting to help Carla, and being motivated to kick Stefan’s butt? Because I totally could, and so I’m not giving up on the idea yet.

Now Hosea is an interesting beast for me. I just don’t like him, and it’s not just because of the Leah nonsense, although that has a lot to do with it. There’s just something about him that bugs me, and I don’t know if it’s his demeanor, or some weakness in him that I seem to sense, or his Stefan obsession. I just can’t put my finger on it, but I was really ready to see him go. But I just can’t begrudge him his place in the finals after last night, because he knew he was going to New Orleans and he studied up on Cajun cooking, and that was really smart. And I know from my extensive Food Network watching (and I reiterate, NOT A FOODIE, and yet I do watch an awful lot of cooking) that roux is really difficult and I’m impressed that he was the only one who seemed to really go after it. And I think he also really earned his spot in the finale, and so I begrudgingly give Hosea my respect.

Now at this point, I’m just going to let the Jeff thing go, and discuss how it came down to Fabio and Stefan. Personally, I thought the decision to let Fabio go over Stefan was total BS. And the thing is, I actually have no doubt that Stefan is a better chef than Fabio, but it didn’t show in this challenge and I thought his attitude and work ethic were both just embarrassing. Fabio made a good showing with the Cajun food, which is something obviously neither of them are especially familiar with, and he was ambitious in making his own bread in addition to his required dishes. Meanwhile, Stefan’s all out smoking cigarettes and making food that isn’t spicy enough. So I just do not believe that based on anything but raw talent, that he should be there after last night. I kept yelling at my TV how bush that was, and even now I’m getting mad thinking about it.

I keep reading things on websites about how Stefan has it in the bag and how it’s Stefan’s competition to lose, but I think Hosea perfectly called it last night when he said that Stefan’s fatal flaw is thinking he’s got this competition all sewn up and that he doesn’t have to try. And I know it won’t necessarily, but I’m really hoping that smug attitude comes back to bite him. Every now and then, you just want some justice. Am I right?

What did everyone else think? Who did you want to come back, and who did you want to see kicked to the curb? Who do you WANT to be the next Top Chef vs. who you THINK will be? And what say you about the non-alcoholic cocktail at Mardi Gras? Discuss!

SB has many interests, including photography, her pets, entertainment, traveling and writing. She does have a day job, but that mostly amounts to her being a sarcastic young woman with a lot of time on her hands, which is why she appreciates the opportunity to recap.


21 Responses to “TOP CHEF Now Being Served”

  1. Patty on February 19th, 2009 11:35 am

    I hope Stefan sinks in the finale and Carla buries him! I think both Jeff and Fabio got robbed. But I am really pulling for Carla so…

    I am not a fan of Hosea either. He’s kinda creepy and I think he is inconsistant. He makes good food…sometimes. He just can’t back up all his talk.

    I think if Carla keeps her focus and makes sure she doesn’t overthink, she can win. I am hoping that Stefan thinks himself into a hole and serves up some serious crap. I don’t think Hosea has a real chance.

    This is the first season in a long time that I am really interested in who wins. I dont’ think it’s clear cut at all.

    It’s been a really good season. I hope they continue to serve it up on Top Chef next year!

  2. Lisa on February 19th, 2009 11:43 am

    Thanks for recapping! I love this show! I agree, Fabio leaving over Stefan really made me mad. Stefan was disrepectful and did not make good cajun/creole food. Carla is my favorite to win and then Hosea, only because Stefan won’t even be thankful/gracious/appreciative if he wins – he just expects to. I hate cocky people and I have had enough with him!

  3. SB on February 19th, 2009 11:46 am

    Yeah, I agree that at this point I’d rather see Hosea than Stefan, but I just don’t think he’s strong enough to pull it out. Plus, I think there are a lot of chefs who were on the show that were just better than Hosea, and him winning would be an insult to them. Unfortunately, I don’t think there were many people better at cooking than Stefan, just people who were better at being a decent human being. So, Team Carla!

  4. Angie on February 19th, 2009 5:05 pm

    I completely agree about Hosea, there’s just something about him that it offputting to me. Maybe it’s his preoccupation with Stefan ALL season, like you said. It seemed at times that he forgot that it wasn’t just him and Stefan competing.

    Fabio going home over Stefan… PLEASE! DUMB. Damn you judges. I think Fabio’s adorable, but beyond that Stefan has made it seem the whole season like he could really care less whether or not he was there. Editing can’t be blamed for a lot it, which can often be the case of the “bad guy” on reality shows. Fabio definitely put a lot more effort in throughout the season, and I was hoping it was the beginning of a good roll for him when he was last week’s challenge.

    Carla….wasn’t a big Carla fan early in the season but she definitely grew on me. Now that Fabio is gone, I’m pulling for her to win.

    Side note: Loved that New Orleans was featured as such a main character in this ep. It’s my favorite city in all the land and was excited to see it shown in this light.

  5. Lisa (aka lmr) on February 19th, 2009 5:06 pm

    OMG SB am so psyched for your blog! I was one of the one’s wishing for show coverage in GMMR’s survey. Besides the network site there is nowhere to dish (ha ha) on TC. I am a Carla fan and have been since the beginning – she’s nice, kind, funny, and can cook like nobody’s business. Also not a foodie but would have loved to try that Oyster stew. So, I am pulling for an upset. I liked Hosea early on but just hated the Leah connection and all his talking heads about the girlfriend, yeah right, I read somewhere that he and Leah are together.

    On Chef Tom’s blog he says that Jeff had a Sterno issue that permeated the taste of his food. I think if that hadn’t happened, he would have had a shot. I was pulling for him. Hate Stefan but who doesn’t. I liked Fabio’s personality but he just never quite blew it out.

    Glad Gale is back…hate Toby.

    Anyway, Carla for the win!

  6. SB on February 19th, 2009 5:27 pm

    Man, Angie, we are SO on the same page. I love Fabio and all of his comments (especially last week when he injured his hand and refused to go to the hospital, saying he would rather cut his finger off, sear it on the stove to stop the bleeding, and deal with nine fingers tomorrow), but Carla did grow on me and I’m now her cheerleader. And good call about New Orleans being featured as a character on the show! So true!

    And Lisa, I’m not really down with oysters but I SO would’ve gone for her beignet. Beignets just do it for me. And I want to read this article that says Hosea and Leah are together, because UGH. Gross.

    And WTF is Sterno?

    Billy thought Fabio had a really self-aware moment last night when he said he’s a good chef and a great entertainer. It sounds like you’re also in that camp. And so am I, really, but I hope that doesn’t seem like an insult. I adore Fabio (and so do Gail and Padma, OBVIOUSLY), and I really want him to get his own TV show. I would be glued to the set.

  7. angiep213 on February 19th, 2009 5:36 pm

    Fabio could SOOOO have his own show, I would think it’s a pretty safe bet that he’ll win the viewer’s favorite chef thingy. I can’t say grill without saying “she take an hour to peeeeel and greeeeel the corn.” Love him. He’d be good on a Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives type of show….out with the people watching them do their thing and he brings his Fabio-ness to it.

    Mmm beignets. I have beignet mix from Cafe de Monde in the cupboard, I might have to pull that out now!

  8. SB on February 19th, 2009 5:43 pm

    And don’t you just want to compare all food to monkey ass now?

  9. P D Yerf on February 19th, 2009 5:44 pm

    Oh thank God there are more Leah and Hosea haters out there!!!! I have disliked both of them from the beginning (and not because they hooked up), and I was praying for Hosea to go home last night. After reading Colicchio’s blog i understand why he didn’t (and gained much better understanding why Jeff didn’t win) but still. His “rivalry” with Stefan makes me laugh, if only because Stefan is SUCH a better chef in almost every way, including attitude. Stefan can be an ass, but he knows it and he owns it and he can (most of the time) back it up with incredible food.
    However, I was truly upset to see Fabio go. He makes my life. I will marry him one day, watch and see. I don’t care that he’s already taken.
    I have thought since day one that Stefan will take it all. Hosea is somewhat of a contender, I SUPPOSE, but if he wins i will pith a violent fit. My hopes, however, are pinned on Carla for the surprise victory. Come on, who DOESN’T want to see the look on her face/crazy dance/burst into song moment where she’s told she’s Top Chef???

  10. Lisa (aka lmr) on February 19th, 2009 5:56 pm

    SB – sterno comes in a can and it is a semi-solid fuel used to keep food hot in chafing dishes. It has a smell as it burns off and apparently these fumes infused with the food. Note Carla cooked to order so no heating devices needed.

    Forgot to mention that I too loved seeing NOLA.

    Can we tell from the number of posts how starved we were to talk TC (more food puns, sorry).

  11. Nicole on February 19th, 2009 10:46 pm

    Nooooo!!! I can’t believe Fabio’s gone. I am definitely in the camp of “Fabio needs his own show”. I hated Jeff all through the season…I think I’m in the minority on that one, but I just did. He’s a good chef but he always tried to take on way too much and usually ended up shooting himself in the foot. However it was his perpetual moodiness that bugged me…and I’ve read that he said the producers used him as a sex object on the show which made my eyes roll into my head. Maybe it’s just me, but Jeff is sexy? Huh? However, it was a battle of evil with Jamie, Leah and Jeff so I didn’t really care which one of them came back.

    Out of the three remaining contestants, I’m also on Team Carla. Hootie Hoo! She kicked major ass in this one and I hope her streak continues. If not her, I pick Hosea because he has proven he’s got skills and I really really want to see the look of shock on Stefan’s face when he loses.

    Yay Gale is back! Double yay Toby is gone! SB, I also am not a fan of Emeril’s show, but I agree he was a kickass judge. Loved him – hope he’s back next season. And Angiepie213, I’ve now got that Fabio quote running through my head on a loop since reading your comment…thanks for that! At least it’s making me laugh.

  12. Lisa (aka lmr) on February 20th, 2009 6:33 am

    Question to ponder…who do you think will line up with who when the ‘aufed’ chefs come back to help? I think Leah will go to Hosea naturally. Fabio with Stefan? Jamie with Carla? How many more come back if any? Who do you think will be most helpful?

  13. SB on February 20th, 2009 9:48 am

    Thanks for the briefing on Sterno, and why it was a problem for Jeff and not Carla or I probably never would’ve made the connection. Makes sense.

    And Nicole, I have to agree that Jeff isn’t sexy but I see what they were going for. Me and Billy laugh at the credits every time when Jeff turns and smiles over his shoulder and there’s a little BING! like in a toothpaste commercial or something. How appropriate. 🙂

    Lisa, I think that they usually give them two helpers each, and I think you were right on with who would go where (although if Carla gets Jamie, I hope she’s planning on scallops). I forget who was eliminated before that … Radhika? Ariane? They’re all kind of blending into the background for me at this point.

    I was really annoyed this season with how everyone made “duos” and “trios”. Just make one freaking food. I feel like they were all just trying to throw as much crap at the judges and hoping something stuck. And yeah, Jeff was just as guilty of this as everyone else, if not moreso. But, like I said, I felt like he reigned it in for this Quickfire. And yeah, he was kind of an ass but it amused me … maybe because I feel like that’s his actual personality and he wasn’t putting ANYTHING on.

  14. Jen on February 20th, 2009 9:56 am

    haha, I love that our discussion the other day got this recap going!!!! Thanks GMMR!

    I haven’t gotten to watch the episode yet, but when I read about the Jeff thing I was not happy. Anyways, I’ll come back to this after I finally get to watch the episode!

  15. P D Yerf on February 20th, 2009 10:22 am

    I don’t get everyone’s problem with Jamie. I liked her! I thought she was really talented and more deserving than either Leah or Hosea to make it to the top five/four/three. Even if her scallops were repetitious, she only screwed them up once and when she made them again it was to prove to the judges (and to herself) that she was able to do it. She made plenty of other things throughout the season that were not scallops but were also good: she won two challenges AND was in the top consistently. Compared to Jeff who I still see as a talented chef but nothing exceptional, and Leah who I think is relatively mediocre and probably the only person in the world that I truly hate (and I am aware of how pathetic that is) I was rooting for Jamie to get back in the game in the quickfire.

  16. SB on February 20th, 2009 11:47 am

    I mean, I know it’s a cooking show and not a personality show, but I think my biggest problem with Jamie besides the parade of scallops was just that she was a bitch. I mean, LOTS of these people were bitches, and I hated them too, and lots of people had egos that rivaled hers. I think that for me, I can take bitchiness (see: Jeff, Stefan) when there’s something redeeming there. In the case of Jeff, I thought he was kind of funny. In the case of Stefan, he’s amazingly talented. In the case of Jamie, I just thought she was whiny and ungracious and boring, and that her only personality trait was being a bitch. Leah was a bitch, but she was also whiney and a boyfriend-cheater-onner. And like at least on previous seasons, such as last season with Dale who was the ultimate bitch, the conflict that provided gave me some entertainment (such as Spike calling him out at Judges’ Table). I feel like everyone just let Jamie get away with being snotty (except for Stefan, who loved her, which is probably indication enough that she needs to take a good long look at her personality).

    Whoa, I didn’t know I had such strong feelings on the matter! I’ve been so consumed with Leah and Hosea hate lately that I forgot all about my Jamie rage!

  17. SB on February 20th, 2009 11:48 am

    Oh also, I wasn’t trying to say that Leah was any better than Jamie for her whineyness/cheatiness, just that there are more overwhelming traits for me to categorize her by.

  18. Lisa (aka lmr) on February 20th, 2009 1:49 pm

    I didn’t dislike Jamie particularly. Despite the scallop overload, I thought she had talent whereas I am convinced Leah never had any talent at all. Both are/were whiney but I found Leah’s whining so much more annoying for whatever reason – it might go back to what you said earlier, SB, she thinks she’s way hotter than she is. Now call me out for being catty on that one, probably deserved. I reiterate my mantra, Go Carla Go!

  19. SB on February 20th, 2009 2:27 pm

    I think the part where I got most irritated at Leah for thinking she was hotter/cuter than she is, is where she gave up during the Quickfire challenge and then made the pouty face/baby voice (and baby voice is one of my ALL TIME pet peeves). I was just like, YOU ARE NOT CUTE AND WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE HATES YOUR STUPID GUTS!

  20. P D Yerf on February 21st, 2009 12:41 am

    Oh my god that pout!!! I almost threw things at my television every time it came out when she was in trouble. I think Leah is one of those people completely used to getting through life by just looking cute and manipulating where needed and the sad thing is, it worked for most of the season. That woman was in the top five, which disturbs me. A lot.
    Sorry, I get WAY too into this show 😛

  21. GMMR on February 21st, 2009 4:36 pm

    I’m so thrilled that so many of you are into TOP CHEF. Thanks to SB for taking on the show.