It was a Restaurant Wars stunner, to say the least, and here's how Tom and company explain it.

on Jan 17, 2013 - The Dish0

Restaurant Wars Shocker
Holy. Freaking. Restaurant Wars. Elimination.

There's a chance you may not have seen last night's episode of Top Chef. Should that be the case, consider this the last spoiler warning you're going to see on this page, because below this paragraph, we're going to get into the nitty gritty of Restaurant Wars and the elimination that stemmed from it. You're going to want to watch or find out ASAP, because it's sure to get spoiled at some point today. So, ready, set, SPOILERS BELOW:

...

Seriously, it's about to get spoiked ...

...



Kristen Kish did what all honorable generals should do -- she fell on her sword and took responsibility for a team member's inefficiencies, and in return, she was sent packing instead of the bouillabaisse-botching Josie Malave. Whether Kristen should have spoken up and pointed the blame at Josie is a whole other issue, but at the time of Judges' Table, J dropping the ball on the broth and other things weren't known, and Tom Colicchio and crew are explaining the controversial decision in this week's blogs. Here's the gist of what each has to say (we especially like Gail Simmons' caveat) about Kristen-gate:


Tom Colicchio: "I know what you’re thinking, and I know how you’re feeling, and all I can say is that having now watched the episode and seen everything that went on behind the scenes, I share your frustration. I really do ... It’s bad enough not to do what you’re asked to do, but it’s a whole lot worse to say you’re going to do it and only afterwards reveal that you didn’t… time and again. Had we managed to discover this at Judges’ Table, the outcome of the challenge would have been different, but Kristen wouldn’t divulge it, insisting that the buck stopped with her. I wish I’d asked one more question: “If this were truly your restaurant and Josie were one of your chefs, would you have fired her?” I believe that Kristen would’ve had to have said “yes.” But, to quote Kristen herself, hindsight’s a bitch. I didn’t know to ask that question, 1) given that Kristen was determined not to reveal what Josie had done, and, 2) as a result, given the information we had and how it (mis)shaped our sense of what had happened in the kitchen." Read His Blog Here

Hugh Acheson: "Back and forth on the blame game. BUT this is critical: Kristen takes the blame as the executive chef. She’s a brave one. Gail puts it as falling on your own sword and she’s right ... Testy times at ye olde Judges' Table. they do a tricky name call and Josie is safe. At the end of the day, Kristen goes home. It’s a sad day, but you want the leader? That’s her, leaving the stage. She says that she is proud to go preserving her integrity and grace." Read His Blog Here

Gail Simmons: "
So whose fault was it? You can certainly make an argument for both, but I guess Kristen is the chef. She didn’t give Josie the confidence and tools she needed to problem solve when issues came about. She wasn’t able to think on her feet in that moment of crisis, when the dish should have gone out. Because Kristen had so much stock in her idea, she wasn’t able to be flexible and adapt to the problem at hand. Let’s just say that judging does not need to be unanimous in a case like this; it needs to be majority. I was not in the majority." Read Her Blog Here



Did Kristen survive Last Chance Kitchen to stay alive? Find out here!

53 comments
cba321
cba321

josie is the WORST chef on the show. including the chefs who were previously eliminated. she is loud, obnoxious, disgusting to look at and her food is horrific. she completely ruined kristen's restaurant - did not do what she said she was going to, did not keep to a schedule, did not explain that the reason there was no gelatin (and thus no foam) was that she was BEHIND in prepping the sauce and there was no time. she makes me want to scream and vomit and hit her in the face.

CuriousKaty
CuriousKaty

I just do not understand Padma's almost insistent defense of Josie week after week -- even this evening when Josie got eliminated, calling Josie's 'fried chicken' that all the other judges intensely disliked, "flavorful".  Josie has been over her head since about the third week.  She was in the bottom three at least 9 times, and Padma kept saving her .... puzzling.

martinatamaro
martinatamaro

Kristen should NOT have been dismissed. It makes me not want to watch the rest of the competition. Kristen has delivered time and time again, winning battle after battle. Her caliber was undeniable, yet to keep such a lower quality chef in the competition was laughable and ridiculous. No longer is this a challenge of competence. Change the name of the show! Padma made a poor judgement call. The network should dismiss Padma, too.

Johnusa99
Johnusa99

Maybe you guys should start doing blind tastings and let's see who survives! THAT might actually be fair!!

Kc33
Kc33

Padma, please pack your knives and go. 

Hannas
Hannas

This used to be one of my favorite shows and Kristen was by far my favorite contestant. I'm afraid I can't continue watching this season until Kristen makes her way back on the show through LCK. Josie is unbearable to watch and after Padma's poor judgement I'm afraid I'm already over the show. I'll check back in later in the month, hopefully top chef is back on track and the show has some remaining talent. I can easily ignore Padma, but its hard to watch a show with subpar talent.

linjeans
linjeans

I have no idea if the producers, judges, or whomever, cares what people here write or think.  If they do - they should publish an APOLOGY for that episode.   Having Last Chance Kitchen to fall back on DOES NOT justify what they have done.  Integrity has been lost here.   The show has sold out to cheap drama ploys. 

sarahtheresa
sarahtheresa

Kristen should have won the whole damn thing. Worst call in TopChef history. I can't watch another episode with Josie on there. Her laugh, her excuses, her lateness, her bad food! I can't even.

knittosew
knittosew

 This was my last episode of Top Chef.  I cannot believe they voted to send home Kristen over Josie and Stefan. There are no words to explain my disappointment over the direction of the show to constantly save less deserving chefs.  Good-bye Top Chef.

Jtkmd1
Jtkmd1

It is unfathomable that Josie is still on the show...she should never have been back on in the first place. I can't remember her ever winning a single challenge in either of her tours. She has consistently placed in the bottom, and she has consistently deflected blame from herself. I am so sick of her!! Kristen is by far too nice...but I don't think we should worry for her...if history is any indication, she has a bright future and I'm sure plenty of people will be lining up to work with her in the future. Fortunately, karma is a bitch...I'm sure we won't her anything from Josie in the future.

lizzie428
lizzie428

That was the single worst judges decision in Top Chef history.  Kristen should have been the chef winning this entire season, and with all of their experiences, these judges should be far more intuitive with a better ability to extract all the facts.  (Also, when determining who goes home, do they not get producers input on what actually was happening out there?  I thought that was a given.)

AGScott
AGScott

I worked in the restaurant industry for 12 years and there's one fundamental thing - if you can't get your food out on time, you're history. Josie has had multiple issues of this - including two recent instances when she had long lines awaiting her dishes and one judge referred to her dish as a "charred piece of flesh." But they sent home the other contestant for having too many pieces of fish on his plate? Hey, at least it wasn't inedible. It's so obvious that she is being kept because the producers decided she was a great antagonist and they think it will help ratings. Instead, for the most loyal fans, it may have the opposite effect. 

bloomgalore
bloomgalore

What does josie have to do to get eliminated??? I cannot believe this !

jmdesmet
jmdesmet

Padma was out for Kristen and took it to the extreme!!!!! I am with everyone else and almost gave up watching the show until Kristen won the last chance kitchen challenge. You need to seriously consider asking others in the group, during group challenges, You are hard on people for making excuses but yet you don't give the contestants the chance to give their truthful criticism of others. Since you have just admitted to not having access to the behind the scenes footage that can often be necessary when making a correct choice I think you need to improve the way you get all your information.

 

Padma came off on the show as having a personal preference for Josie and a personal problem with Kristen, I think she need to remove yourself from judging the show if she cant be impartial.

simsim
simsim

It's becoming more obvious why women don't seem to win Top Chef. Kristen had the talent to win, but because the judges didn't do their job, the wrong person was sent home. The judges can make more excuses than Josie about not knowing what happened behind the scenes, but isn't that what their job is? So many times they ask the safe contestants what happened and who should go home, but from all appearances, Padma was hell bent on throwing Kristen out. Hopefully the judges will return to doing their due diligence at the judges table, but they lost a lot of my confidence. Bad judges, bad, bad judges. Now do a better job. Please.

Mizonglohong
Mizonglohong

I'm in shock... It looks like you are just keeping Jose for controversy for ratings. It really sucks that so many GOOD chefs are being sent home and Jose is kept. I'm with Rowdy... I'm done with this show! 

Sparq27
Sparq27

I have watched every episode of Top Chef since it started.  After watching last night's episode of Kristen getting eliminated, I did the unthinkable and cancelled my season pass.  I realize that the judges work with limited information not available to viewers, but ultimately, each chef needs to stand behind their dish.  One word... ridiculous.

chefroxy
chefroxy

I'm with rowdyalen--even bought a professional kitchen/chef reference book to learn along with the shows when I didn't understand a term. Wasn't at all interested when Stefan and Josie were invited back, thus displacing other worthy new cheftestants. I've watched long enough to know the judges observe and ask pointed questions. After weeks, this season, Josie and Stefan keep getting passes.

bamboozelled
bamboozelled

I'm done with this show. Been watching since the beginning. I will not watch until Josie is gone, if she ever freaking leaves.

simon.puntervold
simon.puntervold

All chefs have bad days, but when you're time and time again at the bottom you're clearly not good enough. When you send home someone for having one bad day who's been constantly in the top before someone whos constantly in the bottom then the show is no longer about finding the best chefs and you might aswell shut the whole consept down. As a chef you might be cooking some other peoples consept, but if i have cooked it then i'm responsible for that dish. Also, on a side note, keeping someone in the competition after serving bad scallops, even after saying that they smelled old is just criminal. That a great chef like Tom allows something like that is an offence to all chefs and diners out there...

cburns
cburns

That last episodes was ridiculous! I can't believe how Padma was going on and on about how it was Kristen's fault when Gail was actually on the right track with the blame falling on Josie.  Josie has got to be one of the worst contestants I have ever seen on this show! Not only do I have a hard time believing the judges couldn't see it was her fault, I can't believe you brought her back to the Top Chef kitchen in the first place.  It was bad enough having to watch her on her first season and now we are having to endure her bull this season too, sooooo ridiculous.  How come you judges didn't have enough foresight to ask more questions, geez, these chef's lives could change forever with your decisions and you made this decision without enough information, for that I blame you because it is your job to make sure the right people advance in the competition.  I have been watching this show from the beginning and sometimes I do disagree with the judges decisions, but I have never ever in my life blogged about anything and I made a special point of signing up to do just that.  The injustice of it all really irks me, especially when you keep letting someone who obviously has less talent than most of the other contestants continue to skate by the skin of her teeth.  After reading all the other blogs about this subject I agree that Josie definitely doesn't deserve the title of Top Chef and should be eliminated as soon as possible.  Kudo's to Kristen for holding her head high, carrying herself with grace, style, and integrity, and winning Last Chance Kitchen.   I am a big CJ fan as well and hated to see him go, but Kristen does deserve to go on.

dgomes
dgomes

After having read Tom Colicchio's blog, I now have a better understanding of why their decision went the way it did. I still think it was wrong but I see the train of thought. I do wish they had asked more questions though. They had to know there was something going on under the surface. Why not bring in Brooke and Lizzie to see what they thought? Tom did say he wished he had asked Kristen if she would have fired Josie if she were working at her restaurant. That would have been a good one. But my biggest issue was Padma. Even if she does not actually judge, wtf is her beef with Kristen? I mean seriously. My boyfriend managed to catch the judging segment (he doesn't watch the show) and even he said, "Holy crap! Why does that one lady hate that contestant so much? Did she p*ss in her coffee?" It seemed like the judges (you know, the ones with actual culinary training) were leaning towards sending Josie home when the model/host/"actress" started practically shouting at them about why Kristen should be eliminated.

marjo
marjo

Note to future Top Chef contestants....do not, under any circumstances, try to win the quickfire challenge when you are down to eight people.  You will be made executive chef in restaurant wars.  You will then be blamed for everything that goes wrong in the kitchen and be sent home (see Padma footage).  Kristen, I am very proud of the way you handled yourself.  Can you come back to Grand Rapids and cook for us now?

rowdyalen
rowdyalen

I have watched every episode of this series since the begining and I have been frustrated in the past that you have kept chefs on that were not up to standard but just provided drama.  I droped out for a while but have been a big fan for a couple of years.  After seeing the last restaurtant wars those I think I will just stop watching for good.  Jose can't cook and you all know it.  Maybe I will chech the show out in a few years and see if you really care.

ucsb22
ucsb22

To Tom - since you don't see what we do (didn't realize that) why didn't you ask the other women on Kristen's team who they thought was to blame and who they would have sent home???  Think all of you judges need to think about that in the future! 

ucsb22
ucsb22

I have watched Top Chef since it started and have ALWAYS loved it.  Can't say I've always agreed with who's gone home but, in general, I've been OK with it.  Not this time.  I was so angry I'm still not sure I won't stop watching.  Kristen's potential to be the winner (which is near impossible for a women - there's only been 1) was incredible.  Josie has continually slipped by.  Kristen's should NEVER have taken the blame (although she has kept her integrity).  Are the judges just clueless on what's going on in the kitchen? Do they not see what we see?  How can you send a potential winner home when Josie was clearly the reason that the dish failed?  She is SO slow and just does't seen to get the urgency or the importance.  Why should she?  She's still there after doing this time after time.  How often has Kristen won (she even beat CJ after his 8 wins on Last Chance Kitchen) and Josie has been on the bottom for the last several weeks.  What else can I say.  Last year on Top Chef All Stars you sent someone home for exactly what Josie did.  Why the inconsistency???  EXTREMELY UNFAIR!!!

plee29
plee29

I have watched my LAST episode of Top Chef and I have been there since the beginning of Season One.. Josie isn't fit to flip burgers at McDonalds, much less survive elimination this week or numerous weeks previous. The show apparently chooses loud, backstabbing, obnoxious behavior rather than talent, grace and integrity.  Best of luck to Kristen in the Last Chance Kitchen. I won't be seeing it. Josie should go back under the rock she crawled out from under. 

MeaganEHD
MeaganEHD

I was so mad at Kristen for not speaking up about Josie.  The judges have no idea what happened in the kitchen, someone has to TELL them.  And since Kristen took the blame, they sent her home.  I cheered when she won last chance kitchen, though. ;)

djembe7
djembe7

I notice that Padma doesn't have the huevos to comment.  Nice going.  Do you feel less threatened now that you eliminated a stunningly beautiful, supremely talented chef?

chilihead
chilihead

I call it a conspiracy theory. Awesome TV to have the front runner axed in restaurant wars, only to fight her way to the top in Last Chance Kitchen. Then she's back into the finals. It's a win-win situation.  Kudos to the judges for being consistent, though. In restaurant wars, regardless of who messes up, it's always been the leader who is sent packing their knives.

Bobcat211
Bobcat211

I have watched Top Chef each season. The highlight was the season that Michael Voltaggio won (clearly the best chef among excellent ones). The show has been losing quality since. This week, with Kristen being eliminated over Josie, a new low has been reached. Kristen clearly has been the highest quality chef. The judges act like they don't know what's going on. I will no longer be watching as the judging has become so poor that it is pointless to watch as quality and consistency doesn't win out. Josie needed to go and the judges know it.

MAk24
MAk24

The judges absolutely got it wrong and hopefully will realize that Kristen's youth and desire to rise above the usual blame game sent her home. This is Top Chef, not top comedienne. Josie was responsible for her dish, which was not well done,and to support the restaurant. Very disappointing result. Kristen is associated with one of the top chefs in the country whom I am sure sees her talent more than the TC judges do. Boo!

philip.perinelli
philip.perinelli

I agree with Livie29.  We recorded the episode last night and just watched it.  Both my wife and I hit the ceiling.  If Kristen had called Josie out for all of her errors in front of the judges how would that have gone??  I think she would have been ridiculed for doing so.  No win situation.  Josie has done nothing worthwhile all season while Kristen has won repeatedly. AND...you gave her no credit for the rest of the restaurant.  All of the other dishes, the way the front of the house was run, etc. 

crzbynanc
crzbynanc

I also soooo mad at last night show .  Kristen should have spoken up.   l also think that one of the other girls should have said something. Josie needs to be gone from the show! Every one else has to pay for all her mistakes.

marrjjee
marrjjee

SIMPLY WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

jon.j.huff
jon.j.huff

I love Top Chef.  But this elimination just sickens me.  It has been easily obvious that Kristen is the better chef and, had anyone asked the question as to why the gelatin was to be left off, they would have found out that Josie did not do what was right in preparing the stock on the day before the restaurant opened, thereby leaving the blame mainly with her.  Sure, we don't know for sure that the dish would have been that much better with the missing component, but if it had been there, we would have seen whether it was the dish itself, or if it was Josie, which was the lesser of the two.  I am very disappointed that Josie is still on the show.

killamgirl
killamgirl

Dear Padma, Gail, Tom and Emeril,

WHAT WERE YOU THINKING????  Josie has been in the bottom so many times. How could you possibly elininate a chef as creative and professional as Kristin and keep Josie????  I have watched every episode since Season 1 and have always looked forward to each week's competition and drama but this may be the end for me.  Maybe you should rename the program "Mediocre Chef" in honor of Josie.  I am very disappointed in you all!

mareedee1
mareedee1

I am so disappointed in the Top Chef judges, I cannot tell you. In my opinion, Josie has screwed up one too many times, & has used her 9 lives, again & again. She should have packed her knives, weeks ago!  I really thought Kristen would win Top Chef. I cannot believe that this show does not have the ability to bring back a contestant if they feel an injustice was done. I'm so upset, that like the last poster, I may not watch Top Chef again, either. I hope Bravo is happy.

Sarbeara1981
Sarbeara1981

I CANNOT BELIEVE Josie is still on the show!!!??  What are you thinking judges?  I am such a Top Chef fan, however my love for the show went out the window last night.  This is supposed to be Top Chef and you have Josie in the top seven, so disappointing.

BeckyBee
BeckyBee

Kristen  figured she would win it all.    Josie, its like she isn't concentrating on her cooking, she is coming up with excuses, trying to slide by,  talk, talk,talk  about whatever,  she should have gone before CJ

I_hate_josie
I_hate_josie

After reading comments all morning from around the web, I know my 2 cents are not necessary, BUT, I just feel ripped off. I, as many of us, predicted a last week that Kristen would go down with Josie on her team, and sure enough that's exactly what happened.

lori.wiener.1
lori.wiener.1

For Gail to say that Kristin didn't give  Josie the confidence and tools needed is a bunch of bull. What she should have done was asked one of the runners is they knew how to cook and through Josie to the curb. Josie sabotaged her whole dish. She is lazy and slow. Even the judges seen that when she had a line waiting for her food.  Don't put the blame on anyone except for those of you sitting at the judges table making the wrong choices time after time.   I feel you all enjoy snubbing you noses at people and make them feel as they are beneath you. Stop being so fake and start being real.

 

lori.wiener.1
lori.wiener.1

I am really considering not watching the remaining Top Chef. When are you going to see that Josie is the problem with many of the past challenges.  Kristen should be in the top 3. If you couldn't see that she was too proud to put Josie under the bus, then maybe you need a judge that is able to read people.  Really, I guess the High and Might have spoken and that is how it is.  I like all of you but you act like you are above anyone out there.

jillsum
jillsum

I agree, I thought she was going to win. I WILL NEVER watch top chef again, and I've been watching from season 1. So disappointed!

Cathlamet
Cathlamet

 @knittosew

 

At first I was upset about the outcome too. Don't quit yet. Think about these questions and points. (1) Who would have won the competition, hands down, if Kristen would have stayed in? Would it have been dramatic? Was it just too predictable? …….Let’s face it, the outcome was too obvious – this had to happen. (2) Who will win Last Chance Kitchen? Without LCK, would they have let her go? (NO!) So, isn’t it actually a slide of hand to juice up the show? With LCK, the playing field has now been leveled (amongst the finalist in the forefront of the show) to keep the main event more exciting. Don’t worry – Kristen will eventually win. They turned her into an underdog. The network knows it’s always more exciting when the underdog wins! They know what they’re doin’………………

foodiefan
foodiefan

 @AGScott

 Couldn't agree more.  I thought taste, execution and timely was minimally essential and that Josie character hasn't managed all three in any competition.  She should have been history ages ago as she obviously cannot cook. They do not need to provide an "irritant" to make the show interesting.  If they'd make an effort to be fair they'd win and keep more fans!

bloomgalore
bloomgalore

 @rowdyalen  i am where you are.  in the beginning the show was about the food. now ???/

foodiefan
foodiefan

 @ucsb22

 Definately, and I think they should also watch the prep footage before making any win-lose decisions.  In this as you fans know, you're damned if you speak up and tell the truth and damned if you take the high road as Kristen did.  Still wished she had pointed out she didn't add the gelatin because the broth was 4 hours behind!  If added at serving time it would have ruined the dish.

foodiefan
foodiefan

 @lori.wiener.1

 So true regarding Gail who switched horses to back Padma of all people!  So ridiculous!  Kristen has proven herself in every competition.  Josie has been inept throughout, has made all kinds of execution errors and shes obnoxious as well. I would have considered that as a judge and it should have been obvious where the problem lay. 

Gail is just making up things and making up excuses for a really lousy decision.