Jamie Lauren

Jamie Lauren implores the chefs to go big or go home.

on Sep 3, 20090

I have been sitting here for over an hour procrastinating and trying to figure out what to write my blog about ... after screening this week's episode, I am realizing that  I have no clear favorites, and none of the chefs are really striking my fancy. Sure, the talent is there amongst many of them, but not a single one has yet to capture or motivate me in the way I have been in the past. I get that Top Chef is a cooking show — trust me, I was on it — but watching a group of chefs that are kind of lacking any sort of charisma is making it a little tedious. I hate to say this, but where are the jesters like Fabio and Stefan and Spike and Marcel, and all those other chefs you kind of loved to hate? As much as they had a tendency to distract from the actual art of cooking, it made for entertaining television. After all, it IS reality TV, and I'm sure the casting directors aren't casting based solely on one's cooking ability.

Moving on ... gotta say I loved watching Ashley freak out in the kitchen over her boiling water (finally some drama!!). It seems as if the Team Rainbow alliance isn't quite as tight as it was on my season. For some reason, I get the feeling Ashley doesn't really care for Preeti, but if she took my blanching water I would have been crazy pissed too. Can't say I blame her. I thought Ashley was incredibly ambitious with her 45-minute gnocchi and homemade ricotta. As a chef, I know how long those two things usually take so I have to say I was impressed with her having the balls to make them. Personally, I felt she should have won over Jen considering the risk she took, but Jen succeeds again, and she is definitely starting to look like the woman to beat. Ash, nice job on calling your failed ice cream a custard — that was smart, and look, you ended up on top. Sometimes it pays off to roll with the punches. On the flip side, Jesse, I have to say, please be the next to go home ... please .... You keep fessing up to all your mistakes. You know exactly what you do wrong and yet, you do nothing to fix them? Your soup was too spicy. Why not add a cooling element to it? Yogurt, cream anything? You could have fixed it and yet you just served up mediocrity. It's TC girl ... go big or go home!

37 comments
JaNie
JaNie

I think you really hit the nail on the head x10000 a lot o your commentary. I enjoyed watching you last season and was pleasantly surprised to see that you'd be blogging this season.

Justine
Justine

Ok, so both me and my gf agree Jessie should have gone home in the last episode. And i watched the whole ending and Preeti going home i was disappointed but i guess ill surmise in the fact that Ashley almost won. I too believe that Ashley should have won the last round. i yet again enjoyed your blog and both i and my gf laughed at what you said about Jessie. I look forward to your next blog. :D

Mark
Mark

agree that the potato challenge seemed really out of place, and most of your observations in general, but what's with the "me too" comments? you were braising smoked slab bacon 2 years ago? fine, but i didn't see anything like that on the show, just seared scallops... 'Cool' if you'd be in the finals against Stefan? don't forget you had a second chance to come back, but lost to Jeff.

Tigressa
Tigressa

I am loving those "full figure" chefstants: Kevin and Eli, they are entertaining and talented too !

Jarrett
Jarrett

Hi Jaime - I just powered through all three of your blogs and thought they were all insightful and on target. One suggestion though, since TC is only giving you a portion of the show that doesn't include the judge's table; I'm wondering if your blog can include your assessment of the judge's table in your next blog. For example, your week 3 blog could start with your review of the judge's table from week 2 and a rundown of the dishes, dialogues and ultimately who was selected to go home. Thank you and take care.

Gomez
Gomez

It's kind of presumptuous to say it would have been "cool" for you to be in the Final 3. Stefan was the best chef on the show (sheer number of challenges & quickfires won), Carla stepped it up big time towards the end, and Hosea (shudder) won the whole damn thing. You're implying that one (if not all) of those chefs didn't really belong there. But, didn't you know? You didn't get into the final three because, "This is Top Chef, not Top Scallop."

Viewer
Viewer

Loving your blog, Jamie! Re: you and Stefan...we were kind of hoping you two would get over your differences (and the obvious stumbling block of Team Rainbow) and have a baby together...OMG, the Ultimate Top Chef baby!

TimD
TimD

Spot on, Jamie, spot on. I also agree with some of the other viewer comments though. Personality versus talent? Fabio and Stefan were entertaining, but they weren't Richard Blais or Ilan Hall in the talent department either. Richard, Ilan and a number of previous competitors were interesting to watch to see what they would cook next, not what they would say.

Braised bacon and braised pork should certainly do seem to be in the comfort food category.........but where is the risk and the edge? Chocolate ganache and chicken liver baby! No, I wouldn't eat it, but it certainly ups the edge factor!

I wanted to see you, Stefan and Fabio in a TC3-style 3-way finale!

Kay
Kay

I look forward to reading your blog every week, Jamie, and I couldn't agree more with your comments.

I find this season of Top Cheftants very lackluster! There doesn't seem to be much character in any of them. Aside from Mike Isabella's annoying sexist comments and oh-so-adorable Ashley Merriman, I have to say, I'm a little bored. I'm waiting for another "Top Chef Top Scallop" person to emerge from the bunch! I think we all need a little reality TV entertainment. It's pretty sad that there's no "Team Rainbow" bonding on this season of Top Chef tho.

I did also think that Ashley should have won over Jen; she did take a lot more risk with her potato dish! And Jen was amazing leader in the kitchen during the Elimination Challenge; she should have been commended for that.

Looking forward to the next episode! I'm personally cheering on my favorite Ashley Merriman. Hopefully in the next couple of episodes, a wow-factor will appear. Till next week, JL!

Gabby
Gabby

Jamie, I respectfully disagree with you about wanting more "out there" personalities for the show. If I wanted reality show entertainment I would watch Hell's Kitchen. Top Chef started out classy and it has seems with each season it has lost some of its class with the addition of such characters. This season has brought it back to a talent competition. I am back to looking forward to each Wednesday instead of thinking "I'll just catch a re-run later in the week."

Alex
Alex

Jamie, love to see you blogging this season! But on braised bacon, you and Tom are both pretty late, ppl here in the South have already been doing that for years to go with cornbread and beans! It just sounds a bit silly to us to hear y'all being all amazed by it, like it would probably sound to you if I said I just discovered that letting dough sour for a while makes really good bread, or like it would sound to Tom if I said that I just found out tomatoes make good sauce for pasta.

Reichen
Reichen

Ya! It would have been fun seeing you go head to head against Stefan. Shame you failed to get to the finale. What makes you think you would have kicked his ass? I thought he had demostrated beyond a doubt that he is far superior to you in the kitchen. As for the talent in this season, I can't see you beating the V brothers, Eli, Kevin, or even Jen, in any challenge...even a scallop one.

Viewer
Viewer

Go big? So I guess that means bring on the scallops.

Viewer
Viewer

Hmm, Jamie, I think you really want Stefan.

That aside, we already know who will go in the next three weeks, so why bother to watch. The show is boring this season. They need some bad boys, or hot guys to watch.

They should have Fabio on every season, he is so cute.

I am already sick of Jen. The same with brothers. Boring.

They need to pick a differnt mix. How to they pick the chefs for this show?

Viewer
Viewer

Get over yourself. Your season has been over for years. No one wanted to see you in the finale.

Emily
Emily

Hi Jamie,

I'm sure it's hard for them to keep coming up with different quick fires and elimination. I liked the one challenge when Sam was there about bringing back the sexy in salads. I'm a salad girl and always looking for something original. I'd like to see something like the "ultimate mac-n-cheese" quickfire. It seems to me that last seen had a lot better calibre of female chefs...pretty weak this season except for Jen...she's gonna be a hard one to beat. MIKE I HAS TO GO SOON!

Sean Manning
Sean Manning

Jamie, you are allowed to talk all the smack you want because I've eaten at Absinthe and it rocks my face off.

TelgarBrekke
TelgarBrekke

Spot on commentary-I am glad you speak with the courage of your convictions.....the Quickfires are getting lame-Either come up with interesting ones or come up with another concept-

And Chocolate, Bacon,and Ice Cream should be removed from the challenges because it seems to me, that when one of these ingredients is used, it wins.....where's the surprise?

Karen
Karen

If I have to choose personality or talent then I choose to watch talent. I wholeheartedly agree with Carl above. Oh, and it's nice to see Tom impressed with the food he's tasting rather than being constantly disappointed like he was last season by all of you playing it safe.

patty
patty

I already sent a comment, but I wanted to tell you that it would have been great and so much fun for you and Stefan to have been in the finale. (Instead of Hosea) I was so disappointed when you were eliminated.

My favorite part of your season was how Stefan had a real crush on you. He was like a little boy with a bouquet of daisies! I think it's sweet! On the one hand, I was thinking, Oh too bad she's gay, and on the other, Oh thank goodness she's gay!! Tee-hee.

Kate
Kate

As a chef, I'd think you'd have been able to sense all the sour grapes in this column. But perhaps you intended that. This season is the best so far, for all the things you dislike.

C
C

Jamie: You're awesome! Keep blogging :) A note on the reason for picking potatoes for the Quickfire: I think it was a nod to the elimination challege, being that the staple of a mess kitchen in the army is potatoes and canned food. Anyway, that's why I think they picked the potato.

Viewer
Viewer

Why do you bring up Stefan all the time? Why are you bagging on the talent level of these chefs? This season seems like the season to beat. And you made braised bacon 2 years ago? This is a blog about the show, not your "I did that first" gig.

georgia girl
georgia girl

I had you picked to go to the finale by the second episode in your season. Would have loved to see you kick Stefan's ass! I'm picking Jen, Kevin and Mike V. for the finale.

katnap
katnap

Are you sure this is a picture of Jamie? It seems more like a shot of Eve who went home last week.

Vicki
Vicki

Jamie- Great post - amusing prattle - love your sense of humor. I think we will see some personalities come out of this season. Ashley comes to mind first. It's a bit too soon to tell.

patty
patty

I don’t know what you mean about the wild side. You were very conservative on your season. You even whimped out several times. Don’t get me wrong, love ya and I’d love to eat your food! Teasing you a little ... The only wild side we saw on your season was when Stefan skinned that eel.

Colleen
Colleen

I agree with you completely about the view-ability of the show. It's totally boring this year, and completely predictable. If this was a horror movie, I'd know who was going to be walking off by him/her self next....

If they didn't tell us every 2.5 mintues that Bryan and Mike were brothers, I'd never guess. There's no comraderie, no playful interaction....I'm starting to think they based on opposite coasts for a reason. Jen has no charisma, neither does Eli. Kevin has more than the rest, but the bar's set pretty low.

Everyone else makes me feel pity or causes me to yawn. It's too bad, because I was sooooo looking forward to this season

Viewer
Viewer

Jamie - I'm glad you are blogging this season. I've enjoyed learning your insights each week! Glad to see Preeti go...she really didn't have the chops for this group and you are right, we've got to get some captions for Ron! I don't see him making it too far, but he is a lovable guy...as are the "Fat Kids," who should both go far IMO. Can't wait til next week!

George
George

Hey Jamie

I love reading your blogs and I agree with you that although this is a cooking show I would like to see a little more personality from these cheftestants!!! That being said, you DO seem a little snarky this week...maybe you should have waited until you were in a little better mood before writing this blog...LOL!!!

Oh..BTW, after living in SF for about a year I finally gotta chance to go to Absinthe a couple weeks ago...DELICIOUS!!!!

Carl
Carl

I like the seriousness of this season. Yeah the personalities aren't as in your face. Right now there is no one that makes me smile (like carla) or no one that makes me cringe (hung) but the cooking seems alot better than the other seasons and this is only the beginning. In the last couple seasons of top chef you have a clear picture of who is going to be standing at the end but this season it seems that more people than ever are here to win and not just get as far as they can. I have to say that last season was really disheartening because you couldn't tell right off the bat (besides stefan) who was going to win the title cause everyone kept playing it safe and mediocre. The food coming out of alot of those challenges was flat out boring and uninspired sometimes.

I welcome the change in focus back to cooking talent and away from charm(or lackthereof) and personality. It may not be as entertaining to hear what they have to say but its very entertaining to see what they create.

Shathali
Shathali

Jamie u ROCK!!!! U sure know how to write a blog. BTW..you're right in evry thing you say.......and funny as usual. :)

Dave
Dave

way cute picture

Viewer
Viewer

you are awesome.

MrsMorty
MrsMorty

Agreed on ALL points, Jamie. In addition, did anyone else find Tom and Padma exceptionally difficult on the Bottom 3 last night? I felt their criticisms crossed the line between constructive and mean.

John
John

As ever, wonderful blog, Jamie. I totally agree with where you are regarding, Jessie, Preethi, Laurine, and Ron. Regarding where the potato idea came from, I fault Mark Peel, as he seemed to have the backstory behind the challenge. I think it’s a shameless pneumonic pun/plug… Peel -> Potato. /facepalm. Regarding the weaker contestants, I agree that a part of the show’s appeal is the best cooking. I think that some viewers watch because they see a part of themselves in the cheftestants. So to attract more viewers, they have a bunch of “everyday people” thrown in. And as you said, since some of the challenges throw curveballs, even the mighty can stumble. Bryan was on the bottom during a QF, and next week’s QF will eliminate someone. I was so sad when the celery reduction was the reason cited for voting you off. Toby can be such an overreacting monkey sometimes…