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Wow -- Worst. Blogger. Ever. I'm sorry for my tardiness to the party-(ness?) the last couple of weeks. I've been sick, swamped, and, just plain lame, but I'm back! And what a great episode to return for. I know I've been raving about the episodes all season, but I really enjoyed last week's and this week's. Let's focus on this week's, shall we, my little deconstructed dishes?
Before the Quickfire, people were hating on Robin. After the Quickfire, people were seriously hating on Robin. Every season, there's usually at least one chef the others start resenting because they don't think they deserve to be there, and this season it's Robin. Apparently the chefs collectively thought that Mattin still deserved to be there, which actually really surprised me. I didn't mind Mattin, but he really just never did it for me. The chefs decide to wear Mattin's scarves in solidarity. Um, how many scarves did Mattin have?! And they were all so perfectly starched! Padma started cracking up when the chefs arrived in the kitchen with their accessories.
For the Quickfire the chefs had to create dishes to exhibit the angel and devils on one's shoulders in Las Vegas. Michelle Bernstein, who is sometimes referred to as the "Palate Queen," was guest judge. She looked FABULOUS! She is quickly becoming one of Top Chef's most-used guest judges. I actually can't think of the winner of that award, I'd have to find out, but I'm sure she's up there. My boy Bryan Voltaggio was on the bottom while his brother was on the top. Michelle said something about the dish not coming out how Bryan wanted it. I kind of hate when people say something like that. It's like they don't want to say they didn't like it, but want to pretend like you're probably unhappy with it too. How do they know? From what I could tell, Chef Voltaggio thought the dish was good. Oh well. The winner, though, was Robin! Just when I thought the other chefs couldn't resent her more, they proved me wrong. People were PISSED. Eli went so far as to say Robin used her history of cancer to her advantage. Although I have a past with cancer in my family, this comment actually didn't offend me because truth be told, I was thinking the same thing, and I was fairly confident Eli didn't mean what we heard, so I asked him about it. You can read his answers to my burning questions HERE.
Two Vegas legends, Penn and Teller, came out to introduce the Elimination Challenge. Sidenote: I knew that Rich Sommer, who plays Harry Crane on Mad Men, liked Penn & Teller (I may or may not online-stalk him), and tweeted him that the dynamic duo would be on, and he responded that he knew! Sigh. It was the highlight of my last week, seriously. I love me some Mad Men. After doing a trick of their own, Penn and Teller revealed the challenge — to deconstruct a classic dish. I seriously loved the concept of this challenge. It felt new, and like nothing else we've asked all the chefs to do in a challenge before. It seemed like the more modern chefs, like the Voltaggio brothers, had an advantage in this challenge in that they deconstruct dinners all the time. Did I mention I'll be dining at VOLT this coming Saturday? I'll tell you all about it next week. I won't take pics though; it's uncouth.
Having a "family experience" of cancer is a whole lot different than sitting in the chemo chair because I've done both. And you know what I talk about my cancer all the time because it affects every single part of my day. Chemo has altered my mind and body. Eli's tone was so condescending-just sour grapes. The judge said to relate your "PERSONAL" experience and that's what she did. If someone said they had a little brother who died of AIDS would Eli have made the same comment?
Since when does having family with cancer equate to actually HAVING cancer?!? The lack of compassion tonight is disgusting!
I can't understand why the chefs feel such hostiity towards Robin .Unless there is something we're not seeing on the show.She likes to talk and so do I, so what's the problem Chefs?As far as her talking about her lymphoma,unless you've walked in her shoes you can't know. You want to talk about it because you are so grateful to still be alive to talk about it.I can't believe anybody believes that Mattin should still be there. He had no clue when his dishes were bad. At least the other chefs did.These is a great season and I hope the best man or woman will win!!!
Amen to viewer at 11:30 pm. I'm a cancer survivor and the angel/devil inspiration for Robin's dish had everything to do with what SHE could and should (and couldn't and shouldn't) eat. Eli, buddy, trade places with those of us who have had radiation or chemo and not been able to eat anything but dry toast, or disgusting vanilla pudding. When raw foods tear through your guts and chocolate and other rich foods explode, well, I'll leave it at that. Her explanation was not a tug for sympathy but a personal experience that, if she has scars like I do and lingering digestive symptoms, is vibrantly with her every day. Eli owes us an apology, big time. He still doesn't "get it." I mean, I'm pretty tired of hearing about his southern roots, but that's part of what makes him who he is. What's disgusting is that he doesn't believe Robin deserves that same consideration. My new favorite to hate ... move over Mike.
I do not wish to make light of Robin's battle with cancer, and I do respect how she says every day since her diagnosis is another day she can cook and share here food with people, but I think I have a different take on why the other chefs dislike Robin so much. I'll say up front that I don't like Robin either, so my opinion here isn't exactly impartial. That said I think the primary reason the other chefs resent Robin so much has nothing to do with her battle with cancer or even so much her cooking skills (or lack thereof). I think they dislike Robin for the simple reason that she has a rather grating personality.
The comparison I'm about to make isn't perfect, but I think it's valid. I am a schoolteacher. Years ago I had a student who had a rather inflated opinion of his own ability and talked in class way too much for his own good. One specific thing he did more than once was say "oh come on, that's easy" right after one of his classmates couldn't answer a question I asked--as if his specific intent was to show them up while simultaneously letting everybody else know that he, of course, knew the answer. I'm not exaggerating when I say that virtually everything that came out of his mouth was a variation of "hey everyone, check out how smart I am." I still remember one time when the subject of a school academic team came up in conversation, he automatically assumed, out loud, that he would be one of the students chosen for the team. I can say with confidence that while he was certainly a good student, he was not one of the best and he most definitely would not have been one of the select few chosen for the team. There's something about the way Robin comes across to me on TV that reminds me of this obnoxious student.
Once again, I realize this comparison is far from perfect, and I hasten to add that I don't find Robin nearly as abrasive as I did that student, but I thought I would share my opinion for what it's worth.
There's no link to your Burning Questions interview with Eli - I'd be interested to read what he says about his comments about Robyn's cancer. I still think, no matter what he says, that he was WAY out of line for saying what he did. Sour grapes on his part.
I just wanted to say I thought Ron was a class act with his comments after the loss. In a time when so much turmoil is ocurring in our country it's good to be reminded of what makes America great. He will probably get my vote for fan favorite.
About Toby Young and pie-ella. British English does that with "foreign" (and I think notably for Spanish) words; last week on some show on BBC America I heard someone discussing the novel by Cervantes, Don Quicks-oat. I was really happy with the way Micelle Bernstein put him in his place.
New to reading the blogs, not the show, so I don't know if this question has been brought up and answered before. How much time do the cheftestants have before beginning the Quickfire and then before shopping and preparing for the Elimination Challenge. I guess I want to know how much "thinking" time they are given. If you can't answer this, who can?
Love your blog! Been missing your contributions and wish you well. We all like to hear "in the know" behind the scenes gossip :)
That said, enough of the attitude with Robin, chefs! I was very upset with Eli said she had won the QF because of her cancer ... uh, sour grapes, Eli? That was distasteful and I lost a lot of respect for Eli, who I thought was very humorous up till now.
On the other hand, who didn't absolutely LOVE Jen's awesome head snap when Padma called her to judges table? Classic! Go Jen!
I HAD been a fan of Eli's, but not after that remark last night. I don't like Robin and don't think she should have made it this far, but now I hope Eli goes home before her.
Totally agreement with all of you regarding Eli. He really owed Robin an apology. How about it, Eli?
WOW, loved tonites show....KANDI, you have now become my favorite..you have so much class and control...dealing with all those chicas (women). You were soo right that Nene is just blowing dust not being in the song. I would/will buy the song. Hey is it just me or is Sheree really Denzel Washington with a wig..my friends and I have put photos side by side..there it is...undisputable.
Reginald: "Years ago I had a student who had a rather inflated opinion of his own ability and talked in class way too much for his own good. One specific thing he did more than once was say "oh come on, that's easy" right after one of his classmates couldn't answer a question I asked--as if his specific intent was to show them up while simultaneously letting everybody else know that he, of course, knew the answer. I'm not exaggerating when I say that virtually everything that came out of his mouth was a variation of "hey everyone, check out how smart I am." I still remember one time when the subject of a school academic team came up in conversation, he automatically assumed, out loud, that he would be one of the students chosen for the team. I can say with confidence that while he was certainly a good student, he was not one of the best and he most definitely would not have been one of the select few chosen for the team."
Excuse me but the two contestants we see who show THIS behavior consistently in this group of chefs are MICHAEL I and ELI, NOT Robin (who has to remind herself she "belongs"). Has she said "I am the BEST CHEF in the competition?" or "I'm so smart I don't have to listen to anyone else" or lied or made excuses at JT? No ..that would be those other guys.
And btw I am a college professor myself, and would take a class full of Robins to one Eli or Mike I type.
I have had reletives die from cancer. My dad is very sick from bone cancer right now. My brother in law had throat cancer and has survired for the last 15 years. None of this makes me an expert on cancer. So if Robin wants to express her devil/angel duo through her very scary life altering experiecne, who is anyone, that means you Eli to question her. What a dugusting little man, along with his other immature housemates they should be ashame of themselves.
Your "Burning Qs to Eli" only gave him more of a sounding board to bring his point across. He did mean the cancer comment. He did not apologize for the negative connotation. He and everyone who dismissed Robin's private situation to be fodder for the grist mill was very insensitive. Michelle B is not exactly my fave guest judge. (She may be attractive, but she has a harsh side to her.) However, she is no softie for a sob story to give a false win to anyone. Therefore, she must have simply preferred Robin's QF over the rest of the cast.
Please tell me where I can find all the recipes from past seasons. They used to all be on the website but now they've been thinned out. I'm looking for several dishes from season 4. I never bothered to copy them because I thought they'd always be here... Poof, they're gone.
I love your blog. Thanks.
I, too, experienced chemo, twice for NHL (Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma), and it takes a toll, but so does life in every segment of getting older. I feel bad that someone as fat and bloated as Eli has the alleged balls to call out someone in this way, but let's face it, peole with no class or real resolve are a dime a dozen in America, and all over the world.
what happened to the new episode for Wed 09/30/09??? I didn't know there was going to be a "BYE" week :-(
Can anyone help??