Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio was surprised at the difficulties the chefs had in the Elimination Challenge.

on Jul 14, 20100

Hello from Australia. I know a lot of you are experiencing record-breaking heat and humidity Stateside. Not to rub it in or anything, but it’s outright cold here. And beautiful. As I mentioned last week, though, I have less time than usual and have to be brief in my comments here.
 
If you know anything about my work as a chef and about my restaurants – or even if you’ve just read blogs from seasons past – you’ll know that I’m one of the original proponents of the slow-food, a.k.a. farm-to-table movement and a huge champion of the small farmer. So I was really looking forward to this week’s Elimination Challenge at Ayrshire Farm. Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, VA, is a historic farm dedicated to raising rare livestock humanely and heirloom produce organically and sustainably. They practice both crop and grazing rotation, and they plant in ways that intentionally create habitats that support beneficial insects and other wildlife while confusing and deterring undesirable ones, rendering pesticides redundant and unnecessary. Needless to say, the proteins and produce selections for the Elimination Challenge were gorgeous.   
 
Our chefs were not told in advance what would greet them in the way of ingredients when they arrived at Ayrshire Farms. I don’t believe this to be the whopping challenge they made it out to be. As I’ve written about more than once, I visit my local Farmers’ Market throughout the week and determine dishes for that evening on the spot, based upon the produce and proteins that most call out to me as I pass through the market. The chefs at my various restaurants in other cities do the same and call me to discuss ideas based on what they’re finding. Our chefs knew that they’d be at a farm for this Elimination Challenge – I’m sure that they could well imagine the variety of proteins they’d be facing, and even, based on the season and region, which produce they might be given. And they could be confident that whatever they chose would pair well together, since “if it grows together, it goes together.” 
 
Which is why I was surprised that Tim presented a dish that seemed to suggest a total lack of inspiration. It was neither here nor there. He seemed not to know what he wanted to create, and so he gave us a “non-dish.” You can’t go through the motions of cooking without a firm direction and believe that the outcome will be a dish. Rather, you must take the ingredients you’ve decided to use and must have in your mind’s eye a concept for a dish you wish to turn them into. The dish should honor the ingredients, feature them, and help them to shine. But it is by having just such a concept that you accomplish this. Tim gave us bland turnips and asparagus. The lack of vision outweighed the errors Amanda made with her soup and the poor choice of presentation Stephen made with his salad – at least each had a strong vision and committed her/himself to it.

102 comments
Foodgeeque
Foodgeeque

LOVED seeing Patrick O'Connell on your panel. I had the pleasure of working with chef O'Connell at the SF Chefs Festival in San Francisco last year, and he's a wonderful man who really knows his stuff. It also seemed so much more fitting to have a local DC-region legend as a judge than it does to have non-sequitirs like Michelle Bernstein. Enough of her sourpuss already!

jazerelle
jazerelle

Just wanted to respond to the person who thought not using the cauliflower was a waste of good food. First that cauliflower was not sitting in that bowl in flowerettes it was pretty much shaved was probably beyond saving unless there was a colander there with very little holes but then worms (parasites) you can get from animal droppings, would probably not wash out either. (Try watching the tv show monsters inside me. . . shudder.

Second I doubt the hogs, cows, chicks are wandering in the field where the veggies are currently growing.

Third, it probably was fed to the said hogs, cows and chickens so probably did not go to waste.

Need just a tad less tunnel vision peeps.

Now I just need to try to get past the horror of seeing those crabs chopped, baked, pulled apart while alive and moving. Other than that loved the episode.

Viewer12345
Viewer12345

Wasn't there a similiar episode a few seasons ago (where the chefs went to an "organic" farm and cooked for the farmers?).

I am glad that this season has more team challenges - in the business world (especially if you work in Corporate America), you have to deal with people and their various personalities every single day whether you like them or not. I always cringe when I hear the chefs say "I am used to being the BOSS". Well, even bosses have to work in an environment that is sometimes hostile.

It is hard to say who is the standout cook this season (last season it was pretty apparent from the beginning that the Valigio Bros would be semi finalists). I think Angelo has an obnoxious personality and I wish I could tell Tamesha to watch her back. I have a feeling that he is being friendly with her because she is young and vunerable.

Sarah A
Sarah A

I've read several blogs and comments about the cauliflower incident. Everyone seems to feel that not going forward with this vegetable was right because--'it had been in the dirt with bugs and cow poo' as one person wrote. Where do you suppose this cauliflower was less than 24 hours ago? It was in the ground (dirt) with manure around it and all sorts of bugs crawling around and in it. Are we really this disconnected to how our food is produced? Granted, if there wasn't any way to wash off the fallen cauliflower with fresh water (even if it was water from a hose) then I suppose I can understand not using it But I think there was water for boiling; so there must have been some supply of water. The cauliflower could have been rinsed off and used. This was an unnecessary waste of good food and a sad lack of understanding of how our most basic of foods is produced.

Viewer71
Viewer71

I understand that boiling crabs alive is a common way of preparing them (and don't particularly care for that either--I don't understand where the assertion that crustaceans can't feel pain comes from. They have a brain and a nervous system, folks).

However, watching them chop up live and completely sensation-capable crabs? For heaven's sake, I've had to cut up live crustaceans for experiments, but at least we always anesthetized them before doing so! I don't see why these crabs couldn't have been in the freezer for a while (before the QF, if necessary). Just because it isn't a mammal doesn't mean we can't be humane.

Jantina
Jantina

Are these viewers for real? Crabs are basically large water insects. I suppose you just let spiders run all over your houses. What? You smack them with a newspaper or step on them? The only difference is, crabs are bigger and you need a mallet. For pete's sake. Get real people. I suppose you cringe when the chefs use a lemon zester or a vegetable peeler. Yeesh.

Unique name
Unique name

I agree about the animal torture. I had to turn away from watching these poor creatures being hacked, steamed, skewered and crushed to death.

Yes, that's the real world in cooking, but the director seems to get a little too much delight in showing us all the gory details. Is that really what people want? If so, how sad and disturbing.

Yeah right
Yeah right

To poster BarbiQ and others: There is no "humane" way to eat an animal. Would YOU like to be pierced with a screwdriver? Sure, it might be a less agonizing death than baking you alive, but it's still a barbaric way to die. Have some empathy, people! There's nothing humane about eating animals when other choices are available.

Jonathan
Jonathan

I understand that killing animals for food tends to be inhumane no matter how you go about it, but the oven bit was just ridiculous. Crabs may not be as cute and cuddly as kittens, but if we can be outraged when a kid kills a kitten with an oven, I'd expect the same for any other living creature.

That said, I don't know if the people in charge of selecting and cutting clips have changed since last season, but this season has been SUB PAR:

- I've noticed lately several judges are left out of the final edition of the Quickfire. TBH, I'd rather see every single judge's creation (good or bad) than what has been an overemphasis on the "human element".

- Editing seems very uneven. I don't remember ever having to PAUSE the episode repeatedly last season during each dish's captioned close-up. Even one additional second or god forbid half a second more per dish would have allowed the audience to comfortably compare the dish's title to the presentation. Right now, it constantly feels abrupt and rushed, but it's clear from all the unneeded bits that there's more than enough time to go around.

- Same during the Judge's Table. It seems TC is more concerned with exposing each chef's character flaws than entertaining the audience. When the judges talk about each dish, it would be a good time to offer a quick clip to refresh our memories rather than staying focused on the faces made stony by receiving criticism. Combined with the shortened clips earlier and the lack of standout dishes, this is an obvious flaw to anyone who isn't already familiar with each dish via filming.

- I second everyone's complaint about this being a very unpleasant group of chefs to watch. Angelo and Kenny are both over-the-top egotistical (though it confuses me why Kenny is so well-liked, what with his "I am the alpha male" routine and the way he turtled during the school lunch challenge). Ed seems nice at first but he got a lot of egg on his face when it was him, not Alex, who screwed up. Tiffany is constantly two-faced with her "team effort" vs "me me me" routine. And Tim... I'm glad Tim went home. He seems to think too highly of himself, and his comment about soy sauce (which he pronounced in a jeering "su-ee" way) seemed to knock Asian-styled cuisine. Actually, the only truly likable chef seems to be Andrea, if only because she rarely gets any face-time. Kelly and Kevin would be the next best, if only because Kelly is always focused on the task at hand, and Kevin is always focused on his poor contributions. Bryan and Jen would be utter saints this season, while Michael V would actually be likable as well.

Layne Myhre
Layne Myhre

I can't stand reading idiotic comments from ignorant people who have no idea what goes on in a kitchen. If you don't like watching live seafood getting cleaned and cooked, then DON'T WATCH A COMPETITIVE COOKING SHOW, MORONS!!

People who whine and moan about how eating meat is bad or how the animals aren't dealt with humanely: This show is NOT FOR YOU. You do not get to be a Foodie if you aren't interested in how food gets to your plate, period. This is how it works, it's reality. If you find it hard to watch, then DON'T. Vegetarianism is fine, it's a perfectly acceptable dietary choice. But if seeing blood makes your skin crawl, or watching live seafood die in the kitchen makes you cry, then you obviously should not be watching the show! If you can't stand the sight of blood, would you watch a live surgery being performed?

Go watch Animal Planet or some cartoons or something, and leave us Foodies alone!

RH
RH

Minestrone does not need pasta in it to be called minestrone.

FloridaGal
FloridaGal

FloridaGal

Tom this has bothered me since Season Two. When Sam was sent home for not cooking, You said this is a cooking contest. And yet we continue to see chefs win at both the quickfire and the elimination challenge who have not "cooked with heat" their dish. If I were Sam I would asked for a do-over. When Jennifer, S-6. won the first quickfire without cooking her seafood, I bet Sam was yelling at the TV. Since she won some big bucks, it made it harder to swallow. I think it should be clearing stated, you can win without "cooking with heat" or you must use heat. Fair is fair. I feel so much better just venting.

FloridaGal
FloridaGal

FloridaGal Another great challenge. I think Ed should have stepped up and organized the team. He had nothing to lose. I am a huge Team Kenny fan, pleased that he won. Anytime he beats Angelo is fine for me. Yet, I think Kelly deserved more than just kudos. She broke the curse with both desserts and having an add on dish. I am glad that Kevin is not a hitchhicker, riding on Kennys' talent. Andrea has not really wowed me. OK she can cook meat. In her bio, short ribs were her signature dish. What is happening with Angelo and Tameshia? Is this attention just to get his ego stroked, since Tameshia is both young and inexperienced. I would like to see Kenny and Kelly team up as well as Ed and Tiffany - if Ed can think with him upstairs head. Maybe Ed and Tameshia. I made gnudi for dinner with brown butter. Major YUM. They melt in your mouth, little puffs of softness. As for filming in VA for the DC Top Chef, I lived in Norther Va for 30 years and I considered myself in the DC area. Same goes for the southeastern part of MD. As far as Tim leaving it was going to happen, just like it will with Stephen, I call him Sad Stephen who made a Sad Salad.

crabinsanity
crabinsanity

Yes, that whole crab thing was very uunpleasant. I don't care it that IS the way they are handled by cooks/chefs...I don't want to have to see it. At the very least don't go on showing these preparations for a prolonged period of time. It's like the director wasn't satisfied until he showed just how many forms of death could be inflicted on those creatures. Next you'll be showing us chickens being slaughtered. Arghhhh!!! I also agree with the earlier post that the mix of contestants this season is particularly unpleasant. There IS too much emphasis on the conflict and this whole "alpha male" stuff is a bunch of crap. I love the ladies sitting around yawning, staring off into space and rolling their eyes during the constant male arguing. You go GIRLS!!!

Christine65154
Christine65154

Tom, I just read your blog about the school lunch episode and the need to reform Federal farm subsidies. You made a reference to the 2012 farm bill, which is the next that will be passed by the Congress, but you should know that the 2012 bill is being worked on right now. In fact, the House Agricultural Committee is soliciting views from the public in advance of preparing their draft. So for those of you who feel strongly about reconfiguring the subsidies to reward the production and consumption of unprocessed, nutritious food (as well as those of you who feel strongly about rewarding the production and consumption of livestock who are raised and slaughtered humanely and aren't pumped full of non-therapeutic antibiotics) should go to the Committee's website and make your views known. The policies will never change as long as the major corporate agricultural companies have such a stranglehold on USDA and the agricultural oversight entities in the Congress--alternate viewpoints need to be heard!

NY Viewer
NY Viewer

Delighted to see Patrick O'Connell as a guest judge - a prince of a guy and king of farm to table culinary magic. The Elimination Challenge was brilliantly inspired and a fitting tribute to his influence.

How disappointing then that zero airtime was alloted to highlight the incredible bounty and beauty of Virginia and O'Connell's art of delivering an unforgettable culinary experience.

The quick glimpse of the ingredients provided by Ayrshire Farm left no question that the chefs had no worries in that area at all. That's where the real contrast and drama should have unfolded. Only wish there was more focus on the food and MUCH less of the uneventful "personal" filler which took too much time away what should have been the most fascinating "Top Chef" episode ever.

Dody H
Dody H

My comments are for the show in general.

This is pne of my favorint BRAVO shows and I never miss a week , however I am upset over the lack of basic hygiene in all of the BRAVO kitchens. It is yucky to see all of you eating food sprinkled with flop sweat and hair on every episode. I have seen drops of sweat drip from the noses of many of the men and I know that the flowing hair of some of the women ends up on your plates whether you see it or not.

I have managed a few kitchens during the early part of my working life and the health department ALWAYS required kitchen staff to wear headgear of some sort to stop fallout from the scalp. Either chef’s hats (very appropriate for this show since your contestants are supposedly of the chef caliber) or at least caps to catch some of the sweat and prevent the hair from falling into the food you eat.

Please accept these comments in the spirit of helpfulness. I know you are a superb chef and run a tight ship in your own establishments and would like to see this in the BRAVO kitchens as well

Sincerely

Dody Hayes

BarbiQ
BarbiQ

If you put a Crab straight into boiling water it will shed its legs and claws and it does suffer. Not killing the Crab makes the meat tough and retains too much water in the shell. While it is true that fish in general probably suffer more pain in their natural environment, being eaten alive for example, we don't need to add to it. Killing a Crab is very easy, first turn it onto it's back with it's legs upward. Underneath towards the back of the shell you will see a small pointed flap, lift this flap and you will find a small hole in the shell. Using a small screwdriver pierce down through this hole, with a sharp tap on the top of the screwdriver, until you feel it hit the other side of the shell. Move the handle of the screwdriver sharply towards the back of the shell then withdraw it. Finally turn the Crab right side up and allow it to drain.

The methods that the chefs used to butcher those crabs did not "Honor" the food. Shameful Top Chef!

malta
malta

When was this episode filmed? I was surprised to see peppers and eggplants available in what appears to be March or April.

MeganP
MeganP

Add me to the list of viewers who disagree strongly with this week's Quickfire. I love Top Chef, but had a hard time watching even the Elimination Challenge after such a sight. As a vegetarian, I often find it frustrating that the chefs treat any component other than meat as second-class, but this Quickfire was on another level entirely. To watch people season live crabs--as if they can't even see the animals as anything but food--was just as disturbing as watching the animals being ruthlessly butchered for a few small, heavily criticized bites.

RJ
RJ

Terrible season......sorry you and Padma had to go through this, Tom.

rusty shackleford
rusty shackleford

Did you guys really have to show close ups of the crabs being seasoned while still alive and being put into an oven while alive. Not to mention the random hacking of the live crabs. It was definetly not cool. Their are actually humane ways to go about it. Why were they not forced to do it the humane way, especially considering you are showing it to me and the next part of the episode takes place on a humane farm. It's almost ironic.

Crissy
Crissy

Last season was great because the show featured great chefs. Even the bad chefs from 6 seemed good compared to this season. The motivations of some of the chefs are definitely a turn-off. Unfortunately Angelo does seem to be a pretty good chef.

Patrick714
Patrick714

And about the season, I don't know if it's the cast that sucks or the editing but as someone who has been watching since season 2, I'm finding it hard to find a chef that I really like and we're 5 episodes in. I guess Tiffany, Temesha, Ed, Kelly and Andrea are the best (undercovered) of a bad lot. Angelo and Kenny are great chefs but the ego is off putting.

None of them yet are a particularly likeable like a Sam Talbot, Cliff Crooks, Elia Abromoud, CJ Jacobsen, Tre Wilcox, Casey Thompson, Dale Levitski, Stephanie Izard, Richard Blais, Fabio Vivini, Carla Hall, Brian Voltaggio, Jen Carroll or Kevin Gillespie. We somebody to root for not just footage of guys that are good but incredibly egotistic.

Patrick714
Patrick714

Like some of the other viewers, I would have liked to see a little less bickering about the plan of attack and more footage of cooking or more information about Ayrshire Farm, specifically what makes it so special.

I'd also like to know when that was filmed. By the looks of the clothes and the comments, it appeared to be in the very early spring...almost too early for Tim's asparagus.

Angelo's crabs comment was funny to me, but it seems to be another in a trend with Alex's "hooker and 8-ball" comment of an attempt to get edgier. I'm imagining a parent putting the DVR on pause to have to explain to a kid what that meant.

KevinNYC
KevinNYC

Actually, there are more humane and less humane ways to kill crabs. Hacking at them nervously -- and inaccurately -- with a cleaver or baking them alive are definitely far less humane. Both were shown on this program.

I guess the part that disturbs me is that not all of chefs have worked with live crabs and the producers should know this. Either give them a quick lesson on how to do it right, or don't sacrifice live animals on TV.

I like blue crabs. I even cook them. But this was sad and needlessly disturbing.

Patrick714
Patrick714

I'll pile on a little bit with some of the criticism about the episode and the season. I'm a meat/fish eater but I agree with some of the other posters that the scenes with the crabs were a bit difficult to watch. Cleveing them in half or boiling them likely ends there suffering quickly, but putting them alive in an oven? Not sure about that one. In Germany, in order to obtain a fishing permit, you must demonstrate that you can, er, dispatch your catch quickly to minimize thier suffering. What made it worse was the contrast with the ethos of the farm you highlighted in the elimination challenge. I can't imagine they are too pleased with the first 10 minutes of the episode on which they were featured. More to follow...

Katie L
Katie L

Bravo fan, I could not agree more with the assessment that the chefs this season don't have a lot of refinement or inspiration in their food. As someone else stated it is more like a soap opera with all the in fighting and over the top egos. I am not sure what these guys think is so great about their cooking cause I haven't seen it yet.

Andrea and Kelly seem to be the only people I would like to know personally. Last season, I wanted to be friends with some of the contestants. I guess we have to some bad with the good. I will keep holding out hope for next season.

Chantilly
Chantilly

It could not be more ironic for the chefs to wildly hack up, or slowly boil, living, breathing crabs--one chef even had to hold down the lid as the dying creature desperately tried to escape--and then retreat to a "HUMANE" farm to prepare the next meal. I was absolutely HORRIFIED by the disrespect on the July 14th show. Various chefs, including Tom, often speaks of the importance of respecting the food, so I wonder how he could condone such disgusting carnage? I know animals are killed by the millions for food, but where's the humanity? I saw none on Top Chef?

Viewer2345
Viewer2345

I have been watching TC for many seasons, but this episode left a bad taste in my mouth.

Why does the camera adore Angelo? Half the time it's on him -- sure he's easy on the eyes but he's so obnoxious it's actually a displeasure seeing him on screen.

Also, this episode's and the next seem to be set up to promote hostility between the chefs. In this episode, everyone's competing to grab the food they want to cook at the farm. It shouldn't be about who's the most outspoken aggressive person with grabby hands; it should be about who's the best chef. I don't look forward to the next episode where other chefs are critiquing each other, that's just plain mean.

Please bring the old Top Chef back! Amazing Race has Emmy awards, and it's more about the race than trying to make enemies with the other team. You never see clips of Amazing Race when they're resting at pit stops too -- I really dislike seeing the "personal side" of the contestants, especially when they're egging each other on and despising each other. Please bring it back to when it was finding the best chef, not creating drama.

Soup Fiend
Soup Fiend

I have a serious issue with last nights episode and challange where a Chef gets away with calling Vegetable Soup minestrone, My God every Italian in the show would have voted her off the planet let alone the show !!! Minestrone without pasta is VEGETABLE SOUP not Minestrone a chef that doesnt know the diference is not a chef, he or she is a Cook and a poor one at that. And dont get me started on giving kids wine during the School Lunch program !!

Future Viewer
Future Viewer

I've been a viewer of Top Chef since it began and have truly appreciated the changes made to the show with each new season.

I'd like to suggest one additonal change for next season:

Have the bottom one or two cheftestents in quickfire challenges AUTOMATICALLY included in the group up for elimination in whatever 'big' challenge follows.

Quickfire challenges would become much more important to the cheftestents and each chef would be tested EVERY time on their skills as an individual chef.

~~~~~~~~~ Thanks for 'listening.' -Always, your Future Viewer.

Bubba60
Bubba60

I have to say if, as viewers, you feel that the preparation of shellfish to be eaten is inhumane, you probably shouldn't be watching a "cooking show". Seafood is routinely boiled or steamed.

AJVermont
AJVermont

I could barely watch the quick fire because of the live crabs being hacked apart. I understand that you need to start with live crabs, just the way you start with live lobsters, but I had to turn off that portion.

I also agree with the comments that the contestants this season are mostly quite unpleasant and the cooking does not come anywhere close the level of the past couple of seasons.

Overall season 7 is a lot less fun to watch. Are you listening, producers?

Dessert Fan
Dessert Fan

I enjoyed the show last night, and was glad to see one of the chefs make a nice dessert. I think it is absolutely ridiculous that you do not require the chef's to make desserts in certain challenges...last night was the perfect example.

Most people who enjoy a nice meal out, like to end the meal with dessert. A fine dining/restaurant experience is not complete without it, and I think it should be a requirement for many of these challenges.

cathyblog
cathyblog

I wonder if Patrick O'connell knew he was eliminating someone from his same high school when they sent Tim home. In fact both received Acheivement Awards from Surrattsville High in Clinton MD in 2007.

LustyBustyLady
LustyBustyLady

I usually really look forward to your show but tonite was a shocker. I live in Michigan and I've never had crab or ever attempted to cook it. I'm not a seafood person at all, but just watching how the poor things were chopped alive, boiled alive and even thrown into the oven alive was totally gross. I will never, ever be tempted to even try them at the nicest restaurant because of this episode. When I think of crabs now...... I shudder.

Reverend Maynard
Reverend Maynard

I have to agree with Margo and others above; the quickfire challenge was an idea that should have been killed in committee. Alive in the blender, alive in the oven, alive while their shells where being cracked. All in the quickfire time frame. It was crabageddon. This may be realistic, I don't know (desert boy, so...), but this season doesn't seem to be all that much about the food, so Bravo probably should have kept to presenting 'what's good on TV.' At least give them a quick knife to the brain or something. Following with a 'humane' farm just made it seem even more ridiculous.

On a more general note, I just have to say that this season is almost unwatchable. It was bound to be disappointing, given the high standards of last season, but still... While Top Chef can chart an overall rise in quality, and while not every season has been necessarily better than the previous, this one is just depressing. I think it's showing at the judges' tables as well. It almost seems like you guys are only going through it because it's in the contract. Praise is faint, while criticism is harsh and almost casual (I love Eric Ripert, but I don't think he's bringing the gravitas expected. and the panel is sorely missing the wit of someone like Bordain, Rayner, or, God forgive me, Toby Young). Given the offerings, I suppose that's understandable. That probably also explains why this season is so Reality TV-ish; what else is there to show? Hope you guys get the Emmy this year, because I have trouble believing you'll be nominated next time (though I'm holding high hopes for Just Desserts).

thisnamethingisbecomingapain
thisnamethingisbecomingapain

Hi, Tom! I love your show, of course, and I love to eat shellfish, especially crab and lobster. I'll pretty much try anything as long as it isn't a bug (have you seen all the bugs Andrew Zimmern eats? It's weird...) anyway, even I was squeamish as the blue crabs were killed like that. But I think it's okay-so often our food is already neatly packaged for us and these are professional chefs who deal with more "lively" ingredients from time to time, I think this episode, and people's uncomfortable reaction to it, serves to illustrate how far removed a lot of us are from where our food comes from. Your hamburger was once a cute little cow, that's how it goes. But these contestants all seem a little fearful to me, not quite as fun and full of personality like Marcel, Spike, Richard Blaise. But I don't care how they act or how many shellfish die, I'll love this show no matter what, keep on keeping on!

M3
M3

This episode highlighted an "historic farm dedicated to raising rare livestock humanely..." What a shocking contrast to seeing the manner in which many of the live blue crabs were being dispatched.

I guess the irony was not lost on the show's production staff.

Char561
Char561

Ugh! Some of these comments regarding the "inhumane" way of chucking a crab in a pot of boiling water is absurd. I didn't see anyone brutalizing the crabs let alone tearing apart live crabs. It's not like they were interrogating them to the death. Don't get me wrong, I can't tolerate an abused animal and couldn't stand idly by if an animal was in need, however, the food chain is what it is and I will kill a crab or a fish or a chicken or a pig if my family and I are hungry. It's not like meat eaters are dancing in the remains of the animal, these animals are serving a purpose. Man up.

Keith
Keith

I agree with your assessment that this should not have been the big challenge that everyone made it out to be, had the egos been left at the door. It's really discouraging to watch this program in the hopes of learning great cooking secrets, or just to observe the wonderful dishes that can be produced at a moments notice, but then you have to put up with a couple of grownups acting like 4 year olds.

Angelo......quit acting like a punk. You're extremely talented. Let your talents win it for you. And if you lose to Kenny, that ain't such a failure. He too is extremely talented. Learn from each other and pass on your knowedge to your competitors. Make the whole industry better by just being there.

Every year Top Chef has to get at least one moron that can't play well with others. You don't see that behavior on Top Chef Masters. Those guys help each other.

Also, adding a temperment and personality like Eric to your program this year was genius. He can let someone know that they missed the mark without making them feel like a failure. You've got a great crew now.

And, one final thing..........Padma, you look marvelous!

cocopuff
cocopuff

Amazing how little cooperation there seems to be with this group as a whole so far. contrast that to last season's big group challenge at the Air Force Base--even type A personalities agreed since Jen had immunity it made sense to have a general outline of dishes and most seemed respectful of each other except for the nearly universal dislike of the cancer survivor chef--can't remember her name. The "Alpha Male" trash talk of Angelo and Kenny seems so silly to me--like two little boys trying to impress the others in the sandbox. IMO if you need to tell everyone around you that you are a leader and the Alpha Male, then you obviously are not one. And who says an Alpha Male is the best leader or chef anyway? Maybe I am nostalgic for last season's great talent, but it seems there are more chefs than usual this season that are in over their head. Tim seemed not self-aware --maybe he will learn something when he watches the show. I wonder when the episodes are edited? Are they done after each EC or is everything filmed and then edited with the final 4 already known to the editors so there is a narrative arc? Thank you for you blog--sometimes better than the actual show! I do miss Lee Ann's blog with all the behind the scene trivia that makes a show like this so enjoyable for the fans.

AllisonW
AllisonW

Margo, I totally thought the same thing as I watched the episode. I am a vegetarian, not vegan, and I don't judge other people's choice to eat meat (I wouldn't watch the show if I did), however, I was annoyed with the way the crabs were used followed by the hypocrisy of the "humane" farm. It was a little too much to take. Tom, love the show, and I don't know who to root for yet. How about top chef Philadelphia?

re_bekah
re_bekah

Too bad you couldn't have done the exercise in humane farming beFORE those crabs were sprinkled with curry and baked alive. The theory that crustaceans can't feel pain has never been proven-- rather, it's been virtually debunked in the last year!

Also, I'll echo Mary's comment before me and suggest you consider Portland for a future season. Love Top Chef, even if this season does underwhelm a little.

N/A
N/A

Tom, I have to ask how much of that produce actually came from Ayrshire Farm. I know the growing seasons vary depending on what region of Virginia you're in, but I have to doubt there would be full-sized turnips, beets, eggplant, etc., coming out of the ground in early April.

Judging Jerks
Judging Jerks

I have the hardest time getting my comments posted. This will be attempt #3!!!

Tim - sorry but no surprise there. Stephen - count your blessings but you're most likely next to PYK. Ed - good for you with the quickfire. You're in my top 3. Tamesha - watch your back. Kenny - you can be the alpha to my epsilon anyday. Angelo - UGH!!

Hector
Hector

I find it very uninspiring that a handful of these chefs continue to disappoint week after week. I can't understand how you can cook for 3 hours and the end result is a disgusting, sloppy and unattractive salad. How can you not cut veggies in a uniform manner, this far into your career as a "chef" and get away with it? Again, it's time to cut the fat. Ditch the people who can't cook and let's get down to business with those who can.

Kevin C In Jax
Kevin C In Jax

Andrea and Kelly deserved to win from a viewer's point of view, since we can't taste the product. At the beginning of the show I had Kenny and Angelo as front runners but I think these 2 gal's will do just fine. Iwas surprised Angelo suggested using the food that had dropped on the ground. Would he have done that if it had been his dish? I don't think so, great recovery though. It has taken me a few episodes to really get into this season, I guess you spoiled us last year with such great talent! I'm now pulling for Andrea and Kelly. Great show, great job! I miss Gail!

Oh, I know its too late this season but next year it would be nice to see the contestants cook with some of these devices you see on infomercials. The Nuwave oven, Reddisetgo and such. I know probably not possible since it may be promoting these products but it would be fun to see. I often wonder if they're cracked up to be what they say they are. I also miss the vending machine challenge.

Big Shug
Big Shug

C'mon, it's not like they were torturing the crabs. Cleaving, steaming and boiling are the most common ways to kill them. Let us know if there is a more humane way. Maybe next time they can anesthetize them first.