Neither the producers nor I can honestly say what happened. Maybe Alex did take it. Maybe, if he did, he did so by accident, believing it to be his own. Maybe during clean-up at some point, Ed (or someone else) inadvertently tossed the small plastic storage container of his pea puree without even seeing that they’d done so. I know from experience that such things happen in busy, hectic kitchens.
We just don’t know. What I can say, though, is this: We will shortly be filming the reunion episode, and I can practically guarantee you that the Pea Puree Incident will resurface during the episode, and you’ll see in the reunion what people have to say about it….
ALSO NEW THIS WEEK
- Find out what the judges were thinking in exclusive video from this week's Judges' Table.
- Weigh in on the week's best and worst dishes in our Rate the Plate photo gallery.
- Relive all the international culinary intrigue frame by glorious frame.
- Find out what Stephen has to say about his fatally flawed rice in our exclusive exit interview.
- See how to make Tiffany's winning dish in this week's Top Recipe video.
- Take your first step toward Top Chef status by enrolling in Top Chef University.
Disappointing ending tonight, I was hoping Steven would stay and Alex would go home. I'm kind of lackluster about Top Chef D.C., there isn't anyone coming out as a favorite or head and shoulders above the rest. They all seem mediocre.
My lady and I have turned into huge fans of not just eating Indian food, but cooking it as well. In some cases we flat-out cook an Indian recipe from a cookbook, and in other cases we like to take elements of Indian cooking and add that to something we already make that isn't an Indian dish. Kevin did the latter here, as you remarked, and it seemed he did indeed nail it. I was hoping not to be shocked and find out the food tasted terrible, and I'm happy that it didn't.
Tiffany, meanwhile, I think has been the most consistent chef this season. Am I wrong on this?: I don't think she's been in the bottom of any elimination challenge yet, and we're what, eight weeks in now? She won both challenges this week, and apparently with flying colors, with those colors being the flags of Ethiopia and Mexico. This was a tour-de-force showing for Tiffany, so much so that at this point I'm officially putting her on my "guess list" for the finale.
It seems Angelo and Stephen really got along well, which should make for some more interesting stories and videos when the reunion takes place. Stephen was a really funny presence, even if more often than not it seemed he wasn't quite at the level of the others cooking-wise.
OK Tom, Thank you for addressing the PP issue. I believe you but I still find it surprising that this issue wasn't discussed at all with you or the judges during all this time. And you are usually so sensitive and ask such penitrating questions. When Ed and Tiffany looked so skeptical during the announcement of the winner during the final judging, none of you picked up on their facial expressions. It is still surprising to me that the producers left you all in the dark. I think the producers handled this very poorly. And they were insensitive to you also by blind siding you. Oh well. I participated in the live chat and all were voting for Alex to be voted off. This has become an amazing controversy. It is almost funny.
Thanks for the info on PeaGate. I'm sure this is all a tempest in a teapot. Tiffany's dish sounded amazing.
Okay - it's Wednesday August 4th - one week after pea-gate. I think the shows way of handling the missing pea puree was really lame. Shame on you for not addressing whether Alex cheated or not.
Hope your tomatoes are intact. The deer here typically leave them alone, preferring to mangle other things.
Otherwise, I'm not buying your explanation of the pea puree issue. I don't believe that there are 20 wholly unobserved minutes in this show, where the producers could attest confidently that they had no idea whatsoever what a contestant was doing in that time.
I'm done with this season, not just for this reason. The contestants aren't interesting, the food rarely catches my interest, and the one person whose judgment I really trust--Tom himself--strikes me as being disingenuous on this issue and perhaps others. Hope the show can bounce back from this low in its history.
Tom, I appreciate you addressing pea-gate again and showing that you care about the integrity of the competition as much as many of your loyal fans. The editing of the pea-gate episode did make Alex look quite guilty, I believe because of that you received a lot of emotional reactions from fans. I can only hope that you and your staff have learned from this incident and have plans in place to prevent future pea-gate incidents from happening.
Send Alex, Amanda and Angelo home. Alex just can't cook or work in a kitchen, Amanda is just a regular home style chef, which is OK but not for a Top Chef, Angelo is not well rounded his food is mostly Asian or raw I know you judges pick him to win but to a real Foodie watching it seems WRONG!!! his food doesn't speak Top Chef.
Alex is as guilty as sin. It's written all over his face. I don't care what you have to do, get him off the program. This is a cooking show, not who's the best thief.
I believe Tom and appreciate his comments on the PP incident. Kitchens in homes can be so hectic that things get lost and go unnoticed so enough said on that. I must admit that like an earlier poster I find this season fairly lackluster. The pre-views for next week looked like they were trying to create some added interest with personality clashes but little else. Last season there were four or five chefs that I couldn't wait to see what they would create. This season it has been more waiting to see who screws up worse. I'm sure the chefs this season are very talented in their own right but for whatever reason it isn't coming out as consistently as the incredible contestants from last season for me personally.
tom, maybe it's just me, but when ed was running around the kitchen looking for his pea puree, he asked alex and didn't alex respond "I didn't use (or do) peas"?
The right ending happened tonight. TC was right when he said Amanada was lucky that there were worse dishes than hers. She is on thin ice and needs years more experience before becoming "Top Chef". Kelly is impressing more with her attention to detail but keeping it simple. Tiffany my favorite this week. I'm stealing that tamal recipe for my own place. See you next week...
Was hoping Alex would go home tonight, but alas, one can hope for next week. He does seem to be the weakest chef remaining. Tiffany certainly had a great night. Also wish heartily that you would replace the icy-no personality-no sense of humor host. The one from Top Chef Master would be great, as would Bethenny Frankel, to name only two. There are many warm, funny, lovely women or men who would be a huge improvement. Your current host is so off-putting. Wish our tomatoes here in the mountains of North Carolina were ready, but perhaps another couple of weeks. Intend to try your Atlanta restaurant soon! Love you Tom.
Thank you for the follow-up to the Pea-Gate episode... although it is disappointing it cannot be laid to rest on anything beyond a bed of speculation. If the producers have no footage, then why was the show edited to basically portray Alex as a thief? I don't think any contestant applies to Top Chef thinking that his reputation could be smeared by deliberate editing without any resolution. It is a debacle at this point. Thank you again for addressing common concerns voiced by the viewers.
Tom, I agree with your responses and thank you for trying to put the pea-gate to rest. However, I do believe there was a shot of a container with peas resting in water on one of the prep counters. After Alex's comments on tonights episode regarding the veal cheeks which he mentioned to you while preparing his tapas that he could not get might lead us viewers to believe that Alex is not above board and not beyond lying about certain things. Go Top Chef! I still love the show. Alli in Cali.
Had you sent Alex home this week I might have forgiven you for last week. Not gonna happen now. If the producers honestly didn't know what happened to the pea puree & aren't merely covering their collective butts, editing the show in such a way as to make it appear so stronly that Alex stole Ed's pea puree was a horrible thing to do. I work for a trial attorney, and one thing he always says is that the truth rings out in court - you know it when you hear it. I'm not hearing any ringing coming from your direction. Stonewalling & lame excuses are what i'm hearing.
I've been an avid fan of Top Chef from the beginning and last season held some of the most talented chef's by far! This season has some well rounded chef's but there is a lacking of creativity. As far as the Pea issue, it seems Alex is guilty and Ed is being open on his confusion of what happened to his peas. Alex is lame as a cook, very uninspiring. If it found the he did abscond with the peas he should be punished.
An interesting episode tonight. I liked the challenge and having diplomats for the diners made it very D.C. appropriate. Stephen said it best "I messed up a rice dish" he needed to go home. Tiffany is proving to be a top flight competitor and a nice antidote to all the self described "alpha males" strutting around.
Those who want to see a conspiracy in Pea gate cannot ever be convinced by reason, no matter how much you or anyone present them with facts. The rational viewers can deal with uncertainty, such is life. The few obsessed conspiracy theorists will are at least amusing.
Alex asked Kelly for salt and she did not give it to him. However, Alex's pea puree recipe on this website lists salt as an ingredient.
It seems likely that Alex stole Ed's pea puree because he did not have the salt to season his own batch.
Furthermore, would the judges have raved over a pea puree without salt?
C'mon Tom. Why can't you simply say that you and the producers will look into the matter? All the suggestions have already been made. - Check the receipts to see who bought peas. - Look at the footage which clearly shows that Alex had no idea what he was going to make; and that he was told that Ed had already made a delicious pea puree. - Recognize that it's a bit too "coincidental" that two people would choose to make pea puree in the same episode. - Have a pea puree cookoff.
etc., etc., etc....
I feel better with you saying the judges were unaware of the possibility of cheating going on in the kitchen. But I must point out a problem with your 3-fold theory. If Alex made his own puree, there should be another one laying around. Also, Alex continues to say that he was unaware of Ed's plan to use a PP. That's clearly untrue.
I appreciate the tough spot Ed was in. I think Ed definitely knew that Alex took it, but didn't want to appear, as you said, unsportsmanlike.
I look forward to the reunion show, but I know the only thing that will happen there is Alex will continue to look guilty.
On tonight's episode, when Tom came into the prep kitchen to talk to the chefs, when he asked Alex about his dish, Alex stated that he had wanted to get veal cheeks but couldn't so he got shanks instead. Yet when he presented the dish, he presented it as Veal Cheeks.
Why no controversy over that one Tom?
Normally I wouldn't buy the "we don't know excuse", but to be honest I really think you are a man of integrity as evidenced over the last 7 seasons. So if you say so, then so be it. As for the chefs and food this season, I am not too impressed. I wonder if so many exceptional chefs last season have raised our expectations too high. What amazes me is the amount of ego by some in this group- did not view last seasons episodes and see what level they were expected to cook? Angelo does come across as a one trick pony, though I am sure his food is delicious, it be nice to see him do something outside box for once. For the life of me I don't see where Kenny gets his ego from. He does seem to pull off some great dishes, but no-where near the level of all his alpha male posturing. As for Amanda, While she hasn't been a star, for her age and youth she does seem to hold her own- I just have to wonder why everyone seems to feel so superior when they are all pretty lackluster. Tiffany seams like the best bet this season, and good for her, she seams like a really wonderful person to boot. I'm hanging in there this season, but its not very exciting overall.
Do you see, Karma is a bitch. Alex had a bad week because of his bad energy. His food never looks enjoyable and as i mentioned before, he looks sticky. I always want to eat Tiffany and Kelly's food, and if you could take their food and put it in Stephens hands, we would have had a Top Chef but sadly it may be Angelo or Kenny. Although I must say their food never looks appealing either but I assume it must be good if they're on this show.
Also back to Pea Gate for a second. There is a scene where Alex goes into a cooler and pulls out the pea puree, next scene Ed goes to that cooler and starts asking where the pea puree went. Next scene, he asks Alex if he'd seen it, he says no he didn't know he was making a pea puree...LIE, they told him the day before...and its caught on camera. Watch it!!
Alex told Tom he could not get beef cheeks---told the judges he was serving beef cheeks. Editing is not required to see that Alex is out of his element.
I was discussing with my boyfriend a few months back about the amazing things you read on blog comments. The internet has allowed everyone to voice their opinion and that's not always a good thing.
The only thing I want to add to this endless gaggle of Pea-gate is that we have to remember that the whole season was filmed, edited and finished before we saw the first episode. It is not at all surprising to me that the judges didn't know what was going on.....I've been watching Top Chef for the past 6 seasons.
I'm not a big fan of this round of "chef-testants." (I hate that word, by the way...) My favorite as of now is Tiffany, but overall, this is no Top Chef:Las Vegas crew.
Tom strikes again:
"Maybe Alex did take it. Maybe, if he did, he did so by accident, believing it to be his own."
(Sigh) Once again, thank god Tom's a chef and not an attorney. Or, as someone put it better than myself last week... thank god Tom's a chef and not a logician. "Oops, I started a pea puree of my own which was like, right next to this other pea puree... and that was all, like a big coincidence and stuff... and then one of them vanished!" Honestly Tom, think about what you're implying.
I believe 100% that there is no footage of what happened to the pea puree. I believe both Tom and the producers on this, sincerely.
For me, the footage isn't even that important. We have this guy Alex who says he didn't know anything about a pea puree. But we saw last week that he learned of Ed's pea puree the night before. He was caught red handed (er, lie handed) by the video. From there, in my view, it isn't a great unethical stretch to go from lying about the conception of the dish to flat out stealing. Poor character.
Tonight's episode only reinforces the injustice. They gave "pea gate" about 30 seconds of lip service and then moved forward, as though it was no big deal.
And yet, JackL has a good point. Thank god we finally did get an episode that focused primarily on food. Less drama. Hopefully that continues.
It's been only a matter of time before Andrea, Tim, Stephen, Amanda, and Alex got/get eliminated and it can only happen week by week. Finally, Stephen left the island tonight. (The only talent to be eliminated prematurely was Arnold.) I believe this season is a three horse race between Kenny, Angelo, and Kelly. However, Tiffany is one of the most likable people they've ever had on Top Chef and I'm elated any time she succeeds. Congrats on the win, Tiffany!
One other note. Last night I ate at Jose Andres' restaurant The Bazaar in Los Angeles. Wow! Now that is a Master Chef. Of the 10 or so small plates we had, at least 5 were truly outstanding with the other 5 being solid themselves. Michael Voltaggio was privileged to receive tutelage from such a brilliant chef.
We are being played. What do you know-Alex (the bad guy) and Ed (the good guy) head-to head once again- this time both in the bottom three; and OMG one of them might have to go home. Of course we all know which one the viewers are hoping will be voted off. Quelle drama! Plus we can call in our votes whether Alex can be trusted in the kitchen. Then Tom's blog throws in a plug for the reunion show where we may hear more about the missing pea puree.
Tomatofortwo, how could you say Bethenny Frankel over Padma?? Why do you think they got rid of Katie Lee Joel? Padma speaks well, is very knowledgable about cuisine, and can add to the decisions of the panel (not even mentioning how good-looking she is). Padma is perfect for TC.
I believe Tom's explanation, but Alex saying that he wasn't told that Ed made puree (when there actually is footage of him being told that Ed made puree) convinces me he stole it. I don't think he is composed enough to put such a beautiful looking plate together, IMO.
Congratulations Tiffany, girl!! Out of all the contestants you seemed to be the most focused and it's starting to pay off. The money came right on time too, so congratulations on your marriage in advance. Adios Stephen. I'm sure Alex the Menace will be following you shortly. Well done Kevin. Stay above the drama. And as far as Pea-gate is concerned, better stay tuned there's more to see (as the song goes). We may never learn the truth, but the lesson here is while lack of integrity sucks, the appearance of lack of integrity sucks harder because you'll never regain that trust. Too bad...
Geez, could you can it with the wishy-washiness? I didn't realize you could represent a country with food, by NOT cooking the cuisine of that country. Why do some contestants (i.e. the good chefs) get criticized for being unadventurous and pedestrian in their decisions when they go traditional, but others (the bad to mediocre) can win by being totally uninspired or offensively dismissive of an entire country's cuisine, i.e. making "deconstructed" tamales (so simplified it was an insult to call them tamales) to represent Mexico, or throwing a bunch of ingredients from all over India together and calling it Indian food? One receives praise for removing the meat from the middle of tamales and placing it on top, hence avoiding the most difficult part of making them well, and then judged as if having made real tamales? Guess what, it's pretty easy to keep the power of the flavors, and the meat and the masa moist when the meat is NOT cooked inside the masa. That's why they're hard to make. What she made was unsweetened corn cake with meat and a vegetable- wow really setting the culinary world ablaze with that thinking! The dish was nothing but one giant shortcut.
As for Kevin, oh geez, way to reduce Indian food to the ingredients. and nothing more. Merely cooking with spices and ingredients used in Indian food does not mean you have created Indian flavors. His dish was composed from a jarring mish-mash of ingredients common to southern, eastern and northern India, with no understanding of the differences between the vastly different styles. It's the equivalent of citrus and avocado on a philly cheesesteak using hoecakes for bread, and calling it "American"; all of the components are common in some part of the country, but none of them together in the same part, for very distinct reasons.
You can't put your spin on something you know nothing about. I spilled paint the other day, but I'm not calling it my spin on a Jackson Pollock, nor would I expect anyone else who should know better to think so. The odds of that paint accidentally spilling and dripping in such a manner so as to fool the most discerning of artists that it approximates Pollock's style are virtually non-existent. It is equally unlikely that Kevin's kitchen-sink approach to Indian food yielded such stellar results, and glowing responses from the judges, (at least not without simultaneously doing serious damage to their reputations). Every chef knows to roast spices, so that's not a point of comparison in a competition like this and it stinks of blowing smoke to proclaim it as such. If the goal is to represent a country, then one should cook that country's food, and not be rewarded for an isolationist, ignorant interpretation.
On the contrary, Tiffany and Kevin's dishes are exactly what is wrong with Top Chef as a show these days, and it's kind of sad. It now rewards mediocrity and the possession of no sophisticated knowledge of what's going on in the culinary cultures around the world.
Tom, Thanks for following up on pea-gate. However, you haven't addressed whether or not Alex bought peas. Surely you have receipts for that episode. Did 2 cooks buy peas? Are peas in the pantry and therefore not relevant? It seems very strange that all of competitors back up Ed. They usually know what is happening in the kitchen. They keep an eye on each other. I also wish that Alex had been booted tonight. After all, one judge said his dish was a "nightmare."
There is something I don't quite understand. If there is no way for the producers to know what happened, what was the purpose of setting up this impossible-to-resolve mystery on screen?
It seems to me that all it did was damage Alex' reputation. It's so hard to recover from a damaged reputation that my ire goes to Bravo on this. If the truth can't be told, then Alex has been done harm for nothing. "When in doubt, don't" should have prevailed in this case.
Definately one of your better challenges tonight. I appreciate your explanation of the real idea of what was expected. To copy a dish is fine but to come up with your own interpretation is the mark of a true chef. I really liked what Tiffany and Kevin did. I am also glad that Kelly was recognized as well. It was really time for Stephen to go. He had just been scrapping thru for a while. Well done, Tom. Thanks also for you further information on Pea Gate. I believe you, any day. Great show!
Wow you got a lot of comments regarding last week's blog entry...
Tom I appreciate the transparency offered in this entry. Regardless of having a guilty verdict or not, it still made for good TV. I see a lot of comments where people are "screaming" foul play and claiming to stop watching the show. Really?! With restaurant wars around the corner?! I can say with much certainty that Alex will not be Top Chef so sleep easy people.
Anyways I always admire Top Chef when i see the contestants helping each other. Yes, it is a competition. But as a professional chef one should want to win by skill and not by default.
Next season, there needs to be security devices on all the food & containers. :)
Pea puree, is pea puree. This is a chance to win lots of money for doing what you love. If it is pea puree, better be the best puree ever! This is a reality show. If he stole the puree, game on. You lost points from me. If you lost your puree, you lost points from me. Any good cook would not lose his ingredients or any components from his dish. That is the name of the game. You signed up for this, play fair.
It's not that important??? Isn't the show for us viewers? We watch this show season after season, week after week. Maybe... just maybe, we shouldn't watch Top Chef period since these explosive scenes should not be important to us! We the viewers.....the ones that keep the ratings going, want to know.
tom your blog is always well written and coherent...breaking down each episode from a chefs viewpoint and making it clear to us non cooks what is going on...i enjoy reading you each week....just wanted to thank you
ok everyone......this is a TV show period! and trust me and who ever if there was footage of the pea puree being stolen it would have been on the show. now saying this I to cant believe that the reaction of the other 2 chefs when Alex won on his pea puree strengths....please we all saw thier faces Tom!!!! maybe due to boring cooks they need to make the show "controversial?" or not but fact as it is...if you believe what Top chef wants you to believe Alex took it pure and simple but remember its a reality show and a competition...........not at all the best overall chef. Why doent Top Chef go outside the US and see what oversees Americans to to promote our food and culture.....can you see it? Top Chef Teledo? or Top Chef international.......spice it up Tom. firstname.lastname@example.org Cheers and Alex open a can of Cambels split pea soup next time and save face.
I am also through with this season, I have deleted it from my tivo list. Hopefully you guys can bounce back but between the "pea gate" and the the lackluster equality of the show in general I see no reason to continue viewing it.
Alex has never made anything that tasted good to even be in the top 3 then out of no where wins? There's no way that is possible. You may not have caught him red-handed, but simple deduction - he was caught on camera lying twice. He DID know that Ed had peas and made a pea puree, he DID see pea puree if for the simple reason that he had it in his own pot.
Why can't they just remake their pea puree? It can't be more than a coincidence that Ed who when he's been on has won challenges and his favorite dish of his involves a pea puree and Alex who has barely made it by each week by the skin of his teeth should win by a dish that he hadn't planned w/ no technique by a dish that his competitor is missing that is that's competitor's specialty? Ed clearly would not forget about such a key component to his dish & remembered it being in the cooler.
You guys owe it to Alex's & your own show's reputation to have the cook off and put an end to this. The joy I used to feel in watching this show before this incident and especially during last season when the caliber of chefs were at chef level is now gone.
Here I go on Alex again - ok did anyone else hear that when he was explaining his dish to Tom that he could not get cheeks but instead used shanks? He list dish as cheeks - was that correct?
I don't think I'm alone in this one, the caliber of chefs this season is mediocre at best. I'm watching just because Top Chef as a concept is one of my favorite shows, but I'm not emotionally invested this season as to who wins, whatsoever. I will see it through to the finale, but it certainly won't be a nail biter at the end when you reveal Top Chef... I don't think any of them are. Tiffany would be my pick if forced. As for your deer issue- I live on a farm in Upstate NY and just spent an entire weekend putting chicken wire around my heirloom apple trees to keep the deer from shredding them in the Fall. I'm sure they'll just kick the fences over anyway!
Alex deliberately withheld from Amanda that she had gristle in her dish when she asked for his opinion. He was shown on camera as lying about knowledge of Ed's pea puree TWICE, then last night passing off veal shank as cheeks. Alex has never been in the top much less win anything, always appeared lost without any technique and then out of nowhere just happens to win in a challenge where his competitor just happens to lose a key component to the dish that was the "best thing" (said by the judges) on Alex's dish that propelled him to the win? It just happens that people give you money when you stick a gun to their face and ask for it? Walks like a duck, talks like a duck, steals pea puree like a duck...
I agree with most of the sentiments that this season is just blah and this episode has left a bad taste in most people's mouth (pun intended). It seems like either a villainous character is going to win b/c he's a sneaky character who plays people and is a mediocre chef who shines only b/c the others are more mediocre or a mediocre chef is going to win. Last season's Kevin, Jen and the Voltagio brothers would slaughter this season's top 3 blindfolded with one hand tied behind their back. It's more fun to watch this show when the contestants deserve the title of top chef or even chef at this stage in the show's run.
What's wrong with the chefs?? Don't you know a thing about Brazilian food so you have to joke around?
Please send all the chefs down here so they can learn a thing or two! Go to the North region and you'll see how they use fish; come to the Northeast where jerkbeef, roots, seafood and a lot of spices are part of the daily meals; go to the South and see the mixture of European influences there. What about all of our fruit? The famous "feijoada" (made with black beans)?
And no, we don't use Brazilian nuts everywhere.
I'm glad Gail called the chimichurri mistake (It's Argentinian ).
Thanks for taking the time to once again try to answer the "Pea Gate" question. It is really ironic that this"Pea-Gate" mystery had to happened in D.C., the city of all "gates" I was waiting for a letter of "impeachment" to be handed down on Chef Colicchio. I think I would get out of town on the weekends, Tom! Wow, this is just a TV show, right?
Alex's next scandal - VEAL-GATE.
Watch the show again, people. Alex told Tom in the kitchen that he could NOT get veal cheek so he bought veal shank instead. The next day, when serving the judges he told them he made braised veal cheek!! LIAR. It was all captured on tape and it seems that no one noticed!
Someone please bring this to light. Chef Colicchio... I hope you read this!!