The women remarked (with confidence and self-satisfaction) that the men seemed to be down to the wire as time was running out, and, indeed they were, but it was because their food was more intricate, with more thought put into it. While typically women tend to work better together (OK, one gender generalization), in this particular case the men did. For example, I truly believe that had the men seen the shiso leaf that Preeti was using, one of them would have said, point blank, “That looks terrible, lose it,” and it would’ve gone. The women here were trying to be more supportive and kind to one another, but in so doing they actually undid themselves as a team. Yes, they were ultimately cooking against each other, but first they had to overcome the team component and be the better team, so that none of them would wind up in the bottom four … and possibly going home.
Bryan clearly deserved the win. His dish was an example of how to take an old favorite and revise it freshly, originally, and delightfully. He was clearly thinking, “People drink tequila with chips and guacamole … how I can I make that dish more modern and more delicious in a single bite?” If you had given every one of our chefs the simple challenge of reconceiving chips and guacamole, I guarantee you that not one of the others would have done what Bryan did. And the dish was not only creative, it was well seasoned and beautifully executed. His brother’s dish followed in that vein: he took all the fresh ingredients in the shot – the apple, the ginger, etc. – and reworked them deftly and delectably. Kevin’s dish also meets the criteria of being both conceptually creative and adroit in its execution. As a team, they were thinking way past the first and second step, as in a chess game, and then they had the chops to pull it all off. The flip side of that, using Preeti as an example once more, was her failure to realize that the salt in her marinade would cook her fish overnight. So while she had a concept, she couldn’t execute it. Eve cooked shrimp without seasoning it … at which point it was obviously too late to even try, though, amazingly, try she did.
In general, though, the second episode confirms for me that we have here a group of very, very talented chefs. In the last couple of seasons, it almost seemed as though some of the chefs put their best feet forward at first and then slipped from there. This time, however, there are no one-trick ponies. It seems these chefs are going to continue to perform strongly from here forward.
Hi Tom and Top Chef Producers:
I'd like to nominate two of my friends to be your next couple for the Wedding Wars challenge:
They are two of your biggest fans, they live and work in the DC metro area, AND they are going to exercise their newly acquired right to become a legally married same-sex couple within the next months or so right here in DC!
So far the show has featured two men getting married and a male/female couple; how about featuring two lovely young women? They've been in a committed relationship for over 8 years and are "college sweetheart" who met as members of the same sorority. One is a federal employee who loves to bake and cook from scratch when at home and the other a grade school teacher who loves to eat!
Please email me ASAP if you'd like their contact information!!
Another big fan . . .
Aloha Tom ~
I appreciate your candor and professionalism. In a world where nothing is fair, it is important to maintain a gracious approach to life, living, and others. I have a lot of compassion for Ashley as a person; however, when it comes to a culinary contest or career I have to say: As the contractor, my clients should not care about whether I am male or female, gay or straight. I agree with Jenn, that work performance should not be overshadowed by personal life and issues.
On a more personal note...
Why am I being reminded of Season 1's Pit Stop Quickfire? Or Season 2's Vending Machine Quickfire?
Cos sometimes in Life we don't get the crate of black truffles and fois gras. Sometimes get sunflower seeds and a can of Squirt.
You can make the most of what you have and transform, out of a place of lack and denial, something quite exquisite. Or you can shove a Cheeto into a Snickers bar.
But you'll be more appreciated... and happier within yourself...
if you make and reflect the best at all times.
It was extremely interesting for me to read the article. Thanx for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to them. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.
Tom, very well thought out and written point of view on this subject. I think this is a civil rights issue, and if you've managed to make one person think differently about this subject than you've done us all a great service.
I hope that there are people watching the show, getting to know the chefs, their personalities, their strengths and weaknesses, and maybe begin to see them as people, rather than the gay chefs as some have written.
I applaud you Tom.
Ashley knew when she applied for the show - that "Wedding Wars" has always been a big part of it. She had the right to make a stand by NOT being a contestant on a show that is known largely for "WEDDING WARS" as well as many other returning challenges.
There have been a few challenges that I was like . . .WHoa! Could I do that? Could I do my best for these people, when I am appalled by the environment? After all - it is TOP CHEF, not TOP CATERER. But yes, as someone who has worked all their life- I have never not done my best for my employer - as it is what allows me to to care for my own home, and my own way of life - which I relish!
After all - as has been stated so many times - it is about the food. Period. Paragraph.
Relish. (hee hee)
I have been watching Top Chef from the off and am a big fan. However, this episode with the bachelorette/bachelor party didn't really grab me. I found myself a little bored watching the episode.
As for the gay rights issues that came up - I can completely see why Ashley felt the way she did. Descriminating against gays seems to be okay in most Americans opinions. Most people would never admit to being racist or sexist in this day and age, but a lot will openly gay bash. It is so pathetic! Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Top Chef was discriminating against gays by having a straight couple featured in the show as opposed to a gay couple. I think Ashley is obviously just frustrated by the overall ignorance towards homosexuality that still exists in American society.
Also, the people who say that gays should not be allowed to use the term "marriage" and should have to "call it something else". Come on! Who the hell cares??? I can not understand why so many people are threatened by the idea of same sex marriage! I'm in a heterosexual marriage and could not be happier to see same sex couples have the right to wed. Yes, I said wed, not "join" or be "life partners". Catch up to the rest of the modern world and give gays the right to marry America! Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and pretty much all of Europe have done so why can't the good old USA????
Thank you, Tom, for supporting equal civil rights for all people. I support Ashley. She is a person, and has a right to speak freely. As a person who has been marginalized her entire life (and still is marginalized by some), I can only begin to understand how she feels about not being able to marry someone else loves.
TC is a great show, and I never miss an episode. By the way, I'm a straight, 60 year old woman who married her college sweetheart 37 years ago.
I have had guacamole with corn nuts wrapped in jicama at the brilliant Bazaar at the SLS Hotel in LA. It was indeed creative and "reconceiving" and surely Bryan merely put a twist on a dish that had already been twisted.
I Love this show and I have truely fallen for you Tom after reading your blogs....I have a high respect for you and your ability to judge "anything"... I do want to mention that my all time favorite show has become "Master Chef Australia" I really wish that YOU (Tom) and Padma, with a guest judge could do something similar here... Breaking things down and showing us with wanna be talents (!!!) a few cooking tips! I have since made over 25 of the recipes from that show and all were beautiful! (a few I will need to practice!!) Keep up the great work! With utmost respect!
I don't know if it's been pointed out yet, but I was surprised that our judges (and I'm looking you right square in the eye, Tom!) didn't know the difference between a macaroon and a meringue cookie. Considering how much you penalized Casey for her "take" on a coq au vin (yeah yeah, it was in a "French setting" and perhaps she could have been more explicit in the fact that it was an "homage" to a true coq au vin), one would think that you might have applied the same standard to Bryan when he misnamed his cookie. I guess that none of you actually made the proper distinction or recognized that they are two completely different cookies. But you really should know that a macaroon is usually chewy (unless it's a hard, crunchy style) and uses coconut and/or almond paste, whereas a meringue cookie is exactly what Bryan presented - cripsy shell with a melt-in-your-mouth interior. and, it's actually made with a meringue.
I'm just sayin'...
I'm so tired of Ashley's whining all the time!!! Why is she still here?She shouldve been gone 3 times now.She appears to be a very dark,depressed person.She is always negative and always singing the blues.So she can throw a few dishes together.,and some she cant.I hope next week she is gone so we dont have to put up with her mood dujour.
Kudos to you for speaking out about the gay marriage issue. Your brief comments easily make the most succinct and well written argument I have read to date. I would love to see this in wider print circulation.
Oh, yeh... and your cooking show? Rocks.
The comment you made, Tom, was very nice, but also very unnecessary, I thought. I'm a bisexual woman living with a female partner. I only state this as a qualifying statement. I watched the show and got extremely tired of listening to Ashley's whining and griping about having to do a batchelorette party for a couple. The competition is about cooking, not about who you sleep with or what gender they are. Either cook or get out of the kitchen. Neither politics or garbage belong in the kitchen and this kvetching is both in my opinion.
My thoughts EXACTLY on what might happen if Emily owned a restaurant and a heterosexual couple wanted to hold their rehearsal/reception there? Would she say "No thanks - I don't want/need your business." ? She had a rather dramatic reaction. There seems to be some immaturity and insecurity going on there.
Anyway, kudos to you for you being you. Top Chef wouldn’t be nearly as great without your presence. Well, actually, I probably wouldn't watch. :D
Love your knowledge of food, but can you spare us all on the marriage comments. While I do disagree with you on your beliefs, I would have a tough time with anyone on a food related show giving their two cents on social issues. Your job on this show is to critique the food, not society in general.
I"m not going to comment too much on Tom's comments other than to say I agree with some and not others. I will, however, make this general statement about the competition. I have watched every season of Top Chef and Ashley is the first person I've ever heard complain about the wedding challenge. They all knew going into this competition there was a strong possibility of their being a wedding challenge. If any of them had a problem with it, they should have stayed home. Ashley seems to forget that in Season 1, the wedding challenge was for a gay couple. I certainly didn't hear any of the straight people complain about the challenge. She may not like it and it's her prerogative, but that doesn't mean she needs to whine about it. As for Jennifer complaining about it being the men against the women, she gives off the vibe she's perfect anyway. So, she's not one of my favorites on the show. Overall, tho, this is a great group of chefs.
The whole gay marriage topic is stupid. The show is in Las Vegas, Ashley is from Washington, and gay marriage is banned in California, and legal in some other states.
Gays can get married, in their churches or in private ceremonies, and can live together like spouses until death.
Neither Tom or Ashley has the right to pass judgment on California when they are not even citizens of California and the show is not even in California.
If you guys think homosexuality is at the center of the universe, then have the show in Iowa or Vermont or Massachusetts, then we don't have to hear you cry about it.
For Chrissakes, Bravo supplicates to gays 24/7, isn't it ever enough, and what do gays have to do with cooking? Absolutely nothing.
Why do all the gay cheftestants have to annouce thay are gay? You don't see the straight ones doing that. I wish that TC had a Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. No one cares if you are straight or gay, we just want to see the cooking. Any chef who applies for TC should be well aware of some kind of wedding themed elimination challenge, there is one every season!
Tom, I just want to thank you for articulating so well the need for LGBTQ marriage equality! We need more people saying so--and fighting for LGBTQ equality of all kinds--more often. Please keep it up!
It's a cooking show. Who the chefs cook for or what the challenge may be is irrelevant. Wise up Ashley - you're lucky to be on the show. There are probably a lot of chefs who are envious because you are there and they are not. Come down off your high horse and get a grip.
Kudos Tom.... Thanks for your words of support. You just gained a new fan.
P.S. When my wife and I got married we had our reception in Mattin's great restaurant Il Luna Basque... Great guy! Glad to see him on the show...
I do think Top Chef gets a little caught up in the polital correctness thing. It seems every cast is utterly predictable in its composition....racial mix, ethnic mix, gender mix, age mix, sexual preference mix....and by the way, are all gay women suddenly tattood or is this just a convenient way to announce that you checked off that box (no pun intended) when casting? I happen to be hetero, and I could care less if gays marry or not. They have every right to be as miserable as straight partners. I just don't need the social engineering jammed down my throat on a cooking show. If Bravo wants to create the "reality" balance in their casting, then where are the chefs in wheelchairs? How about a chef that stutters? There are no chefs that wear toupees? I'd much rather see a stuttering paraplegic with a bad rug trying to bone a chicken than a tattood lesbian (trying to bone a chiken). Now that I think about it, Graham Kerr (Galloping Gourmet) did seem to dress a bit flashy, along the lines of Paul Lynde.
First, I absolutely love this show. I have to say that Ashley totally annoyed me during the show. Bravo and the show were NOT making a statement about gay marriage so I don't see why she was so annoyed. It was just a challenge. As a chef, she will at some point be faced will a wedding, rehearsal dinner, etc something like that for heterosexuals. Will she turn it down? Can you please ask her about this during the reunion episode? It's ridiculous! She was in the wrong.
In 1978 my gay best friend and I catered and cooked for a gay wedding! We all had a blast. The bride wore lipstick, and all the guests were in full out regalia. One of the best parties I ever attended.
As a fan of the Top Chef programs, and a retired U S Army cook I feel a need to make a few comments.
First let me address the comments made by the judges concerning the serving of chili and chowder on a hot day. I cooked for 20 yrs. in the military. In that time I was in the desert with normal temps. around 130, for over 6 weeks while training at Ft Irwin, CA. I also trained on the mountain tops of Germany, with the snow 6 feet deep.
My soldiers cared little about anything but one, that was their food. After a hard day of military life, that is usually what they looked forward to. I can guarantee two things: If the food was well prepared, it mattered little what the outside temp was. Also if the hot food was served hot, and the cold food served cold, no one cared if the meal was "appropriate" to the weather conditions.
I was in a Air Cav unit and one of my soldiers had a birthday upcoming during one of the training excercises we were always on. I was asked and obliged my commander by preparing a decorated birthday cake for this soldier. Normally back at the base I would have had no problem fulfilling this request, but in the field, training in snow up to my chest, it was quite the feat. I bring this up to let the Chefs who cooked for the Air Force know and understand that military cooks, chefs, or food servivce workers all have to be adaptable to insure that their soldiers always received the best available, no matter the environment they were compelled to work in. I think next time it would be appropriate to have the military food service soldiers involved in the preparing and serving of the items on the menu. If anything else, they would at least learn a little something for future meals for their soldiers.
One last thing: ordinary people as a group are defined as masses. I really don't think this should have been used to define what the Chefs were doing. They were not cooking for the masses, they were cooking for the U S Military. I was appalled that Tom? used this term, And hope in the future he would pick a better way of defining what the Top Chefs' were attempting. Again as a retired militery cook I would say "cooking for the MASSES" would be better used when the chefs cook for a Division, say 2000. 300 Air Force is not a mass by anymeans, just a normal sized company meal with family. In closing I again must repeat that in future dealings with the military, I think the "grunts" in food service should be included.
By the way, I also saw no reason why the Chefs should not have been applauded for their fine meal. Everyone deserves recognition for a job well done. I know this because in my 20 yrs I prepared food for the lowliest private up to and including the President of the USA. ALL of them always showed their gratitude for a job well done.
Have a Nice Day!!
As a fan of the Top Chef programs, and a retired U S Army cook I feel a need to make a few comments.
First off, just because it seems to matter to a lot of people, I state clearly that the "institution" of marriage is NOT a same sex institution. If people of the same sex want to share their lives, fine by me. At the same time I do not understand why this sharing of their lives has to be a marriage. In this day and age I think anyone interested in sharing their lives in a same sex relationship should be able to come up with a suitable name for this commitment to each other. Unfortunately for the Gay people, the term "marriage" is taken to mean the joining of a man and a worman. If the Gay community wishes to share the joy, then I think they should come up with a better term then the one that already is used to define an institution that has been around for thousands of years. By all means they have a right to live and prosper in a happy environment. They just need to define what they want into a better term, preferably one that is not already in use.
While I'm not against gay marriage, here's the problem. It seems that the proponents of gay marriage want not only my tolerance, but my complete acceptance. If my opinion differs from the politically correct - gay marriage good, no one wants to discuss, debate, argue, they just want to name call. I know many people against gay marriage who want their opinion tolerated just like vice versa. How long do you think it would be before a member of the clergy was fined or jailed for discrimination if they refused to perform a ceremony for a gay couple. I may not be expressing it correctly, but it seems that I must not only tolerate but ACCEPT gay marriage. My fear is legislation that will force my acceptance. I look at what happened to that Miss U.S.A. contestant for expressing her views, which were certainly not extremist. Look at the total disrespect for the clergy in California when the gay marriage bill was defeated. And Tom, you belittle the African-American community when you compare gay marriage to civil rights.
It's hard to watch this season's episodes because I can't stand looking at all the skin tattoos and facial piercings. I have a tattoo and pierced ears but pierced lips are so distracting. Some of this season's chefs look so dirty too, and I mean the women, not the men. Hector has slicked back hair, but he looks very clean. Some of the gals look like they don't wash their hair or even shower. It makes viewing hard. I am jsut listening to the episodes and waiting for the judging when I can just look at the clean panel. Please try to get chefs for next year that look cleaner. This season is unappetizing in more ways than one. P.S. I think you are a fair judge!
Bravo should catch a clue that over kill on the gay issue hurts the cause rather than helping it. i agree with the reader that says when everything about you revolves around your sexuality, all aspects of your life, it's not a selling point to equality, it sounds like a problem.
Love the show, but this episode made me sick at the end. Why on earth would a bunch of chefs/cooks stand there just smiling while being applauded for cooking one meal? They should have applauded back with gusto for the men and women putting their lives on the line for all of us. I guess this is what we've become. What a shame.
I RESPECT GORDON RAMSEY !!!! Tom Ijust have a hard time listening tothe things you say to some of the younger chefs in these competitions. There is no doubt that you have paid your dues in the buisness you're in! I believe that in the Top Chef Masters Series YOU should have been one of the competing chefs. Gordon Ramsey is hard as nails! but he has a love for food and on his shows WE GET TO SEE HIM COOK!!!!!
I like what you have to say about same sex marriage. Obviously I don't know any of the behind the scene stuff on this season of the show, but I have a feeling Ashley's comments were blown entirely out of proportion in relation to the rest of the episode/challenge. I think she said her peace and moved on...
So, if two women get married they aren't allowed to have bachelorette parties? -- That's why it's a stupid argument, it ends there.
Uh, guys? I know this is a cooking show and all, but... it's also a REALITY show. These are real people with real feelings and thoughts and emotions. Ashley was merely projecting her thoughts on the challenge. But you know what? She went through with it and bit her tongue and everything was okay.
Good onya, Tom, for making your feelings known. I feel the same way that you do, almost exactly. If it's a religious ceremony, it's up to the officiant to decide whether to go through with it or not. And it extends beyond gay marriage -- I'm sure many clergy have refused to marry hetero couples because of race, religion, or, I'm sure, premarital co-habitation. Fine. You move onto someone who will marry you.
Anyway, onto the cooking... because... it's a cooking show too. ^_^
I think the question of timing is irrelevant. You have X amount of time to put out your food. Whether you not you complete your dish with 20 minutes to spare or right on the horn, you need to manage your full time wisely, and the Mens team did that to perfection. A good meal is a good meal, and the Men put together a good meal up and down.
- Brian B. Philadelphia, PA
Tom is the most handsome man I have ever seen. If he where gay I would be doing my best to get noticed by him. Wonderful show!!!!!! Do not consider leaving, you make the .
Thank you for your clear statement about marriage--very inspirational.
One post here argues that religious values underlie all civil laws. Perhaps religious has indeed been the historical source of many laws. But in a diverse culture that included nonbelievers, religious cannot be used as a justification for unequal treatment under the law.
Thank you Tom. I love the fact that people in the creative professions are always in the vanguard on tricky social issues. The people who don't want you to use this forum to share your opinion are absolutely free to move on to another web page.
I don't actually know any gay married couples, but I can assure you they don't threaten my marriage at all. None of my friends' marriages have been weakened because of gay marriage either. I understand people's resistance to change. It takes me a while to adjust to new things too. But the fact is that this train has left the station. Whether you're comfortable with homosexuals or not, they are our fellow citizens and there is no legal justification for denying them full civil and human rights. May as well get used to it...
Seriously, will Ashley never allow a married couple in to her restaurant? Will she never cater anything that has to do with a wedding? Celebrations are about food.
So was the winner a MERINGUE (as it appeared to be) or a MACAROON (as it was referred to, I think by Gail and the editorial caption at one point)? Jeri
So was the winner a MERINGUE (as it appeared to be) or a MACAROON (as it was referred to, I think by Gail and the editorial caption at one point)? Jeri
Tom, I love the show and have learned so much from it. It has encouraged me to try recipes that would have seemed beyond me until TOP CHEF came along. There have been so many fabulous personalities develop over the past seasons and I'm sure someone will shine through this season as well either as a chef or as an inspiration or possibly both (ala Fabio).
As with any reality show, there are always subject matter and personalities that really aren't to my liking but it's all part of the program and, just as with toppings on a pizza, I just disregard and "pick out" the parts I don't like. It's no big deal. Cooking is still the heart of the show.
Congratulations to all of you involved in this wonderful show to which I look forward each week as a kid looks forward to Christmas! I can't wait to see what goodies there will be!
OK we get it, Bravo and Top Chef are Gay friendly. Enough please.
My problem with the topic of gay marriage in this episode is this, this is not the first time that Bravo has championed the gay rights issue which should not be part of a cooking show beyond stating the fact that there are gay chefs...we got that already in season 1. However, Bravo keeps stacking the deck with many contestants/cheftestants who are gay or lesbian, they even had the first couple competing on the show together be a Lesbian couple. There has consistently been at least 3 of the contestants that were gay or lesbian, and I feel that represents a statistical impossibility that 20% of all aspiring chefs are gay or lesbian. It instead shows a consistent bias on the part of the producers of this show to push this issue (sexual rights)rather than focus on the food. I find the topic to be tiring and the show is getting downright preachy.
They could very easily have emphasized the food of the contestants(much of which we did not really get to see) rather than the issues.
I have always been a big fan of yours because of the insight and knowledge dabout cooking you bring to a cooking show. You know food chemistry inside and out; you know techniques and methods, and you know the restaurant industry. It is great seeing your knowledge as a benchmark for up and coming chefs.
that being the case, ... why wade into the gay marriage debate on your cooking show? And then your blog? For you to point blank contend on your blog that there is no basis for religion to weigh into civil marriage is about as disengenuous as contending that religous perspectives have no bearing whatsoever on laws against murder, theft, or rape. Or in infuencling property law, or incest.
Even food safety, ... do you think that the concept of "do unto your neighbor as you would have him do unto you" (a religious concept) has NOTHING to do with the regulatory constraints that govern the food you serve in your restaurant?
Law institutes the norms and consensus of the society that is shaped by individuals beliefs. individual beliefs are shaped by religion, or lack of it. It is illogical for you to say that people cannot bring their religious bias or influence into their decisions to vote, campaign, advocate or anything else. If that were the case, I would be completely vinidcated arguing for legal murder. Or that I could breach implied contract law and not pay you at your restuarant for the food I didn't like. What would make that wrong were there not a moral aspect to law? And if there is not a moral aspect to law, how can someone's religion be divorced from it?
Just becuase you disagree with a certain religion's views on same sex unions doesn't mean that practioners of that religion have no right to think that way. Were someone to agree with you that same sex unions were appropriate, and they based that opinion purley on their relgious views, would you then say they have no right to that opinion because they came to it through religion?
Democracy means we all have a right to work things out - not sto say that some people can't have an opinion because of how they formulate that opinion. We used to not let people vote or advocate because of skin color or gender. Should we - now that we're over that - exclude people's vote because they may have some religious background that could have maybe influenced their opinion?
Please go back to juding food, Tom, not people's motivation for being on one or another side of a political issue that has nothing to do with food.
Thank you so much for your eloquent words, Tom! Your support and your willingness to articulate it mean a lot.
I know you don't have anything to do with the challenges, but I couldn't find anywhere else to put this comment. I found the whole nature of this challenge offensive. To pit women against men is rediculous. Jennifer had it right when she said that gender makes no difference.
They're all chefs and they should all be treated equally. A woman and a man should not be given a designation based on their gender.
I find it interesting that people are upset about Ashley's comments. Part of any reality show is to get to know the personality of each of the participants. As much as the viewer can considering it is a tv program. Last year we heard Fabio's hysterical comments, learned about Carla's family and their 'call' to each other, we witnessed Jose's and Leah's little nap time, it just added to the drama of the show. We got to laugh, smile, gringe and get to know them. They become a little more real to us, tt is part of the fun of watching reality tv.
I undersand gay marriage is a hot button for many and if she would have commented if she was in recovery and was put off about the shots. What if she spoke about drinking would there be as many comments? We learned about Ashley, her political views, her sexuality and it made her more real.
But in the end this is about cooking. Who can come to bat when it matters? Who sways the judges with their talent and drive. Ashley's comments will not win or lose the competition, her cooking will. Just sit back learn about these talented people, watch what they do and wish you were there to taste their food.
I love how hetero haters talk about people RANTING because they are being marginalized and denied their rights.... If discrimination isn't worth a RANT I don't know what is.