Bravotv.com: CJ, Stefan, and Josie return to the kitchen. What did you think when you saw them?
Gail Simmons: Well, obviously, we knew what they were coming back to do. At first, I had some reservations. But when I saw how it played out, it actually made perfect sense, and really switched things up for the show; I thought it was smart as it totally changes the dynamic. You'll see as the show continues, what that means—not only for the chefs who are new (the 15 chefs who were cast) but also for these veteran chefs. We’ll learn if having completed before gives them that advantage or not. The three of them have changed a lot since they were last on the show, so it’s great to see them back again, and see how they interact with the other chefs. They come across, on that first day, sort of feeling superior. But I think the Top Chef kitchen is a great equalizer—everybody’s humbled. Quickfires humble you.
Bravotv.com: For the Quickfire Challenge, they had to create a dish that highlighted the local shellfish. So, the chefs choose their groups. We’re kind of seeing this side of John that’s sort of nicer; he’s really into working with Kuniko.
Gail: John seems smart. He’s strategizing. It’s kind of funny that he was like “She’s Japanese; she must have good knife skills.” That was ridiculous, but you know what? He turned out to be right. And, that team was really strong, whether they knew it before or not. What a crazy thing having to pick teams when you’ve literally just met people. You have no idea who is who, what their strengths are, so it’s a big chance. You have to learn to trust people very quickly, but you also have to fend for yourself, because at the end of the day, only one person wins; the good news is that with this Quickfire, no one goes home.
Bravotv.com: What do you think of the Carla backlash that's starting to emerge?
GS: I don’t blame them. She is who she is, she’s larger than life. I don’t doubt of talent, but she’s a big character. And big characters are great to watch, but they’re not always great to work alongside in terms of just getting along. I think there’s a way of working in the kitchen that the other chefs are used to that she defies. She’s very loud, she’s throwing things, she’s talking non-stop. It can be very distracting, especially when you’re trying to work. She drove me crazy by the end of the episode too!
Bravotv.com: As we focus on the local seafood in this challenge, do you recall one seafood moment in Seattle that was somewhat of a revelation for you?
GS: I had so many seafood moments in Seattle! I basically stuffed myself all season long with oysters, spot prawns, crab, and salmon. We’ll get to more of that as the season unfolds. But, it really is interesting to me that you’d think in this day and age of travel and shipping, no matter what coast you’re on, no matter where you are, that there isn’t such a difference in terms of quality of ingredients. But we tasted so many things this season that you just can never get of such high quality on the East Coast. Like spot prawns, I’ve certainly had them before, but God are they good in Seattle. And we’re there in perfect season for them. Sweet, delicate prawns that basically need almost no cooking. They’re really, really special to that part of the country. So that was sort of amazing.
do we really have to watch stefan again? he is one of the most obnoxious contestants from over the years. Come on Gail such a sell out. he should have gone home and was kept for the ratings. Why can't you admit that? i always thought you of all the judges had some integrity but alas i was wrong.
I wasn't overjoyed to see previous contestants back either, but....new contestant doesn't necessarily mean the same as rookie chef. Many of the Top Chef contestants are seasoned chefs with extensive experience. Don't think the previous contestants automatically have an advantage over the others.
I'm sorry but people posting about how the past contestants have an unfair advantage because of experiences opening restaurants or traveling the world... People don't need to be past contestants to do this. Top Chef isn't "Top New Chef" or "Best Newcomer Chef". That would be saying that Cynthia or Lisa (Top Chef S1 contestants) had an unfair advantage over Candice (same season). Or saying that Chef Owners or Executive Chefs in groups should receive a handicap (no immunity, eliminated before) against chefs who are line cooks / personal chefs.
I don't like the idea of bringing old contestants back. Especially not Stephan!!!! He definitely should've been voted off for over cooking that quail, and then made excuses for the quail being too small. Hellooo Stephan... quails are small!!!! Go home.
I am glad that they kept Stefan. Should have won over Hosea!! Obviously, we did not taste both the overcooked quail and the overcooked fish so we have to rely on the judges to make the determination which error was worse. Carla is very annoying and not just her personality. Her hair in front of her face is really distracting. No offense but how do you cook with your hair in your face. It kind of disgusts me because I would not be surprised to find a strand of her hair in my food she prepared. Aren't there rules in the kitchen? I remember one cheftestant getting axed because he tasted his food and put the spoon back in the pot. Which is worse??
Carla, please pin it back!!!
The old contestants have such an advantage over the new cooks. It's just not fair. The rule should be is that if the worst dish is prepared by a returning chef, that they be eliminated before the new guys start to be eliminated. Boy was I sorry to see Stephan return. I couldn't wait for him to be eliminated when his season was on!
Wow...what a bunch of winers you commenters are! This is not whoever has the most experience goes home. This is whoever screws up the most goes home. Jeffrey way overcooked his fish. Stefan slightly overcooked the quail. It's that simple.
You just described the unfair advantages of the 3 chefs. Opening new restaurants and traveling the world getting the experiences of world leading chefs is so much better than trying to make a living cooking with a chef no one's heard of . Stefan has just gotten more arrogant over the last years, I can't figure out why he is lowering himself to compete with these peasants, I don't get any of the 3 coming back. I think Stefan has already gotten shown favoritism because he was the one who clearly should have been sent home with his under cooked quail with him being so seasoned a chef as apposed to a rookie that overcooked fish. I think TC has jumped the shark this season and I think lots of people will be finding another show to watch.
i think it was awful stefon won he has much more experience than jeffery and should have gone home after all he has been on before the kid jeffery was one of my picks because deep down i think he would have made the top 5 given a fair chance. and get rid of that annoying loud mouth black haired woman omg who would want that in the kitchen of a fine resturant
Sorry, Gail, but I think this should been a double elimination. Stefan had a lame excuse for overcooking his lamb and Jeffrey had super dry fish. If nothing else, bam, there's your 2 competitors for LCK. Now, we have to wait a week to find out who Jeffrey cooks off against. Lame.
Such BS Stephan is a seasoned chef and should be expected to deliver more than a new contestant !! Cant believe that decision, let alone agree with it !!! very dissapointed Padma n Tom !
I was very sorry Stephan didn't go home. I agree...a seasoned chef should deliver more. I'm really sorry former chefs came back....I don't think that's fair at all. For the 10th season, have another twist other than old chefs returning. And yes, old chefs should not get immunity.
Sorry but Stafan has been there before. He should have gone. They both over cooked their food. Stefan should of been an easy ticket home. Well two tickets home....one for his ego.
Seriously...bringing old people from the past on a reality show? As well...it is common knowledge that after being on Top Chef the many contestants have numerous opportunities
that an unknown certainly has not. For the 3 even ending up in the bottom 3 for the very first
elimination is so much worse for them. One of them should have gone home for that reason
in and of itself. Not sure if I can even bother to watch this season. Big disappointment Bravp/
I am so totally disappointed with the way Top Chef has brought back old contestants, especially Stephan. Why did they pick those 3 to come back??? Bad move!!!!