Gail Simmons

Gail shares her feelings about this week's double elimination.

on Jan 290

Bravotv.com: Why don’t we start by talking about Last Chance Kitchen? Were you surprised about who made it through?
Gail Simmons: I wasn’t surprised, because through the eight challenges before the finale while we were in New Orleans, Tom had been telling me about how incredible Louis’ food had been. He had been really talking about how impressed he was with him as a chef, and how great all his food was.

In fact after winning so many challenges, I would have been surprised if Carlos had been able to beat him at that point. He deserved to get back in, he really earned it. Tom said he cooked some of the best food Tom had eaten in or out of actual episodes.



Bravotv.com: And then immediately he was thrown into the Spam Quickfire. What did you think of how the chefs fared with Spam?
GS: I was amazed that Nick said he hadn’t thought of Spam, because Hawaii is the home of Spam!

But, I thought it was a really funny Quickfire. It loosened everybody up. They shot it really early in the morning, and I had arrived the night before. Because of the time change I passed out at like 4 am or 5 am that morning and I sat on my balcony and watched the whole thing from my balcony. I could see the hula dancer arriving, and I thought it was really funny. I thought it looked great.  The chefs were able to create really interesting and innovative things from cans of Spam, so I was impressed.

90 comments
FullOMuck
FullOMuck

That guy's win makes me lose faith in humanity.

LiLi2000
LiLi2000

FINALE...JUST REMEMBERED why I stopped watching Top Chef!!!

contos
contos

It is really unpleasant reading such incredibly snarky and hateful comments about Nick.  To the "he should have resigned" camp, that argument was discredited a long time ago, and almost all of the comments I read on the web -- even by people who didn't care for him -- were opposed to the idea that he should have given up his immunity. "Richard Blais would have fallen on his sword"? In your dreams. 


As for the people who claim that he doesn't know how to cook, do you really believe for a second that anybody who makes it to the finals of Top Chef, or even makes it on the show at all, doesn't know how to cook? Every person who has ever been on this show cooks for a living. They all know how to cook, and they can probably all cook circles around every one of you, no matter how much, or how little, you like them. 


I don't really understand the people who think he's mean-spirited either. He has gone out of his way on a number of occasions to help other chefs, or to say nice things about other contestants, but I guess you just weren't watching all of the praise that he's given to Nina, or the way he's been there for her by offering her feedback and moral support when she questioned herself, or loaning his personal tools to Carlos (who then treated them with disrespect), or offering to do the parts of the French/Spanish challenge that the other chefs didn't want to do.


I mentioned this earlier, but Nina has been saying from the beginning that she believes that Nick is a great chef and that he deserves to be in the finale. Nina seems to have a lot of integrity, and if she thinks he's earned it then I believe her. And I also believe that she and Shirley seemed genuinely happy when he made it to the top 3.  Yes, he has exhibited moments of anger at times, but it never felt like anger that comes from a place of hate, unlike the messages that I read here. His anger seemed to come from a place of frustration with himself, like when he  made a simple mistake, or exasperation, like with Carlos not taking care of Nick's knife even though Nick was being kind and generous to loan it. He is just not the villain that many of you would like to make him out to be, and I don't understand why you're doing it. The comments you are writing about him are much, much nastier than anything he has ever done or said on the show.

fanaticfoodie
fanaticfoodie

I have always been a Nick fan from day one (and I'm not from or living in Philly).  I totally agree with JimP that others' arguments against him don't hold weight.  We all know Nina can flat-out cook (I wuv her), but Nick has WON as many Elimination Challenges as has Nina.  Jacques Pepin may have suggested that Nick give up immunity (Tom did not ask him to do so!) but Jacques was the one who AWARDED him immunity in a very intense Quickfire that was based on pure culinary technique. Please remember that it was Nick's skills on Restaurant Wars carried his team EASILY through the next round.

JimP
JimP

The arguments against Nick in the final are borderline ridiculous. People complain that someone who won 3 elimination challenges, the same as Nina and one behind Shirley's 4, does not deserve to be in the final? Ignoring that fact, if the body of work decides who goes to the final, why even bother having challenges? Just save us an hour each week and let the judges pick a chef to eliminate based on their "previous work". That would be SOOO much more entertaining.


As long as both chefs make incredible food in the finale, I will be completely satisfied with this season of Top Chef.

ArtistElaine
ArtistElaine

Nick does not deserve to be a finalist.   Anybody who does not know how to use an elementary item like salt shouldn't be there and Nicky should have been sent home weeks ago.   God forbid that it would be two women cooking off against each other .   

BlondeGator1
BlondeGator1

Through 16 episodes, here are the states for each chef: (TOP 3, WINS, MIDDLE, LOW, % TOP + Wins, % Bottom + Out, QF Wins)


NICK:        2 Top, 3 Wins, 6 Middle, 5 Lows,  31.25% Top, 31.25% Bottom, 2 QF Wins

NINA:        8 Top, 3 Wins, 3 Middle, 2 Lows,  68.75% Top, 12.25% Bottom, 1 QF Win

CARLOS:  6 Top, 2 Wins, 4 Middle, 3 Lows,   53.33% Top, 33.33% Bottom, 1 QF Win (15 episodes)

SHIRLEY:  1 Top, 4 Wins, 9 Middle, 2 Lows,  31.25% Top, 12.25% Bottom, 4 QF Wins

LOUIS:      0 Top, 0 Wins, 6 Middle, 2 Lows,  0% Top, 25% Bottom, 0 QF Wins, 8 LCK Wins 


Clearly, Nina is the Top Chef of this group based on overall performance.  Carlos probably should have been in the Top 3.  Nick & Shirley were roughly equal in the elimination challenges, except Nick had more lows, while Shirley skated through the middle more often.  Shirley is clearly the QF champion.  And of course, Louis was an Iron Man in LCK.


The rules are the rules, and it's just like on TC Masters....one bad day can ruin your shot at the title.  It is what it is.



conniemorrison.kenney
conniemorrison.kenney

Nick cooks one decent dish all season and gets to be in the finale!? Should have been Shirley and Nina.  

Sherridan
Sherridan

I really wanted it to be Nina and Shirley. Nina was great and consistent from the very beginning and Shirley was amazing. I couldn't wait to see what she came up with next.

I guess Nick will bring the drama element needed for a finale.

Nina and Shirley are the two best (IMO) but not Reality TV material.

itsonlyashow
itsonlyashow

Thanks for your insight, Gail.  Even though I was rooting for Louis and Nina to make the final 2, I couldn't help but feel sad for Shirley.  She did so well during the regular season, and the judges seemed to really enjoy her food.  She cooked with heart and soul and managed to turn out great dishes even when things didn't go her way (like when she ended up with the pizza oven).  She didn't skate by on luck like another did, but used her talent and positive mindset to go far.  Good luck to her.  AND GO NINA!!!!

63dee
63dee

And I really think the Judges missed a great opportunity for an outstanding finale. Shirley Vs Nina could have been epic....EPIC! Two of the best chefs all season. Go Nina...kick some major culinary butt!

63dee
63dee

Top Chef finale is never about the two best Chefs in the competition, it is about the best and second best in the last challenge. Nick came in the bottom numerous time...many more than Shirley. Shirley skated just above the middle many times and landed on top several...the weight for better chef goes to Shirley. So because there were two Chefs to be eliminated, she unfortunately didn't have a better night. It really sucks how the judging works on this show and yet I get that all they can do is judge the last dish. But to not get credit for you complete body of work the entire season seems disproportion. I would hope that in some way they might be able to better the outcome. We have seen many times where one person gets the crown when the best body of work for that season clearly went to the other competitor. To have someone continue to just perform in the middle the entire season and ending on the bottom a few times only to create the best dish in the finale, seems erroneous.

smlchng.3
smlchng.3

This is a cooking competition, not a personality contest. Not everyone gets a trophy in the end. And each competition is judged solely on the dish served that day, not what they cooked in previous episodes. Sometimes life isn't fair. Deal with it, or just stop watching the show.

debby306
debby306

I think NIck got passes as his food was not seasoned well but Shirley did very well ad was consistent. Nick should have resigned this wil come back to him for letting Stephanie go for his mistake.  Question I enjoyed your show Top Chef dessets hope it wll come back on?  

secondmamma
secondmamma

I have never commented before as I usually approve of the judges' decisions but not this time. Sending Shirley home was the worst decision they have made. Clearly her skills and versatility in the kitchen surpassed Nicholas's. You have lost a Top Chef supporter in me. Also, yes, I know it is a competition, as Nicholas said, but, when you have so many of the judges telling you to step aside, to resign and you don't do the right thing, respect for you as a chef is lost.

And, if he wins the competition, I will question whether or not this whole contest was fixed.

atcviewer
atcviewer

Would have been happy with anyone but Nick in the finals.  The final 2 chefs should be the 'top 2' best chefs of the season.  Nina was good but surprised that Nick made it in as he did not show that he was the best.  He was in the bottom and barely made it to the next round time after time.  Perhaps they should determine the 2 best chefs as the 2 they had the highest scores in a blind taste test after ALL the challenges;  then it would be more fair.  The way it stands this show would turn off a lot of viewers like me.

beagle_dachshund_chef
beagle_dachshund_chef

Not only will Nick lose to Nina, but he has already lost his integrity and respect. Nick's talent is a joke meant to make us watch the finale to confirm he loses. Boy, Top Chef and Bravo, look how that backfired. Everyone's so angry that no one wants to watch at all. Facetious. Brooke's loss last year was the perfect example of this. Almost everyone except me wanted Kristen to win because of her sacrifice to Josie, and for that reason, gee, I wonder what happened? Tom clearly loved Kristen from the start and was the deciding factor that screwed the more deserving Brooke over. Stop choosing chefs because of what the viewers think and stop trying to manipulate the competition. The chefs should win honorably and everyone here will tell you that Nick is the opposite of honorable. You quacks have ruined the show and everything it once was good for. I hope you all are proud; you've destroyed fairness and broken chefs' hearts who deserved nothing less that the exact opposite. 

Blink
Blink

I was rooting for Nina all season, glad she got to the finals.  She deserved it.  Thought Shirley would be there too but she can be proud in all she accomplished.

samian
samian

I'm betting win or lose, Nick will always find it difficult to keep a exec chef job because of his anger issues and  personality.  Remember how annoying Marcel was from past seasons?  Nick is worse.

tcsarita@aol.com
tcsarita@aol.com

Very disappointed  this season. Carrots four ways = no way. Not something I would eat.

battuta
battuta

I think it would be much fairer if they didn't eliminate chefs at the beginning of the season. The judges should score each dish, and the scores kept secret, even from other judges. Only the winner of a challenge might be revealed in case there is an advantage for the next challenge. At the end of 10 or 12 challenges, the totals scores are revealed and then the top 3 point scorers would challenge each other in the finals. 

This would mean that a single bad dish would not get a good chef eliminated and it would also mean that mediocre chefs who try to stay in the middle wouldn't make it to the finals. Chefs would have to cook good food consistently and not play it safe. Then it truly would be the Top Chef who wins.

Sarandy
Sarandy

In any competition people want to see the two best compete against each other.  Clearly Nina and Shirley dominated this season and should have been in the finale.  But unfortunately, and the he one thing I don't like about Top Chef, is  it takes a long break, giving a lesser chef time to go home and hone their skills. 

Ishutemdown
Ishutemdown

VERY surprised that Nick made it. He was on the bottom 4x's yet, the Chefs that proved themselves messed up 1 dish... and they sent them home!.....? A dish is not a dish if you can't taste the damn thing! Maybe they feel sorry for him... idk

alphonse
alphonse

All u people that hate Nick should realize it's about his food, not his personality. He is one of the three best chefs so deal with it. If he wins, it's because the judges liked his food the best. We do not taste any of the cheftestants food. So how can u critisize anything about who cooked better. It is up to the judges that are tasting the food to make a decision as a panel. That is the reason to watch Top Chef. Now Shirley may have won the most challenges on Top Chef but one mistake can take u out in the finals, and thats why she's out. Just like Nick in recent challenges, was in the bottom. Now he has momentum. He had immunity when he cooked the worse so he stayed. Any of the four in the finals could win. Shirley, Nina, Nick, and Louis are all very good chefs. And during the season, based on wins thats how I would rate them. In the finals you have to cook your best to stay. Which is why Nina and Nick are vying to become TOP Chef. May the one who cooks the best dish win.

jnarcus
jnarcus

Sorry I am not impressed with Nick. He is so full of himself. If he had been a real man and sent himself home when his dish tanked his team I might have a different view. IF he was all that great he would have gone on to win in last chef kitchen. He is a putz and skated by.



diana.hudson.140
diana.hudson.140

After this disappointing episode of where the last 2 chefs were picked, I will never watch this show again. These two were not the best 2 chefs of the season. What a disappointment.


Pualani
Pualani

Gail I hope you didn't mean what you wrote when you said you saw the hula girl and it was funny.  That would be rude and disrespectful which is obvious you are not.

motherhubbard
motherhubbard

My main issue with Nick is that he's a proponent of style over substance. Everything he makes involves throwing as many ingredients and techniques as he can muster into a single dish, but taste and appeal seem to take a back seat. His dishes scream, "Look what I can do!" rather than "I want to feed you delicious food."

beverlyhillslover
beverlyhillslover

To the producers of Top Chef, Tom Colicchio, Padma, it is really unfortunate all the flack and downright derision that Nick has had to put up with because of that horrible team challenge where he got immunity. There never should have been a team challenge that late in the game with only 6 chefs left and/or don't give immunity on that challenge. You had to think that maybe that scenario would play out. Unless, you thought that would make for a more interesting episode, but for Jacques Pepin and Tom to suggest that Nick fall on his sword was ludicrous and the backlash from the viewers that he got after that was unwarranted. It wasn't Nick's fault that he played by the rules. And anybody who said they would've given up immunity and gone home is lying. Why should he? It wasn't his fault that the producers came up with a ridiculous team challenge with only 6 people left and then gave someone immunity. Never mind the fact that Nick may have tried a more adventurous dish just because he knew he had immunity.

And if Stephanie felt so strongly about the "hair in the drain" corn silks (as Tom so disgustingly put it) then why didn't she speak up more adamantly. She said "ultimately it was Nick's dish" but it was still a team challenge and if it was me I would've spoken up. Never mind the fact that the French chef is the one who told him to do it.

I did feel bad when Stephanie went home, would've rather see Nina or Shirley, because she was fun to watch and seemed geniunely humble not like Shirley, but Nick did nothing wrong. And in the end if you don't want to be the one going home than don't have the weakest dish, which ultimately she did over Shirley and NIna.

Plus nobody mentions how the "French "team lost the challenge. I don't think they lost just because of Nick's chicken dish.

Plus Stepanie couldn't even make a decent beignet in Last chance kitchen. Sorry, Stephanie, I do really like you.

Georgi
Georgi

I am very disappointed to see Nick in the top 2, he should have been sent home several episodes ago.  The finale should have Shirley and Nina as they were the best two cooks in the whole show.  I am not sure if I can watch this show anymore as I am so unhappy with these results.

beverlyhillslover
beverlyhillslover

Shirley, in my opinion, just got too cocky and that's what got her in the end. It's one thing to have confidence in your skills and to have a high self-esteem, but quite another to be arrogant, and Shirley was arrogant. But whereas Nina is cocky too about her talent, she doesn't try to be a phoney with the "aw, shucks, did I win", crying after every challenge. Nina is just like I'm kicking ass and that's it. Shirley was on one hand trying to be humble and the other tearing people down in her personal interviews and constantly voicing that she was going to be in the finale with Nina. Shirley had gotten so annoying to listen to that I started muting her everytime she spoke.

Every week Shirley acted like she had just made her perfect dish, whereas Nick was always striving to be better, never thinking that the dish was perfect. I just think she got too complacent with her cooking.

I do feel bad for her to make it this far, winning all the challenges that she did and to have the judges basically kissing her a** all season and then to be sent home for "sweet pork" is a shame, but that's the game. The judges are not supposed to consider what someone did in previous challenges when making their decisions. And honestly, as much as they always raved about Shirley's dishes (obviously Emeril loved them) I think she didn't surprise them or even challenge herself to do anything different. I think that's why they've stuck by Nick all these weeks, because you never know what he's gonna cook.

janb55
janb55

Team Nina for Top Chef.

bravobrava
bravobrava

I, for one, was totally psyched when Nick and Nina made it to the finale!  Nina has been a favorite of mine since the beginning and I think Nick has proved himself over the course of the competition.  Despite the episode where so many blamed him for Stephanie going home, the continued compliments from the judges on the refinement of his dishes convinces me of his abilities.  I think his heart and passion come through.

I was a bit surprised that Shirley didn't make it, since the judges did often rave about her food, but, on the other hand, she also seemed to do mainly one thing particularly well -- seared fish in some kind of amazing broth.  Loved Louis -- can imagine it's hard to transition from the mode of LCK to suddenly preparing for a whole group of judges.

I have very often been disappointed with how the judges have called it, suspecting that they bowed to the producers or whatever, but I hate to admit that I actually think they got it right this time.  (Could be that they're just setting up a finale w/ a Heroine/Villain dynamic, though... haha. I still just don't trust 'em!)

Dee950
Dee950

I keep forgetting why I don't watch this show.  They always get rid of the overall better chef based on one meal.  I have to remember not to get involved from the beginning so that I won't care about it.

Babzilla60@
Babzilla60@

Louis is my favorite. He cooked through LCK and deserved to be there. I'm disappointed that he isn't in the finale. Shirley made great food too. Sad to see them go. Rooting for Nina. 

contos
contos

@ArtistElaine  "God forbid that it would be two women cooking off against each other".


You mean like last year?


"Anybody who does not know how to use an elementary item like salt shouldn't be there" Yeah, it's amazing they even let someone be on the show who doesn't know the first thing about cooking. I can't imagine how he managed to get away with convincing Guy Savoy to hire him, and how did he ever manage to fake his way into Lutece? And then there's that messy business of how he got away with convincing the judges that his dishes in the finale Part One were better than the dishes that the other three prepared. The only explanation must be that he bribed them since as you suggest, he doesn't even know the basics of cooking. 

Sherridan
Sherridan

I agree with you. Kristin was great but I thought Brook clearly won (from the couch anyway). It did seem like a mercy win.

titi550
titi550

@alphonse Right, it is not about personality, but it will help to be a humble person, and respectful of course...

Blink
Blink

@diana.hudson.140 What part of Nina winning all those challenges makes her not deserving of the final exactly?  Nina deserved her spot that can't be debated if we go by record of wins.

ElaineM
ElaineM

@diana.hudson.140  I agree with not watching anymore......  I used to love this show and now...... meh....   disappointed that Shirley was not in the final 2

Jeanine2
Jeanine2

@diana.hudson.140 I'm confused, how was Nina not one, if not the best and most consistent all season long? She was on top of the game  from the beginning. She EARNED the right to be there, I would have been disappointed if she out of any of the contestants hadn't made it.

Sherridan
Sherridan

He lacks the passion that alot of them have. I don't "feel" it from him. Most people cook for others. (Maybe he never got any positive feedback as a child).

Sherridan
Sherridan

I agree with you. Nick didn't make the rules. Though I do think he may have made that dish knowing Shirley or Stephanie would go home. And if that's his strategy that's OK because it is a game.

I just hope they look at immunities and team challeges differently in the future.

Sylvie_Featherfoot
Sylvie_Featherfoot

@beverlyhillslover Sorry, the French team lost because of Nick's TWO bad dishes.  Shirley and Stephanie's dish was their favorite dish of the night, Stephanie's solo dish was well received (she knows her mussels!).  Nick's two dishes, were both disliked enormously, and the judges flat out said the team was on the bottom because of him.  You can disbelieve them if you want to, I guess.

sandi.zuber.7
sandi.zuber.7

@beverlyhillslover IMO Richard Blais would have "fallen on his sword" and fought back strong in last chance kitchen. He was such a perfectionist, that I can't see him doing anything else. Nick had to know that going down the road this way that it would always be remembered. When a chef like Jacques Pepin tells you it's bad, then it's bad.

Pualani
Pualani

@beverlyhillsloverfrom what was shown, it was certain Nick was always going to cook something sub-par to the other chefs.  It was surprising that he won both contests in last night's episode as he did not seem to have that kind of talent leading up to the finale.

alphonse
alphonse

@Dee950 The trick is to make it to the finals, then cook the best dish. 

lkbrose
lkbrose

@contos @ArtistElaine  I have had the privilege of eating at Guy Savoy's restaurant in Paris -- a long, long time ago with my husband.  Most expensive lunch ever -- I think it was $500.  And it had to be before 2000.  So it was awhile ago.

The food was fantastic.  The service was not.  Of course, we didn't speak fluent French -- but we were not be rude Americans - either. i've been in other countries where people didn't even try to read or speak the menu and demanded butter when olive oil was available.  And I do know enough French that I can overhear -- when I am being insulted.
 
The amuse-buse (sp) course came out first with 6 components of bouseness (mouth bites).  Apparently, you had to eat them in a certain order.  Be barbarians (or at least that is what I think the waiter implied)  - we did not understand the food rules.  I have never had 6 amuses at once.  I study before hand, but unless I understood this as a common experience -- I would not have thought about an order for 6 tiny dishes presented on one plate.

The French are big on rules.  This must be something embedded -- I am of Cajun descent and I have tons of rules for myself.   Some of them are really unhealthy.  I will not allow myself to blink/breathe/eat until I get this xxx to compile /work. 

Anyway -- the food was delicious.  So many course and so much food.   The actual dining experience -- well not so much.

I had wonderful experiences in Catalonia and the Basque country - both that have a French & Spanish counterpart (well they want to be their own entity -- but that is another topic).

I do try and study before going anywhere on food and restaurants.  When I went to Catalonia -- I took a notebook and studied asked for the menus in French, Spanish, English and Catalonian.

The rude waiter experience at Guy's -- might explain Nick's behavior.  It was the way he was trained.