Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

Stages Of Sorrow

Make Melissa's Seared Duck Breast Dish

Gail on Innovation (and George's Failure to Push It)

Make Melissa's Mom's Egg Custard

Hugh Worries About Scurvy and Foie Gras

Make Mei's Inspired Duck a l'Orange

Gail Has No Problem With Blood

Make George's Cravable Breakfast Sausage

Gail Simmons Won't Be Pushed Around

Make Doug's Winning Mussels

Tom Colicchio Answers Your Restaurant Wars Qs

Gail: It Wasn't Keriann's Day

Make Doug's Winning Braised Pork!

Gail: We Had a Tough Job This Week

Make Katsuji's Authentically Delicious Stuffing

Hugh: The Demise of Cornwallis and Aaron

Make Gregory's Winning Dumplings

Richard: Chefs Please Follow Instructions

Richard Tries Money Ball Soup

Make a Home Run-Worthy Popcorn Crème Brule

Hugh: Where There's a Will There's a Fenway

Gail: Keriann and Aaron Were Being ---holes

Make the Winning Surf and Turf

Gail: We're Taking No Prisoners

Richard Goes From Player to Announcer

Tom Talks Boston

Gail: There Was No Season 11 Underdog

Hugh Wants Nick to Be Kind to Himself

Gail: It Was Difficult to Let Go of Shirley

Big Easy to Ocean Breezy

Gail: The Final Four Are Like Our Children

Emeril Is Proud to Serve Shirley's Dish

Hugh: Enough With the Mexican Food Hate

Gail on Favreau, Choi, and Finding Yourself

Hugh on Poor Boys, Swingers and Food Trucks

Emeril: Nick's Choice Is Part of the Game

Nick's License to Immune

Hugh's Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

Hugh Decides Eight Is Enough

Gail Talks OvenGate

Dookie Chase Makes Everybody Cry

Stages Of Sorrow

Executive Producer Shauna Minoprio gives you the insider scoop.

Ah, the stages of production sorrow .... It's painful for me personally to watch this episode because ultimately I am the person responsible for ensuring that the competition rules are followed. In a competition where there is this much at stake, it's a role that you have to take extremely seriously. It's part of the deal we are making ... they take unpaid time-out from work and risk public humiliation and we give them a competition that is fair for a series of incredible prizes. So this show was definitely a low-point for me as the producer. When accusations of cheating suddenly surfaced out of the blue this is my thought process:

Denial Holy crap, did Sam just accuse everyone of cheating? He can't do that, not now, it's far too late to prove anything. He's only saying that now 'cause he's on the chopping block. He's grasping at straws to try and stay in the competition and we should just ignore it.

Anger Oh, for god's sake! How is it possible that all the other contestants understood the rules, and Betty did not??? Her lack of ability to grasp the information that we conscientiously gave them all repeatedly is completely infuriating.

Bargaining Actually -- there was no bargaining. Except perhaps the deal with the cast ... you tell us if you think someone is cheating at the time it's happening, and we will do something about it. Deal?

Depression I remember driving home after the judges table shoot at 4am after a long, long shoot was a low, low point. Tom was right, I believe Betty's mistake was an honest one and it's depressing that despite my best efforts at communicating the rules to the cast, it seems we had not communicated them clearly enough for Betty.

Acceptance I believe we dealt with the situation as fairly and honestly as we could. No one was hurt, let's move on. That's all I have time to write about this, my apologies, am running to get the plane home from Hawaii. Of course I can't tell you anything about how the finale went because the NBC/General Electric legal shock troops would hunt me down (and rightly so). I can just say that the shoot was incredible and I am dying to get back and see the shows come together in the edit -- am as giddy as a schoolgirl. If you're still here reading this I just want to say one more thing ... I always wonder if anyone reads these blogs, but if you are out there, still reading, thanks for hanging in to the end!