Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

The Magnificent Seven

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

Fin, Found, Floundering

What Danny Meyer Taught Gail Simmons

'Top Chef' Goes to Hog Heaven

Gris Gris Boucherie Ya Ya

Brian and Travis' Dud Spuds

The Magnificent Seven

Executive Producer Shauna Minoprio gives you the insider scoop.

I want Debi Mazar to be my new BF. This is the kind of dinner party I've always wanted to go to -- sometimes I get to live my fantasies vicariously through the show. I've always wanted to meet Debi, too. You just kinda know she's going to be cool -- and she sure is. So, for that matter, are her super-groovy friends.

From a production point of view this was a pretty simple one -- at last! Once we had the idea of the seven deadly sins and had convinced Debi (over a couple of glasses of chilled prosecco and some cherries -- she really is a fantastic hostess) to come on board, it was pretty plain sailing. During the dinner the production team was mostly based outside the house. It was another steamingly hot day in LA so everyone desperately wanted to go swimming but of course we couldn't 'cause we were on duty. That didn't stop the chefs who all made a bee-line for the pool the moment the dinner party was over -- followed in hot pursuit by several sound recordists trying to take their microphones off before they hit the water. Marcel dove in to the shallow end and cut his head open. Tom and I both inspected the wound and announced that he would definitely need stitches. The medic took one look and pronounced that he would be fine without, so we headed back to the kitchen for judges table and the show went on.


We didn't put any of this diving drama into the show because, well, frankly, just didn't see the point. Of course one of my hopes with this "Sevent Deadly Sins" Challenge was that the chefs might reveal something of themselves in the way they approached their sin. I'm not sure that really happened, although it was ironic about Sam's angry outburst -- makes we wonder if thinking about anger can actually make you angry. In retrospect, though, I do think there were a couple of other sins that came into play....

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Marcel -- the sin of being annoying. Is that a sin? Kinda. It's not acceptable to say you don't care what other people think of you. Man is a social animal and it's really hard to be successful in life if you make no effort to understand your effect on your fellow man. Betty -- the sin of overreaction. Let's face it -- if anyone else had asked her to "hold" in the same tone of voice, she would have been fine with it.
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Ilan -- the sin of uncontrollable hatred. Only someone who feels utterly threatened could unleash such vitriol. I went to an English boarding school where I learned that in these kinds of claustrophobic competitive environments, there is always a victim-du-jour -- the current object of the group's aggression. The people in the group who are the most hateful and aggressive towards the current "victim" are usually those who are the most insecure about their own standing. Often recent ex-victims themselves or worried they could be next in line. OK, so now I'm committing the sin of sounding-off like a judgmental windbag. But at least if I end this blog here, I'll have displayed the virtue of brevity. So I will.