Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

They're Not Listening

Harold Dieterle can't taste the food, but that doesn't stop him from having an opinion.

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I think there's been a problem with listening. First off, I started getting the shakes when they turned that corner. Vending machines. It was like a bad dejàvu moment of the quickfire that we had to endure on Season 1 -- shopping only at that convenience store. I can't take it. The good people at Top Chef -- they need to just stop doing that. That said, I thought a couple of the contestants did a really nice job. But some of these guys did sweet items. And that's not at all what an amuse bouche is supposed to be. Suzanne is awesome. She's a spectacular chef, and a great person, and I'm glad she called them out on it.

Carlos' loaf didn't do it for me, but of course, I can't taste the food -- so I can't make that much of an argument. I thought Ilan's amuse bouche showed real thought process. There seemed to really be a lot of texture and flavor and thought that went into it. And to me, that's the impressive part of these challenges. Mikey and that cheeto, snickers, whatever he was doing ... the guy is a riot, and he cracks me up. At the premiere party, I had the privilege of watching Mikey interact with Miguel. They're birds of a feather. Mikey walks around with his wife's panties, and Miguel kept showing his tighty whiteys. Collectively, they have a bit of an underwear fetish, no?

I thought Frankie's choice of making pizza for children was probably one of the smartest things I've seen created on either season. It was a dead ringer. Regardless of whatever else anyone made, pizza was going to win. I didn't get the vegetable lasagna. Because it wasn't really lasagna. It was more of a terine. And you've got these kids. Whose nutrition has been literally all they've been able to think about for however long they've been there. Don't call it lasagna if it's not. If you're going to tell these kids that you've made them lasagna, then there had better be cheese and pasta and all sorts of gooey, yummy lasagna on that plate. The same goes for Cliff and Carlos and Sam. You can't go to kids who are desperate for something unlike the strict diets they've been on and say "I've made you some ... vegetables!" Those kids wanted a treat. And telling them that it was healthy wasn't going to get them to order it. This is what they're eating on a regular basis, that's why they are there. It didn't seem terribly smart.

I don't really know who the losing team was. Carlos has immunity, so he's clear, but it didn't seem like that team (including Sam and Cliff) was having a good day. Based on a lot of the comments the food wasn't received well at all. The meatballs were tough, the smoothie sour. It's confusing because Sam and Cliff are two of the strongest contestants. I think they will both really be going somewhere. And to make such huge mistakes seemed careless. As for the allegations of cheating -- look, there are at least four camera crews in that kitchen during the making of those dishes. And there was no video footage of anything. So you know, if you're going to say sabotage or cheating, there is ample opportunity for a camera to pick it up. And at no point did I see any kind of evidence that there were any extra oils used. That being said, Betty's cookies were totally different one day to the next. She admitted it, she came forward, and I have to respect that.

If I was a judge, someone would have gone home. I didn't taste the food, but despite olive oil, or extra sugar, or whatever -- there were teams that made food that those kids weren't interested in eating. The job wasn't done. And either way, I'm not so sure that Betty's cookies were going to make or break that team. She didn't understand the challenge and that just goes back to what I've been saying from the beginning. Nobody seems to be listening. On a personal note, there is this great moment at the end of the episode when Cliff is drinking Pepto straight from the bottle. My first cooking job, I worked for a total lunatic. I spent the entire summer living on antacids. It's the pink color -- takes me back.

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