Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain speculates that Top Chef fans are probably quite satisfied with this week's outcome.

on Jan 12, 20110

I'm sure that this was a pretty deeply satisfying episode for the Jamie haters, all those viewers for whom every week that went by without their nemesis getting unhooked and thrown back over the side was agony -- evidence of everything they suspected wrong with the world and with the show. Conspiracy!! Evil producers! Master Plan! No. Jamie simply managed to not suck more than anyone else for a few weeks more than appeared... seemly… or just. Keeping your head down and avoiding a spectacular failure may not be a winning strategy. But it can work for a while. It works in the military. It works in politics. It works in kitchens. In the end, of course, as in any true meritocracy, you are usually found out. Unlike many institutions, there is, on Top Chef, actually a price to be paid. Eventually. Just like the restaurant business. This was the week when Jamie was finally returned to the briny deep from whence she came, to rejoin, perhaps, her beloved scallops. Given her under-performance (some might say non-performance) this season, many, I suspect, had they been in charge of the good ship Top Chef, would have found being tossed overboard like bloody chum insufficient punishment for all the vacant stares, hiding under tables and eye rolling utterances of "whatever." But keel-hauling is prohibited on basic cable. Believe me, I've inquired. Best one can say about Jamie is that she lived up to her role as this year's "designated villain" magnificently -- and without raising much of a sweat. But… now that the Sea Sloth is gone, who… who shall take her place? Who will rise to grab the Crown of Douchedom from the vacant throne?

Marcel seems to be doing his best to live up to her standards. Apparently, all you have to do is feed Marcel a little alcohol and he starts thinking he's an OG, flashing a dizzying array of half-assed hand gestures and gettin' all gangsta and shit. And  right up in your face, too! It's really an amazement that Marcel has made it this far through life without getting a proverbial pencil in his neck. On the prison tier of existence, he seems designed to be a victim. May you live long and prosper, Marcel. You make good television. Especially your menacing exhortation to your cellies that should they not live up to your high standards, they should just "Get the f--k out tha game!" I tell you, that gave me chills. Reminded me the time Suge Knight held me upside down off the hotel balcony and asked for half my publishing.

What else did we learn this week?

Well… we saw Richard Blais take one for the team as he loyally described the cheftestants getting in the cars to Montauk  as jumping into their "Toyota Siennas." Sounded natural, too. Personally, anytime I invite friends down the shore, I always mention the name of the car. Like… "So. What say you and us jump in the El Camino and head down to Seaside?"

91 comments
Peanlillisulk
Peanlillisulk

You are so inspirational and you talk sense. That??в„ўs important. You??в„ўre intelligent and you have a lot of heart. I love your posts! Thank you! =-=

SweetLoretta
SweetLoretta

I know this happened weeks ago so I'm probably beating a dead horse, but Marcel on the balcony with Trey (who I adore) and Dale (who has come a long way since his season)... Really White Boy? Don't get me wrong, there are countless times that a camera on me would have been bad news, but national television? Ouch. That's enough to make a gal wanna sober up. On the other hand, it makes for great tv. He was just fun to watch! Jesus. The foam. He managed to turn something as innocuous as foam into pretentious giz. ---Whew, I've been holding that in for weeks. Having finally said all that, I wish Marcel all the luck in the world. Night y'all!

paradoxguy
paradoxguy

I always enjoy your commentary, whether here or on one of your shows (A Cook's Tour, No Reservations). You commented that it's a wonder Marcel has not gotten a pencil in his neck. Although not as life-threatening, Marcel was attacked in 2008 by a Top Chef viewer at a night club after he confirmed his identity to the viewer/attacker, who struck Marcel's head with a bottle and fled. Although I don't condone violence and assaults on people, I could not help thinking karma had occurred when Marcel was attacked.

Warwick Lady
Warwick Lady

OMG, this is the all time BEST blog. Toni your wit and humor is just so refreshing to read on this page. The usual here is fluff!! You've hit every note and in this episode and in everything you report. Bravo take note Toni is a God among men when it comes to Top Chef. All praise Toni!!!

eagcil
eagcil

The problem with saying that Jamie survived as long as she did because she simply failed to be the worst in previous episodes is that it doesn't describe what happened in episodes two and four. That is why her continued participation felt "unseemly"--because it was. Other contestants have performed poorly and survived for a long time, most famously Lisa Fernandez, but their situations never seemed to rise above really annoying.

MiniMax
MiniMax

Blais and humble do not belong in the same sentence. Don't be fooled by the gentle edit he's getting this year.

Reaper G
Reaper G

Nice call on Richard's choice of words. You can make a great drinking game with the product placement on the show.

Omar
Omar

Wolverine "actin' all gangsta up in here" was hilarious. Only thing funnier was reading Tony's comments on it.

Jamie is off to her new job at the post office to put her people skills and unquenchable thirst for excellence to good use.

The fishing was fantastic that day - what beautiful fish - especially Dale's catch of a lifetime. Fishing then shopping at the Farmer's Market - couldn't get a more real test of a chef's skill.

I guess Blaise/Marcel/Fabio's stragegy of just making one dish because it would be hard for the judges to figure out who to send home worked. Too bad Antonia didn't get to go to Amsterdam - with TONY!

Shelligyrl
Shelligyrl

I absolutely love this blog. Really well written humourous and seemingly spot on as it relates to how the food tasted.

I wasn't a Jamie hater but she seemed pretty talentless and it was gratifying to see her not able to hide away instead of actually participating and be judged as the others were, based on thier food.

Marcel completely puts me off, I would never hire him or work for unless I was absolutely desperate.

I am so enjoying your input on this show Mr. Bourdain! My husband and I enjoy your show on the travel channel. Again, what a great spot on blog entry.

Sophia K
Sophia K

A couple entries ago, when S2 Dale was still there, Anthony referred to Talde as "No longer angry Dale." I like this Dale so much better. In S4, you could see glimpses of really strong cooking technique, but it was so hard to root for a raging jackass. Not only does he seem to be an excellent chef, he's got a fantastic sense of humor. Angelo as a "Siren of the Sea" was classic.

I'm also a big fan of the unforeseen Fabio-Blais bromance. Fabio is just so damn charming, and Richard is probably one of the most talented and humble chefs of all the seasons. Fablais FTW!!!

karenology
karenology

If I were the proud owner of such a fine vehicle, I would name-drop the glorious El Camino as much as possible!

vtboy
vtboy

Chef Bourdain, Right on the mark as usual. Marcel is getting back to his obnoxious self again. I thought and hoped he had actually matured, but alas no. Dale has impressed alot this season. He seems to be a happier person, not so negative and really trying not tie Marcel into a pretzel. Thank god, Jamie is out, though sorry to see Antonia had to go. Your humorous and stinging insights are so apt. Look forward to more from you.

BIGTOMFAN30
BIGTOMFAN30

You're awesome Tony...I look SOOOO forward to your blog!! I can't wait to hear your wit and humor-incredible!! Keep it coming!!!

LOL10
LOL10

She said on one of the episodes that in high school she mostly smoked a lot of pot. It was right before one of the Elimination challenges, though I forget which. Then pot is legal in Amsterdam. And there you go xD.

SB Roso
SB Roso

I laughed so hard when I read this! Hilarious, but true. Love it! Look forward to your blogs every week! =)

Sheila G
Sheila G

I thought Marcel was a total punk for saying anything to Carla, too. You did not cook a good dish and more foam? You seriously aren't over the foam yet? Foam looks like SPIT. Stop it!

Feednotfatten
Feednotfatten

In another episode, Antonio said that all she did in high school was smoke pot.

mojitobaby
mojitobaby

Antonia admitted a few episodes back that all she did in high school was smoke pot. Since Amsterdam is a pothead's delight with access to all its forms, that's the joke. Since Carla already won a trip to Italy that included a tour of a vineyard, and she doesn't drink, it seems all the "vice" trips are going to the wrong person! I love her - hope she wins!

M3
M3

It's ironic that you post using the name junkie & don't get the connection between Amsterdam & Antonia's stated preferred high school sport.

Nikki98
Nikki98

You gave Marcel the wrong nickname. You know for sure the real Snoop, ting though she may be, could whup Marcel's butt without even breaking a sweat and then have him make her a lake trout sandwich, hold the foam, of course.

Viewer from PA
Viewer from PA

Mr. Bourdain you rock! I missed this week's episode but tuned in to You Tube and was glad that I did not have to wait until Sunday for re-runs. Sad to see Tiffany go, it should have been Marcel. Anywaysssss, the competition is getting much more interesting. Congratulations to Carla, I hope she wins! She deserves it!

Omar
Omar

Antonia said in an earlier episode that she spent high school smoking pot - hence her suitability for Amsterdam, where drugs are legal.

The prize should have been a week in Amsterdam WITH TONY!

hollabrow
hollabrow

She said a few episodes back that the only activity she did in high school was smoking weed.

annah H
annah H

LOL!! I think u owe me a computer Mr. Bourdaine!! I spit out my drink reading this blog laughing!! Too funny!!

annah
annah

Remember in the tennis challenge she stated that she did not play sports...that all she did was get stoned in high school!

sbs401
sbs401

Sapphire or Fiji? Granted Marcel's antics made it seem like he was probably guzzling sapphire, but i also noticed FIJI bottles all over the place.

junkie: Antonia had mentiond she spent too much time in high school smoking weed, hence the weed-legal Amsterdam reference

FanFare57
FanFare57

Wonderfully, funny yet insightful blog. Is it my imagination that Marcel has become less mature as time has gone by? He's positively juvenile now. In addition, he can't cook either! I'm glad Jamie (a legend in her own mind) has finally been tossed back into the sea. However, Tiffani's dismissal is a disappointment. I always liked her cooking skills and mental toughness throughout every competition she's entered. I knew it would be the girls to go. Marcel figured correctly that with 3 on his team claiming pride on their ill-fated dish, blame could not be assigned to only 2.

Food Harvester
Food Harvester

WOW!! You are hillarious! Never have read blogs here before, but enjoyed the fishin show so much I decided to check it out. Chef you capture pretty much all i thought (and more) as I've watched these contestants over the seasons including this one. Gotta say, i appreciate your humor, and if you actually have an El Camino, I'm jealous if it's an early model. I know a former CA chef relatively well (friend of the family) who used to be in Marcel's circle. She stated he is not what he appears on the show as this mouthy little wannabe gangsta, but this episode showed she's wrong as ya just can't edit that. I kinda bet that needle neck would pee a bit if he was actually in the company of who he wants to portray. Oh wait I think he did wet his panties when he got bullied on his season with the head shave attempt. Kinda wish they'd have succeeded in shaving his "Wolverine Do" seeing as there were repercussions for the mere attempt. Pullin for Carla, Dale and Tre on this one, because they seem like regular people who care about what they cook and how it will be received in general.

j_libertine
j_libertine

I was also surprised no one became seasick! I've worked on fishing and dive boats and it's very rare to have a group that size without anyone curling up in the corner and giving up on life until their feet touch land again. While I was watching the show, I thought to myself that they must have offered some scopolamine off-camera. Then again, a seasick cheftestant struggling to catch a fish, green-faced and yakking might have made for good drama. Luckily this episode was exciting enough on its own, without any puke-fest footage.

I love your blog, Mr. Bourdain. Always a great read filled with hilarity and wit, this week especially.

Czar Nicholas
Czar Nicholas

I loved his reaction when Tom suggested that foam was, perhaps, uncalled for. "What? Wh- Why WOULDN'T there be foam?" I wonder if Marcel made foams out of government cheese when he was growing up in the ghetto.

Jamie strikes me as a generally unhappy person with some self-esteem issues. She tries to fake it 'til she makes it but alas, all that snarkiness and pomp can't hide the fact that she just doesn't believe in her own ability to cook. Too bad, I seem to recall she was pretty impressive on her first season, all scallops aside.

Hey Tony I buy one of your books every Christmas for my ma, gonna need you to crank another one out in a little less than a year. Also can you set me up with Padma? I live in my parents basement and am a full time grad student with a steady income of nothing, but I think I can win her over. Thanks in advance.

MaggieB
MaggieB

I was impressed that Marcel seemed to have matured during the first few episodes, but douchebaggery will out. As the saying goes, beauty is skin deep, but ugly goes to the bone. A pissing match between Dale and Marcel (i.e. TweedleDee and TweedleDrunk) is barely worth watching, but what really soured me was watching Marcel suck the joy out of Carla's win by scolding her for being happy about it. She wasn't gloating or being ungracious, and she earned it. She's never been ugly to a single soul on that show, ever, and he was behaving like a pouty toddler. For shame.

That said, thanks for making me laugh so hard that I woke the cat. In the next room. Looking forward to next week, Tony!

littlemichelley
littlemichelley

Your blog is excellent as always Mr. Bourdain :) also thank you for reminding me about Antonia being the "black hammer" I can't believe I forgot.

Sweetstewie
Sweetstewie

Tony you are a Stud!

Hopefully your comment about Marcel will stop him from thinking he is a gangsta. Stop it Marcel!

Then.dont.watch
Then.dont.watch

Virgil H,

If you have so many complaints about the show, then please do us all a favor (and yourself, apparently), and don't tune in, don't comment online. Capice?. Good!

Viewer17
Viewer17

You are the idiot. Bourdain rocks!!!

KO
KO

Anthony;s bogs are so much fun to read. So funny, sharp, precise with wit galore. I truly look forward to reading them the most. I would so love to travel and dine with him. Fun, fun, fun...

Top chef
Top chef

I love you Tony this Blog was sooo Funny and True...Marcel is killin me with the down in the Hood talk and I want to drown him with FOAM or at least shave his head myself....Thanks for makin me laugh!!!

junkie
junkie

Um, can someone enlighten me about a connection I obviously missed, about Antonia and Amsterdam? Sorry about my ignorance.

Also I agree with a poster a few people back who said Carla will bury them all. I too love her and think, for all some of the others' bluster, she is the one to watch.

Mack741
Mack741

I have three words for Tony in response to his chastisement of Blais for being a shill for Toyota: "Chase Sapphire Card."

I still believe your finest moment was eating the assh**e out of that warthog, brother.

Top chef
Top chef

I Love Tony...I want to drown Marcel with FOAM what a dork esp when he tries to talk when he is from the HOOD. They really should shave his head this summer.

Mark G
Mark G

Great riff! Before or after a spliff?

smk4
smk4

"So. What say you and us jump in the El Camino and head down to Seaside?"

Tony, for shame - if you're going down the shore, you always take a Bitchin' Camero.

NYCook
NYCook

Marcel is a fool, have him come down to the Lower and we'll show him whats up. Tony don't forget someone all ready cracked a bottle over this dudes head in Vegas. I like watching him cook though he has skills. Also how are you gonna have a fish challenge on LI and not have my man Dave Pasternack of ESCA as host. Obviously Tony you know Dave, he would have been perfect. Follow me on twitter @NYCook

barb whyer
barb whyer

Could you try to gather up some energy and act like you want to be there ? I have watched you for awhile, you are so jaded.

BJ Breaux
BJ Breaux

I love it, right on the mark Tony. Really, the way you worked Suge into it was beautiful. Currently livin' in the hood in South Central, I wanted to pop Marcel. Not in the Gangsta sense, but in the back hand across the back of his head sense. But Dale punked him by not recognizin'. Bottomline Dale won and all the whining by Wolverine ain't going to change that. I, too, was saying finally on Jamie. Tiffani, whatever, she wasn't going to win.

You know they caught me hook, line and sinker when they said you were going to be on the show. I want more of you, that's all I'm saying.

SFhails
SFhails

Aside from the fact that I am disappointed in how Jamie represented San Francisco so incredibly bad, I am finally secure in my opinion that Marcel is a self righteous douchebag. Who drinks gin straight from the bottle?! He needs to grow a pair and at least be chugging whiskey next time. Does he even cook outside of Top Chef anymore? Ugh.

This is the first blog post I've read and it really makes me miss the feeling I got the first time I read Kitchen Confidential years ago. It would probably be inappropriate to say, "I'm lovin' it."

JimmyFanboy
JimmyFanboy

This blog entry is an instant classic. I'd pay to see Marcel roll up to your front door with his Bombay in his right, a nerf gun in his left, and lay down some serious gangsta smack on how you need to get out tha f-ckin game for disrespecting. "So. What say you and us jump in the El Camino and head down to Seaside?"