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This issue was avoided it turned out. Everybody cooked well. Really well. And smart. Nobody choked. Everybody seemed to have understood the challenge -- and what guest judge Dan Barber was likely to respond to.
Richard did braised short ribs with fried bone marrow and sea beans that looked genius and sounded delicious.
Tiffany did braised short ribs with fried grits and okra, neatly avoiding a potential okra problem with Colicchio -- who generally hates the stuff.
Carla did braised pork shoulder with fried grits and cheese biscuits.
Mike did gnocchi with braised pork and burata.
But Antonia won the day with a riff on Osso Bucco -- with what sure looked like a perfect risotto garnished with fava beans and inflected with lemon zest. Viewers take note by the way: that is what risotto should look like. And it must have been delicious as hell because it beat out what appeared to be another brilliant performance by Richard.
Speaking of Richard, that was just cruel , calling his name as if for elimination.... "Richard... pack your knives and... (long pause) ...get your ass to the motherf---in' Bahamas!" Gloomy bastard is notorious for walking around with a grey cloud over his head every challenge, seemingly convinced that this is the day the axe is going to fall. Would have served the judges right had he blown chunks over Judges' Table. It was like a fake execution. And I believe that's a contravention of the Geneva Convention.
Carla had a look on her face like the thought it was her time. But you could tell from Tom's face-long before it was revealed that no one would be going home in tears this day -- that all five were going to the finals. He's a big softy after all.
How nice to know I'm not the only one who had a vision of Blais getting revenge on the judges in that fashion! Great minds definitely think alike. As do twisted ones.....
Anthony - your blogs are probably the only reason why I come back to this website. Your vocabulary palette is awesome!
I also agree that it was cruel what they did to Richard. Usually you can tell who is going home from the comments of the judge, so I thought he was going home for sure. I can't tell you how surprised and thrilled I was that he is going to the finals! I've been a Richard fan since I first saw him in season four, so I'll be rooting for him till the end! Go Richard!
Glad I am not the only one who thought poor Richard looked like he was about to barf. Either when he thought he was going or when he knew he was safe.
As always Bourdain hits right to the heart and with verve. All the chefs seemed to really find their comfort zone with a great challenge.
Bourdain hits another homerun with the wit and sarcasm. It was great to see the chefs excell with a great challenge involving family. Not sure about five to the final but despite others criticism I still enjoy the show. Good luck all.
Brilliantly written, as always, Tony manages to elevate that crappy quickfire to comedic gold. Thanks for not looking down your long nose at the touches of syrupy, emotionally charged cooking that brought tears to many eyes in the brilliant elimination challenge. It was fun to see that they felt the way we felt, and let everyone go through.
Tom Colicchio, you rock. Period.
Great blog and terrific insight and perspective on what the remaining cheftestants experienced. I was thrilled when you and the judges voted the entire group on to the Bahamas.
And now I am going to dig out my G'ma's receipe for ...(insert the name of a ton of receipes here)...
All the best and cheers. Lisa
Richard's "elimination" was downright cruel. The look at that guy's face. I was pretty sure he was about to have a breakdown.
You were sorely missed -- Judges' Table, extended blog entry; and in general -- last week. At risk of delving into ancient history (for reality tv, that's anything beyond a week), I would have enjoyed seeing Dale tackle this week's challenge for a number of reasons not the least among them being he, like myself, is a 1.5 generation American. The subtext of having the product of immigrants from this century pitted against multi-generationals would have been cool to witness. Emotional as all get, Dale, I believe, would have killed the challenge.
I loved all the adorable contestants in this challenge! Between the disco outfit and competing against Voltaggio next week, Mike very well may be eating a slice of humble pie. I am glad to see all of them succeed with a challenge that was so close to their hearts. Good call judges.
Over the years that I have seen you both on Bravo and other places you have grown on me - I used to hate you but now I really respect your work and your writing is amazing Ok enough sucking up - I couldn't agree with you more about how lousy Richard was treated tonight. Uncalled for, rude and somewhat insightful. They seem to beat up on him all the time - even with his wife there Tom made a comment I can't remember exactly what he said but it was like Ok Richard turned in his usual outstanding dish his wife shot a look at Tom and he then started trying to save his comment. I think that Freudian was telling
I love every one of your blogs (and books!) Thanks for making me laugh out loud this morning. Bourdain, you are brilliant and funny!
Yes, I agree that it was cruel to play that hoax on Richard, but very funny still. On another note, the preview looks fantastic for next week's challenge between their respective season's winners and the top chefs. I'm curious as to how are Antonia and Richard going to compete against their season's winner.
Love your blogs. But seriously, why is Tiffany still there ? She's won...nothing. It's almost like you guys really really want a girl to win, so you're stacking the deck. She overcooks fish...consistently...yet, she's a chef that routinely works with fish!!!!!!! Team Richard!
I'm glad we all agree that toying with Richard is cruel, because the professor is liable to have an aneurysm at any given time. What I also thought was hilarious was his wife's ninja death stare when she thought Tom's comment was the food was "alright." They're an adorable and neurotic couple, and I can't wait for the sitcom when Fabio moves in, a la Joey from Full House. Or Joey from Friends, now that I think about it...
Anyway, yes. Very little to say about the judging this episode. So waiting on the Ode to Dale.
Tony, you have amazing ways with words. I really love reading your blog! Dale became my favorite and I was crushed when he was let go last week. Like someone who mentioned it earlier here, I too wish you would write an ode to Dale like you would for others. I was left unsatisfied when I didn't see your regular blog last week after such an emotional episode. Anyways, thanks for writing so eloquently. I can't wait for next week's finale!
I think you mean Carla and Richard, as they were on the same season.... maybe Stephanie is just cooking once and both Carla and Richard go against her one dish???or they'll bring someone else in maybe??? Harold, Ilan or Hung??? seeing as there's nobody left from their seasons???
Love the comments Tony. I find it ironic though that last week we had the "fiasco" of the stolen recipe by Michael and this week Tom said, as has been said by many other judges in the past, he was going to steal Richards' idea of the sea beans with the ribs. Guess it's ok for established chefs.
Carla and Richard - not on the same season. The fish guy from Boulder won Carla's season and Stephanie won Richard's season - remember?
"the veritable taint of eateries" You sir, have an incredible way with words!
Mike seems to have managed to reclaim his membership card in the human race after behaving like a creature from the ninth circle of heck last week. A good pot of Sicilian gravy can cure just about anything I guess.
The linage thing came as a bit of a shock to me too- some of Antonia's distant relatives from Palermo share the same last name as mine... although that side of the family (my father's) is from Naples.
I think it's quite karmic that Richard's ancestors include a chemist and a meat-market owner. Funny how things like that seem to work out. I wouldn't be surprised to find punk rockers and pirates in the Bourdain family tree...
Sorry, Kerri, but you have your seasons mixed. The controversial champion of Carla's season was Hosea; their fellow finalists were Fabio and Stefan. Richard's fellow finalists were Lisa, Antonia and eventual winner Stephanie.
You are soooo very funny! When you asked here who could talk smack about a dish in front of a chef's mother? I believe you could, sir. However, you would do it with rank sarcasm and hope not to offend. See ya next week.
Starless, the difference on "stealing" the recipe is that Tom SAID he was going to do it. Mike never said it was Richard's dish. Chefs don't mind that you use their stuff, they just appreciate a mention.
Now, producers, take note: you treated your cheftestants like human beings this episode. You gave them a boost with seeing their families...and the food was so good that you couldn't send anyone home! Now, if the show is really all about the food, please learn a lesson from this. When people are fatigued and stressed to the max, they don't work their best. Result: crappy food. Maybe some locker room drama which might "make good television," but me? I watch for the food, first. And the doofus challenges like, "make food from a vending machine at four in the morning after you just busted out a wedding for 500 people in the previous challenge" just annoy the hell out of me. The competition itself creates all the drama you need, not to mention that chefs are rarely quiet bookish people. Tony, missed you at dinner, every family needs a black sheep in the mix! Thanks for your blog as always and hope to see you next week.
Ok, what is wrong with some people? There is a big difference between using someones' idea of a recipe without asking,hey, I like that, mind if I run with it, and being served the dish and enjoying it enough to try pairing the ingredients and if you recall, most of the judges have said that about several dishes. Big Difference. Mike took without asking, right down to the presentation.
I definitely saw the potential for this to turn out in a very Jerry Springer-esque fashion. It was refreshing to see that Bravo, the judges, and of course the chefs & family members never even looked down that path and took the high road. It was all quite dignified and really let the viewer focus on the food.
WAY TO GO ANTONIA... I'M PULLING FOR YA!
Isabella's a Mama's Boy! Now I know his real issues and why he's such a jerk sometimes. It was a nicer, gentler Mike but I still can't stand him. I'm glad that all of the Chefs have another shot. I'm rooting for Carla.
you are not only a great chef but you are a man who doesn't mince words. i am completely blown away by the lack of presentation of the current chefs dishes. (except of course, richard) i have owned two restaurants and i would not serve most of the dishes for fear of them being returned because they were eaten by someone previously. keep up your honest comments as they are a bright note in this somewhat dismal season.
Brilliant as always, thanks for the rundown of a great episode. I can just hear your voice in every word you have such a distinctive style. Love it!
Unlike Bravo vice president Andy Cohen, Anthony's quips are genuinely funny and based on knowledge and he doesn't need to try to make his critical rep by beating up on 10-year-old school kids singing "Over the Rainbow" at the Oscars. He does it the way it should be done.
Tony - we need your commentary about Dale's elimination. Dale deserves a proper goodbye from you. And your fans are desperate for a proper ode to Dale - he is missed. Cheers, A
Tony, you really do your best work when you focus critique on the food and the challenge, and lay off Padma's wardrobe choices. Excellent blog, but I disagree about Richard's treatment at judge's table. He appears to be an accomplished chef and a natural leader, but he might benefit from a little therapy. Take a page from Dale T's story and learn to lighten up a little. Taking your work seriously is great - up to a point. He's angry and dour when what he considers to be lesser dishes are recognized above his own, pouts like Jamie when he doesn't win, and plays the role of drama queen to a tee. Glad he has formed a friendship with the ever optimistic Fabio. Learn to take the longer view, Richard, and have a happier life.
NO, Carla was on Season 5, NY, originally. Antonia was eliminated in Puerto Rico, just before the finale on season 4. Richard was in the top 3, as was Lisa, but Stephanie won.
Yes!...Team Blais. He helps the other chefs, even if it is a competition. He is pouty when he doesn´t win, even borderline depressed. I think he just feels he deserves to win this, but not in a smug, selfserving way...REALLY. Of course he sometimes says some bad things about the other chefs FOOD, but who doesn´t in this competition? And the producers try and try and TRY to find some "realitydrama" involving Blais, but they can´t....They can edit all they want, it´s not gonna happen. Classy guy overall, great chef
Visit me when you come to Sweden next time Tony...I lööve you
Padma should be this season's winner -- for all of the weird crap that she is forced to eat and then still smile.
I believe Tiffani was on Season 6 with Angelo, she was going to get married and she won all those challenges with the trips and money.
Tiffani and Angelo are the two chefs from Season 6. It was before Tiffani's wedding and she won two trips so she was able to have a honeymoon and then she won a monetary challenge it would help pay for her wedding.
Tony you are nutz! And I love it!! You expressed everything that me and my friends discussed after the last episode! You are a joy to read!!
"Oh, my God, they water boarded him!!" My outburst woke up my children in the cold, dark DVR hour. If I almost burst into tears, I'm sure it's not an overstatement that Richard the Not-So-Lion-Hearted was probably one convulsion from bursting into barf. Brutal. Who enforces the Geneva Convention anyway? Something tells it's not Andy Cohen.
Holy editing Batman! I just watched the replay of this show on Bravo right before The Bahamas episode, and they totally re-edited the "Richard, please pack your knives and go...." comment from Padma. It now stands as, "Richard...(long pause...you're going to the Bahamas"! Smash cut to a cheerful Richard all smiles and happy. I still have the original broadcast version on DVR, and checked to see if I was true. Guess it makes Padma seem less cruel in this re-broadcast.
Tony, as always a great blog.
This was a great challenge, but a bit unfair. Italian cooking has such a rich, deep history and is familiar/comforting to most people. Where as, Southern food isn't something most people have experience eating while growing up so there is no taste memory. And everyone knows that English/Irish food isn't all that appetizing. So I think Richard scaled a higher mountain by producing such an outstanding dish. So without tasting the food, I think that Richard should have gotten the win.
Mr. Bourdain: When it was announced that would be sitting on the judge's panel this season, it was such exciting news! Disappointed that it wasn't a full-time gig. Love your work and your words.
I love this show. It keeps proving that, as with many other playing fields, not the smartest or most talented will necessarily win. It's just survival.
I so agree with you. I think that no matter how hard they try, they will not beable to find Blais doing anything unethical or anything like that at all. He cares about what he does and he is passionate about what he cooks and he cooks it all so well. Hopefully he just doesn't let the pressuer grt to him in the finale!! Good Luck Blais!
I came back last year for Ripert, and this year for you.
I can't stand the way Tom picks his favorites and is able to bully other judges into his boring clone favorites. You have what it takes to stand up to him, and Eric has the clout to say what he prefers and stick to it.
Without you or Eric on every single episode? We get this kind of crap.
Love you, but will probably only catch you on your own show now. I can't stomach one more season of Tom being anywhere near this show. I admit, I will be back to read your blogs though.
Pity you were not there last night to let Wolfgang know it is OK to pick the one he likes, even if Tom insists on inferior food.