Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons comments on the amuse bouche challenge twist!

on Mar 23, 20110

But if I had to choose which one to eat I again, I would go with Mike's. They were both good, and that was the only way we could choose. We were split down the middle. It came down to Wolfgang, honestly. Mike's dish with steak tartare, potato, lobster tail tempura, and chimichurri sauce was interesting because it had a lot of textures and temperatures. Cool, raw beef tartare with hot lobster tail and the spicy potatoes, which mimicked the texture of the beef. And then there were the two sauces, for me it was the two sauces, which brought it together. I didn't like the olive caramel at first, it was too sweet and kind of cloying. On it's own it didn't make sense. The beef tartare, and the savoriness of the olives, and the caramel implies that it's reduced down like you would onions to bring out those natural sugars making it sort of like a jam, which is really what it was. It was sweet, and it was sticky, and I didn't understand it when I first tasted it in relation to the rest of the dish. I thought it would be too strong. I thought it would be strange with all the textures. But when I took a bite of the potatoes, beef, and lobster with it, it totally worked. It balanced against them and enhanced their flavors. It felt right. And then the chimmichurri, which is a Latin American sauce that has a lot of garlic and parsley and chili in it, was a really good counterpoint. It added a burst of herbaceous freshness. And it was excellent. I don’t think either dish was perfect, there was a piece of Mike's that was totally bland. But when I took one bite I thought it was a smarter, more interesting bite of food.

Bravotv.com: Last but not least, mazel tov on the James Beard nomination!
GS: Woo-hoo! I'm psyched. I'm actually hosting the James Beard Media/Journalism Awards this year, so I hope I get to accept one too!

113 comments
Kelly Nanney
Kelly Nanney

I am sooo happy that Richard won he clearly was the best. This Top Chef season was in my opinion the best one to date. I will be anxious to see if they plan to have a Top Chef winners season where all of the winners from each season compete to see who truly is TOP CHEF. I loved this season and will continue to watch T.C. until they pull the plug.

samantha king
samantha king

gail, if for nothing else, i read your blog to improve my vocabulary. "cloying?" what a great adjective, i had to look it up! thanks...go richard!

Cindy W
Cindy W

I honestly feel that this whole show/season has been to exhonerate the judges from the mistake of not naming Richard the Top Chef title in his season. It has been clear to me that this is all about Richard winning. I will be in shock if Michael is named Top Chef this evening. Good chefs have been eliminated with the best being eliminated early in the show. I can't help but feel this happened so there would be no real competition for Richard. I'm sorry but his winning tonight will never make up the for the fact that he lost his season. I enjoy the chefs which is why I continue to watch but again it's clear that this whole show has been set up because the judges feel they "owe" it to Richard. Sorry.

Jono
Jono

Final note on ONE POT: Since the muckimucks that run the show have deemed not to answer the questions of Mike's use of two pot, hopefully someone (me?) will get a question into the reunion show following the finale and someone (the judges?) will step up with the rocky mountain oysters (not to be confused with chicken oysters) to give a definitive answer.

Edy Silva
Edy Silva

Im very very disappointed with the 2 chef at are lift, I can't believe that Mike was not disqualified for taking another Chef original dish and passing it as his owen. We all know all to well that if another chef would have done that to Mike, he would have gone Chris Brown on then... Now Richard has the worst sportsmanship I have ever seen in the 7 season of Top Chef, When Richard thinks he should have won & find out he did not win his face show it all unlike some the other chef's when they lose the show great sport for the winner.. I will not be watching the end of Top Chef All-Star's don't care who wins.!!!!!

Cindy007
Cindy007

I think that at this stage in the game the challenges should be all about cooking. Stop with the stupid challenges and let the contestants cook!

ViewerNYGal
ViewerNYGal

I would love to eat at either Richard or Mike's table! They are young chefs not trained TV personalities. Who caught Spike on Iron Chef? Seems to be lots of cross-over these days!!!

sweany
sweany

richard all the way

mermaid magic
mermaid magic

this show has been going down hill for years now! new judges ( could help).... maybe a new show ( yes like "chopped" a true cooking challenge).... this show ( maybe all the judges should go on next season) is not a 'who is top chef?' but who can last with the longest with the silly disasters set in motion to see how long you will survive....yes survivor already has a television slot, so i guess..... next season please call it: "hollywood's kitchen trickery" .... bikini's, glitz, glamour, clothes, jewelry, $ money $, fights, tricks, don't forget the haggard judges to drag you down. come on....bravo...keep up ...

mermaid magic
mermaid magic

hello!!! i saw that too~ morimoto is a much better chef than tom! he knew, and tom did not want antonia for reasons we all know too well. this is a hollywood production with script set already, does not matter how you cook. over and over the judges and producers decide .... not the food!

Elaine Dale
Elaine Dale

Well, That last judges table was odd. As far as judges go, Morimoto rains supreme. If flavor was not as important as technique he would have voted for Mike. This man knows and lives technique. When he said her name and you could see Tom's face. I thought, how he disrespect Morimotos vote like that. He is an iron chef and could wip Tom's butt in any cook off. My biggest question is, How did bad fish make it's way into Top Chef's kitchen? When they knew she had to cook for Morimoto, an Iron chef. Morimoto will always be the best chef in the world to me.

stillhere
stillhere

"Would you rather Antonia have won simply because she's a woman? Give me a freaking break."

You are committing a logical fallacy here. The greater portion of people are not arguing that a woman should be given the win just because she is a woman. (One person did imply this, by my reading, but the rest did not.) They were saying that they perceive the female chefs' dishes to be unfairly judged, because they were made by women. These are two entirely different arguments. I suspect that your inability to differentiate is a telling indication of your own bias.

Further proof: "All you people out to get the men make me laugh."

Again, this is a logical fallacy. Bringing up the issue of perceived inequality or unfairness is not in any way indicative of male-bashing. Further, your choice of words lead me to believe that you suffer from a false sense of persecution on behalf of these "men." I suspect that you are either not a woman or that you were raised by someone who constantly insisted that the fight for equal rights is somehow incorrect -- be it a hateful attack on men or a moribund practice or what-have-you.

These people are not asking for an unfair advantage FOR women. Nor are they bashing men. They are protesting what they perceive to be the unfair treatment of women chefs on the show. You may disagree with that. But you'd be incorrect to classify it as you have.

Fellow Foodie
Fellow Foodie

This last episode was my least favorite, but, at this point, I only wish that Richard not win. Not because he's not the best skilled chef - arguably, he is (though I'd rather eat everyone's else's food except his, Marcel's, and Jamie's), but because, he thinks he is owed that title. For the one millionth time, T.C. is not about the best skilled chef - it's about best dish/worst dish that day - period. It's not rocket science. He has been such a baby about not winning his season, and a douche bag for not giving props to the person who out-cooked him that day. It hate to see people who feel they are entitled to something simply because they exist, and I especially hate to see grown males acting like little girls - I was surprised to find that he was married, because, to be honest, I couldn't imagine anyone tolerating all that whining from an adult male. If he wants second chances, he needs to go on Chopped or The Next Iron Chef - otherwise, either cook the best dish that day or shut up already. He said earlier that he didn't know the hurt and pain of losing on T.C. - hurt and pain - is he serious? It's a GAME for crying out loud. And there are 17 other chefs who can win too - he acts like they don't even exist. I hope, hope, hope, he doesn't win, but, the way he's carrying on about how bad it would be to lose, maybe he needs to win just to ensure he continues to live - who knows what he will do to himself if he doesn't. What a punk. GO MIKEY!

stillhere
stillhere

I agree completely, up to the "get over it" part. I think people are just confused.

stillhere
stillhere

Females who respect themselves and others. That's who cares.

You want to be in another category? You're welcome to it.

stillhere
stillhere

"No shopping was shown so the assumption is the producers supplied the groceries and Antonia wanted to use Hamachi and was given fish that was bad. "

This is the one thing that I found supremely unfair during this competition. Chef Morimoto asked her for fish. Raw fish. The meal's main component is RAW FISH. And then, all Antonia has to work with is rancid fish? It was packaged!!!! Since when is mass-packaged fish appropriate for a high-grade, sushi meal?

The show presented that Antonia's rice was fabulous, the veg was fabulous, and the fish was jacked. That was what we saw being said at the table. She's supposed to be responsible for something that she only cut and plated? Is that my understanding? Am I wrong?

She didn't get to choose the dish. It's not as if she could have done a ceviche on it. Morimoto made it clear what he wanted, and there is no option of fooling around with mom's dish -- which is raw fish! Her choices were: rancid fish or bland fish. So that she could get knocked for the fish.

The cards were stacked.

stillhere
stillhere

You bring up very good points here. When I saw Mike preparing the chicken in the suvee bath, I saw Tom smile in that sardonic way he has. You could see his thought process. He has said on many occasions that this simply doesn't work. You can't cook something twice and expect it to not come out dry.

I was surprised at his decisions.

j.abreu
j.abreu

I can't wait to see the rerun of this episode. I will be watching to see if Mike used 2 pots. If he did he should have been disqualified, just like Antonia was when she didn't plate enough dishes for Paula Deen challenge.

j.abreu
j.abreu

After reading all of theses comment we should start a Richard Blais fan club because we certainly do not want Mike to win Top Chef!!!!!!

kim2004
kim2004

I'm not saying that I'm rooting for Mike, but several people have commented that Wolfgang clearly voted for Antonia. This made me re-watch the judge's table (TWICE!). When Padma asked Wolfgang to make the final decision what Wolfgang said was "If I woke up, I would remember Antonia's flavor. But Mike's tartar was technically perfect." And then they cut to commercial leaving the audience wondering what his decision would be. How does that translate to "Antonia has my vote" ????? What that implies is that his choice was going to come down Mike's technical skill vs. Antonia's flavor. Obviously, since Mike won, he chose technical skill. This does NOT mean that he "changed" his vote. I respect the fact that some people are upset that Antonia didn't make it to the finale, but it in no way implies the judges cheated her. GET OVER IT!

j.abreu
j.abreu

I agree. Top Chef producers you better take a look at what the show is becoming. It is changing and you are going to lose alot of your viewers. It is more about the challenge than the food. This is what starts to happen to shows that have been on many seasons. I can't even watch Survivor anymore because it is ridiculous. The best show still is Amazing Race. They stick to what is good and that's why the show will always be successful.

j.abreu
j.abreu

I agree with you all the way. It seems like Tom likes Mike. Maybe they grew up in the same area and Tom is rooting for him. I can't stand it. He is not a Top Chef. In season 1, Tom said that a Top Chef will inspire other people to want to work with them, and I don't see that anyone would want to work with Mike. He is rude and obnoxious. He kept trying to get Antonia kicked off. I thought he was glad that he found out that she was his cousin, ( oh poor Antonia). Why would you do that to your cousin. I hope Richard wins all the way. He is a true Top Chef!!

SJean
SJean

Ordinarily I would not be concerned with this man vs woman chef. A great chef is just that, great. That being said, why in the world would cousin Mikey choose to have Antonia cook Marimoto's last supper? Is the thought of losing in the finals to a woman so frightening?

I think Antonia vs Richard (my favorite) would have been better TV. Flashbacks to Stephanie vs Richard in Season Four. [Of course I want Richard for the win].

WhippinUpDinner
WhippinUpDinner

Definition of Judge: to form an opinion about through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises (Merriam Webster, Online). Simply put; the "Top Chef "title is not about personalites or how a contestant succeeds; it's about the finesse of the chef at the end of the task. I have enjoyed the show this season and most appreciate the evidence of unbiased decision-making throughout the season. I most appreciate the quality of the show. Bravo!

Solia
Solia

I love Richie. He deserves to win. He's a much better chef than Mike. If he loses I'll never watch top chef again.

Whippinupdinnr
Whippinupdinnr

Simply put; "Top Chef" is awarded to the chef who meets criteria of the challenges placed before him or her. It's not about personality or about who chooses to be aggressive in playing for the win. I so enjoy the "Top Chef" series and appreciate the quality of the show. Merci.

Whippinupdinnr
Whippinupdinnr

Personalities of the chef contestants aside; the bottom line is how the judges perceive the dish and how the chefs rise to the cooking challenge, period. This is how the "Top Chef" is determined. In my humble opinion, I don't perceive the outcome to be pre-detemined .I enjoy the show and appreciate the quality of production.

Ruth Rhinier
Ruth Rhinier

Was there any explanation as to why Antonia had bad fish? DId the contestants shop for themselves or were they given their ingredients?? If so, then, that was totally unfair! Did Richard or Mike have any bad ingredients to deal with? At least, Antonia dealt with the obstacle like a pro! For that reason alone, she should go to the finale!!

Ruth Rhinier
Ruth Rhinier

I am glad that I am not the only one that noticed the discrepancy with the votes. . . I clearly remember Wolfgang Puck saying that he would clearly want to eat Antontia's bite again!! That would make the vote 4-3 in her favor. . . but, Tom definitely did not look pleased. . . I am very disappointed! I have been a huge Top Chef fan for many seasons, but this is almost unforgivable. . . I think Antonia deserves the title, but maybe she will at least get fan favorite. . . As for Mike or Richard, I really cannot choose. . . both are sore winners and sore losers!

grammylou
grammylou

I'm one of a few who like Mike and think he will win it all. Can't wait for next weeks final. Looks like the other cheftestants will be coming back to help them, which we all know can be a disaster if the wrong ones get on your team.

Scott O
Scott O

Done, done, done, I am finally done with this show. The minute Morimoto said he liked Antonia's dish you could see Tom scowling in the background. He obviously didn't want Antonia in the finale and he probably threw a diva fit until he got his way. Bye Top Chef! It was fun for awhile.

Feednotfatten
Feednotfatten

Thus just wasn't absurd enough for me. Why not have the chefs cook blindfolded in bunny suits on an Easy Bake oven!

CCJS
CCJS

I am a woman and I got so sick of Carla going on and on and on about women chefs and two women in the finals. If a women talks all the time about women and their rights all she does is turn men and ofter other women off. Stop the talk and walk the walk. Do and be the best you can be no matter what sex you are. If you don't win or you don't get the job, then maybe you need to look at yourself. No woman should get anything or progress just because she is a woman (sames goes for men).

CCJS
CCJS

I really liked Antonia but I don't think she is in the same category as Mike and Richard as a chef. I really don't care who wins; I think Mike can be more creative and Richard has more technique. Unfortunately, I can't stand to watch Richard because of his personality. I expect him to break down in tears while wringing his hands and then pulling out his hair. As far as Mike being a big meanie; I mostly it his strange sense of humor.

Viewer from CA
Viewer from CA

After discussing the amuse dishes in length, the final voting should have been in secret ballot form to ensure integrity so that event like Tom C. changing Wolfgang puck's mind from voting for Antonia to Mike would not take place. This is extremely unfair to the contestant at this point of the competition.

I wrote this before but did not get posted (for obvious reason?). Tom looked so displeased when Antonio's name was uttered during voting. I can't help wonder if there's something in it for Tom C. if Mike I. wins 'Top Chef'?

BayAreaFoodieK
BayAreaFoodieK

Top Chef Allstars has been exciting and also a big disappointment. First of all, Jamie sticking around as long as she did was a joke. The biggest knot in my stomach appeared when Dale was eliminated...Are you kidding me? I admire Tiffani's style and I do love Carla, but they far worse than Dale in that challenge. And now Antonia is eliminated? Mikey has just been lucky - I swear the producers are making the judges pick his food...He is so pedestrian. I never liked him before and I don't like him on allstars. He totally screwed Antonia over, and I agree with previous comments that Morimoto was not a good choice for the challenge..Richard would have lost against him. If Mikey wins it will be a joke. The finale should have been with Antonia, Dale and Richard.

LauraJ
LauraJ

There is no need to pray for Blais: at the beginning of the season, as soon as I heard which chefs were in the group, I knew Richard would win, if only because both he and Tom really felt he should have won season 4. Tom was not gracious to the winner, Stephanie, in his blog, implying that Stephanie did not win, Richard choked and lost. I hated that. Stephanie's record: 4 EC wins, 6 high finishes, 3 low finishes. Richard's record: 4 EC wins, 3 high finishes, 1 low finish, 5 "in's". Although Steph had more low's, I'd take that to mean she took more chances. Richard was in the middle 5 times. Now, how does that make him so much more of a better chef??? And remember with the judges, Tom ALWAYS has the last word. Puck picked Antonia, so Tom had to talk him out of it. Sigh. If Mike wins I'll eat my hat.

ALP
ALP

DONE! Done with Top Chef! This show has turned into such a farce! Tom acts bored with all but his favorites. The producers steer the results as they want them. Mediocre chefs get to the finals. Good chefs get booted out while slackers get by without even cooking. What I thought promised to be a fun and exciting season has turned aggravating and disappointing.

I know at least one person who'll be happy if Isabella wins. Hosea. He won't be the most despised Top Chef winner anymore.

FoggyNotion
FoggyNotion

Don't blame Richard!

I agree that Antonia got screwed. I agree that she should have won over Mikey. I agree that Mikey seems to be a sexist pig. But don't blame Richard and put him in the same boat.

Let me remind you all that at the beginning of the competition, Richard targeted JENNIFER is his top competition. In his testimonials he is at times self-doubting and confident. He thinks he should win and should have won his season, but that's only because he is so damned good. And one could easily argue that it was Jennifer's own arrogance that got her bounced.

And look at all the extra footage - his cookie monster impersonation, the nuts as musical genres thing - the dude has a great sense of humor. Don't let the editors fool you!

Richard vs Antonia would have been great. Richard v Casey or Dale or Tre would have been even better. But please don't take anything away from the Professor. He definitely deserves to be where he is.

Go Richard!!

Pam V.
Pam V.

By the way, several other posters have mentioned that Mike used TWO pots. Disqualify him and bring Antonia back and you people might get more respect.

ronilee
ronilee

i was very sad to see antonia go....i was very much hoping that she would be kicking some cousin A$$. I gave up on richard a very long time ago...i couldn't stand listening to him beating himself up all the time...no self confidence, he needs therapy!!! so now, i guess i will have to cheer on the EGOTISTICAL mike on to the very end....LOL

Pam V.
Pam V.

I have watched from the very first when the amazing and lovable Harold won. It has gone downhill (in my estimation) more and more each year. Mostly because of people like Mike Isabella. Is it a rule that you have to be a jerk to make it to the finals? Sure looks that way. Well, at least I don't have to waste my time watching the last episode again this time. Richard acts like he is owed this win, and Mike is nothing but a joke. Don't care for either of them. Antonia was robbed.

Jono
Jono

I'm still wondering about the rules of "one pot." Mike VERY WISELY chose a pressure cooker, but is shown in later scenes preparing the salad that his pork was placed atop in a saucepan. Is a saucepan not a pot?

shalomcharlotte
shalomcharlotte

Mike I. is the perfect example of what draws men to culinary as a career. Meat, knives, and fire. Not coincidentally, the same elements that attract cavemen. As a woman and a professional cook, I have dealt with more Mikes, Richards, etc. than I care to admit. They're gross and profane, and pride themselves on being stupid. In Mike I's case, his guido-ness. Like other commentor's here, I won't be watching the finale. I'm done with Top Chef. It's old news.

PA Viewer
PA Viewer

It appears that the producers desired a Mike vs. Richard finale, which they no doubt believed would be more dramatic and exciting. This is television after all and there are Emmy's to be won. It's no surprise given the fact that the producers have edited the last few episodes to highlight the competition between Mike and Richard (including the stolen recipe episode). It's a shame that Wolfgang Puck was "talked to" and had to change his opinion in favor of Mike instead of his initial decision favoring Antonia's dish. This was a sham and a shame and Top Chef should be embarrassed.

Zoe P.
Zoe P.

I agree. Mike is childish and egotistical. The results of this week's show seem to have been "fixed". Antonia should have won. I don't see how anyone could have ever married Mike. He really seems to hate women. And his food is oh so uninspiring. He just looks so unprofessional. I would not want him cooking my food. If he gets any bigger he won't even fit in his chef coats. Ugh, Top Chef you are completely wrong when it comes to Mike. Don't bring him back....ever!

SLGlass
SLGlass

Once again I was confused by the judges decision. I laughed out loud when everyone seemed to agree that Mike's chicken was dry and the crust slid off, but yet it was still considered a "success." What?!? If your main dish is fried chicken and it's cooked incorrectly, how is that a success?

On a side note, when is the last time a chef got to cook something as simple as fried chicken to make it to the finale to compete for $200,000? And please spare me the lecture of how sometimes the simplest things are actually the hardest. Accomplished chefs can cook fried chicken with their eyes closed. Maybe next week Mike can cook grilled cheese and tomato soup - oh wait, we've already seen that!!

whatever711
whatever711

I will never watch top chef again. Anotnia deserves to be in the final. Mike should have been kicked off when he looked in Richards notebook, it is one thing to take someone elses recipes, but to go in the book. It was not his property and should have been treated as such. What a total breach of etiquette. I think Carla is much better then Mike and I also agree with the other comment about Richards entitled attitude. He is not the better chef. Antonia is. She was consistently better. But when you look at the past record of your show women don't have a chance. The one woman who won was not the better chef of her season. So I love this show and have from day one but I am done.. Thanks for ruining one of the 5 shows I actually watch on TV. . Good by

 nancy
nancy

Okay, that was just awful. At this point it should be about the food and not this kind of gimmicky crap! Really Bravo, I don't see how those challenges proved anything worthwhile! I always thought this show was better than other reality shows but I guess I was wrong!