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Bravotv.com: Do you want to talk a little bit about Jimmy Fallon, since you were just on his show this past Monday?
Gail Simmons: Jimmy's been a fan of the show for a long time. He's a fan of food and all things that are fun, and we all thought it would be a really iconic New York moment to get them on late-night TV at 30 Rock. Jimmy was the perfect candidate, he's always up for playing a game. So they went on his show and were the contestants on Cell Phone Shootout. All of his family had picked one of their favorite dishes to put into the Cell Phone Shootout, which would be options for his birthday lunch, which really was happening that week, and his whole family was there to celebrate with him. We thought it would be perfect if they all had to cook dishes based on his family's favorite foods. But there were some ringers in there, his father-in-law threw in beef tongue! Of course there were his favorite things too: Philly cheesesteak, hamburgers, chicken pot pie, all of those comfort foods that we love. It worked really well, and I think the chefs were excited to be part of it.
Bravotv.com: What do you think the key to being successful was with these dishes, since they were all very traditional, a lot of them American classic comfort foods?
GS: They certainly were, and the tricky thing about that is they come with such strong taste and sense memories. Everyone is very nostalgic and very protective of what they imagine those dishes to taste like. What we are always looking for in a challenge like this is a way for them to speak to that memory in a familiar way, but present them to us as a new and modern version. So if you stick to the really classic version, that's OK -- it just has to be really beautiful and really perfect. What we were most excited about were the people who could give us that food and still give us those great flavors, which are the reasons everyone loves the food to begin with, but put a twist on the dish so that it not only feels modern but gives us a sense of the chef personally.
There were a number of people who did that really well. Of the people that you didn't see in top three, I loved Mike Isabella's sausage and peppers. I thought he did a really great job with it. I was also a really big fan of Richard's ramen noodles. I think that what happens on the show is that people come to expect certain things from the chefs, but you can't penalize them if they don't deliver on it every time as long as their food is still good. I know Jimmy was expecting more from Richard. He wanted Richard to do everything with this modernist, crazy mad scientist tilt, but the truth is that's not fair, because Richard also wants to prove that he's a good technician and doesn't just do gimmick-y food. We would penalize him if he used liquid nitrogen with every dish he did. I thought he did a beautiful job with his ramen, but everyone was split over it, so he wasn't on the top or the bottom.
Thanks, Gail, for the explanation. With the show's editing, it's really hard to make sense of the decisions sometimes. Over salty seems like the worse offense, without tasting things ourselves, so it sure seemed like Dale was the likely victim. Hard to see any of them go at this point!
Go Miss Carla!!! I could almost taste her chicken pot pie. Thank God we have the East Coast feed on Direct TV so I can watch her on Late Night and still go to bed on time!! Really, really going to miss the fabulous Fabio, Ciao Bella!!
If the judges were only able to eat Dales sandwich because it was too salty, why wasn’t he eliminated? It was stated that they were only able to take one or two bites of the sandwich. Fabio hamburger wasn't juicy enough and/or it wasn't that flavorful, and it tasted like meat balls would be better than eating something too salty. My cousin made macaroni and cheese; I wasn't able to eat it because it was too salty. This was the first time I wasn't able to eat her macaroni and cheese. I rather eat something a little dry with a little flavor than something too salty. Since the judges couldn't send Tiffany home, they decided again to Dale a break because they feel that he is a better chef than Fabio. I feel the judges like Dale and obviously want him to be one of the finalists. Fabio should have won over Antonia last week and Dale should not have been eliminated. Please be fair. I want all the chefs to do their best and want the best chef to win. I am rooting for the best chef to win. This will only happen if the judges are honest and the producers let the judges do their job.
I hope my comments will be posted. If not I home the judges and products read this and at least respect the viewers. The only reason I tuned in this season because you had some of my favorite chefs return to Top Chef. I am truly becoming a person who was losing interest, because it seems like the show is not about cooking and wanting to keep drama/controversy. I tuned in to learn something about cooking and to watch chefs compete against other great chefs. If I want to watch Real Housewives I will watch that show. I realize Top Chef is a reality show, but it didn’t’ seem like a reality show. Now, it seems like the chefs are not being judged fairly and Top Chef Judges are not credible.
Fabio's may have been your least favorite, but Dale's being oversalted is a cooking 101 mistake and would cause something to be deemed "inedible." And after being on the bottom twice in a row it should have been "his" time and not Fabio's. As a viewed this was the most unfair judges decision of the season. You judges striked out!
How can you watch this season and not just fall in love with Carla? That woman is pure joy. Seeing her just absolutely lose it when she got the dish she had been dying to make for a week just tickled me. Seemed almost kismet that she took the win. You know she put a lot of love in her dish, and she absolutely GETS IT that a proper pot pie REQUIRES crust on the bottom, as well as the top. When she went back to the stew room, I was glad Marcell wasn't there to rain on her parade and try to guilt her for being excited about her win. Hint to Marcell and Mike: no one likes a sore loser.
I thought for sure Dale was going home this week. Guess it was the cheese sauce on the side that really sent Fabio home. I mean really, what the hell is wrong with meatloaf on a bun, anyway? Will miss you, Fabio.
I am very excited to see Carla's segment on Jimmy Fallon. Got my dvr all set. Way to go, Carla! You go, girl!
Thank you for your blog because sometimes It is hard to watch and really understand why someone won or Why someone went home. For the smile and entertainment factor I say...GO FABIO...I actually, really and truely want to eat in any restaurant he cooks in or heads the house in. The face, the accent, the cooking...Well, he is just adorable. I'm also impressed that Richard put aside all his science stuff and just cooked. The man has a range and a bunch of us in ATL would like to see him do MORE of the science stuff here and less of the way too expensive little bitty burger...but that is another subject all together. Love Antionia...totally have a girl crush on her. I want her to come to my house and throw down in the kitchen...speaking of the two of them...back to Blaise for a minute...CLASS!!!! Helping a fellow contestant like that...wow was really impressed with him. I love watching a yankee use the same southern manners that my momma taught me. LOL. Anyway...Who didn't see a little HOOOTIE HOOO Win coming when they talked about good old family lovin comfort food. You totally fell in her wheel house and it looks as though she delivered the love she's been known for all season. Ok, so we share the same first name but that isn't why I love this chef. She's just flat out wonderful to watch...caring, funny...real...and every time I watch her I have NO PROBLEM believing that she puts her love into her food.
Jamie's Scallops Ala King would have won. As comfort food, there's nothing better than Scallops Ala King.
I really gotta say that as much as I assume incredible food knowledge from you all, there are two schools of chicken and dumplings that exist in this country: flat noodle dumplings and big doughball dumplings. Tiffany was described as having made "the wrong dish," when really, she just made the wrong style of dumplings.
I've got a lot of friends whose chicken & dumplings look a lot more like Tiffany's than like matzo balls in chicken gravy. I will agree that the gravy looked too soupy, but it's not like it was a completely different dish.
Thanks Gail! I was so upset that Fabio was sent home but now I understand the logic. You explained it perfectly. I love Fabio, Dale and Tiffany so it would have been hard decision for me. Fabio is great and will do great things. At least, I feel so much better with the judges decision after reading your blog!
This episode was a total waste of time. Like most people, I like Jimmy Fallon. But I don't care his culinary interests nor do I consider him a food judge. That anyone had to be eliminated cooking this mundane crap is both a travesty and a tragedy. Whoever at TC conceived this episode (including the ridiculous fondue quick fire) should be fired.
I still dont think Fabio should have gone home. He is my absolute fave... but then Carla is also one of my favorites so Im glad she one. Now I want to make chicken pot pie "with love"!
I had a really hard time with Dale's cheesesteak... as a Philly native, you learn not to mess with a cheesesteak's bread! That is what makes or breaks the sandwhich. He broke that cardinal rule.
Fabio didn't seem to understand what a hamburger is? That's odd because he's lived in America for years. Certainly, he's been to a hamburger joint at least once, right? Oh, well. Ariverderci!
go Carla!!! When you cook love into YOUR food, you win!!! Remember this when you get to the finale this time. Love you.
I'm already less excited to watch next week's show without Fabio. He was always entertaining to watch in the kitchen. Bring him back!
I'm from Philly and I have to agree with another philly viewer, the roll is key in a cheesesteak. And the pretzel roll doesnt sound like a great match.
You know, there is one point that I've noticed in several episodes so far this season which finally got some straight-forward discussion in this episode. Namely, that when any of the chefs had had any trouble in the kitchen with preparing thier dish more often than not, they turn to Richard for help. And unlike Angelo who has a reputation (deserved or not) for screwing up the dishes of competitors, Richard has never failed to help and provide good counsel. That says a LOT to me about him and his sportsmanship in the competition but more importantly it reveals who the other competitors respect in the kitchen. Antonio could be out of the competition without Richard first advising her to use a pressure cooker to prepare her beef tongue and then noticing that the cooker was venting during the cooking. He may not win, but he's scored a boatload of "gentleman" points in my book.
On the top of my Bucket list (as I turn the big six-oh (my gosh) in September, is to create a tour of the US cities visiting my favorite Top Chef chef’s restaurants. Where can I get an updated list of the Top Chef’s restaurants so I can plan my itinerary? Can you do an article in Food/Wine magazine on their whereabouts? First, I guess I will have to contact Suze Orman to see if “I Can Afford It” or not. What a wonderful way to turn 60 by gourmet-ically (not a real word) eating my way across country. Unlike Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, my birthday trip will be more of a gastric-gluttony of gourmet fare. Thanks for your insight and candor.
I loved this episode. Jimmy Fallon was hilarious. He may not be a food expert but I was laughing during the entire episode and he seems to be able to tell what tastes good and what doesn't. Carla was great. I am so happy to see her winning. I was really sad to see to see Fabio go home because I love him so much and he is just great. However we are to the point in the season where I will be sad to see most people go home. Suggestion: bring Jimmy back for another episode because he made my day!
If Fabio or anyone made a hamburger the traditional way, how would it have tasted good, since it would have to be completed in the time restriction and then sit and wait until serving time. Hamburgers don't taste good after sitting awhile. So how could anyone win making a hamburger?
It is getting harder and harder to see the chefs "pack their knives." Will miss Fabio, but not knowing how to make a booger?!?! Really? Glad Dale is still in the game. Love Carla. Lots of respect for Richard in being so helpful to the other chefs.
For the Finale I'd like to see Carla, Richard, Angelo and Dale.
I would like to congradulate Carla, go girl. I was so glad to see her in all stars as an avid viewer though I am dissapointed at the decision to send Fabio home, I personly would rather eat a dry flavorless hamburger than something that is overly salted how can you even
I agree with the comment about Richard. He is my personal favorite and I get mad when people say he is cocky. He may be a little confident, but deservedly, and the fact that he goes above and beyond helping fellow contestants speaks volumes.
I was SO happy that Gail said exactly what I was thinking regarding Jimmy's disappointment with Richard's dish. I thought to myself, if Richard had done the same old liquid nitrogen, the judges would have said, "there he goes again, like Marcel with the foam." I was sorry he was penalized for stepping outside of his expected comfort zone.
Team Blais all the way!!!!
Gail, I think you're awesome!! You seem very down to earth and explain things really well. As far as WAK's comment that Jimmy Fallon is a travesty as a judge, I find this guy to be a complete tool. Just because he may not be a trained chef doesn't mean he doesn't have taste buds. Sad for Fabio but i think they made the right decision. As much as I hate Dale, the obnoxious, arrogant pig, Fabio completely destroyed a simple hamBOOGER. I have never been a Richard Blaise fan. Sure he's talented and a great chef but he shows signs of arrogance (and what's up with that annoying wincing everytime?). But he is a competitor and is big enough to help his fellow contestants. Great team player and much respect for this. Kudos to ya brother!! I still would like carla to win though.
For those Philly viewers dumping on the cheesesteak with pretzel roll - it's a match made in heaven. Go to the Pop Shop in Collingswood and get the Linden - cheese, Angus beef, carmelized onions, mushrooms on a grilled split Philly soft pretzel. Dale was on the right track there to tie these two Philly treats together.
Fabio's strength is Italian food...unfortunately you do not win by just being good in one cuisine. You have to be all around. I'm going to miss him though...he was very entertaining! :-)
OHH NOOO FABIOOOO!!!!
understanding that the meatloaf meatball is not a hamburger, but somethimes you confuse the contestants by telling them put yourself out there, and don't play it safe. If my boy Fabio would've cooked a regular hamburger you would have said you had all this time and where is the creativity in your dish, & Anybody can make a hamburger, but it takes the Italian twist of our "Brother from the Boot "Fabio to kick it to Italian standards. He's sorry it was alittle dry, but no cream or dumpling in Tiff's dish , or "Mr. Salty's " pretzel steak should have hit the bricks this episode... Just Sayin.... Fabio fans from Greece NY
What I can't get past is that Fabio was told to go because he incorrectly made a dish that he was completely unfamiliar with but Dale stays on after delivering a salt bomb. Dale forgot about the salt on the pretzel roll? Really? He's on Top Chef All Stars and forgets to consider the total amount of salt and it's impact on the dish? At the very least he either didn't taste his dish or didn't take seasoning into consideration. I'm a huge fan of Dale's but even I have to admit Fabio was wrongly sacked. Dale, I'm sorry, you should have gone home this time. Judges, I mean no disrespect when I say that I will always feel you dropped the ball on this one. Keeping Dale was such an unfortunate mistake, and it really hurts me to say it.
Bring Fabio back!!!! Salty food is way worst than a spin on a so called "traditional" hamburgers, which by the way, are not even healthy!!!! You guys don't read the news?...nowadays is about healthy food. It's ridiculous that a salty dish, which is very bad for your health, could win over a good quality burger. I have tried Fabio's food and is DELICIOUS! Plus .... is healthy, never salty! Anyways....he's Italian and is very good at his specialty. He'll always do well! At the end of the day, he's a Top Chef to almost all the viewers, a Top Restauranteur (demonstrated in all the restaurant wars he's being) and a Top Gentleman ... The show will be boring without him. I rather follow his tweets and blogs... Will be way more entertaining!
It is nice to see how gracious and helpful Richard is. It is nice to see how much "love" Carla puts in her food. It is not nice to see Angelo mess everyone up. It is not nice to see Mike still there. It is not nice to watch Dale pout. But put it all together and it still is fun to watch. Thanks Gail for additional info on why Fabio went home. I think it is hilarious that people are claiming the show is fixed when Fabio has been a judges pet from the beginning due to his charming personality. It is about the food...
Richard was definitely very generous in helping Antonia on how to cook the beef tongue, and this is not the first episode where he helps the others out. Richard's behavior is at the level of Top Chef Masters!! On Top Chef Masters, the chefs don't have to prove anything to each other. They're competing for fun and for charity and they can be genuinely magnanimous on TV. That's how Richard Blais has been acting on All Stars. Bravo to Richard.
Sometimes I just can't understand how the judges make their choices ... Richard should be applauded for giving help ... but as you can see charity begins at home ... besides how does Antonia win with steaming mussels - I checked her receipe - I've made them that way since I'm 12 - so what to TOP CHEF?
SINCE WHEN DO YOU ASK SOMEONE TO LEAVE BECAUSE OF THEIR DISH ? EVERYONE KNOWS ITS ABOUT POPULARITY. BRING BACK FABIO , ITS THE ONLY REASON THAT I WATCHED.
I agree, the only reason I watched this show was because of Fabio. I am done watching it. I do not care to know who wins.
First off, the first person to say anything about Fabio's burger said it was a really good burger. Then Gail (the worst show ever- Top Desserts, but I'm in charge) started in on how bad it was and I think some of the other non judges didn't want to contridict her. Cheese wasn't the best idea, but since it seems you leave people on the show because of popularity, Fabio should've stayed. his wasn't the worst.
I love Fabio, but he's got no excuse for not knowing what a "boorger' is after living in this country for as long as he has and even telling Fallon he hailed from California.
That said, Dale has been getting too many breaks lately. His 'cookie' won and then, in the Target challange, he won $25,000 for tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich? Please. I can't help thinking the fix is in and Dale is the man.
In signing off, I want to give a shout out to Carla. Hootie hoo, girl!
Fabio got the shaft this season As much as I like "Top Chef", the judges (or probably producers) manage to send my blood pressure sky-high every season and this one is no different. Fabio should have won for his front-of-the-house during "restaurant wars" and for his chicken cacciatore when Elaine Braccho was on. Then you send him home even though surly little Dale puts a philly cheesesteak on a too-salty pretzel roll. Give me a break!!! The judges were sure singing a different tune this week when Angelo got sent home for that too-salty soup!!! You'd have thought he committed a felony! It is clear that someone high up wants Dale, Antonia and Tiffany to be the last ones standing. And speaking of Tiffany, why is she still here? It really is a travesty that she is still in the competition, as poorly as she has done. Am I the only one who feels this way? I mean she is pleasant enough, but that shouldn't matter. She is clearly out of her league as an "all-star." It really showed during restaurant wars. She should absolutely have been eliminated for the way she ran the front of the house. So many have been sent home for a poor performance in this role in years past. Why not her? And I can't believe she has nearly the fan-base most of the chefs do. Yes, I am partial to Fabio but he (as well as Casey) should still be in the competition. Don't be so obvious, Bravo. If she places in the top three, you will lose a lot of credibility and me as a viewer and die-hard fan.
In Tiffany's defense in the south dumplings are a flat noodle in a clear broth. Look up southern chicken and dumplings.
Since when are cooking competitions based on popularity? Fabio is out and he stayed positive, that's really what the show is about. If he is the only reason why you watched, stop watching. No one cares.
Burger could be mader from different kinds of meat. It wasn't clear for the viewer why Fabio got cut because of using not only beef. it is much jussier when you use more than flat dry beef.
I love Fabio and my daughter was way disappointed to see him go but even she understood (she is 13) that if you can't make a burger you are pretty much screwed. Burgers can be made from just about anything but to mix meats to a texture that resembles a meatball or meatloaf then flatten and fry will very little fat is and was a mistake. No, the judges did not want a common "burger" but there are hundreds of ways to mix it up and make a burger with fries on top. I don't think it had to be potato fries either just fries....lots of things can become fries. I think he got tripped up on not really understanding the burger concept and this kinda put him out of his element. I still think he is a pretty cool guy (at least what we see on tv) and wish him all the best. Thanks, Ms. Simmons for explaining JT decision on this one!
I've watched the show since it's inception andi love Top Chef.It is great entertainment.I love Carla,she is genuine.I think she is a thinker and a nice person.Mike needs to go,just an average chef.Blase, dear Blase has an ego as big as the Pacific Ocean please.He needs a dose of reality there is no perfect chef and he is certainly not the best of his season or this season.That honor belongs to Carla.Antonia is better this season and Tiffany is nicebut i don't think she is going to win.But I am glad to see that Tiffany outlasted some of the other contestants and i hope she will stay longer than Mike.
I agree about Dale and the "Salt Monster" (to quote Jimmy Fallon), if the judges were unable to eat Dales' dish, yet WERE able to eat Fabio's, Dale should have gone home! Fabio also should have won for Front Of the House, as if you do not have good Host/Hostess, all the rest means nothing. I worked in the restaurant business for years and that can make or break a place. Also, Fabio not winning the Italian contest was just ridiculous! All Antonia did was steam mussels! Remember how confused and upset the other chefs were when she came back and said she won???
Bravo producers, you 'd really best do something or have some show with Fabio either in it or starring in it! You will be guaranteed a HUGE Viewer-ship. Just look at where we are presently with Fan Fav and Virutal Top Chef.