Team Top Chef

Bravotv.com's Senior Editor finds Casey's elimination sort of amusing.

Jan 4, 20110

Hello my little chicken feet! Before I dive in to this week's episode, just want to thank all of my faithful readers for defending me in the Comments section after my last blog. Your coming to my defense warmed my heart, but we can cut CuriousCook some slack. As a writer, I always strive to improve my skills, and realize not everyone will be down with my style. I"m obviously very casual in this blog, and appreciate readers' criticism as much as their praise.

Now, most of you probably won't understand the reference in my blog title this week to Fay Ann Lee's 2006 film, Falling for Grace, which I rented very recently. Why did I see this movie? Because Gale Harold is in it, and I was obsessed with Queer as Folk. The film deals with Chinese assimilation, and Fay Ann Lee, who is also the female lead, Grace, portrays the daughter of a restaurant owner in Chinatown. And so, the film talks a lot about food, obviously Chinese food specifically, and one of the featured dishes is chicken feet! So, Casey's dish choice struck a chord with me.

Let's start at the beginning, though -- a very good place to start. Every season we gets tons of comments and e-mails asking for Tom to compete. And he never has... until now. (Wasn't that dramatic?) Tom created a seemingly simple, yet apparently flavor-complex dish in eight minutes and 37 seconds, which is not a lot of time at all. Tom's time determined the chefs' time for creating their own dishes. I have to say I was happily surprised with most of the chefs' dishes. Dale's and Jamie's seemed like the only real failures to me. I really don't know what Dale was thinking trying to make noodles in that amount of time, but I applaud his ballsiness. I really, really wanted Marcel to win this one. He got a nice compliment from Tom about his dashi, but, alas, Mike Isabella's dish just tasted better. Marcel won in my eyes though. Not only did he show great tenacity in grabbing Tom's fish to work with, which was truly badass (and I never use that word because I hate it.) But he also won me over, once again, with comments that literally had me busting out laughing. His "Jersey accent" literally made me guffaw. And I don't guffaw easily. (OK, that's not true -- I laugh at everything, and it freaks out my fellow editors while I'm watching the episode in our shared office.)

30 comments
AirLeopold
AirLeopold

"Devil Dale" You know everyone talks about Marcel and how much of a P.I.T.A. he is, but I am so sick and tired of Dale Talde. He's really a nasty and sneaky guy...he just makes you think he's honorable by talking about how proud he'll make his Daddy by catching a fish, then he says these nasty things about people. I remember season 4 when he took a hissy fit, pounded his fist into the shelving and let out a loud...F_ _k!! Yeh, he's a class dude...he's an A-Hole! and he had a nerve calling Marcel difficult to work with...especially when the jerk only put out 20 "sum" dishes...then the guy WINS!!! Richard gets called out for plating after the clock runs out, but good ole "DEVIL DALE" wins the "DIM SUM Challenge!" He's won two Quickfires and two Elimination challenges and he's the biggest piece of beef "JERKY" out there...can't stand the guy...sorry. He doesn't "DIM" sum...he "DIMS" all!

DCFoodie
DCFoodie

Wow. I had no idea Marcel had a lot of fans. Go figure! He drives me bonkers personally and the editing this season does not help my initial thoughts. In the Quick fire for him to comment that "perhaps the judges were still tasting his dish when they were eating Mike's"???? Ludicrous at best! LOL! Then his scene when he is going off on Dale on the roof top.....really he might need some medicine for that disorder.

Tiffany's bun did look delish and so I was happy for Fabio pulling off another good dish (following his homemade pasta nod a few weeks ago). His ribs made me want some immediately. My personal fav outside of traditional BBQ ribs are the ones they serve at Roy's Restaurant! There are none better than there. Seriously....**I DIE**

Casey's decision to cook chicken feet...**I GAG**! SMDH! I love her and my love only grew after seeing her try to tackle that challenge. Of course I didn't really SEE it....because I had to ffwd through her giving those chickens a pedicure. Who does that?! So, no surprise here....I agree with everyone else about the final decision. I think it was a bad decision for them to send her home. I think the number of times that you are on the bottom, should be included in the final decision. Jaime having been there almost every time....speaks for itself.

reflibn
reflibn

Turtle soup in NOLA

Turtle meat tastes kind of like veal. It's tough and should be tenderized -- I like to marinate it in yogurt heavily seasoned with garlic. That'll get it chewable. Anyway... A good turtle soup is like a good gumbo: the liquid has some texture -- it's a little creamy. It should be spicy but not hot. The meat can be ground or cut into small pieces. And you absolutely MUST finish it with a splash of sherry. I'm sorry that you didn't try it in NOLA -- it's one of my favorite local dishes. Next time you're down there, go to Franky & Johnnie's off Tchopitoulas and have theirs. It's excellent. And while you're there get the fried bell pepper rings too. To die.

Jessica Lin
Jessica Lin

First off, I can't believe you saw that movie and are commenting about it since I don't think anyone has ever seen it. They went around major universities and had free screenings of it, so I went to see it way back in those '06 days. Brings me back.

Anyway, secondly, as a Chinese American, I can say once I heard the elimination challenge, I knew it was going to tank. I also knew they wouldn't/shouldn't take diner comment cards because it was predestined for failure so what's the point? Perhaps it's just my family, but modern takes on a staple such as dimsum will get nothing but negative criticism, and if it is deemed at least somewhat good, they will just say I could have made it at home anyway.

The whole point of the challenge was basically not to sink so lowly as your other contestants and make it out alive. I love this season, and owing to the fact that the stakes are higher I suppose no other season could have had this challenge given to them, but you set them up for failure from the get go all for what? Drama? It made me squirm, it made me want to turn the channel and not rewatch it 100 times on my dvr as I do every episode (but the Museum episode with because equally squirm worthy)

Crystal Texas
Crystal Texas

@ Miss E: Saying Jamie can't cook is a little harsh. She was on top the first episode and did well in her own season.

Having said that, she IS having a lot of trouble making a dish on the fly and executing on time. To which, this IS what she signed up for when she agreed to come back on the show. If she changed her attitude early on, she might have been able to do better. Unfortunately it seems like she's having trouble getting over the negative reactions from her co-chefs and continues to spiral downward. To which I say, get over it already and buckle up! Let's face it...those dumplings were as deflated as her attitude, and her longbeans were as greasy as her snarky comments.

Personally, I'm all for a new rule: If you can't be happy that you are lucky enough to be here, then pack your knives!

smith from sf
smith from sf

jAMIE NEEDS TO GO. kasey's dish may have been bad but she'ed never done it before - all Jamie cooked in her season was scalops and this time she messed them up plus beans. Two espisodes in a row with poorly cooked beans. On her season when she was tired she just checked out- she has checked out just the judges haven't noticed yet. dump her - it seems she doesn't want to there. Let someone else who is truly trying stay!! Bring back my favorite - STEFAN!!!

witzend
witzend

It strains credulity that Jamie is still there --- proudly doing NOTHING! What are the judges looking for? A brave attempt at chicken feet or another weak scallop?

This show used to be fun when there was some clear criteria and high expectations. You are turning it into a farce, and I don't think that encourages serious contenders except perhaps for a free car or trip to Italy or just cash.

I think Casey had the exact appropriate attitude.

Everyone else on the show.......very disappointed.

Miss E
Miss E

This is Top Chef not Top Teams...I agree with your post...I'm tired of seeing good chefs sent home because someone else had to handle their dish. Maybe they should make the show 2 hours long instead of 1. There's only one winner so why do these judges think the chefs can trust another to make a slamming dish for another contestant? All in all like you pointed out the judges are asking these chefs to go beyond cooking and it's weeding out deserving people too soon.

Miss E
Miss E

Jamie has proven she can't cook. she not only cooked her dish bad then a second dish she cooked bad. Antonia's solo dish was good. Casey's chicken feet were bad and not cooked properly but it was one dish...and different. Jamie has not cooked for two episodes. And I the one time she does cook its horrible...oh yeah her other dishes were horrible too...why is she still there...why is she even on the all stars list??

Team Over It
Team Over It

Magic Elves Inc seems way more concerned with creating drama only and not at all about what Top Chef used to be about ... a little drama mixed in with showing actual development of recipes, the creative side of cooking and inspiring the home "top chef" spin their own recipes and jump in the kitchen to make themselves better chefs.

I'm glad you've achieved whatever drama you were going for in that aspiration of squashing the home chef's inspiration to dream big.

It's too bad the show is no longer anything but a drama trainwreck. Whatever works for you though.

topcheffanatic
topcheffanatic

Casey sent home....Reallllly? What the heck? Do the judges have someone "special" in mind that they want to win???? Casey rocks! Jamie...not so much! What has she proven this season to still be in the running. Totally disappointed with the judges and the show...I may not be such a fanatic any longer!

Misty Joy
Misty Joy

Is he straight?? I just assumed...

Misty Joy
Misty Joy

I want to know what has happened to Fabio this season. He seems so sad, or like he doesn't want to be there. Where is the cocky italian boy? :( Quick, someone go get Stefan (the hot, bald instigator), and cut Fabio's hair, and let's see the two euro bad boys back together again. Now THAT would be TIVO/DVR worthy... over and over and over... :)

middlechef
middlechef

I AGREE!!!! Marcel is a DOLL and I am totally hoping that he wins this next week! Although, from the previews, it looks like he gets into it with Dale over something. That's ok. Marcel has shown great restraint, being several times this season 'the bridesmaid, but never the bride'.....Dale totally hosed him at the tennis challenge. Check out Marcel's new Syfy series coming in March, "Marcel's Quantum Kitchen". How d'ya like him now, ILAN HALL???? Where's YOUR TV SHOW......

lawrence H
lawrence H

Once again, we were treated to another episode of Top Waiter instead of Top Chef. There's no even playing field if you take away someone's ability to cook. Even if Casey's dish was the worst, she had a fraction of the time to get her dish ready or in this case to correct it as clearly her fellow competitor had no time to get a third dish ready.

Go and hire some experienced and attractive hostesses or hosts for the front of the house and hire a staff of waiters. I hope the teams do not have to decorate the restaurant for Restaurant Wars and I hope no one volunteers to work the front of the houses as it puts them at such a disadvantage.

To level the playing field, why don't you have each competitor serve the judges for everyone for an episode and ask them to let other people cook their dishes? Of course this is totally an absurd proposition but no less absurd than making the contestants cook, serve or design a restaurant.

RKK
RKK

I think it was stupid to send Casey home! Jamie had two bad dishes and Casey didn't get to cook her dish. Double elimination next week Jamie should be one going home unless she pulls a superb dish out of her...!

Sour grapes
Sour grapes

This last episode was wrong for Casey, but right for the show. It has caused so much controversy! Look at all of the comments..it is crazy! But as they say, "Any Press is good Press." It is just too bad that the chef who was most daring (and yes, most attractive) was sent home to achieve this. Bravo? No way...how about BooooooVo

Catherineb
Catherineb

DAMN THAT MARCEL IS JUST AS CUTE AS HE WAS IN SEASON 2! I wonder how tall he is and if a cute little 4'11 lady like me would fit in to his arms! If he is single and ready for a real cook off, Ill cook him under the table!

bjb815
bjb815

All these competitors are great cooks, not going to bash them hard but seriously how can Jamie still be considered a "TOP CHEF" when really she hasn't cooked much. She cut her fingured and bailed and was not punished, didn't even put out a dish during the tennis challenge because she knew it was horrible. I believe the judges still should have tasted the chefs dishes that didn't participate. Then on the next quick fire she made a clam...ONE CLAM! Then she made beans that were not good. I am nowhere close to being a chef but I can do better than that with what they have in the pantry and with the money they get to go shopping and even with the alloted time they get. I give her credit she is probaly an amazing chef, but if this is a cooking competition, shouldn't they be cooking more than one clam, or beans?

totm
totm

Best place to get turtle soup is Grand Cayman. It can be fatty and gelatinous.

"Next week, the chefs travel to my hometown of Long Island for some fishing." That is one big hometown you have considering it has how many million residents and covers how thousands of square miles and has how many cities/townships.

Jantina
Jantina

Thank you for that Blue Hill Menu. It sounds very tasty.

I had sopa de tortuga in Acapulco. They used chicken stock because turtles don't have much fat but they do have 7 different kinds of meat. They all seem to be texturally different. Some of the meat was like squid and some of it was like pork and then the whole range in between that. Like all Mexican soups, it had a nice robust yet earthy flavor too. I loved it.

Chicken feet are best quick fried and then braised. If Casey would've had her feet braising in a great bubbling sauce, it would've been easy to just plop a couple on each dish and send them on to the customers. Oh well. Too bad nobody tried to make pig ears ha ha ha.

M.Hess
M.Hess

About those chicken feet: Seriously, when they showed Casey cutting off those nails, it looked like human fingers, and I had to leave the room. Call me a wimp (OK, I am), but just the thought of eating those extremities made me nauseous.

Mom in Md
Mom in Md

Amusing? Casey lost because it was a bad elmination challenge and Casey was eliminated for not being able to cook her dish because someone had to be a runner.

Dave in Northridge
Dave in Northridge

Excellent blog as usual, and yes, Jamie, who I know was added as a last-minute replacement for the season 6 and 7 guys who didn't want to play, should have been gone already. But really - "my hometown, Long Island?" Would that be Great Neck, or Rockville Center, or Massapequa, or Sayville, or Riverhead? Two counties, four congressional representatives, big home town.

DCC703
DCC703

I agree whole-heartedly with CTarbell about Jamie. Her performance this season has been sub-par at best. I made the same comments on the Top Chef Facebook page, but it was removed because, OK, I threw out the "who is Jamie sleeping with on the TC staff?" question. But c'mon...after watching last night how could you NOT think that?!

I realize this is not a "team" competition, but when you're in a team situation you need to step up and Jamie has not. She bailed on her team to go tend to her finger (while Carla rallied through a few eps. later). Jamie bailed on her team at the US Open episode because her chickpeas weren't cooked (Chick peas? Who can't cook chick peas?!). And, she blew it last night by messing up not one, but TWO dishes....and yet she remains.

Yes, Casey's dish didn't work, but she made a valiant effort at trying something different and was sent home. At least she held her head high. I've watched TC from Season 1 and I've seen many people stick around after making inedible dishes, but I digress...

ruanna
ruanna

This may have been a clusterfuck in the kitchen, but was rather entertaining. Combined with seeing Tom pwn in the top chef kitchen - best episode ever.

nycfoodie
nycfoodie

Hi, let me just say, I love reading your blog because it's casual, jokey & no-pretense. OMG you really have to do a dim sum or "yum cha". If you can muster the time or 7-train, the ones in Flushing are better than the ones in Manhattan Chinatown, generally. To be completely fair, certain restaurants do certain dishes better. Oh, if you like "buns", try the ones at Ippudo (better & cheaper than Mr Chang's) & my new alternative fav, Baohaus on the LES (I kid you not). Also in Flushing, a stall selling $1 Peking Duck Buns!!! (If before it's not incentive enough). When I saw Casey use a small paring/utility knife to "carve" out the nails -- instead of using a cleaver to hack them off quickly, I knew she's done for. Sad. She's my eye-candy. Hmmm... anyway..........Oh yes, I've eaten turtle, it's like a cross in between fish & chicken meat & the best bits are the gelatine chewy bits of cartilage & fat that are meant to be good for complexion. There is little flavour in the meat itself, much like white fish or chicken breast. The Chinese eat only the small turtles & mostly for medicinal purposes, in soups. This in turn inspired L.Carroll's Alice in Wonderland's Mock Turtle Soup, that was reinvented by Heston Blumental in the Fat Duck. If soft chewy texture isn't your thing, try monitor lizard soup. Like chicken but tastier :)

burnt toast
burnt toast

Following Top Chef AS on Facebook sucks... Following Top Chef AS on Twitter sucks... sigh... Bring back the Live Chat! So much enjoyment was had last season with that forum!!

Agree that when inedible was said and that an afternoon to eat one doomed Casey to PYKs for her chicken foot (feet?) So sad... Jaime dodges another bullet...

Congrats to Mike I. for his Quick Fire win, and the new car...

Please, please, bring back the Live Chat, Monica. And bring back JohnnieB and MattyB, too!

CTarbell
CTarbell

Top Chef-seriously Casey? True her dish this week was not good but she had to rely on someone else to complete it since she worked the front since they asked Jamie and she refused. So why was Jamie not the one sent home she had two bad dishes and she hasn't really cooked in the last two shows. She is an attitudinal, argumentative whiner. Really, if Jamie makes it again next week I think I may be done with the show.