Team Top Chef

Bravotv.com's Senior Editor isn't happy with Mike Isabella's behavior.

Feb 24, 20110

Padma introduces everyone to Paula Deen, the Queen of Butter. I don't know that I've ever watched a complete episode of Paula's show. My arteries are so clogged after watching Guy Fieri, that I think Deen's show would put me over the edge. I obviously know what she's all about, though, and you know what? I can get down with it. I probably eat way more fried food than I should. And, although Padma once said that a toe would taste good fried, apparently some things just taste better. And so the chefs were asked to create fried dishes.

The chefs fry everything from avocadoes to mayo (which I want to try.) In the end, Mike Isabella wins with his fried chicken oyster. And herein lies my anger. The minute Mike started explaining to the camera his plan, I thought to myself, "That sure sounds like something Richard would make." I'm not saying Mike isn't creative, but the entire play on words concept sounded like Richard. And sure enough, the dish was straight out of Richard's idea book. Should Richard be showing his book to others? No. Did Mike execute the dish well, whether he saw a picture of it or not? Yes. Was what Mike did -- as Top Chef Kevin Sbraga might say -- totally grimey? Yes. I'm sure we'll be divided on this, but the whole scene left a bad taste in my mouth.

After I virtually consoled Richard and we both picked up the pieces of our broken hearts at Mike's culinary betrayal, we moved on to the Elimination Challenge, where the chefs would cook for a Gulf coast charity event hosted by Paula and chef John Besh. I won't go on and on about Besh and the amazing meal I had at Restaurant August two years ago, but if you find yourself in New Orleans, and want at least one fine dining experience while you're there, try August.

101 comments
WarwickLady
WarwickLady

I totally agree with your comments.....but sadly she got a raw deal. I still love her and know she will do well where ever she may go......

mons
mons

i`ve read all the comments here and honestly i wasnt able to see the episode when they sent Dale home. its sad to know that they eliminate a very very talented chef..im proud of him though, he won 30k before he left..and i am proud of him as a filipino coz i am a filipino as well...go pinoy!!! goodluck on your career Dale..keep up the good cooking..

Debster
Debster

I agree with you 110 percent. Angelo and, especially Dale (both have such passion for food), should definitely have gotten a lot farther than Tiffany. She hasn't won a thing! I feel that the show is more interested in getting another woman to win for the optics. I might be through with this show if that's the case too.

ViewerRose
ViewerRose

I absolutely agree! I can't believe Tiffiny and Mike are still on the show. When I think of the title of "Top Chef", I think the person who holds that title should be someone who is inspiring, someone with respect and honor. Mike Isabella, please, he is a low down, cut throat, jerk and Tiffiny has just been playing it safe. If Richard doesn't win, why bother watching, they should rename it " The So-So Chef"!

Mz T
Mz T

I'm not sure if the chefs read these blogs or not, but I want to send a shout out to Antonia as she is my favorite chef of the All Star season and of her season.

Antonia, the reason I think you should be Top Chef is because in my opinion I think being a Top Chef is more than making good food and being able to deliver under tremendous pressures and challenges. Being a Top Chef means having integrity, taking the good with the bad as well as cooking amazing food that pleases the palete's of your guests. You have always had a tremendous attitude, you work well with others, you stand behind your dishes with integtiry and you have nevr thrown a fellow chef under the bus to get ahead or to climb to the top. That is why I thought Stephanie deserved to be Top Chef when I found out she won her episode and that is why I think you deserve to be Top Chef for the All Stars. You are everything a Top Chef is and I am rooting for you to win!

Toni H.
Toni H.

I don't think anyone thought Blais was robbed of the season win from Stephanie, he said himself he bombed it!

topcatherndon
topcatherndon

Why should Richard win? When I think about the prospect of dining out and experiencing great chefs and great food, I certainly wouldn't look up Richard. I want food that is "straight up yummy," not over-conceptualized, like his tuna with fried chicken skin in a tin. Richard may be clever, but he's usually not making the kind of food I want to sink my teeth into. My money is on Antonia!

And once and for all, Stephanie won her season fair and square. She was awesome. Richard needs to quit saying he choked, as if it should have been him. What an ego.

b3nelly
b3nelly

I have watched every season of Top Chef and this season ridiculous! To see Dale and Angelo cut and Tiffany and Mike still on the show is crazy. They are always at the bottom, when Dale and Angelo were at the top a NUMBER of times. What is wrong with this show this season?

If Richard doesn't get to the finals and win, I'm done with this show.. why watch a show where they get rid of the good chefs and keep the bad ones?

Regards, Brad

Jannette Boston, MA
Jannette Boston, MA

Honestly, Richard is the best chef on that show and was the best chef on his season as well.

It appears Richard is going to be robbed again because they are going to let a girl win again, that is the only reason Richard didn't win and that is why he isn't going to win this season.

The only good chefs left in the finale are Richard and Antonia. Tiffany should have been gone long ago and Mike Isabella just baffles me that he's still around.

Housewives Junkie
Housewives Junkie

I totally agree with Dale going home. He is way too arogant for me and I don't like his attitude in the kitchen. He'd resort or stoop to anything to win the competition. His ethics and manner in the kitchen cannot compare in any way to those featured on Top Chef Masters. Those chefs truly know how to respect everything that they work with or compete against. Dale is cut-throat and I'm glad he went home. It's just too bad he left AFTER winning the challenges the prior week---come on, $25k for tomato soup and grilled cheese?!

I'm for Carla all the way!! GO GIRL

Morgaine Swann
Morgaine Swann

Dale should have been sent home after the dim sum challenge. I won't miss him at all.

Mike Isabella's behavior was extremely unethical, and he should have been sanctioned for it in some way. I can't stand that guy and I hope he goes next.

Finally, let me say that I hope Richard Blais loses. I'm sick of the way everyone assumes that it's his to lose, and I resent the constant implication that he was somehow robbed by Stephanie's win. I picked Stephanie as the winner in the first episode her season. She's a talented chef and I'd like to know why we never see her on the show as we do other winners?

I'd much rather see Carla or Antonia take the title home this time.

Elaine Michelson
Elaine Michelson

I was really upset at Pea-gate last season, and now, oyster-gate. Mike Isabella should be done already.

DC Food Fan
DC Food Fan

Top Chef has been big fun this season. That challenges have been interesting and entertaining. But let's be honest, the judging has been off center. If this is a competition based on the best chef, it should factor in overall performance and offer an even playing field. All food should be tasted at the same time not after some has been sitting around while the judges take their time. Chef's should be honest and cleaniness should be factored in. No mater who win (Carla!!!) it been good TV.

 TCFan SF
TCFan SF

Mike I has been acting like the godfather for the past few weeks. He was basically ordering Angelo to go get things at Target. Too lazy I guess. He's not a creative chef at all and to steal a concept that had BLAIS written all over it was SCUMMY!!

I hope he goes home soon.

sheri wine
sheri wine

THERE IS AN UNDERSTOOD PROTOCOL WITH CHEFS. ISABELLA NEEDS TO BE ELIMINATED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE DUE TO THE OUTRAGE OF VIEWERS WHO FIND HIM UNBEARABLE TO WATCH.

Thousandairess
Thousandairess

I'm not a fan of Dale's so it's fine by me that he was eliminated. Tom C. keeps saying that, at this level of competition, just one bad dish can send you home. Oh well- bye Dale, bye Angelo...

Mike's move was pretty scummy. Can you imagine the uproar that stolen dish won the elimination round and sent Richard home?! This would be worse than 'pea-gate' from the last season.

Great season so far- I love the All Stars aspect and loved, loved, loved the Muppets as guest judges last week!

Kellygirl1969
Kellygirl1969

I became a huge Dale fan and hope he reads this and picked up my support along the way. He seems like a great guy! Good luck with your future endeavors and your girlfriend is one lucky girl...

bbwchatt
bbwchatt

Mike - I hope that stealing really doesn't pay in the long run!!! How embarrassing for his family to have him show that he has absolutely no class/integrity on television for the world to see!!!

TMR
TMR

While Richard may have shown a lapse of judgment with respect to his recipe, Mike showed an incredible lapse of personal and professional ethics. His attitude in response to Richard's made his actions all the more insulting. Whatever, whatever!

Jenn5500
Jenn5500

Monica,

This is my first comment on the Blog. While I may not be adding anything new, I want to contribute by saying that this week’s elimination just further convinced me that the show's judging criteria needs to change to some extent. The last two weeks saw two of the most talented and creative chefs be eliminated - Angelo and Dale. Dale had 7 wins and 2 highs! Under different challenges, constraints, and pressure, Dale managed to rise to the top on nine challenges, which only proves that he truly is a talented chef. Why doesn’t that count for something?? It should! Instead, we are left with one and maybe two real contenders and a few chefs that are good or unremarkable. This doesn’t make sense. The title of Top Chef should go to the most consistent, talented chef and the finale should have the three most talented, not ones that cannot stand out in the crowd week after week. Please consider ask the producers to change the show's evaluation criteria to allow the Judges to consider, if not to a limited extent, the Chef’s overall performance when they are up for elimination. There win/loss records would not be construed as subjective. I think this approach should help us keep the more talented chef for at least another week and not penalize them for having one bad day.

Thanks, Jenn

jp from Texas
jp from Texas

Hi Monica,

Love,love,love your blogs! Don't know if Dale reads these, but just wanted him to know how sad I was to see him go. He really has done a tremendous job in changing how he expresses his anger. Wish him nothing but success!

I look forward to reading your blogs only second to watching TC!

Thank you!!!

aimee just
aimee just

I was sad to see dale go... tiffany has not even won anything! Wouldn't it be more exciting if the top contestants can give the judges a real hard time deciding on a winner because they are ALL good? They shouldn't have eliminated Dale because it would have been the best TOP CHEF finale ever!

PaoloS
PaoloS

Definitely disappointed to see Dale go. He had the most wins among the cheftestants. This only shows how strong he is this season. It would have been awesome if the final four was composed of Dale, Richard, Angelo, and Antonia. It would have been a real culinary battle. Instead we still have Tiffany (perennial bottom 3) and Mike (a cheater). Even Karla, whom I like a lot, is not as good as the four that I mentioned. Very, very disappointed.

Martimar
Martimar

In response to everyone stating Richard was dumb for sharing, that's the kind of guy he is. He is overly helpful to a fault. Sadly, that episode was a good showing of that fault, but I would hate to see his helpful attitude change because of it. Hopefully, he just won't be so helpful to Mike (or Marcel 2.0). I don't believe the remaining chefs would do that, fortunately.

Also, when I watch the episode, I didn't see Richard hand Mike the book. I saw Mike pickup the book while Richard was writing in his other one. Mike opened it and asked. At that point, Richard was his helpful self, and then you all know what happened next.

JHaspels
JHaspels

This is a competition people. Richard was dumb to show his ideas to anybody but I'm thinking he was showing off and pride always goes before a fall.

I'm thinking Dale's loss was some karma for only putting out 11 dishes in the dim sum challenge when he was supposed to be helping to feed all those customers. Instead, he chose to sit back and let everybody else pull on the ropes and only made dishes for the judges. This time, there was no place to hide. He had to help feed 300 people and couldn't cut it. It was interesting that the judges came later to his table when his food wasn't at it's best. He had to feed the customers first this time. I hear the karma gods LOL. Maybe they'll strike Isabella next for being so scummy.

theelectricgypsy
theelectricgypsy

Although I understand that the competition is not cumulative, it still sucks when you have a chef that has won the most quickfire challenges as well as eliminations (sometimes with both on the same show!) as the one going home! Tiffany has done just enough to her by and has been on the bottom many times....ONLY surviving because she had a dish slightly better than the one that went home. She hasn't won a single challenge yet. Yes, I understand how the judging goes, but to me, a chef that barely gets by is NOT a TOP CHEF and this judging makes it possible for that to happen. Maybe she name of the show should be changed to "Top Mediocre Chef"?

Ricky Johnson
Ricky Johnson

Just about everyone here seems to forget that, had it not been for the fact that she forgot to prep 2 plates, it was Antonia and not Richard that would have won the quick fire. As for Dale, he may be a very good chef but he is still insufferably arrogant. I'm not going to miss him much.

Sophia K
Sophia K

Bleezy - I do believe that the ratings are important, but if that really was the underlying motive, the plan has failed spectacularly. What keeps people "on edge" and "coming back" is the prospect of a wildly fierce, unpredictable competition. I want to see the chefs consistently outdoing themselves and raising the bar from week to week. The reason this year's Super Bowl was so great was because the teams were so evenly matched, nobody knew who was going to win. It was back and forth all the way to the last play - not unlike the Voltaggio brothers in arguably the most talented season.

Meanwhile, we're all at home mourning the loss of what had the potential to be a show-stopping finale. And what a shame - I was salivating to see Dale pull out all the stops for his final course. All-Star Less-Angry Dale has probably grown the most since his original TC season, and it would have been a pleasure to watch him be unleashed without any requirements other than to cook the best meal of his life.

*sigh* Oh well. I guess we can still look forward to more tricks with nitrogen, some comfort food, and watching Mike act like a petulant 4th grader.

Darth_Johnnie_Walker
Darth_Johnnie_Walker

Its just so unfair to see a chef that is being constant this season like DALE to go home, I really think TIFFANY who is really under-achieving this season should have been the one who should go.. We PINOYS are celebrating a very special holiday in our country right now but Top Chef broke our hearts last night, our boy was robbed ..!!! DALE TALDE proved that we PINOYS are not just good at boxing but we can cook good food too.. I really was hoping for a season 4 showdown on the top 3 but it won't be happening anymore.. I hope they give us justice by making TIFFANY and MIKE leave and RICHARD winning it all..

T.
T.

I am so sad that Dale is gone. I didn't like him in his season nor when he was on Top Chef Master for a few brief minutes, but he reincarnated into an entirely new person. I grew to like him more and more each day. Why, oh why did the judges have to eliminate him? I like Tiffany, but she has done nothing that would measure up to Dale. Can we have a re-do of this season?

Jenn5500
Jenn5500

I agree with some of the posters here. Last night's Elimination really was Very disappointing! Dale, who is was one of the most talented chefs this season, was sent home. Last week, we lost another exceptional chef, Angelo. Dale had the highest QF/EC win record and Angelo was doing very well also. (Yes, a couple of others have good records too, namely Richard and Carla.) As someone stated earlier, every talented Chef can have a bad day on occasion.

It just does not seem fair to see less talented chefs with unremarkable performance records still in the running for the title of "Top Chef". They are not at the level to deserve such a title, at least not this season. Winning this title is an honor to be proud of and should go to the shows the most talent consistently, not a chef that had a good day (with or without other chef's suggestions)!

This episode as well as a couple in earlier years prove that the evaluation criteria isn't working very well and needs to be changed. I would like to see the Judges consider the Cheftestant's win/loss records to a limited degree in their evaluation of who is eliminated each week. This approach could help us keep a more talented chef on the show for at least another week over one that has not been able to distinguish themselves week after week, after week. Please consider this!

DMM
DMM

Not his concept!! What he did was underhanded and backstabbing. No one should trust this guy ever again. Carla, Tiffany, Richard, Antonia, watch your backs!!

real atl housewife
real atl housewife

Mike is scummy and annoying. He or Tiffany should have been sent home. I can't believe they're still around and Fabio, Angelo and Dale(!) are gone. Unbelievable, but I do respect the judges, and you have to have confidence in them since they actually taste the food.

Paula was delightful - I love her. Would have loved to taste Antonio's dish. Hopefully, Mike will get what he deserves next week. At this point, it should be Blais & Antonia in the final.

kmcva
kmcva

Richard's dishes won both QF and EC. Mike was just a sous chef executing Richard's idea. RIchard has been generous about helping chefs like telling them how to use a kitchen tool or cooking technique, but this was about Mike STEALING an IDEA for a challenge. And Mike getting annoyed that Richard was annoyed - I expect a better sense of dignity from my teenage boys.

Mike won $5000, but lost the audience's respect. I hope he feels it was worth the cost. I think he sold himself cheap.

SophiaK
SophiaK

Is there any loophole/technicality rule that would disqualify Mike from the competition? And would allow us to bring back Dale? Because seriously... I thought Dale had the talent to give Blais a run for his money.

Unmatchable cooking prowess aside, the show is quickly losing its entertainment value. Naturally it would take a hit when Fabio left. But Dale's one-liners were comic gold.

June M Siman
June M Siman

I am soooo disappointed by Mike Isabella's behavior, I alomost didn't have enough emotions left to mourn Dale's leaving. I would think a Top Chef would be above plagarism. The sad thing is that even his shrimp dish benefitted by Tiffany's suggestion that he coat the shrimp with grits n keep the potatoes simple. I really am heart broken over this, and I'm not sure I care to watch top chef anymore. If something isn't said or done by Bravo to correct this taint that Mike has put on the show, I don't think I'll be able to remain a fan in good conscience.

Carla Fan
Carla Fan

Mike should have gone for not having a original idea of his own. He is the lowest of the low. And to steal from Richard who has been there to help everyone. Not cool!!!

Jenica
Jenica

I was SHOCKED that they let Dale go. Tiffany should have been the one to leave...she's been consistently bad and Dale's been in the winner's circle numerous times. I can't stand Mike. He's so fake and apparently can't come up with any good ideas of his own. Hope he goes next!

Bleezy
Bleezy

It's all about ratings guys! They have to keep us on edge to keep us coming back! I love cooking and am benefiting from seeing some of our best chefs prepare dishes I never dreamed of trying. We have our opinions as to who should go and who should say but in the end, we will not be the one's making that decision. Been watching since Top Chef first began. I'm enjoying the entertainment and learning new techniques!

FabioFan
FabioFan

I have never posted on this board either - but I have to admit after last night I'm not sure I can continue watching either. I too do not understand how BOTH Dales, Fabio and Angelo have all been sent home while both Tiffany (who I like) and Mike (who I can't stand - even before tonight) are still left in the competition.

I know the whole blah, blah, blah about how it's all based on one challenge and nothing before counts but that just seems ridiculous - more so now than it EVER has in the past.

I was looking SOOO forward to this season and now it all just seems so disappointing!!

Patricia    Sixsmith
Patricia Sixsmith

Maybe our Judges should look a little bit closer at our Contestants !!! Angelo and Fabio were too trusting in the kitchen !!!!

chunks
chunks

Although Mike Isabella may be a decent chef, this episode showed that he is definitely a person of poor character. I'm sure after the show is over he will acknowledge that what he did was wrong because of all the backlash he's been getting about being "inspired" by Richard's idea but regardless his true nature was exposed in this episode. It may seem unfair to judge him on this one particular case, but throughout the season he has shown some poor taste and character as a person with this last episode being the straw that broke the camel's back.

I definitely understand the reasoning behind Dale being sent home since his dish was the worst of all the chefs but it doesn't mean I'm not a little upset with it. He has obviously proven that he was one of the more talented chefs that were left in the competition and now with him being sent home the show seems to have lost a lot of appeal to me knowing that the best chefs will not be particpating in the finale. It sucks that one bad dish can send you home but it sucks even more having chefs that have consistently been in the bottom still in the running to win it all. Dale and even Angelo were obviously so much better than some of the remaining chefs (Mike, Tiffany, Carla) that unless Richard wins the whole thing, this season's top chef will seem like a joke.

screswell
screswell

The premise of this show is that the chef that cooks the best tasting dish each week is the one who wins and the chef that cooks the worst tasting dish each week goes home. Since we viewers can not taste the dishes we have to trust the judges not to base their decisions on a personalities. I hated to see Dale go, but if the dish was bad, that is the game he's playing. As for Mike, I remember Marcel's last meal during his season. Sam saved the day for him. Marcel did admit it, but it appeared to be a hard thing for him to do, but he DID admit it, and for that he gets a few more points than Mike. I know the film editors are shaping our opinions, but that is part of what makes the show.

andy boy
andy boy

While it's not right to steal from Richard's notebook, it's not illegal. Blaise is dumb for showing his book to Isabella. Isabella is the villan, and so annoying. I think the prodecers are setting us up for a Blaise vs Isabella finale. Good vs evil theme. THis season is getting disappointing with so many good chefs eliminated, and poor chefs still remaining. Paula Dean queen of fatness.

gro
gro

I have loved and watched Top Chef since the beginning. But, I'm afraid I am through with it. Maybe Dale's dish wasn't the best, but surely no worse than Tiffany's and Carla's. He has won many challenges during this season and I thing the judges made a terrible decision to send him home. I will finish this season, but then I'm done. And I'm so sorry. It is one of the few reality shows that I believed had true integrity. Not so much anymore. This feels a lot like the last Project Runway. The wrong one is going to win and no one will know why. If Richard gets eliminated I won't even finish this season.

mprince
mprince

That look on Mike's face when he said he has to get rid of two more people made me want to take a baseball bat to my T.V. As I was saying last night, cockiness is a chef's biggest downfall. Just look at poor Dale! He thought he was riding high, and maybe didn't push as hard as he should have. such a talented chef.....but when you're too comfortable and too cocky, you're going to make a critical mistake and get sent home.

That being so, I hope Mike is the next to go.

And if Richard goes? I'm done with Top Chef.

Sherri M.
Sherri M.

Something is really wrong when a chef wins a challenge by default with someone else's recipe. Isabella needs to take responsibility for his words and actions and drop the ego. Isn't there some kind of Top Chef rule about stealing other chef's recipes? Personally, I think he should be asked to leave. Then the ultimate insult, the elimination of Dale who should have gone to the finale without a doubt. He is by far one of the most creative, grounded, focused chefs in the game. I credit him for getting a grip on his anger issues and holding his tongue even when little weasels like Marcel were coming down on him. We will miss you Dale!!

bostonlaura64
bostonlaura64

I can't say that I trust Mike after seeing him in action last night, but I think the comments are a bit much. He used Richard's idea, but that's it. Mike cooked the food and made it delicious. He won because his food tasted good, not because the idea was good. There's a big difference there. Most of the dishes all of the chefs prepare have been made before in some way by someone else. It's not as though Mike stole Richards perfectly measured recipe and perfectly planned preparation instructions. He stole an idea to serve the chicken oysters on an oyster shell. Chicken and oyster sauce is not new.