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Hello, my little wolverines! That was of course an ode to Marcel's Season 2 sideburned look. But before we get to my great loss, let's start with this week's exhilerating Quickfire. The chefs arrive at Le Bernardin, the restaurant I have the good fortune of schlepping a whole one block to every week to film Eric Ripert's amazing video blog. Tony Bourdain, Eric Ripert's dear frenemy (seriously, you have to read their Twitter banter; it's genius), was there to meet the chefs and introduce them to Justo, a man he says he devotes an entire chapter to in Medium Raw. I'd like to take this moment to interject and say that we're starting a bit of a foodie book club, and our first selection is Bourdain's Medium Raw, so go get the book, read it by February 14th, and follow @Bravotv for more details! We will do something fun and informative with Bourdain after we're all done reading.
Watching Justo butcher that fish literally gave me the chills. What a man, with such skill. I asked Chef Ripert where he found Justo and he said he stole him from the restaurant next door after it closed! What luck! I was actually nervous for our chefs fileting for Justo. While quite a few of the chefs did a good job, only four emerged on top. They went on to cook a Quickfire dish using the scraps, what most people might throw away from the fish, but this included the collar, which I've heard/read is considered by many chefs as the tastiest part of a fish. Dale feels very confident in this challenge because he grew up cooking this stuff, and sure enough, he wins. He's kind of killing it this season, isn't he?
As a reward for his win, Dale gets to choose the other team's leader in RESTAURANT WARS! (Cue epic music.) He chooses the one chef he can't fathom working successfully with, and that person is Marcel. A lot of you brought up a very good point in the comments about Marcel's behavior last week -- he was drunk. And, yeah, he probably was as he was swigging straight from a bottle of gin, but I'd like to think that at a certain age, drunkenness doesn't excuse bad behavior. And that's saying a lot coming from me becuase I pretty much defend Marcel against everything. Anyway, the lovely people at Magical Elves put together this hi-larious music video about Marcel's plight. Watch:
Oops! 'Guess I shouldn't have looked at this post, being on the west coast and still waiting for the episode to air! But, I didn't know what the blog was about. Well, it's actually a relief-- now I can watch and not worry about my fav's going home!
The reason the other chefs won't listen to Marcel is because he talks down to them. Nobody wants to listen to someone who's talking to them like they're an idiot, especially since they're all accomplished chefs in their own right.
Monica, can we cry on each other's shoulders about losing Marcel? You're the only one I know who seems to appreciate him the way I do. I really have to credit the Top Chef EPs for casting this All Stars series so well and giving us cheftestants to live and die for. I believe Marcel is a gastronomic genius, and he has come so far since Season 1 (what was he, 21 years old on that show?) -- I was really hoping this would be his redemption. He seemed to handle it quite well, which brings me to a question I've been wanting to ask for a while. Could you please explain the timeline of what happens to a cheftestant once he or she is eliminated? Clearly they get to 1) thank judges 2) say goodbye to fellow cheftestants and 3) pack their knives...but when do they do their final interviews? And what about the exit interviews on the Bravo web site, which appear to be shot with lower-grade cameras, and in a lesser kitchen -- when are those done? Thanks for your blog, it's very enlightening.
We are all glad that Marcel is gone. He was a troubled soul who needed help. He had no respect from his team.
But I would like to comment on the editing. I am so glad we don't view the scenes at the store...buying and shopping and hauling bags.
This was a pleasure to watch. We saw what mattered. Keep it up. Only problem now....there are no enemies...Jamie and Marcel added drama. The nine remaining chefs are mellow and quite sweet. I'm enjoying this season.
Did she really just write that she was distraught over Marcel leaving...all I can say is good riddens...now we can watch chefs battle that are not so full of themselves...I can not believe we were watching the same show!!!
Clearly, Tom doesn't like Marcel. It's difficult to do well when everyone is working against you. Mike and his humongous face should have gone home. Seriously, how can anyone be around him and still have an appetite, although that doesn't seem to be a problem for him (portion control, Mike). Marcel was right when he said you can't force people to things. Actually, Marcel shouldn't even be on this season because he was the rightful winner during his season.
Monica, can we cry on each other's shoulders about losing Marcel? You're the only one I've come across who seems to appreciate him the way I do. He is clearly so talented, and has changed so much since season one, and I thought All Stars might bring him redemption. Just as well, perhaps, that he bows out here, since if someone else had gone home this episode, his teammates would likely have blamed him and been even tougher on him on a personal level. Kudos to the Top Chef Executive Producers who cast this show so brilliantly, and gave us cheftestants we care so much about! Marcel, you're a genius. We'll miss you. Watching Marcel leave brings me to a question...Monica, could you please describe what actually happens when a cheftestant is eliminated? When they leave the stew room, where do they go? And how much time passes before the exit interviews on the web site are shot? It doesn't seem like they could be done on the same day of elimination...and who shoots them? I notice a different type of camera and less impressive kitchen background. Please enlighten. Thanks for your blog.
I enjoy your blog so much. You are informative yet funny. A great combination. Viewer01, what a rude comment.
How great you're doing a book club, and how really great that Medium Raw is first up! And no, I have no financial connection to the book. I have a little tidbit (ahem) for you. I read Medium Raw sometime around Thanksgiving, and in mid-December, I read a short story by Lauren Groff titled "Delicate Edible Birds" – the story was first published in the Spring 2009 Glimmer Train but I found it in Best American Short Stories 2010. Bourdain's introduction includes a meal that was extremely vivid, unique, and well described. Then this short story also described a similar meal, back in 1930's Montreal – which was included by the author because she read Francois Mitterand requested this particular meal (you'll get the details in Bourdain's book) on his deathbed. Bourdain's introduction, and his chapter about Justo Thomas, are the best parts of the book (well, except for the part where he slams The Food Network).
As for Marcel, I'm completely with you. His team didn't give him any chance at all. It was the non-violent version of pinning him down on the rug to shave his head. But he had something to do with that attitude, I think. I felt he wasn't given a fair shake in his season, but he's really done all he can to be a jerk this time around. I still suspect a producer whispered in his ear, "We need a bad boy, go all out, you know we love you and we'll keep putting you on every show and every webshow we produce…" But I could be wrong. Maybe he's just a jerk. And maybe he's like other kids who get bullied, he's turned into a jerk in reaction to the bullying.
marcel is delusional...in every interview he's done he's blaming others rather than taking responsibility for his own actions. the first comment i heard from a guest after they tasted his dish was 'it tasted like baby food'...another said 'it was too bland'...yet marcel yammers on that it was only the judges who didn't like his food? if he was worried about mike cooking his dish for the judges- should he not have done it himself? he didn't lead at all- he whined, and whined and yelled! loser...glad he's gone!
Marcel has always been my favorite chef and I am sad to see him leave. I won't be watching top chef any more. To me, Marcel is top chef. He is a creative chef and has an interesting personality. He is so unique.
I would like to know what kind of knife case Marcel uses. It looked awesome as he was packing up his knives to go.
Marcel is a culinary Vanilla Ice, ya’ll, spitting out mad rhymes, being all hip-hoppity when he’s getting his anger on, pumping his fist yo, going on gin fueled tirades (drinking from da bottle like he’s on tour), pointing fingers and getting up in faces like he’s articulating a Socratic point. He can cook fo show, making some caviar foam, but he’s a little lack –lustre on the other, like, necessary social skills one needs to get along with your fellow man. A little humility go along way. Peace.