Team Top Chef

Bravotv.com's Senior Editor makes an embarrassing confession.

Dec 8, 20100

My little curators, I have a confession to make: I've seen Camp Rock. Both of them. And not ironically I might add. Sure, Nick Jonas won me over in the sequal, but Joe's dark features have always made him my favorite. Then, I find out he's a foodie?! And he answered my Burning Questions this week. So, basically Joe Jonas is perfect. There, I've said it!

The chefs, of course, barely had a clue who Joe is, but that's OK -- I'm sure he'll get over it. Joe kind of hilariously introduces this week's Quickfire Challenge telling the chefs that not only do they have to produce "midnight snacks" for kids staying overnight at the Museum of Natural History, but they have 30 seconds to do it. Oh Joe. The chefs seemed to believe him, which was the funniest part. (I swear that's my last Jonas gush for the rest of the blog.) Also amusing and a little bit sad actually was most of the chefs' disdain for children, although it didn't really surprise me.

As the chefs tried to figure out what to make, many of them scrambled for sugar, which Dale Talde seemed to be hoarding. Eh, I didn't think it was as big a deal as the other chefs seemed to think it was, but it certainly didn't make Dale any friends. Many of the dish choices seemed fairly odd to me. I actually think watcing Top Chef: Just Desserts helped me a lot with understanding what would be successful in this challenge because those chefs had to create bake sale items for children in one challenge. Although the All-Stars' dishes didn't have to be sweet, I could instantly tell which sweet creations might be sucessful with the children. And Tiffani's sounded like it would be. It just sounded like something Eric Wolitzsky might make on Desserts, and if you remember, Eric won the Bake Sale challenge with his crispy treat. Spike tied Tiffani for the win at first with his carrot chips and yogurt dipping sauce. I thought this dish was pretty brilliant. Thinking about it now, I probably would've made popcorn. Despite the obvious digestion issues with serving corn products, which maybe everyone would want to avoid, popcorn is pretty healthy, even with kettle-corn-like sugar additions. So the kids would get something sweet AND salty without being completely wired. I"m sure I would have won the challenge.

32 comments
Esol Esek
Esol Esek

If Jen had backed up a bit, and thrown miss two stiches under the bus for lousy eggs, she might've been able to stay. That lack of sleep is def murder on some people, but her total inabililty to accept criticism, and particularly her swearing on her way out the door showed a character with some serious defects. Apparently daddy's pressure to be number one has left Jen with a spoiled superiority complex which makes it impossible for her to get a clue.

I believe Tom when he said he was judging the food. He doesnt seem like a power-tripper to me. Boiled bacon ain't gonna win you any prizes. Tre could've gone down, but he stepped back. Jen lead her team as well, so that was also a factor. For her not to say anything about Jaime was a bit messed up and the judges could have sent Jaime home easily. That said, I think most of the early departures are not people who would go the distance. They may be good chefs, but they're not as adaptable as they imagine, while others on the show are. Simple as that. There's no reason why the judges would want to send home two popular females to start the show. It's really as much about luck as anything, when you're dealing with this kind of pressure, but clearly, many of these people are up to the challenge. You can almost go through the list and see who is going to go home the next few weeks, because they are simply weaker than others.

jenniprrr73
jenniprrr73

Keep in mind that this is a reality show and we only see what they want us to see.

Ellen Arco Jr.
Ellen Arco Jr.

Jamie should have gone home, I agree. She had absolutely and no team spirit and quite honestly, it was such a big competition to wuzz out with a little cut on a finger. Plus she never wore a glove when she came back to work?! How unsanitary was that? And then there were the frittatas that weren't cooked all the way. FDA would require all eggs and meat cooked all the way when served to children and old people. So rubbery pork versus uncooked eggs? The judges were obviously mostly taken aback by Jen's attitutude. But they certainly weren't being fair. The pork may be imperfect but not as dangerous as serving raw frittata!

TRS
TRS

Why???? I am upset that Jen when home too, but there was one person who did not cook anything at all and that was JAMIE.

OliveAnne
OliveAnne

All things were not equal for sure. I too thought that the meat group would still have flour, spices etc. I think they did the best job possible under the circumstances. I would not bet on anyone this time, since the first two who packed their knives were such a surprise to me. Keep blogging, I so enjoy your take on things. OliveAnne FloridaFan

DN
DN

Jen should have stayed and Tre should have gone home. The sauce was bad and he knew it.

Mainer-In-Exile
Mainer-In-Exile

Jen shouldn't have been eliminated. True, we can't taste or feel the food at home. And I like my eggs over-easy and my bacon limp, but that's me. I can't see the judges letting a non-competitor continue on the show. I've watched other cooking competitions where chefs deal with cutting themselves. It happens all the time in the kitchen. A 'two stitches' cut probably calls for a bandaid and a rubber glove. And why don't we get to see Top Chefs competing against Top Chefs in a quality setting? What's the big deal about having sleep-deprived chefs being given difficult ingredients and made to cook for children? Next week: preparing raw vegetables to serve at a nursing home? Let's see them do what they're good at.

yummy fan
yummy fan

I felt Jen's outbursts/attitude was probably largely due to sleep deprivation - some people really lose their grip without sleep and that otherwise seemed so out of character for her. It might have helped us viewers if someone clarified how long they had been up/going since starting the quickfire through judging ...

Kathryn Steele
Kathryn Steele

Something I would like to point out about the whole under-seasoned versus undercooked eggs: Not all of the frittatas were undercooked. I believe it was Tom who said his were good, and several of the guests said they liked it. So this was more of a problem with inconsistency. On the other hand, all of the judges and every single kid or parent they showed thought Jen's eggs were bland and the pork too soft or rubbery. I believe that was the difference that kept Tiffany and Antonia from being eliminated.

But when it comes right down to it, we don't know all of the circumstances and we didn't taste the food so we have no right to criticize the judges' choices.

Ed R
Ed R

First the concept of the all stars is such a great one, I think anyone who has followed the series over the years was looking forwards to a great competition. A very nice touch was the return of Cathie Lee the first season co host.

Once again however, unrealistic challenges here, relying on childrens' taste buds, celebrity judges outside of the culinary world, and sleep deprivation and a lack of showering has a big effect upon the contestants; the food quality and creativity and thus the quality of the show and its competition. Still remaining are the unrealistic cooking and prep times and are pointless if quality results count.

Given all this, It is so understandable that Jen was surly and contrary,and also that Tiffane and team Rex felt ripped off that their ingredients were so limited. This elimination challenge, even on a good full nights rest was stacked favoring team Bronto. Next the challenge was for a BREAKFAST, for the same kids and their parents. (again pleasing kids) By this criteria gnocchi doesnt qualify. But really how could this challenge have ever been fair to both teams?

Next, Jen's dish may have not been glamorous looking, (how could it?, due to lack of ingredients inherent to the challenge.) It may have been under-SEASONED, but it was edible and not potentially a health threat. Bacon may have been more traditional but the pork belly was cooked and in trend.Note that Jen ACTUALLY did do the prep work and create the dish. Clearly the team with the inedible dish deserved the axe more than Jen. Even the chef who realized his sauce had become too salty and had ruined the salmon dish and yet STILL served it had good reason to sent home.

Then again my vote was to send the person home who did not or could not compete or participate. She put extra pressure on all whether Jen denied it or not. Last season the judges were going to eliminate Angelo in the finals if he had not rallied from his illness. Where is the fairness or consistency?

Lastly the producers and judges need to realize a lot of the viewers are real foodies and take this on a serious level. And for the most part the competition and show reflect that. BUT there are many times the the comments made by the judges both at the dinner table and the judges table DO NOT reflect the results later. Examples are in this season the far more terrible things said about Stephen's and Fabio's plates and yet they didnt get sent home. Meanwhile some undercooked fish resulted in an exit. (Sushi does exist!) Another example of this was when Jen was eliminated before the finals several years ago. The judges comments were clearly critical of the brother who went on to win, while only favorable things were stated about the other three competitors. It was obvious that the judges or Bravo had decided that competition between the 2 brothers was more dramatic and Jen was eliminated without good reason. Either be consistent or edit better.

If you want to attract more of a "Jerry Springer," or "Housewives of _____", type of audience, continue with the drama, and inconsistency. But if you want to keep winning Emmys and maintain the audience that appreciates the food and technique and restaurant experience, limit the ridiculous challenges like desert BarBQ's, beach sand pit breakfasts, sleep deprived challenges in 45 minutes to one or two a year, then get back to some serious competition with your serious quality food, locations, judges and competitors.

RobinS.
RobinS.

wasn't going to respond until you asked. No Jenn did not deserve to go home. Jamie did. She did not complete the challenge. What were they thinking. If that was anyone else they would be gone. I would like one if not all of the judges to admit they screwed this one up. There is nothing wrong with making a mistake.

AtlViewer
AtlViewer

I think popcorn would've been a good idea Monica. Maybe the chefs didn't think it would've been complex enough?

Anyway, I think it's odd that the judges would be such sticklers to the rules in the first challenge - disqualifying Richard Blais' dish. Yet look the other way when Jamie didn't create her own dish. I think that should've disqualified her from the competition even if Jen made the worst dish.

And what's up with the chefs going on these rants when they lose?!? Plus the poor sportsmanship shown by Dale. Elia was way out of line with her comments after she got kicked out in week 1. Hopefully Jen won't say any more than what she said off camera right after leaving.

Ree1972
Ree1972

I think Jamie should have gone home. She didn't cook anything. In the realm of All-Stars, how can you keep a chef who wasn't participating. She had TWO stitches. It doesn't matter how bad Jen's dish was....at least she attempted to cook something to serve.

portucci
portucci

just wanted to mention.... the judges also said that Jen's food had an all over soft texture. I don't know about anyone else but soft bacon does not appeal to me. That being said, I personally think Jamie should have been the one to go home. She didn't even participate in the challenge.

ruanna
ruanna

Hee. I too love to watch and 'plot' what I'd cook. I'd have done a pistachio crusted chicken nugget with dip... Called it a dino meat strip, something like that. :D And yes, the 30 seconds quip was amusing. I was ready to be all 'pfft tween pop sensation', but he won me over with that. Regarding Jen... I think her behaviour can be explained (but not excused) by the fact that she's probably faced a fair bit of ribbing going into the competition again. The fact that she works for an ex-judge probably means her co-workers have egged her on, knowing that it's a guys world, maybe even the sort of 'don't bother coming back unless you win' kind of joke. Going back and telling them that she got eliminated second is rather embarrassing. So I do feel a little bad for her.

Wally Wal
Wally Wal

The comments about the eggs are a little silly. They said they were UNDERCOOKED not raw. Scrambled eggs and Frittatas are well cooked to a softer consistency and then continue to cook at the table from the retained heat. It is a matter of preference, the greater sin is to cook the eggs hard as a rock as if they were at a Vegas Buffet. And Tre botched the sauce which was in a ring around the salmon, again sounds bad but salvageable. Rubbery Pork Belly is inedible. It smells great got your mouth all watery thinking its nice crisp bacon and then... CLANG. What the hell is this S&&T ! Waited on line 25 minutes for this? I wonder whats on the fruit line. I'm telling thats what happened.

Layne
Layne

I don't disagree with the judging, I disagree with the idiotic CHALLENGE. Whoever had the brilliant idea (heavy heavy sarcasm) to set up the sneaky TRAP whereby whoever won the quickfire would be tricked into taking a TERRIBLE disadvantage, should be punched in the face, several times, and then fired. Seriously, in 8 seasons of Top Chef, this was the most I've ever seen the show descend into the realm of the typical trashy manipulative reality show.

BOTH teams got plenty of breakfast staples. Tom's claim that being denied bacon and eggs was a handicap to team Brontosaurus is ludicrous. Cereal grains, potatoes, fruit... these are just as much breakfast staples as eggs, dairy and meat. But to deny one team the use of herbs, citrus, oils, garnishes and so forth is insane!! To go one step further, making sure that the team who got that crippling disadvantage was the WINNER of the quickfire, by implying a "meat-eater breakfast vs vegan breakfast" choice and then pulling the rug out from under them with a big "gotcha!", just for the sake of having a "compelling twist" when the show airs, is just LOW. And it lowers the overall tone of the show, a show which I USED to think was better than other reality shows because of its integrity.

Well, how wrong I was. Top Chef was better than other similar shows (I'm thinking of one with the initials HK) because it stayed away from this sort of manufactured drama. But the producers have shown their true colors. It makes me sad, because Top Chef USED to be the one show that was about REAL chefs, and about the food. Now it's just going to be about who survives the minefield of stupid tricks and gimmicks. Pathetic.

Wally Wal
Wally Wal

Am I the only one who saw a Jen flame out coming from a mile away. Her spontaneous combustion over the last five weeks of season seven showed an inkling of a personality disorder. She went from confident Exec Chef ala Le Bernadine to Hot Dog Harry's in a flash. That she went all Hannibal Lecter this week was the culmination of a high strung personality finally pushing her over the edge, The only surprise is that it happened this early in the competition. I like Jen but she probably felt the aggressive route would make up for last time. By the way Pork belly braised for a few hours is no way edible at any time of day. Salty food especially a sauce is preferable to rubber meat any time. "Jen All-Stars" will have to wait for the next all-star show

livetocook
livetocook

gonna try this again...don't think the producers like me - ha!! here's the deal - i have seen ALL the seasons of TC from beginning to end. in all that time, i've never been more in agreement with the judges first 2 eliminations. self-absorbed, self-stimulated and self-admiring Jen - oh dear GOD, thank you that she's gone...along with stupid Elia, who didn't deserve to be on the show from square 1. yikes! i personally don't have favorites, or non-favorites, but if it was up to me, Stephen & Jamie would be the next ones gone. Jamie - grow a set, especially if you want the world to believe you're a lesbian. and Stephen, grow a set if you want the world to believe you have a pulse. that being said, the rest of the crew need to start acting like they want to be there. it looked like "amature hour" in this most recent episode. lots of talk, not a lot of end results. fabio - get tough, stop acting like an italian mob hit victim, 'kay? you also need to grow a set. tony bourdain, i love u!!! keep up the pressure.

ViewerR
ViewerR

This is the first time I have been upset with the Judging of all of the seasons of Top Chef. Like many have stated...how can bland food be worse than oversalted sauce, or undercooked eggs. It is clear, Jen's behavior is what caused the judges to eliminate her. I am shocked the judges of Top Chef would let her reaction to their critique cause them to give her the ax.

NC Fan
NC Fan

I am a Marcel fan, too. He's like a pocket-sized-Hugh-Jackman-wolverine-chef. I'm a married lady with two children (who have pretty great palettes, thank you!) ... but, I can look at the menu, right?

pmh
pmh

Shoulda, coulda, woulda

Should have been Jamie… if you use the argument would you go back to a restaurant who served you something bad vs. something good, I would add to that would you go back to a place that didn’t serve anything at all because the chef left! Since we don’t know the rules and the judges thinking, and especially since Jamie had a hand (pun intended) in the failed dish, why not here. Although I think Jen was cool to speak up, especially as a seasoned chef, she may have been the one to stay if she didn’t draw so much attention to herself. Jami was absent but also part of the dish. It seems sometimes when chefs defend a bad dish they maybe are sent home for not realizing it was bad.

Could have been the egg dish. However we don’t know how undercooked the eggs were. A really well cooked omelet (at least how I was taught) is not dry but still a little “wet”, not runny but not cooked beyond as Rachel Z might say. So without knowing the temp of the frittata’s nor how undercooked they were, not sure it was dangerous or something that could make you ill.

Would have been Tre or someone else if Jamie was there? Jen took on the work of two. It may be that Jamie would have told her it was rubbery as Casey said. We will never know. However Jen was dealt a bad hand but so goes top chef.

Best Season ever Team Top Chef… REALLY hoping with this group there are two Restaurant Wars, or we see the winners come back to judge and not just at the end. Agree with previous comments too that it would have been cool if there were an equal number of people per season, however that changes each week eh?

Montclair Chick
Montclair Chick

wait, MIhcelle things Jen's meltdown was 'alarming'? Oh yeah, right, that would be so out of line for a chef to have a meltdown, not like that happens in real life or anything, riiight.

livetocook
livetocook

For the first time in ALL the seasons of Top Chef (and I've seen them all!!) I'm so in agreement with the first 2 eliminations. Thank GOD both my least favorites are g-o-n-e gone. Jen C. has ridiculously large balls to yell at Collichio - are you cookoo??? And the ONLY reason Ripert stood up for her is cuz SHE'S ONE OF HIS CHEFS!!! What was he gonna do, really? And Elia never deserved to be in the All-Star season to begin with - Miss "I'm so good, I don't have to change my dish" - get a net. Shave your head again, cuz that was the most memorable thing you did in your season!! Buh-bye to you both.......now, Jamie and Steven need to go next. My dreams will be fulfilled, talentless & clueless!! (and yes, Jen, 2nd to last place DOES make you a loser - can't help smiling over that one!!)

Colleenita
Colleenita

The real shame is that no one involved in the production of an event at the American Museum of Natural History realized that there is no such thing as a brontosaurus, so having a team named that just makes those involved with the show look foolish. Yes, many of us grew up learning about a dinosaur called brontosaurus, but scientists realized some time between when I was a kid and now that the apatosaurus and brontosaurus are actually the same dinosaur, so the dinosaur whose bones are at the AMNH is called an apatosaurus. It says so at the museum. It does. I was there with my 3-year-old last month. Did no one bother to fact check that? Did no one at the museum point out that it isn't called a brontosaurus? Sheesh. Maybe when there are 9 chefs left, there will be a challenge in which each chef must represent one of the 9 planets, except... oops, there are only 8 now!

I bet many Jonas fans know it's called an apatosaurus.

Keeli
Keeli

The reason Jen went home was because she so vehemently defended a bad dish. The frittata team at least acknowledged a problem but Jen refused to do so. If she had accepted and agreed that her dish was not great she would still be there.

jeanneX
jeanneX

JEN DESERVED TO STAY!!!!!

The salty sauce, the undercooked frittatas, come on, folks, ..... We get assured: "No no one minded that Jen actually defended her food"...RIGHT! The judges must be panicked that their authority is being questioned. I loved seeing JEN tall and strong and defiant. The nitpicking they do to send someone home anyway is quite ridiculous.

michele0724
michele0724

We can't taste the food, but, based on the descriptions and lack of enthusiasm from the judges for her dish, I am confident that they got it right. Her meltdown and personality alteration was alarming. I kept remembering her hands shaking while serving the guests on the vegetarian challenge with Natalie Portman, and can recognize an unstable person, judging from her bizarre and maniacal behavior. She flew into a classic narcissistic rage. She's competing at an entirely new level with equally as accomplished chefs. This perception she has of herself as one of the most talented chefs in the world would be fine if she wasn't always inconsistent, at times, and mediocre to horrendous, in her original casting.

I think it's rewarding for the viewers to have started out this cool season by sending home the two most insufferably obnoxious contestants. Elia was so in love with herself that her unfounded self-worship is equaled only by the neurotic and possibly psychotic Jennifer. GOOD RIDDANCE! Pack your knives and go for good!

Both of them were utter twits. They couldn't have made themselves look worse if they tried, and made the season better by being the first two to go.

Montclair Chick
Montclair Chick

JEN WAS ROBBED. it was beyond obvious that undercooked eggs (salmonella city potential Emergency room visits) was a lot worse than some bland chopped eggs on slab bacon. Eric Ripert had Jen's back, stand-up guy.

spring
spring

Jen's elimination has ended my journey this season...there's something called too much drama, producers...just too much

Gilly521
Gilly521

well, I probably would have sent home one of the makers of the yucky biscuits, but Jen's looked awful, Unless she was going for pulled pork sandwich, it just looked really wet. if that makes sense, then put runny eggs on top with soup underneath, it did not look good, and if you were expecting some type of bacon and got that, I'd send her home too. But her attitude was nuts. Everyone gets called out for something sometime, Tre took it like a pro, she acted like a petulant child...maybe Jonas had that effect on her! She had no right to call out Jamie for sucking it up, when she couldn't...As for Jamie, it's not a gladiator contest, maybe she's a baby about cuts or pain, that's her right, let her take a mulligan and go on. P.s. LOVE LOVE LOVE the season, Bourdain and Miami-Dale is back! Bring on the laughs!!!!

Jenn O
Jenn O

I agree with Eric Ripert...while I understand the critique of Jennifer's dish, eating a frittatta with really undercooked or even raw eggs could make someone extremely ill! When you stack an underseasoned dish against an oversalted dish against a dish that has undercooked and/or raw eggs in it? No contest I believe! I'd rather eat something bland or oversalted than get salmonella poisoning anyday!