Hello my little Muppet Babies. OK, i have a confession to make: Muppets scare me. Puppets in general, in fact. I've never seen Avenue Q, and I don't think I could. I do love Sesame Street, though, so I was giggling like a little kid watching this week's inspired Quickfire Challenge where the chefs had to create cookies for none other than the Cookie Monster! And Elmo! And Telly! Perhaps the two greatest moments were 1) Cookie Monster constantly interrupting Padma. Sorry Padma! and 2) When Padma tried to have a real "learning" moment, which seemed appropriate for Sesame Street, while explaining to the little monsters (no Gaga reference intended) that cinammon and cardamom are from the same place. Elmo says, "TMI." I almost died!
I was happily surprised at how much less the chefs bitched about creating sweets than usual. While the Muppets deemed Richard's cookie not really a cookie, I bet he was satisfied that his little girl got a shout-out from Elmo. I actually e-mailed him to let him know that that was, in fact, left in the episode, so I hope he DVR'd it and played it ever and over. I'm sure he scored some major daddy points for that! Dale, who seemed to be one of the more worried chefs in this challenge actually came out on top with a potato chip cookie. Not only have I eaten a potato chip cookie before, but it was made by our very own Richard Blais. The whole concept also reminded me of David Chang's compost cookie at Milk Bar, in that it just seemed like a bunch of stuff thrown together. Since it was sweet and salty, I would've loved it. Sooo Dale wins again.
The Elimination Challenge was pretty hard, I must say. The chefs had to take over a Target and create a dish for 100 employees. Ming Tsai and Thomas O'Brien were guest diners. Not only do I love guest judge Ming Tsai, but I was excited to see Thomas O'Brien too because I actually know his products. He has the most beautiful blue bathroom set that I once saw at the Flatbush Target in Brooklyn. Feel free to echo Elmo right now... "TMI!"
Anyway, the chefs not only had to cook for 300 Tar-jay workers (Yes, Carla that's what I call it), but also had to set up their own stations. I'm not saying this because Target sponsored this challenge but I love Target. I love every section, including their clothing. (Merona, anyone?) The chefs had a decision to make: either pick out their appliances based on what they think they might be able to make, or choose the ingredients first. It seemed most did the former, pillaging for as many electric griddles as they could. Everyone actually seemed to get their bearings except Carla, who ws a little too pre-occupied with her decor. And although Carla didn't go home, the chefs nor the diners were not pleased with her sauce/soup. She very easily could've gone home, but, alas, it was not her time. It was Angelo's.
Do anyone think that Angelo was sacrificed because it would had been to hard for the judges to pick a winner, if it was between Dale, Richard and Angelo? That would had been great tv, to see the 3 of them at the end. Dale is creative, Richard-futuristic, and Angelo-technician.
Super bummed. My interest in this show has dropped 80% . Which, if you do any sort of math, is a lot.
Todays letter is S boys and girls! S as in SALT....can you spell SALT? That's right, it's spelled D-A-L-E... got really LUCKY last week. He got to stay for his inedible salty sandwich, but not Angelo. Apparently, over salting is the #1 offending sin, depending on when you're watching. I agree, it is the offense that can ruin a dish, yet Dale gets to stay after committing this supreme mistake? Consistency is not a theme in judging for season 8.
Remember that FABIO lost to DALE's salt lick sandwich last week for....a burger that some diners actually liked a lot? That's right. Watch last weeks show again. The first comment about Fabio's burger was "That's a great burger!" uttered by Jimmy Fallon's wing-man. Jimmy replied "You think so?" And that pretty much shut down any more positive comments, with everyone 'YES MANning Jimmy's opinion that it tasted like meatloaf. Really, I thought the ensuing amount of starry eyed for the late night host a** kissing was an embarrassment. The opinion was not unanimous that the burger wasn't tasty...not by a long shot. But it WAS unanimous that Dale's sandwich was too salty to eat!
I'm beginning to think Tom was jealous of Fabio's popularity as the charming and totally Italian-Stallioness. I call BS and scream SALT!!! And is Dale obnoxious or what? I hope he doesn't make the finale. Personally, I'm rooting for Antonia, Carla and Richard. I think Antonia is the best chef, and funny and nice too.
I think I am somewhere in between bummed and the way Mike Isabella felt upon hearing Angelo was eliminated. I've been waiting all season to see the Professor and el Sosa, and whomever, sqaure off in the finale. And like so many fans before me, I am now filled with disappointment that my favorite chef won't get to really cook THEIR food for the title. I have a bit I want to say about it, but I'll try to keep it within reason.
Despite being a little bit weird at times, he is clearly both compassionate and professional, even if he was perceived differently by some at first. More importantly, I believe Angelo is far and away the most creative when it comes to developing flavor, not just doing mostly traditional comfort food, albeit well-executed, which appears to be what the judges are most looking to reward. This has become one of my biggest complaints this season. The "This is Top Chef, not Top fill-in-the-blank" device has been used ad nauseam, but this is not Top Home Cook, Top Staff Meal, Top Late Night Drunk Food, etc. Of course it basically comes down to how good it tastes, but isn't it also about the food being restaurant quality and creative? Isn't that what a chef does? It seems the judges are looking more for the kind of food they remember from their youth, than food they would necessarily serve in "their" restaurants.
I realize this is basically just a game show, filled to the brim with product placement. I fully understand I don't get to taste the food, and I never have a problem with the judges' decisions as long as they adequately explain their reasoning, even when it doesn't go the way I'd like. I also think this is still the best-judged cooking competition on television, but the most common complaints others have - inconsistent judging and weak challenges - may be, IMO, gaining in merit. Being oversalted clearly is, and has been, grounds for elimination, and as Gail wisely stated in her blog, it is a question of degree when it comes to the mistake(s) that send someone home. But I think it's interesting how last week Jimmy said that Dale's philly was difficult to eat more than a couple bites of, and the Angelo gets sent home for the same thing this week. I am left wondering if I would rather have a couple bites to a half bowl of a salty potato soup, which is at least a complete dish, or a seemingly bland Apple Curry sauce (not that I want to offend Carla fans). I am glad Monica challenged the "too heavy" criticism, as I think the judges don't get called out enough when they make a ridiculous comment. I still remember some of the things said in the ballpark challenge last season. As for the weak challenges, it's a good thing to get the chefs outside their comfort zone. Of course the four restaurants, the Dim Sum, and the Rao's challenges, among others, were great and made good use of being in NYC. But come on, Target??? I'm sure they made it worth your while, but come on. Why not save that one for Top Chef Wichita, or Top Chef Boise? I guess if I were a conspiracy theorist, I might think this was the perfect time to take out Angelo to preserve the apparent (producers') dream finale of the Professor, Angry Dale, and Carla (or maybe MaryJane Antonia will slip in, as long as the 2 male, 1 female ratio is preserved). Finally (that's what you're saying, right?), I love Bourdain - his show got me interested again in excellent, diverse cuisine, and I enjoyed reading his book - but I disagree that Angelo checked out when he saw the Muppets. Again, come on. He wasn't expecting to win the Quickfire, and he put full effort into the Elimination. He unfortunately just didn't show up to his level, which was judged to be enough to send him packing. Peace.
It's now a foregone conclusion that Blais will be the winner if he starts 'LISTENING' to these final challenges. My observations now revolve around why Bravo's website reveal the gorgeous Padma being the SAME height as Don Tom C when we ALL KNOW that he's a good head shorter than her! WTF - is it Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman redux? Vis a Vis Tony's baby blue sweater worn on camera? It's all part of the new Senor Bourdain as he morphs even further into the role of Papa...ever notice when celebs start having kids and grandkids how their onscreen buds become Elmo, Thomas the Tank Engine (Carlin, Bloviator Baldwin, et al?) Now that Bourdain and Padma have become parents to their OWN babies, the die is cast. LOVED the muppets and the flying cookies - it blunted the 'yuckiness' of their wanton ink from their yesteryears !! Love the show - always have!
No one thinks to use Halvah? They're missing the boat by dissing this wondrous confection made (according to Brooklyn legend), by turban-wearing, robust and ferocious fellows from the Tigris and Euphrates: men who brutalize sesame seeds into submission until they give up their exoskeletons thus morphing into revealing a textural, fibrous plank of sweet protein just WAITING for a cheftestant's genius. Sadly - not a single one has picked up the gauntlet.
lisa - I did the ironed grilled cheese in college, too! Who among us did NOT? Only in my day it was done with tin-foil on the ironing board with Thomas' Wheat Bread, thin sliced from the local Gristede's. It was the MOST wonderful sandwich EVER to grace my palate (then a mere 18 years of age)! Why did the look upon Dale's use of irons with such amazement?
Sometimes the worst dish is the worst because it was over-salted, sometimes, over-salting is NOT the worst culinary sin committed in a particular challenge. At least, that is what Tom Coliccio says, and I agree.
Glad to see Angelo go - I don't dislike him as much as I did Marcel (if you take any encyclopedia, and look up "poisonous little toad," you will find Marcel's picture there), but I consider Angelo very devious, not above small, subtle, sabotage. I prefer much those chefs who combine talent and accomplishment with some genuine grace of character - i.e., Carla, Antonia, Richard Blais, who helps everyone (without helping them out the door, like Angelo).
Of course, some may not care as much about such things. YVMV.
Thank you!!!!! I'm still seething that Fabio went home last week. How many chefs this season have been sent home for OVER SALTING???? I like dale....he's grown on me but this inconsistancy is getting to be a frustration to sit through. Hootie hoo, Antonia and Richard and right now I just keep flip flopping between my favorites of the three. LOL
I really impressed myself by making a stew with a can of mackerel in a zucchini, yellow squash and tomato stew served over brown rice...My friend had gotten the mackerel and wanted me to try it...Honestly, it was a really great dish that warmed up our cold WI night...
I knew Angelo was going home as soon as I heard the word "inedible". That's the kiss of death on Top Chef. (Up until then I thought Tiffany was going home.)
For those complaining about inconsistent judging, it sounds like Dale's food last week was still edible, just after a while the salt started to overwhelm. But this week, Tom said he couldn't even eat more than a bite of Angelo's soup. That's *really* salty.
First they take away Fabio and now Angelo. I agree that the inconsistancy of sending someone home for too much salt this week and not last week leaves me a little ticked off. Inedible is inedible but there are worse things than too much salt. Overseasoning with cheap dry commercial herbs seems pretty bad too. I didn't see anyone jumping to get a second bite of Tiffany's dish either. Even she was ready to go over that.
Angelo is one of those people who always seems like they're lying about their achievements and skills, and then it turns out they're not. He sure won a lot of challenges, so he must be talented. Would love to have tasted some of his dishes. Maybe someday!
Loved your blog this week. Loved the Anthony sweater reference. I actually liked seeing Kevin in the Tar-jay ads. Shout out to Woodfire Grill! Really this whole eppy was just fun and I loved it. Was priceless to watch Elmo call Antonia's cookies cow paties...and then her reaction is was just as enjoyable. Watching Carla freak out around the store made me nervous. She's so lucky she got to stay. And I can't believe I would live to see the day that Angelo would become Mike's "B". Weird and ultimately it sent him home. Didn't get to taste the food but feel like Antonia got robbed...who pulls of that many perfect eggs at 3 in the morning??? Impressive to say the least. She just keeps delivering week after week. And at the end Richard proved that he can cook without all the flash and special effects he loves to do. Just wondering at the ending for the last two weeks no three weeks??? Too Salt or not too Salt???
Oh forgot to add...that was a cool shout out to Richard's potato chip cookie...I kind of have a bias for Blais too!
Sorry but I'm watching now with my computer and just watching Tiffany break down brought a little tear to my heart. They are all so stressed and tired...
Which Target was it filmed at? It seemed to take them a long time to get there-- was it in Long Island?
Although I love Carla and have a hometown rooting interest in Tiffany I am more and more a Dale Guy. Dale has toned down his anger issues and consistently made great inventive and creative food. He overcame his butterscotch scallops, nailed the Dim Sum and has been right on the mark in meeting the criteria and spirit of many of the challenges. I am now rooting for Dale to go all the way and would love to see a Carla, Dale, Antonia final. Richard Blais is overthinking things and i just don't think he is loose enough to win it all.
As for salt issues there is too salty and then there is too salty to eat. Angelo, after competing in back to back Top Chefs looked exhausted. Tiffany is also starting to look a little bit haggard and I can't imagine the stress of months away from home and hearth, the crazy challenges and the pressure. If you read the blogs and watch the extended judges table there is a measure of consistency in the judging and Dale's cheese steak was a little too salty but edible. Fabio's burger failed on a number of points one of which was to create a burger with fries on it. I love Fabio but he made a flat meatball with fries on the side.
I rooted for Richard during his season (although I was an equally enthusiastic Stephanie fan and was thrilled when she won). From episode one of this season, he lost me with his comments about his season being remembered for his losing more than anything else which seemed beyond disrespectful of Chef Stephanie Izard. While he is without question an excellent and innovative chef, I find his arrogance off-putting. I understand that to be a great chef often requires a considerable amount of self-confidence which can easily slip into pompousness. If Richard were truly the chef he believes himself to be, he would be on the other side of the judges table or competing on Top Chef Masters. As I said, I liked Richard, and I believe I can again. Perhaps his next dish should be humble pie...hold the liquid nitrogen.
Were the chefs limited to using electric appliances? If not, I would have gone to the camping section and used propane.
You guys, cut it out. Angelo went home because he had the worst dish. Play back the comments the judges made about each of the bottom dishes, and it's spelled out plain as tea leaves. I am tremendously sad to see to see Angelo gone, and I groaned out loud when I saw the challenge was going to be at Target. I'm sure if it were a fine dining challenge, Angelo would still be here. But it wasn't, and he isn't. And furthermore, he KNEW he was going home. He was shivering like a broken down race horse in the final few moments, eyes shut...he knew. You're not really doing him any favors by denying it.
I was bummed Angelo went home too since he did seem to be one of the stronger chefs. However, I was also bummed Richard didn't win. I am a HUGE fan of arepas. I grew up in Miami, and during any festival, fair, walk by a street vendor on calle ocho, there were these just delicious arepas (ok, sure the quality is not top drawer, but still so tasty). And so anytime I see arepas, eat arepas, I'm brought back to my childhood.
Oh, and Bennigans is still around, but in much more limited locations. I ate at one in Chicago a couple months back. But there isn't one in NYC, or even NY state. They decided to close most of their franchise locations in order to save the brand before expanding again. Moonstruck (the chocolate sweet confectioner) did the same thing a couple years back.
I'm not about to start screaming conspiracy because I didn't like the last two eliminations and somehow think my opinion as a viewer is even remotely valid against that of a Michelin-starred chef that, you know, actually tasted the food.
What I am wondering is how the Sesame Street guys were able to judge the food. Were cookies handed to the puppeteers under the table or something? Also, how was the prize money "the most in Top Chef history" when Kevin won $30,000 in the Bocuse D'Or challenge in Season 6?
So let me get this straight, the Michelin star chef went home, but the Muppet looking caterer stays!?
I remember a few seasons ago in season 5, Tom came in saying that making a good deviled egg isn't where the competition needs to be. So Carla winning for her pot pie last week and being allowed to stay this week for a sauce posing as a soup seems a little crazy to me for the ALL STARS edition
I think the key to Angelo’s demise is the new phrase echoed around Judge’s Table - INEDIBLE. Dale’s salty dish last week was salty but at least it was also EDIBLE. That word was thrown out this week at JT and the unanimous answer of Angelo’s potato fiasco was a flat out NO. Finally Top Chef reveals an underlying fact of judging the chef’s foods… IS IT EDIBLE? Sayonara Angelo.
I wasn't a big Angelo fan. Not sorry to see him go. Although he and Mike had an interesting little bromance going on. I think they could have competed with Fabio and Richard for Top Bromance. I love Antonia and Carla.
I, too, was stunned when Angelo was eliminated. He is an amazing chef and has proven so time and time again. Yet Tiffani gets to stay who hasn't done anything memorable this season at all. I think I'm done watching the show. I agree with cutee's comment. I would have loved to see Dale, Richard and Angelo in the finale. I like Carla, too, but I don't know if she could have taken those 3 on. Oh well. The judges blew it....again.
Lisa...I CANNOT AGREE WITH YOU MORE!!!! What the heck is going on with the judging this season? If a salt offense is enought to eliminate one of the best chefs in the group, then Dale should have definitely been eliminated LAST WEEK!!!! I can't believe that Angleo was kicked-off because his soup was overly salty. Where was this mentality last week? Everyone agreed Dale's philly cheese was overly salted. They couldn't even finish it because it was way too much salt. AND FABIO GOES HOME for some bad cheese sauce?!?!?! This is upsurd. Just for that, Fabio should come back and Dale should be kicked out. Make a wrong right judges. Come on!
I was totally rooting for Angelo and I desperately hope that Dale does not win or even make it to the finals. I really want Dale to get kicked off already. He thinks he's all that and a bag of chips. He needs a reality check and that attitude is getting him no where with the fans.
Now that Angelo is gone all my hope is on Richard. I hope the judges don't disappoint with what's left of the challenge but that's highly unlikely. This is becoming a conspiracy. BRING BACK FABIO, KICK DALE OUT!!!! FAIR IS FAIR!!!
I LOVE Dale and am definitely rooting for him to win!! Nobody said last week that his sandwich was "too salty to eat." In fact, if you look at Tom's blog ---- both last week and this week ---- he makes a careful distinction about degrees of saltiness and why something that's a little oversalted can get you criticized, while something that's WAY oversalted (and thus inedible) will definitely get you sent home. That was the difference between Dale's sandwich and Angelo's soup.
That said, I agre with you about Antonia, Carla and Richard. I hope they make the finals, too, along with Dale. ;)
For those complaining about consistency in the judging, the one constant has been that dishes that are described as inedible are the ones that lose. Once the word was used this week, I knew that Angelo was gone. It is a shame, but the reality is that many of the chefs left are deserving of going to the finals. I am beginning to think that Dale may be the man to beat; as Anthony Bourdain noted, Dale is "wily" enough to know what is needed to win the challenges. Am I the only one who is picturing Tony Bourdain and Dale meeting up after the show for some serious partying?
Brilliant, just brilliant suggestion Ed. I'll bet they wished they had thought of it too. I wonder if there are propane tanks in the store. it's probably been a decade since I've set foot in Target.
I also loved the entertaining Muppet show cookie challenge AND was so amused when you pointed out Anthony B.'s sweater. The style and light blue color did look great on him. I guess with all the red Target uniforms, your eye rested on that cool blue color. Can you please find out where he bought it and post the info?
Very disappointed as I thought Angelo really was a Top Chef. Let's face it -- someone can win this show and not really be that great. (Ex. Hosea R.) But Angelo is the kind of chef who inspires people to want to eat his food and moreover, to make better food in their own kitchens. So it sucks. I do think there are producer hijinks going on -- they wanted a "shocking elimination" ... someone said to me "it's subjective, how can you apply a mathematical outcome when it's subjective" ... because I do note that in 8 seasons, only one woman has won thus far. To me there's some bias against women at work. And the subjectivity is at play again in a case such as this. We viewers can't taste the food EVER, so we watch for clues in the edited show. As someone pointed out, the first comments about Fabio's burger were extremely positive. I recall feeling relief. Then the comments following Jimmy Fallon's went downhill and we got that horrible outcome. I do think Dale should have gone home. And if I think that, one of two things is true: He SHOULD have gone home because his was the worst dish or THE EDITORS SUCK and mislead us not only in the bulk of the show, but in the conclusion. Frankly it should never be a shock. I think they think we ENJOY this misery. I do not. Things like a woman never seeming to have a shot (for whatever reason) and misleading editing make me want to quit watching completely. Just to be clear, I want Carla, Antonia, and Richard in the finale. I loved Angelo and had he survived, he could have had Antonia's spot -- and I'd be happy with any of those four winning the top prize. Mike I? He's lucky lucky lucky to have survived. I don't think he's a great chef, though perhaps better than Hosea R. Dale is a playah and I don't want the show's rep besmirched by a playah winning! I do currently still watch, after all! And Tiffany has been going on too long, what with this season immediately following her own season. Poor girl, she's lost her spark. Please someone listen! Some honesty in the editing PLEASE. This is not a murder mystery program.
What episode were you watching??? Mike Isabella told Angelo his dish WAS a little salty. There was no sabotage going on there. Come on!
Not sure if this is the place to post this but... I am SO tired of Anthony Bourdain's constant references to marijuana! All season he has been calling dishes "stoner food", saying "this tastes like a head shop"and asking if the chef was drug tested (or something like that). I don't mean to be a prude, but since when is this OK??? I guess I just take offense to it. I am surprised Bravo lets this go on. Its not just once, It has been week after week. No one else on the show makes that type of reference. I say either find another way to try to be funny or get lost. Its offensive.
You will be taping Anthony Bourdain? Please include the text for those of us who read rather than hear.
I am so sick and tired of Carla staying time after time. The ONLY thing she cooks is soup!! She needs to go. Mike needs to go for stealing Richard's recipe. I hope Richard wins.
While I was heart-broken to see Angelo leave and at first wanted to blame Mike I. for saying it needed more salt, the truth is that Angelo has to accept that he himself added the salt. And then maybe more salt. Too much salt. A tired palate? An exhausted cheftestant? Of course, but still waaaaay sorry to see him leave. He was as close as anyone can get to being Top Chef without actually accomplishing the win. He was so sick in Singapore and we all wonder what would have happened had he not gotten sick. Mike I's "stealing" Richard Blaise's idea for the chicken-oyster-thing is despicable and he definitely should not have been given the win for that. As we all know, Antonia should have won, but failed to make two plates. Which is a worse "break in rules:" stealing someone else's idea or making just one plate instead of two. Shouldn't there at least be some sort of "punishment," a loss of some sort for what Mike did? Antonia should also have won for her egg dish in the Target episode!
Getting tired of the sponsor tie-ins, but never of Bourdain. If you make presentation/decor part of the challenge you and the judges need to follow through. Carla was the only one to do that part of this episode. Which was very Sandra Lee (blech), anyway. Worst episode award.
I will not miss Angelo. And I think that Mike I. said that the soup was heavy and needed something - he never mentioned salt. And what happened to the taste - season - taste -season ...? I do not salt ever when cooking. I think that God invented salt shakers for a reason - let the diner salt and pepper to their taste buds. I hate it when the judges say it needs salt. If dining, you would reach over and solve the problem with the salt shaker at the table. You cannot unsalt. So leave it to the diner. And when all the judges couldn't take a second bit of Angelo's soup - it was end of story for him. Such a silly mistake for such a talented chef. What was with the soups? No protein, or bones-shells-fat for flavor. And you do need time. Who would want to eat Coconut soup - which looked like white water - and just about the only things going into the soup was coconut milk, water and some spices. I love soup and I can put together a tasty one. Without any Chef learning - I do know what went wrong for most of the soups. And so much money was riding on the win - why didn't they try harder? Also running around and loading their carts with blenders, burners ... you could go on and on. No one did their meal first and got what they needed next. I was so surprised about the lack of planning and lack of maybe teaming up to save shopping time. I keep saying we need more than cooking for the TC competition - and this was a perfect example of such poor planning - or no planning. Being the TC in real life requires being able to plan menus ahead and monitor and adjust when products are not available. I must stop now. I think it is a challenge they need to repeat in future TC - it tests the skills of a TC much more than who had the best tasting dish. OliveAnne FloridaFan
You never salt?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Salt, pepper and all of the spices have a specific role in the preparation and the chemistry that happen while you cook. adding salt and pepper in the end , unless is broth it's just ............... :( my tip learn to use your spices including salt and pepper during the preparation, start with moderation and in no time you will have the right doses by heart.
Greetings- Big fan here evenb though i live way out in the middle of no where at the moment and dont even get real tv..and i do whatever it takes to get to see the episodes!!
I'm 9 weeks prego..and Can i say..ive been craveing Dale's steak grilled cheese and tomotoe soup ever since..i want one sooooo bad.. !!!
Please post the recipe!!! UGhs my tummy is sooo rubmmling. I fear ill be having dreams about it soon. THX Jessi