I'm sure I'll be getting scores of viewer comments this week about Mike's win in the Elimination Challenge, so let's address the issue and dispense with it: Let me first remind you that the judges are not privy to anything happening behind the scenes. I can assure you that Padma and Paula Deen first learned that Mike had been looking through Richard's notebook and seen the idea for such a dish when they saw the edited episode. It's not until then that they ever see any other footage -- there's simply no way that they would have known while judging the Quickfire Challenge about the question of who first conceived of the dish that Mike made.
That said, intellectual property laws do not govern dishes. Menu items that appear in one restaurant can be reproduced in another. Even recipes that appear in a published and copyrighted cookbook can be made in any restaurant in the world. In fact, if a chef changed one single ingredient, s/he could even reprint the recipe in his/her own cookbook. Furthermore, Richard had an idea, and ideas are neither copyrightable nor trademark-able in any discipline. I beg to differ with the cheftestants about "Chef Laws." How often have we heard the chefs say that they were making dishes inspired by dishes their grandmothers used to make? In Quickfire Challenges, sometimes the chefs create a new dish on the spot; sometimes they do something inspired by other dishes. Yes, it's bad form to lift a competing chef's concept so baldly, and it is rotten for Richard that Mike did so, but Mike still had to execute the concept well. There's no Intellectual Property law governing such a move, and no Top Chef law against it. It was poor form. From now on, I'm sure Richard will keep his diary under lock and key.
Richard's win of the Elimination Challenge must have helped him move past the Quickfire. This was not an easy challenge, so I hope the chefs liked that they were knocking themselves out for a worthy cause. When the oil spill happened in the Gulf, chef John Folse invited a bunch of chefs from around the country and myself to survey the devastation firsthand, to understand the impact it was having on the Gulf. We were brought out into the middle of the mess by the Coast Guard. We learned about the impact on the environment and on sea life. We met with fishermen as well as with local businesses affected by the spill, since it was not just the fishermen and the packers who were impacted. This was a summer vacation area -- normally, it would have been mobbed, but it was desolate. The spill ruined ice cream stand owners, grocery stores, you name it. There was a misconception about the breadth of the damage. Seventy percent of the Gulf was fine, but people thought that the whole Gulf was affected and wouldn't buy the fish. Fish is not typically tested for contaminants, but after the spill, fish from all areas of the Gulf was tested, and none of the samples from the unaffected areas came back contaminated in any way. It was safe. We wanted to help residents of the areas by supporting them as best we could. Upon my return, I was interviewed about what I'd seen. I didn't want to be hypocritical by saying Gulf seafood was safe and then not buying it myself. I always prefer to buy local, which for me means serving fish from the North Atlantic, but I still made a point of putting Gulf fish on the menu.
This season is horrible!!!! What the heck is going on???? Jen, Angelo, Dale....w t f! Like the other comment said...who wants to eat at a resturant where there is only ONE good dish on the menu???? That is what this season is about..I AM SO DISAPPOINTED.
Tom, you indicated the reason for the bottom dishes was explained in the show, but as usual, the editing left much ambiguity. I was counting on your blog to clarify the margin of difference in their food and why Dale was the clear or not clear person to send home.
Show should be called Who Sucked Last Chef. Yes I am bitter. Angelo was great in season 7 and was doing well in the beginning, Dale's been takin' it down each challenge and yet we are left with Carla, Tiffany and Mike. Let's hope for the show Richard and Antonia last.
I agree w/ Viewer 987 - I have been bothered ofter this season by many of the EC's this season and their overbearingly strenuous constraints the chefs have had on them. I understand that in every season and every challenge there has been a theme of some sort to fit the location, but this season has been by far the worst for not allowing the chefs to shine. Instead, those who can "get by" are being rewarded, sometimes even winning the challenge. The fact that anyone was sent home in the Dim Sum challenge, where the group failed horribly (even if the chicken feet were a disaster) to serve folks. If Dale had done a good dish for the gala but only served 25 people plus the judges, would he have been the winner? That is my perception of how he won the Dim Sum EC, when there should have been no winner.
The producers need to work on getting consistent challenges where the chefs can properly prepare good and interesting dishes within the confines of a theme, while not being hamstrung by group work or ridiculous constaints on time (or endurance). If that is the case, then I have no issue with "best/worst dish on that day" being the rule. This season, taking culinary chances has seldom panned out; but forcing the chefs to be safe to "survive" is boring TV.
I will admit, before this season, I though of Dale as one of the series villians. He was such a different and better person this time. I grew to REALLY enjoy him and was so impressed by his skills and how he carried himself. This season has been wonderful, but becasue I love all the chefs, watching someone I really like getting kicked off each week has been awful. Thanks to TopChef for such a great show!
I agree - I wish they would quit making it all about time and make it more about ingredients and flair.
I am really disappointed by this season. Not in the people, but in the judging. My mom and I sit watching the show and currently we think it is fixed. You give tiffany and carla 100000000 chances, and yet they still do not perform very well. Especially tiffany. Angelo did badly in maybe two challenges and Dale is incredible. I think the judges are fixing the show so that certain people make it and so certain people win.
Hope Blaze and Antonia are the top two or this was the last time i watch Top Chef.
Yes, it was bad form. Mike has been very abusive throughout the show. He seems to be unable to act in an ethical manner. His camera quotes continually disparage his competition and yet he stoops to steal a recipe idea. I hope he goes quickly. Better chefs have left and yet this BUM is still here. Talk about a bad taste in your mouth. At least the other competitors recognize him for what he is.
Put me down as a long time fan who believes the rules should stay as they are. Those who wish to change the judging so their arbitrary favorites can stay on longer would sacrifice one of the special parts of the show: the different perspectives brought by guest judges each week. Having some of the best chefs in the nation drop in to give their opinions gives the show variety and credibility. That would not be possible if eliminations were based on past performance. The current format is survival of the fittest in an almost Darwinian sense and I love that. Sure a less talented chef can hide for a while and perhaps a good chef can lose on a bad day, but this is a competition show, not the real world. The Chefs (especially this season) know the rules. Bring it every week or go home. If that is too hard, do not apply.
Can somebody please explain WTH happened to Antonia's quickfire dish? Was it that she made fried shrimp over salad or that the avocado wasn't fried but crumb-coated? They showed so little of her cooking in the quickfire (except to say that she makes "way too much fried food") that the clips they did show in the final edit didn't fully explain why Paula Deen was gonna bend Antonia "over her knee and whip her cute little ass..."
Love Paula, love the cheftestants & can't wait to see who finally reigns victorious!
Sounds about right yy - I vaguely remember Paula donating thousands of pounds of ham to a community on ABC's Extreme Home Makeover recently...lol
This isn't Top Chef All Stars anymore. The good ones are gone. It's sad to see Dale go. He had the most wins this season and the judges should have at least considered that. Wishful thinking.
It's quite obvious now that Richard is going to win.
Week after week, Top Chef is proving to be a disappointing. Dale is gone. Unbelievable. Really absurd!
I cannot believe Dale was sent home. This show should have been called "Average Chef", not "Top Chef". It seems that the most talented ones are the ones given the boot first. Mike? Tiffany? Karla? Even Antonia is not that convincing to me. Thumbs down, Tom, thumbs down!
I really really wish Richard just pulled out that notebook and said 'hold up look here' and show them the recipe in his own book and explain it. I adore richard (and antonia) and to see that humble attitude of his get deflated by the merciless mike breaks my heart. :( This isn't just speculated drama like the previous pea puree season. This a legit issue of another chef STEALING from another. To not see the judges producers say anything or do anything about it really puts this shows legitimacy into question. I hate saying that since I love the show but this seems to be about making good T.V not good dishes or true top chefs.
I agree... what Mike Isabella did was unethical and underhanded. Richard showed him the recipe chef to chef, I'm sure it never occurred to him that Mike would use it in a challenge. He should be thrown out for doing it and his obnoxious and loutish behavior on camera after he won the challenge was deplorable. On the other hand, Richard has been less than gracious when other contestants have won challenges ( i.e.- when Antonia won the Italian challenge, he had a look of disgust on his face and did not congratulate her) and he could stand to eat some humble pie. My only hope is that Mike Isabella goes home...soon. He gives other chefs a bad name.
Well said and totally on spot! this show seems to have no moral compass at times and other times the judges can be downright prissy about rules and "laws". Pick a lane Top Chef and stay in it...quit straddling.
why not really make this a top chef show? use weighted averages to determine the three (or two) chefs who make it to the final cook off. each quickfire win, each main event win, each time in the bottom three and each loss. make it about real cooking. i have been in the foodservice business for over 30 years and my operation has been featured in many national publications. we serve good food 98% of the time. who you eat in a restaurant that served good food just 2% of the time. the fact that Dale went home and Tiffany stayed says it all about the show.
Lost all respect for the show with the elimination of Dale. Angelo's elimination was tough to take but then to see Dale go the very next week. Tiffany should have been eliminated. The judges decision has cost your show loads of respect and viewers.
I don't understand why Dale was/is permitted to keep a notebook of food-preparation ideas during this competition. I recall an episode of Project Runway during which a contestant was eliminated precisely because he (that contestant) had been observed consulting some design books during the competition, when that competition's rules had clearly explained that no contestant could bring design books to the competition.
Why, then, did Bravo producers not consider applying such a rule for Top Chef? If they had, then Richard wouldn't have been browsing through his notebook of ideas, even if such ideas were his own. Why bring such a notebook to the competition? It makes no sense to me.
Do contestants bring their James Beard cookbooks, too?
At this point in their careers, do they each know how to make a sugar cookie or a pie crust without consulting a recipe book?
My heart ached at the very,very poor performance for the charity fundraiser for the Gulf Foundation. What a noble and worthy cause. Yet, these darned contestants couldn't produce edible food. Did they not have sufficient time to prepare? Or did they not have suitable hot plates for the time of service? What went wrong?
Tom- I haven't read too deeply into the comments, so this may have already been covered; however, while you are correct that Richard's recipe was not protected by any IP laws, it is not correct that IP laws do not cover dishes. If the recipe was protected as a trade secret, such as the recipe for coke, it would be protected by IP laws. The principal there is that if Richard wanted to protect his dish, he shouldn't have made it accessible to anyone else. Case over.
Antonia didn't win because she only plated one serving, not two; that automatically eliminated her. Paula said that thing about whipping Antonia's cute little ass because Antonia had made better shrimp than Paula's--at least, that was how I understood it.
Mike deserves to go home soon. He is showed low class using Richard's idea, and I am happy Richard won the elimation challenge, he deserved to win. the top 2 should be Richard and Antonia. Why Tiffany did not get sent home over Dale is beyond me. Mike was better in his season, this season he is the most annoying person on the show, next to Marcel that is.
Tom, as a gulf coast girl, I want to thank you so much for standing up for us in light of the oil spill. While the ramifications of the disaster are yet to be measured, it's also true that much of the coast was unaffected. Unfortunately, geography and distance didn't matter according to the Nightly News, and quite a few tourist towns suffered as a result. When someone as respected as you is willing to give us a chance again, it makes me happy.
Thank you so much. You're always welcome down here in Pensacola.
I total agree, Jack. I can't see Tiffany as Top Chef all star (even though the show technically is Top Chef losers but that's another topic). I agree Bravo should consider past dishes in the judging. Jen, Dale L., Marcel, and Angelo, I think are better chefs than most of those remaining yet they have been eliminated. The other Dale had won so many challenges and he gets eliminated before Tiffany who hasn't won any? Doesn't that say something? Tom earlier said the challenges are reconsidered to be more fair - shouldn't the judging criteria be reconsidered as well?
I love this show, have watched all seasons..however, with that said, I am most disappointed in this season. I always thought most of the challenges were good, demanding, but good. However, with this being Allstars, I really hoped the show would focus more on talent and ability. Still have the tough challenges, but not with the extreme time limits. I think this takes away from what really could be offered. It also allows a lesser chef to squeak by when they probably wouldn't be able to otherwise. The better, more talented chefs take the bigger risks, to their own demise usually. Where the lesser chef plays it safe to stay in the game. This might be the way to play the game, but I don't think this makes a true Top Chef....
I don't agree with the one dish and your out, however thats the rule. It seems so unfair that a chef with several wins and never on the bottem until that ONE dish. Where as another chef with no wins and in the bottom 3 several times lingers on. Again, a rule is a rule...so a extended time limit may work to even this out. Just a thought!!!
Im not a chef, I don't even like to cook, however my thoughts of what a Top Chef was included a lot more then just cooking. What Mike did may not be against any law but it was most certainly in bad form. I don't care how good his food is, he isn't a Top Chef ....Where Richard on the other hand may be a little foolish to help out so many, (where this is a competition) he does show helpfulness, team play and leadership which does make for a good Top Chef..
I agree with Jack Forbes. The show needs to seriously revamp how chefs make it to the finals. It's beyond ridiculous that Dale was sent home despite racking up much more quickfire and elimination challenge victories than Tiffany. It was such a pleasure to watch Dale this season - I was hoping it would be down to him, Richard and Antonia. I'm hoping Richard will win, but for me, the bitter taste of Dale being eliminated will linger to the end.
Everyone is getting way too worked up about this. I don't think it's cool what Mike did - I would never do that, ever. But it's not as bad as everyone's making it, saying that the producers should have gotten involved and stuff. Whatever he stole an idea. Chefs are always stealing ideas. Granted that was blatant, but I blame it on Richard wanting to show off, and he paid a price for it. And for everyone saying they need a better, more fair way to judge it ... this is the show, the contestants know how it works, and life isn't always fair! So get over it I guess is what I'm saying.
I have watched this show from the first episode. It is clear that the quality of the contestants and challenges has varied with some being exceptional, many being mediocre and some, like this season, being below par. Product placement, e.g. Target, has become more and more prominent. "Behind the scenes" drama has taken the place of culinary competition, and there is a seeming inability to impose a sense of ethical behavior. Clearly, in a competition of talent, creativity, and skill, the taking of another competitor's work is inexcusable. That nobody on the staff can come up with a way to ensure compliance with ethical standards is an excuse, and a poor one. All that is needed is to have staff review the tapes during the judging, present any suspicious behavior or code violations prior to announcement of the winner. It seems that Richard lost a challenge early on for a rule violation. If stealing another's idea isn't a violation this season, make it one next season. The series is getting tired, a return to a real chef's competition with quality challenges and updated rules just may save it. I, for one, used to really make an effort not to miss a program. This time, if I forget to watch I just check the website to see who went home and read this blog.
Still reeling over the fact that Mike outright STOLE Richard's idea, won with it, and never gave props to Richard other than letting him choose his sous chef/protein 2nd since "Blais inspired my dish." Booooooooooo. Mike simply Does Not Play Well with Others. It's no wonder he hated Marcel so much, he saw things in Marcel he hates in himself. What a putz.
BenzMom728 - the reason Antonia lost the QF challenge was on a technicality - she plated ONE dish instead of TWO. Had she done the correct number of plates, she would have won :( So Mike won by default, with someone's else's idea for a dish. Again, what a putz.
Totally Team Richard. I love the celebrity chefs you have on the show and I ownder why haven't you ask bravolebrity chef Bethenny Frankel be a guest judge?? Her food would be challenging and she has that amazinf wig and humor!
i understand why Dale got eliminated, but this was an elimination where all three chefs were equally bad so my surprise at hearing Dale get eliminated was just too much! I'm not gonna bash the other two ladies, but Dale was outstanding this season! he won multiple quickfires and challenges, and he was always so entertaining and witty in his mini-interviews. his hilarious comments were nice distractions from the rest of the show, therefore, I am devastated not only because a great chef got eliminated too soon, but now my only source of entertainment is gone. I didn't expect Dale to win, but him being in the finale with Antonia and Richard would've made for an exciting ending to a great season of top chef. I don't ask for a lot...only that the people who make it in the finale are equal in skill and talent. Now that Dale is gone, it seems as if my one request is unanswered yet once again. With the elimination of Angelo, followed by Dale leaving, my enthusiasm for the show just isn't the same anymore. Dale, you were awesome man! Your growth this season was phenomenal, you were entertaining, and you knew "what was up!"kudos and enjoy the 30K!
I am a huge fan of Tiffany. Ironically, on Season 7, she was winning constantly but got eliminated on a day when everyone had a great dish and hers was the least favorite by just a hair. People were complaining that Tiffany should not have been eliminated because she was a consistent strong performer, and that some of the bottom-dwellers who had squeaked by every week should have been eliminated instead. Now the tables have turned!
I do love Tiffany, but am very disappointed with her performance this season, and expected her to be eliminated in the last 2 challenges instead of Angelo and Dale - both of whom are clearly talented chefs. She does appear to be outmatched in All Stars. Every week that she squeaks by, I am hoping she'll pull it together and channel some of her mojo from Season 7.
Seems to me Antonia is the most talented of the remaining chefs, followed closely by Carla. I'm not impressed with Richard "liquid nitrogen" Blaise's gimmicky offerings.
I agree with you, there has been countless times that these chefs have shared recipes and talked about different ways of making dishes...I don't think Mike stole anything. I think they were discussing the recipe and Richard was drawing it in his diary for a future reference or cooking experiment for the future to try PERIOD...and they talked about it. So Mike remembered it and decided to make it...Good for him I say...If the Recipe had not won, Richard would not have said anything but maybe it needed to be fine tuned; and they would have talked about it some more...but it won $5, 000 so it became more important. If it meant so much, Why Didn't Richard do it? My concern is did the judges give the winning prize to Richard because he was whining about Mike or did they really feel he deserved to win? I wish all the best to Dale and his family. peace.
In Tom's assessment, Richard--the stolen-from--is at fault (he should have kept his notes under lock and key); and although Mike--the thief--displayed the British-sounding mistake of "poor form," he still had to execute the stolen idea (although he didn't have to come up with the ingredients OR the plating, and wasn't the dish awarded its cash prize on the basis of taste and originality?). Therefore, it was more Richard's fault than Mike's.
I completely disagree. Mike Isabella crossed a line here that should have eliminated him. He stole something. He admitted he'd stolen it. And he actually needled the person who he stole from, openly daring him to react. When he couldn't get a reaction, he pouted like a child. ("”It’s not your dish. It’s my dish ’cause I won the five g’s!”) That's not just "poor form."
As for "chef law," what about Marcel and the accusation that he stole Wylie Dufresne’s egg dish? Nobody said, "Oh, that's OK, because Marcel executed it perfectly." There was total outrage at what Marcel had done, and even more when Marcel tried to deny it. If "chef law" doesn't exist, as Tom is saying, then how could all of that have happened?
Tom must not be put in the position of trying to defend the indefensible. His producers should have come to him immediately with this issue, because it was not up to Richard to do it; other chefs have been sliced and diced for trying to point out infractions, after all.
We've all put up with two seasons of Mike Isabella's burping, crude, loutish presence; his racist and sexist comments; his disgusting jokes. From calling Dale T. a "monkey" to stating that because he wasn't gay, he'd never been to a fondue party, to saying, in his first season, "No offense, but there's no way a girl is on the same level as me" --every week there's something new to wince over. And all the while Isabella mugs at the camera as if to say, "See how adorable I am?"
I'm really hoping this offensive creature gets eliminated from the show, since he's obviously not going to be held accountable for his actions. I've personally seen enough of him to last two lifetimes.
It didn't look to me like Richard was showing off, just explaining that he keeps an idea notebook to prepare for the possible challenges. I always wondered how these contestants can come up with their menus under the time-limits and pressure. Seeing Richard with his notebook was a nice insight.
It didn't look to me like Dale changed much at all. He made comments about the other contestants. He never helped anyone else - sure it's a competition, but there are team challenges. He should have stepped up in the dim sum challenge (where he had expertise) but didn't lead and everyone suffered. I will not miss his constipated smirks and selfish attitude. He should take his $30,000 and buy some manners and learn some teamwork - both critical for restuarant success.
Agree - When professional athletes negotiate their contracts, their past performance figures in, not just their last game.
You have to rely on the judges whether or not you agree with the outcome. They have the experience and palattes to judge the best food and presentations. The editing makes Top Chef very confusing to watch. We all laughed at this episode where Tiffany's hat was on in one shot and then off in the next. Take a look - on, off, on, off. So we just have to understand that only piecemeal information gets aired, and then rely on the judges who tasted the meals to decide.
Wow-I can't read anymore. People's comments are all across the board (pardon the pun). One poster said that Richard stole Mike's ideas (when it was in fact the other way around), another can't even spell WIG correctly. Someone else thinks that Richard writes down recipes in his "little black book", when that is NOT what he does. He writes down IDEAS for recipes dude---watch the show next time, before you try to make comments. I don't understand where all the "Dale growth" talk is coming from, do ANY OF YOU WATCH WHAT HE SAYS BETWEEN TAKES??????? I, like most, don't understand why Tiffany is still standing, her whiny voice by itself should have sent her packing after restaurant wars-how ANNOYING IS THAT?
In my opinion, the two chefs with the most integrity are Carla and Richard. How do you command respect in a kitchen without integrity? If we're all watching the same show, haven't we seen Richard give more assistance to his competitors than anyone else and Carla never fails to make us laugh.
With all that said, I'm a true Carla fan. Her talent, sense of humor, and basic refusal to put others down (unless I missed something--I don't think she's ever had a bad word to say about ANYONE, not in her season or All-Stars) makes her TOP in my book!
I cannot agree more! I really have lost respect for Mike Isabella. He has not been consistently peforming at the top levels like Richard and Antonia. Mike needs to go!
I believe that on Project Runway there was a prohibition on bringing patterns to the show. There is no prohibition, to my knowledge, with regard to either PR or TC, against contestants writing down ideas of their own while participating - which is what Richard apparently did. From what I saw, it appears that he did not bring in a cookbook or even his own recipes.
Oh, no. Not Dale. The most winning chef of the season (between quick fire and elimination challenges)! Not good!! Multiplied by the fact that Tom said he should have made the judges wait while his stew finished cooking! What? While Dale was trying to delay his offering, wasn't it Tom who was very impatiently rolling his eyes? Come on Tom! Be truthful! It's not to say I don't like the other chefs. But the bright light of the season is gone. Never mind Angelo being, "offed", the week before. Glad Richard is still there and certainly hope he lasts! Also love Carla and Antonia! But I don't consider the last two the best chefs! Kudos to Dale! I'll miss your winning smile, your amusing one liners, and your obvious love of your craft!
Tiffany walks away again. Wow what a surprise. This should be about cooking not whom you think will be the best to have at the end. You took a lot of heat for letting her go before. If her food stinks which is apparent with as many times she has spent on the bottom then she should go.
DITTO BIGTIME. What is with Tiffany, she should have gone home at least three times by now...clearly this is favoritism by the judges and no need to continue to watch as I am pretty sure no matter what she does, she will win.
I was HUGE fan, but not anymore....I think the judges should not know the chef who prepared the dish...this would keep it fair. As you said, when she beat out Angelo, than I knew how this was going to end, and with the elimination of Dale this confirmed everything. Evn my husband said they are purposely knocking off everyone good. This isn't causing people to watch though, this is causing the show to lose longtime fans.
Tiffany has been in the bottom three for several episodes in a row now. Meanwhile, chefs who are consistently good, e.g., Angelo and Dale, are eliminated instead. What's going on?!
I was disappointed when Fabio was sent packing, though I realized I was drawn more so to his personality than his ability to cook. As for Angelo and Dale, there's no denying that those two are among the best chefs. To see them go, instead of someone who's been in the bottom so often, feels really unfair. If Richard goes next, I'm going to boycott the show!