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Sorry -- I've had some unforeseen time constraints this week. Please check back in a few days, since I'm going to try to post something if I can. Thanks, all. -Tom
Tom, I sure hope that you can get some words together if only to address the Heather vs. Beverly situation and the advisability of a challenge where an excellent chef can be sent home just because their partner messes up. (I'm not looking for a discussion of whether Nyesha could have saved the team by magically making the meat cook faster. The basic concept of this challenge was flawed.)
This was probably the most uncomfortable Top Chef episode ever, right up there with the shaving of Marcel's hair. Bravo must keep this wonderful show from sinking to the level of their Housewives franchise.
I'm sorry you have been so busy, because this is one week where I would really like to hear your view. I realize during the actual filming the judges have no insight to behind the scenes shenanigans, but this week was one of the worst examples of the kind of poor leadership/teamwork I have seen in the Top Chef franchise (and there have been some pretty insane precursors). You and the other guest judges always talk about certain traits as being intrinsic to being successful in the field of cooking and running the best restaurants, that people want to come back to again and again. Heather has some serious credentials, but seems to have no tolerance for those that don't enjoy her kind of management style, not to mention awareness of cultural differences or simply differing approaches to a particular assignment. Chef Acheson weighed in quite eloquently, but, as the head judge I think you need to at least share your personal take on these kinds of personality mis-matches and how they can negatively impact the work environment.
I always love reading your blog entries, so I hope you do get the chance to put something up.
The only comment I'd like to drop is that I'm really not a fan of all the team challenges this season. I've tried to keep on open mind on this but by this point I'm really sick of it. I know you've already shot everything at this point, but I hope you take audience reaction as a sign for next season and minimize the group exercises. I always loved the team episodes in past seasons because they were a change of pace that made the contestants use different skill sets, but they were special because they were rare.
The idea may have been to create more "drama", but I honestly do not think that's why people watch Top Chef. It's always been about the food and the talent, that's that's the draw. This is the only reality tv show that I watch and most of the people I run into who also mention they like the show have said the same. We're not looking for the personality conflicts and dramatics.
I'm pretty sure the weather being 110+ degrees in Texas during shooting had something to do w/ how the challenges were.
Been a weak season so far.
I am finding it simply unbearable to even watch this Heather character anymore. She is a crass, selfish, miserable person, who takes out all of her insecurities on the other chefs. I honestly feel terrible for any of the real professional chefs that have to "work" with her on this season. I don't care what her credentials are, I nor any of my friends/fans of the show, would ever step foot in a restaurant that she has anything to do with. I only hope she sees what a mean person she is, and strives to change because there are no "clips or editing" techniques that are making her appear this way. She has shown her true colors and it's a disgrace. I also hope you guys at Top Chef realize the mistake you made having her on the show, as there are other, much better chefs who have already been kicked off, while she still remains. Sad. Definitely no longer my favorite show, which is too bad as this was always a show I looked forward to every season
I agree that these team challenges are frustrating, but I also think that the Chef's this season are not bringing their A game. If they are not going to step it up on the dishes, then why can't they at least challenge themselves to work well on a team? It was really difficult to watch Nayesha go home, but she should have been checking on the condition of the game meat just as if it was her own dish. Dakota gave her plenty of opportunities to come over and check the meat and also expressed her insecurity so at that point Nayesha should have stepped it up and taken over. Part of running a kitchen is being responsible for the dish. This is also a competition and she should have taken every step to make sure their dish came out on top, including the discussion of how the meat was going to be prepared, cooked, timing, back-up plan, etc.
As with any reality show, there will be moments that leave everyone uncomfortable. Over the years, Top Chef has seen it's share, however Heather's behavior is starting to make me forget all of those other moments in past seasons. For anyone to behave in the manner that she has, and to verbally attack someone else indicates her own insecurities....but no need to take it out on others. Kudos to Beverly for rising above Heather's fray and acting like the professional that she is. At the end of the day I am left hoping that someone calls her on the table and she is gone. I personally do not care how good she might be, because if you cannot treat others with dignity and respect, then you do not belong. Time for the Judges to tell her to knock it off.
Dakota and Nyesha got along famously. They each took responsibility for a component on the plate. They had no reason to doubt themselves because they had been competent so far. It was nice to see them being respectful and supportive of each other. That said, why did the judges also blame Nyesha for Dakota's failure? Should she have hovered over Dakota the way Heather did to Bev? You saw how well that team worked out. What was Dakota's problem in cooking the venison? Did the ovens malfunction? It was never made clear why her meat didn't cook in time...
Tom - I agree with you most of the time when you say "we don't care" "it's about the food" "not our problem", but I have to disagree with you this time. I have been a fan since the beginning and I drive my family crazy watching episodes over and over - I get most of my cooking ideas from the show. I remember when Cliff was sent home because of his physical abuse towards Marcel - I remember thinking how amazing it was that instead of pushing for ratings you and the producers decided that a persons safety was more important. I'm hoping that the same choice is made this time - I can't believe you and the other producers didn't see this abuse until after seeing the episodes - it happened right in front of your eyes at judges table and I'm sure you could feel it being around them. Stress, pressure, I don't care what the reason, but you can not abuse someone period. Please Please Please Keep Top Chef what it is "Top Chef" not Jersey Shore or Housewives - please tell me there will be some type of punishment and accountability on the part of Heather. I truly don't want to forced not to watch because I just can't enjoy it any longer. I love to watch the "villain" I love to hate - I can't watch the "villain" who makes me sick.
I am enjoying this season of Top Chef very much. I really like the idea of Tom and the judges getting final say on who the contestants will be. You can tell Tom has a real interest in how the chefs do since he helped pick them. I also love Last Chance Kitchen and can't wait to see how that plays out. I do wish our Texas weather wasn't so brutal when this was filmed. It was miserable to simply live through. I can't imagine how awful it was to try and cook under the blazing Texas sun or even try to think straight in any professional kitchen last summer. The winner of this season will have some serious bragging rights. This is a talented bunch of hand-picked chefs squaring off in a state full of eccentric people during one of the hottest summers in recorded history. And the poor chefs never can get comfy in one place! Don't know how they last as long as do.
It is a hectic time of year but of course, we all love to hear what you have to say. Everyone should know by now though that you don't really care if there is drama in the kitchen and that you care about what the chefs put out. Bravo TV we know loves this drama, however!!
Merry Christmas to you and your family!!
Did not at all like how this episode went down. I don't agree that both people on the team should have gone home when only one of them screwed up. Dakota assured Nyesha she had the cooking of the venison under control and by the time Nyesha realized she didn't, it was too late to fix it. It wasn't Nyesha's fault and she was busy prepping and cooking the other parts of the dish which all of the judges remarked was quite good. It's ridiculous to suggest she should have checked in on Dakota every few minutes. She's her partner, not her babysitter and besides...she had her own job to do. I think instead of sending a both partners home, you should have just picked the worst 2 for the double elimination--Dakota for her raw meat and Heather for her uncompromising stance in the kitchen (which led to the dish's failure), humiliating Bev, throwing her under the bus at judge's table, and accepting zero responsibility for her part in their failed dish. Hopefully Heather's time will come and SOON!
Is it me, of do NONE of these people have any fire? I mean,they have the best op to push the envelope and yet, they are too timid. So far, I am NOT Impressed, I have seen for fire in cooks on an Aircraft Carrier.
Hope they come up with something, or I may have to wait for next season.
One thing I noticed is that Heather is very disrespectful, not only to the other contestants, but to you as well. Instead of referring to you as "Chef", as the others do, she refers to you by your first name as if she thinks you're her equal. I can't remember precisely what episode I saw that on but it really stuck out. HUGE lack of respect. I've worked in and managed restaurants for 20 years and I would have never called our Exec Chef by his first name. IMO, she thinks you're her peer which probably (I hope) will be her downfall.
This episode and Heather's attitude was cringe worthy, embarassing to watch, and verging on painful. I do NOT want to watch someone that miserable and not to mention physcially unhealthy and unpleasant to watch. Please get rid of her.
Okay wait a minute. I don't think comparing what happened in season two with Cliff and Marcel to Heather's critisism of Beverly is fair. I don't like Heather's attitude just as much as the next person but let's remember she's in a competition and at that point she wasn't sitting back analyzing what she said over and over. She seriously needs to work on her people skills, but kicking her off the competition at this point would not be right. Heather said what she had to say at a place and time when many people were present. She is not going off and stalking Beverly nor is she physically hurting her or preventing her from performing in the competition. Beverly also stood up to Heather in front of the judges, and honestly, in a much classier way than many of us viewers would have.
So I say call Heather for what she is, a person who certainly lacks in leadership and people skills and can use a good lesson in timing and manners...but a bully or abuser, that's just not right.
What's up with all the pickled food? Is that why Heather is so sour?
I wasn't too crazy about the concept of a double elimination based on who they were teamed up with. It doesn't seem too fair to me.
Not too much to add to the previous comments, so I'll simply endorse the annoyance/disgust expressed thus far for the preoccupation with Heather and her Hell's Kitchen drama, the excessive group challenges, and the absolutely awful decision to tie one chef's fate directly to that of another. You realize your format just booted one of the top three chefs in this competition even after she developed what each judge exclaimed to be great flavors.
How is that good TV? How does that make me, the viewer, want to come back on Wednesdays? Why in the world do I want to subject myself to Heather and her fast and loose mouth when I could instead watch a real chef do real work? There's a reason why this is the only reality show I watch, and it has nothing to do with Heather and everything to do with Nyesha. I hope this season straightens out soon because I'm losing interest fast.
I realize that many chefs have big personalities, but let's not make this show about the personalities. This is Top Chef. Keep it about the food. This Heather back story and her bullying is uninteresting at best and cringe-worthy at worst. Get rid of her. It's as if the chefs feel the need to be wilder, less composed and meaner in order to be chosen for the show. Between this and the endless commercials about the meaningless and empty daily routines of a vast array of vacuous, hyper-botoxed "housewives", I thank the Lord above for On Demand and FastForward....oh, and note to Heather...you may think you are making a name for yourself, but who the hell will want to patronize the business of a loud-mouth, semi-talented bully? Ever heard of marketing/PR? Do yourself, and everyone else who loves to watch the show - shut your mouth and let your cooking speak for itself.
My comment is regarding judging LCK. I know this season is done so nothing can be changed BUT if you are doing this next year a judge from the judge's table can't judge LCK.
For this episode the team was going home and Nyesha was sent packing since the meat was undercooked too much BUT she did her part nicely so it was clear that Tom you were already empathizing with her and I wonder if you are fully honest to yourself then can you say that if Dakota's and Nyesha's dishes were very close that your final decision won't be influenced by what you saw in the judge's table?
I saw this similar tendency in the episode where Keith won LCK. I posted a comment on similar lines after that episode.
All judges, especially you, always write that you solely judge on the food plate in front of you. I feel strongly that LCK should be a new judge who has not judged the episode at all so won't know what made the contestant get to the LCK in the 1st place, just judge the plate of food in front of him/her and have no prejudice built from the judges' elimination table!
Hi, A couple of seasons ago, you quoted a comedian about making a joke how game hunting was not fair to the game. You said if anyone knew who the comedian was you would give a signed book. I never saw anyone who posted the answer. Tonight I was watching a re-run of Criminal Minds. They always give a quote. The quote tonight was from Paul Rodriguez. I instantly thought of your blog when you wrote it. By chance, did you ever give out a signed copy of your book. Just wanted to let you know I do read your stuff and remember it! Would love a signed book!! Sincerely, Joy D.
From what I can see it does seem like Heather is really upset with Bev and just can't let it go. As for not preventing Beverly from competing, this is something only Beverly can say. Despite not physically stopping Bev from performing to her fullest Heather could perhaps, actually be emotionally retarding Beverly's progress in the competition. I think someone needs to have a serious conversation with Heather in acceptable conduct (maybe Chef Acheson since he has already voiced his concerns in his blog) as despite the possibility of 'making good TV' such behavior sets a negative image of chefs as leaders. Allowing Heather to behave as such also reflects poorly on the values Bravo and Top Chef deem appropriate and responsible. If this were a competition of political savvy (which it does not appear to be based on Chef Colicchio's comment at judge's table about rendering judgement solely on the merit of cooking prowess) such as survivor, then Heather's actions are understandable but in this type of competition there should be some sort of action by the producers (or another) which shows such morally reprehensible behavior is not tolerated nor should it be condoned.
Anyways that's what I believe. A response of how the judges feel about this would be highly interesting.
GO TEAM GRAYSON!
Please, NO DOUBLE ELIMINATIONS EVER! I don't mind a team challenge, but losing a talented chef because of a partner's mistake seems unfair. I don't care that you expect them to rise to any challenge, blah blah blah. Any cheftestant should be eliminated only on the strengh of thier INDIVIDUAL dish. Besides that, you guys are doing a great job, love the show. I ate at Colicchio and Sons in NYC over the summer with my family. Fantastic meal all through.
I watch only one reality show on a regular basis - Top Chef. Why, because it's about the food. The drama (normally) is kept to a minimum and we get to see preparation, objective discussion and learn from experts. I HATE the way this season is going. I am so turned off by Heather's increasingly unacceptable behavior that the next episode will determine whether I finish watching this season. If she isn't sent home, I'll be done. Frankly, regardless of how good she might be, with her negative energy, I would not want to put anything in my body she had a hand in. Her personal, poisonous way of being is infused in that food. Anyone that considers eating at her restaurant - beware!
Hey Tom! Can you tell Heather T to slow her role!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You judges do an amazing keep it up!
I am highly disappointed in Emeril this week for his comment about chourizo instead of saying chourico, which is the true Fall River staple!! I must say thumbs down for not being true to your heritage :(
Happy to see Heather go. She seemed to think she could win Top Chef by being the biggest bully. Not fun to watch.
I have to ask if Emerill is having a health issue. He really looked kind of bad in this episode. I hope he's okay.
Where was Paul during the quickfire. I saw him cook but I never saw him present food or say what Tequila he was using????
YEAH! Heather the Bully is gone! Beverly was correct bad karma only comes back to bite you in the butt! A family dish and you cannot even execute it correctly that should be the one dish that should be done correctly no matter how many times you do it! Glad she's gone & Beverly keep up the good work and show that kindness is not weakness. Go Neisha for beating Heather and knocking her down a few steps on her pedastal. She's not as good as she thinks.
Thank god Heather is gone...The show if I recall is Top Chef not Top Bully. Let's get back to the cooking since a HUGE problem has been asked to pack up their knives.
Houston.....we have a problem..... Actually...Houston doesn't have the problem...Top Chef does for excluding Houston from their food tour. Houston is more ethnically diverse than the other three hosts cities...so why exclude Houston? San Antonio, I get...but Dallas and Austin....are not known for their food...in fact most of their GOOD food, originated in Houston then migrated to those cities because they lacked good food. clearly Top Chef didn't do their homework.
It's my first post, but I just have to say that this whole Heather-Beverly issue was cringe-worthy. Both, to me, seem to lack the skills necessary for a Top Chef. Hopefully now the show will focus more on the cooking than the drama and the travelling, because so far I can't say that I'm at all that impressed with what I've seen and I'm not rooting for any specific chef. I was more excited about watching the Top Chef All Stars re-runs today than watching any new Top Chef Texas episodes.
Where is Top Chef this week? Watching this Bourdain marathon is changing my personality. I want to yell at others and say the F word every other word. OMG I'm changing into Gordon Ramsey.
I've never missed a season or episode of Top Chef but I have to say if I miss one this year I don't think I'll be disappointed. I'm not liking Hugh Acheson at all, but at least Emeril is someone I recognize as having some food credentials. I don't think most of the contestants are worthy of Top Chef and the whole Texas thing is just too much. Why just Texas, why not the whole South? So many more options without being so cowboy! While I realize that there is an enormous amount of work that goes into planning your episodes, this is not what I expect to see every week. Sorry, it's just not a great year for me.
Hi Tom!! Love the show and you are my absolute Favorite judge! Extremely professional & fair, I Feel like you judge on all aspects... Preparation , Execution, presentation, taste... My only issue is the Caliber of chefs... Heather? Sarah? Both big bullies that Haven't wowed me as far as dishes go! Hope next Season we up the anti on chefs abilities!? Great show!!
This season was awful. The caliber of chefs seemed quite low and it seemed to be all Asian....in Texas? Really? Also, the women were awful. It was mean-girl high school all over again. Lindsay, Heather and Sarah were rude, nasty and backstabbing. Bev and Grayson were both professional and kind to all. Go back a season or two and find some better chefs and mix it up....enough with the Asian fusion stuff.