I know what you’re thinking, and I agree -- how great was it to kick off our sojourn in music-centric Austin with iconic American singer Patti LaBelle?! I was as excited as our chefs were to have her as our guest judge this week.
I liked this week’s Elimination Challenge, as well. I think it’s a fitting one for the week before Christmas. Most of us who celebrated Christmas as a child can't help but think back around this time of year on holidays past And whether we look back with nostalgia or antipathy, the holiday meals we experienced are usually an integral part of the memories. The chefs this week were asked to pay homage to those who gave them a huge gift by first instilling in them their love of cooking. A perfect challenge for them, and, potentially, an inspiration to the rest of us as we enter into the Holiday Season and plan our own family gatherings and meals.
As an Italian American, I always loved the feast of the seven fishes that my grandmother made on Christmas Eve, but I use it as a springboard for my own feast; I do not make the same exact meal. I remain fairly true to my grandmother's timeless beet salad and salt cod dishes, but I do a fresh reimaging of the rest, which makes the entire meal, when taken as a whole, a creative take on the feast of my childhood. Think about it: there are surely plenty of dishes from your childhood that you remember loving but that you can acknowledge that you’d probably like a lot less if you tasted them today. Yeah, I loved cotton candy as a kid, but I don’t particularly want to eat it now. Furthermore, our taste in food in general is not the same as it was in decades past. Food has been updated, just as have fashion and décor, and with food, our palates.
Thank you! Let us all take note...Chef Tom has kept it about the food! Alas, Heather can go work on her manners now and become a better chef and Beverly can rest easy knowing she is indeed...a great chef! Peace and Happy Holidays!
Actually, I am a *huge* fan of the bim bim bap -- and everytime I've had it, it always has fried egg on top. Part of the joy of bim bim bap for me is breaking that yolk into the rice and mixing it up.
Good. Karma is a b****! Cooking a top three in the quickfire--wonderful; cooking one of the top three in the elimination challenge--powerful. Watching Heather's face when she did neither--priceless!
I never care about the drama on this show, but I have to say I was fist pumping and upsetting my sleeping cat when Mean Old Heather got the boot. Hurrah!!! And to have Beverly on the top in the same challenge, icing with chocolate brandy sauce. AWESOME!!! I loved the bacon challenge, because just about anything with bacon tastes pretty darn good. To elevate such a staple was really a challenge to the creativity of these chefs. And of course, the inspirational challenge. My family was full of good cooks, but I wasn't truly inspired until a man cooked me a dinner in the hopes of wooing me. It worked, and I realized then the awesome power a single meal can have in a person's life. Although I grew up a comfortable lower-middle class person, it was obvious even then that a little skill in the kitchen can make you feel like a zillionaire. The grandmas rule, of course, but passion about food is our true inspiration. This is my favorite episode in a long time, and not just because the bully got the boot. Thanks for all you do, chef. A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Very well said. Only regrettable that Paul wasn't in the top three, though the other three definitely deserved to be in the top. The right three were picked for the top and bottom.
Long time fan and it is fascinating to see the variety of cooking contests. After watching the 'loser's bracket' cook off this week, I must say that it was great to see a chef take on a dessert. The only thing that I would like to see would be a dessert challenge to seperate the real top chef from the contenders. This is shaping into a fantastic season. Thanks.
Well, I must say, no tears were shed for Heather (at least not from me). Karma is a serious b*#ch with an attitude.
Just because the steak is not cut in pretty little pieces or isn't "prime" cut, doesn't mean it can't be a good steak. As you said, only a small percentage of steaks are prime, which would make this a realistic home meal. As a foodie home cook I have a lot of respect for you tom, but enough bashing wisconsin please. Last season gail simmons insulted all wisconsin cooks with her soup comments. And now this. A lot of us here can kick some ass in the kitchen. A lot of the food here is german and polish inspired. We are proud of our cuisine.
I'm glad to see that Heather left for objective reasons, though I'm not a fan of hers at all. I've found her bullying behavior objectionable from the start and am frankly shocked that someone that unprofessional had been allowed to stay on the show. Obviously, you're all aware through more than reader comments how she behaved, given the 24/7 nature of reality shows. Being a professional woman and having been in Beverly's situation before, and now raising two children, I feel that the show sent the wrong message -- that bullying is tolerated -- when we as parents are working closely with educators to do everything possible at our school level to let them know that this is absolutely not the case. It was disturbing and uncomfortable to watch and I'm disappointed in the producers of the show and Bravo, who always seems to be supportive. I realize this is a competition -- totally get that. As an author, I'm in similar situations myself everyday. But there's healthy competition and there's crossing the line. I feel you owe it to your contestants to protect them, to a certain extent, from this type of damaging, negative, hurtful behavior.
Oh, my point about Heather. At least she went out on her own mistake as Tom said at the end. Nobody to blame but herself and she even said that. One has to wonder if she'd have been so magnanimous had Beverly been in the bottom three instead of the top.
Thanks for listening.
@RachelintheOC on Twitter.
i really like your idea of each chief can have another chance and i really think this will their game and for the two that got to pack their knives .so each one got another chance and kram is a bicth for this week.
Wow, a little rough on Heather . Bi Bim Bap in most restaurants have a fried Egg on top. Ed's presentation was updated, but his flavors look pretty traditional. Top Chef needs to take a trip to Seoul, I am sure you would be pleasantly surprised.
Finally I knew something that a Top Chef didn't! I make a mean shank, lamb, beef, or pork. My nanna taught me the basic Irish way of cooking and I took it from there. My husband received the bennies me of watching cooking programs. I have made lamb shanks that made him rollover and beg for me to rub his tummy;). I do wish you and yours a very Happy Holidays, a pain free back, and all the best! Sincerely, Madison & 57th St.
In a way, it's sad to see Heather go. It's nice to have a villain. Now we have none. Someone needs to step up to the plate and turn into a real jerk, but I just don't see that anyone has it in 'em. Too bad. Could get real boring.
As a Wisconsin boy, I wish Wisconsin girl would stop the "I'm just a Wisconsin girl" act and show some sophistication. Sorry, we don't all eat huge hunks of overcooked flesh and some of us actually have refined palates. I'm really rooting for her to stick it out for a while, but the moment she makes beer and cheddar soup, I'll be the first one to send her home.
Oh, and go Packers!!!!
As the head judge on this competition, as using your actions in past seasons as an example, I find it puzzling at your complete lack of attention towards the chef verbally and emotionally abusing another chef. As a viewer, I find it difficult to accept that neither you are the rest of your fellow judges were aware of what was going on outside of the kitchen, and why you chose to remain silent.
Your comments in this episode about karma were correct, but a little too late as action from you especially during the incident itself would have been more appropriate.
Furthermore, you have always been very clear about your role on the show to primarily judge the chef's dishes without any regard to past performance, while at the same time not tolerating actual physical abuse as witnessed by many loyal viewers in a previous season. I think that you primarily would do yourself a favor by re-evaluating your principals and priorities by deciding at what point you as the senior member of the leadship team on the show need to actually step in and decide when to address poor behavior.
Delighted to see Heather go. The producers have chosen to highlight the negative interactions among the chefs. Now maybe we can see the cooking and the food highlighted. Also, I realize that you are in red meat Texas but good grief--meat, meat, meat. Ugh. Getting old.
Tom We missed your comments last week. Great show, what I really enjoyed was how it challenged me to think of who and what dishes from my childhood inspired me - especially relevant during this holiday season when I make several candies that my grandmother made.
I loved Ed simplicity. All three top contestants had dishes that honored yet elevated their inspiration. I also loved your quick call out to Heather regarding Beverly using the pressure cooker and not being in the bottom.
Merry Christmas to you and yours
Tom, you were awesome when you told Heather she could have used a pressure cooker, because Beverly had used one with great success! Stickin' it!
i absolutely agree with tom how are u suppose to be on top che and not cook prime steak!!!!!!!!!!!thank goodness heather went home i couldnt stand watching her anymore!!!!!!!!!!!
More of quick question than anything, as a judge how do you grade someones food if they were to cook something that yu really dont care for the taste of? For instance, in dont like fennel, so i dont care for much with fennel in it. Do you like every food on the planet, how do you remain unbiased based on your own personal taste preference?
It really is too bad that Heather went home this week. We need villians in reality cooking show competitions; they add spice to the same old recipe. Without the antics of contestants like Heather, or Penny, or Marcel to mix it up, things do get boring very quickly, as we have witnessed in past seasons. After one of the villians makes their exit, all we're left with is which one of the nicer chefs will win the finale - and who really cares? If Top Chef is supposed to be about the food, well, we can't taste it. How is it possible to pick a favorite chef from the field to root for based on their cooking?
I watch the show because I'm drawn to the human drama. I find it interesting to watch people striving for something they all value highly. Why do they want it and what are they willing to do to get it? What would I do in their place? It's a chance to get a bystander's perspective on the truth of human nature - both the shining moments and the shenanigans. To the parents out there who are writing in to express their dissapointement in Bravo for not intervening to put a stop to Heather's bullying tactics, I must say, reality television is not supposed to be a role model for your children. That's your job.
"I mean, Beverly used the pressure cooker, and — she's not here." — Tom Colicchio.
That comment has GOT to be about a little more than just the food, imho. :-)
You're so right, Tom. The other day I made my mom's chicken pot pie exactly as she made it circa 1969. It was so bland, heavy and just plain yucky. She was shocked I made it. Now, putting a spin on it would be great. Thanks for the interesting challenges!
i don't usually like the reality TV personality conflicts (e.g. marcel and ilan bordered on unwatchable), but i have to admit that the "beverly had great success with the pressure cooker," line was pretty nice.
heather came off as a bully. it's a shame that thousands of people she doesn't know are now coming together (for good or bad reasons) to express disdain, but then again, she didn't need to be so mean and obsessed with "asian food". meh.
I found her bullying and attitude much more realistic to the chefs I have worked with in my 20 years in the food industry as a server. She reminded me of at least one chef from each restaurant I have worked at, ( I worked at very nice restaurants). The only difference was all my chefs were men. The kitchen is fast paced and the talented Chef's usually have some ego and impatience built in and they can be quite rude and mean too. Good servers keep them happy and stay out of their way!
I love the show and "music-centric" Austin. Austin is teeming with wonderful, amazing, spectacular local musicians, so why bring in Patti LaBelle instead of featuring some local talent?
Tom - Happy Holidays! How about a challenge that tackles the ever expanding food allergies we are seeing in young children? As a Mom who did everything according to the book, and still ended up with a kid allergic to eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat and dairy - I would love to see how the chefs do and what they come up with. For my Christmas menu has me in tears and utter frustration!
Heather did herself in with her rant against beverly..it was obvious they sent her home because she was a bully, not because she deserved to go home.
Go on with your bad self Beverly. I'm on your side, and hope you win. Even though the taping is through and winner already determined. Now, about this adjective going around about Patti Labelle. Amazing? More like dreadful! Pantera was an Arlington band. Now that's Amazing. And tragic.
It is good to see a season where the food is winning and it doesn't seem like the producers are choosing who to eliminate based on controversy. What makes it to the screen is more about the kitchen and less about the house. Less bitching, sniping, arguing, and kissing... it much better. I was glad to see Heather go and her to loose in last-chance-kitchen. She was so focused on farm to table/rustic style/whatever that she didn't want to adjust to more refined cooking. Having said that, it would be nice to see a challenge where the chefs are asked to cook a dish two ways, for their family and for their restaurant so we learn who knows the difference. Some might be surprised.
Heather was probably the most unlikable contestant that I've ever seen on Top Chef. She was arrogant, brash, rude, bossy, mean and did I mention she was every bit a bully to Beverly? What a thoroughly distasteful individual. Bravo To Beverly and she's right, what goes around comes around....Karma is indeed a bitch. Thank you Tom and judging panel for eliminating her...I truly could not watched too many shows with her in it.
I cannot believe what happened last night. I thought for sure Chris or Grayson would go home because I really liked both of them and despised Heather. I guess I am just used to reality shows keeping the horrible people longer than they should (project runway) for entertainment value. I wish Bev would have won and I am starting to like her more. At first she was annoying but, honestly, I think she is just a nice lady. This season is great because I like mostly everyone. Like I don't want to see anyone go home.
This episode was exquisite. Tom's little "pressure cooker" dig was just wonderful, and after his barely-repressed snarkiness at the Highland Park dolts adds to my respect for the man. (I know, I know, I read about the back pain -- I'm not convinced.) And then to see Nyesha add a bit of her own karma? Like a scoop of ice cream on a hot fudge dulce de leche brownie.
PS. As much as my pleasure from this show came from watching "the villain" go home, I'm also glad for the show that she did -- I watch Top Chef for the food and the creativity, not to watch one woman bully another.
T-SHIRT for season 9 please: "I mean, Beverly used the pressure cooker, and — she's not here." — Tom Colicchio.
Tom - I would like you to clarify your position on Ed's dish and that Ed's grandmother's bimbap would not traditionally served with a sunny side egg. The least "traditional" aspect of the dish that I saw was the absence of the 'hot stone boll' that heats the dish while you're eating and crisps the rice on the bottom. However, I have also had bimbap without the stone boll.
That being said - the dish (while sometimes vegetarian and sometimes not) that I've been served has always come with an egg. So Tom, if there was some special and different about what Ed did with his egg - I'd love to be educated. However, if this is due to never having had bimbap - I recommend definitely going out and trying it as it is an amazing comfort dish.
I watched the rerun of this episode with my 11 year old (who reads the Top Chef Cookbooks before bedtime, along with Harry Potter) - she asked - why didn't the judges stop Heather from bullying Bev? I explained to her that the judges don't see what is going on behind the scenes. Then, she remembered what happened with Cliff and Marcel. (Big on TC marathons in our household). I didn't have a very good explanation, other than that Clifford had laid his hands on Marcel, and that crossed the line. Of course, in my daughter's school (and in the state of NJ now) verbal bullying is crossing the line... So it was a good question. She didn't ask why the other cheftestants didn't take a stand against the bullying - which is also, something to discuss. Teachable moments!
It's funny how Heather always bullied Beverly, but just about everyweek Beverly outcooked Heather. Who does she think she is. It was frustrating watching Beverly take Heather's crap every week. Karma is sweet revenge. I must say Beverly can be annoying crying all the time.
I have actually worked with Heather at the Atwood Cafe in Chicago and she is a true professional. Yes, a kitchen is a stressful fast-paced environment and until you have worked in one... as a woman... you will never understand Heather's personality. She is a remarkable chef and a great person. I was rooting for her! Bummed to see her go. Proud of you Heather!!!!!!!
Tom, your blogs are always fun to read. I especially love getting the details of what you and the judges were thinking. Yes, I'm also glad to see Heather bombed with the stroganoff. I LOVED Nyesha wiping that smile off her face. How far will the last chance challenge go on--til the final 4? Please reveal!!! LOVE THIS SEASON!
I found myself thinking of my grandmother's pot roast and polenta--my family's favorite Sunday dinner. I've made it recently (with venison instead of beef), and it's still pretty fabulous, though I have no clue how I would (a) cook it in the two hours allotted or (b) "update" it!
Heather, you do make your own future, keep on being a bitter person and you will not ever be happy. Quit worrying about others and focus on why you are so unhappy and maybe you won't be such a nasty, unlikeable person.
bibimbap is traditionally prepared with a sunny side egg on top so that the yolk will mix into the rice. also, the broth in kalbijjim is the best part - beverly should have used it in a sauce.
Ditto to everything Hatteras Girl said, and said well! I shudder at the thought of braising a rib eye--Seems like cooking 101 would have one know better. I too was inspired by my grandmothers & dutch Indonesian grandfather. This was my favorite episode in several season. I also agree, less drama, more cooking. That being said however, Karma rules!!