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February 27, 2009 12:00 PM   Subscribe

On Wednesday night, the chef at Jax Fish House in Boulder, Colorado became the most disliked culinary professional in the United States. (read the comments)

The new Top Chef is back with the woman with whom he cheated on his girlfriend on national television.

Meanwhile, a defensive Casey says Carla is to blame for her own loss.
posted by Joe Beese (122 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I do blame Carla...for listening to that loser. *fume*
posted by JoanArkham at 12:04 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought he won that challenge fair and square. However, I will say that I think they should give the Top Chef title to the chef that performed best through the entire season, not just the final challenge, and that would have been Stefan.
posted by analogue at 12:08 PM on February 27, 2009


e!.metafilter.com
posted by crapmatic at 12:09 PM on February 27, 2009 [8 favorites]


Correct me if I'm wrong, but reality TV gossip isn't really a great thing to put on MeFi.
posted by Plutor at 12:10 PM on February 27, 2009 [47 favorites]


You might be wrong.
That said, Stefan's execution was stellar, and my guess is that jis personality rubbed the producers the wrong way. It's not an objective competition.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:13 PM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


*his
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:15 PM on February 27, 2009


the most disliked culinary professional in the United States

Rachel Ray?
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:16 PM on February 27, 2009 [9 favorites]


Plutor: "Correct me if I'm wrong, but reality TV gossip isn't really a great thing to put on MeFi."

I thought the foodie world controversy and JFK-like examination of reality TV editing [you did click the links before posting, right?] raised it above the level of "Guess who won American Idol?" but YMMV.

To flag, click the ! to the right of the comments total.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:17 PM on February 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


The cheating link sounded the best but it sounds like I'd need a LOT more context than the givens to figure out what is going on here. A need that I don't feel particularly driven to fulfill.
posted by DU at 12:17 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


And, from the comments:

seriously? the fish guy who can't filet fish properly? he won?

My sentiments exactly.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:18 PM on February 27, 2009


They should have a Celebrity Top Chef with all of the Food Network chefs. I'd pay good money to hear Paula Deen address the judges with, "Hey y'all, today I made a poundcake for y'all! And snickerdoodles!"
posted by billysumday at 12:18 PM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


the most disliked culinary professional in the United States

Emeril? Lunchlady Doris?
posted by brain_drain at 12:19 PM on February 27, 2009


No point in watching Tivo now.
posted by studentbaker at 12:20 PM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Correct me if I'm wrong, but reality TV gossip isn't really a great thing to put on MeFi.

You know, I was listening to Talk of the Nation the other day and they devoted a chunk of the hour to this. I came in late and missed the intro, so there I was in the car trying to figure out who this woman was talking about her souffle and why I should care. Really, NPR?
posted by jbickers at 12:20 PM on February 27, 2009


Correct me if I'm wrong, but reality TV gossip isn't really a great thing to put on MeFi.

Sheesh, why not? It's a well put-together post about something that interests a lot of people.

Also, more importantly, I love Top Chef. That said, fuck Hosea. Stefan was robbed.

I liked this bit from Stefan's post-loss interview:

Bravotv.com: Were you worried about cooking the alligator?

Did I look worried? I swear when I cut the tail off, the meat looked like seabass, tasted like chicken, crumbled like tuna, and the skin could be a purse or a pair of Fabio's shoes.

posted by Skot at 12:21 PM on February 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's interesting to note how much the wheels came off of the Top Chef franchise this season. I'm not sure that anyone could honestly say that the best 3 chefs made in to the finale and that the best chef won. However having watched all 5 seasons to date it seems that on most seasons the most talented chef typically fails to win. In fact with the possible exception of Hung on season 3 I'm not sure the most talented chef has ever won.

I'm kinda surprised that Stefan didn't win the prize but he just didn't seem to have his head in the game in New Orleans at all. Honestly I don't think Carla should've made it to the finale anyway. She came on strong towards the end but for the majority of the season she seemed just slightly better than crap. Leah was definitely in the same boat of "Just better than the worst for the week" as well.

Hopefully they will retool the format some for the next season and give the chefs more shows to do their own thing instead of the inevitable curveball episodes which while they can be fun to watch seem to encourage being extremely conservative with your food.
posted by vuron at 12:26 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


In seriousness, can the mods please put a spoiler warning on this thread?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:27 PM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Jeff was right, the show is now about cooking safe meals.
posted by xammerboy at 12:27 PM on February 27, 2009


It was, from start to finish, a really disappointing finale. None of the food seemed that thrilling, and it was clear early on that we were supposed to be rooting for Hosea.

Tom C. just seemed mortally offended by Stefan's decision to freeze that fish. And that dessert did appear to be fairly lame.

Please don't bring that awful British man back next season, Bravo.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:28 PM on February 27, 2009


Stefan was robbed, Carla was screwed, Hosea's a jerk, this is perfectly appropriate for Metafilter.
posted by walla at 12:28 PM on February 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


No point in watching Tivo now.

Spoiler? It's been 36+ hours since it aired. How long do you expect people to wait until they talk about it?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:29 PM on February 27, 2009


seriously? the fish guy who can't filet fish properly? he won?

Exactly. Stefan is a brilliant chef, the only chef on the show whose dishes I consistently wanted to try. It seemed like this year, people were kept on for personality, not for skill--Hosea should have been turfed after not being able to fillet the goddamn fish. Leah should have been booted early on--but keeping both of them around, especially after the makeout session, made for 'more compelling' TV.

What Food Network is failing to understand is that the people who watch Top Chef are people who are interested in the food first (I've tried to replicate a few recipes I've seen there, for example), and in the game second. Stefan was robbed this year, Richard was robbed last year. Not that Stephanie isn't a great chef, but she's just not in Richard's league; he was good enough to compete (against Morimoto, IIRC) on Iron Chef a couple years before TC. Nobody else on the show last season was of that caliber.

And Stefan.. jesus. Every single episode the guy turned out incredible food. He has a definite vision about food, he doesn't compromise, and yes he is arrogant but with extremely good reason. Honestly, I think Hosea won because he had the guy who should have won the previous year as his sous.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:34 PM on February 27, 2009


Celebrity Chefs that I hate:

Rachel Ray
Emeril Lagasse
Any chef on Top Chef
The Barefoot Contessa
Bobby Flay

Celebrity Chefs I do not hate:

Mario Batali

Celebrity Chefs I should hate but do not:

Gordon Ramsay
Wolfgang Puck

Celebrity non-chef who is totally awesome:

Alton Brown

I have no idea if she's a chef, but I don't care she can cook for me any time:

Gina de Laurentiis
posted by Justinian at 12:34 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Count me among the few Hosea fans, though of course I had a soft spot in my heart for Carla, like everyone else. What the hell do I know about his relationship with the girl back home? And why should I care?

Anyway, past performance plays into the finale by virtue of the fact that past performance is what gets you into the fucking finale. If you're in the World Series, it doesn't matter how many games you won before that point. And in the big game this week, Hosea nailed his meal, while Stefan had one creative dish (the gator soup) one pretty disappointing dish (the frozen-fish carpaccio) one great dish (the squab) and a phoned-in dessert that was basically just shit from the freezer arranged haphazardly on a plate. Stefan knew this was the finale, knew it all came down to this, and couldn't bring it. It was his to lose and he did so with trademark arrogance.

Carla, god bless her, though... Dammit Carla. Until a few weeks ago it seemed like no one had any idea how she had gotten onto the show to begin with, including herself. Then she remembers that she's classically-trained, gets her confidence, and starts kicking ass, but as soon as she met up with Casey, it was like, "oh, let's do whatever you think, you're the chef." Dammit Carla - Casey lost and you had a chance to win, but you let her walk all over you, talking you into stuff that you'd never made before for what was supposed to be "the best three course meal of your career." Much love to you, Carla, and I know you're going to have more catering business than you can shake a stick at here in DC, but that disaster was entirely on your own hands. Cook what you know, darling.

So Hosea earned it, and truly was the most consistent performer throughout the season. Maybe it wasn't dramatic, but laying the hate down on him for being the one who knew what he was doing seems excessive.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:35 PM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


And Stefan.. jesus. Every single episode the guy turned out incredible food.

Not true at all. He's been on a disastrous trajectory, on the chopping block for weeks and you fucking know this. The only reason he made it to the finale at all is because people would've stopped watching if he hadn't.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:37 PM on February 27, 2009


I thought, for the challenge they had, that Hosea fairly won the competition. I was just happy that Stefan didn't win. He was consistently a smug, arrogant prick and had, in recent weeks, lost his dominating edge that he held so early. Surprisingly, he had been losing to Carla who, had she taken a strategy similar to Hosea, may have won the whole thing.

It isn't Most Daring Chef and the finale is no place to take crazy risks, see Richard Blais. Hosea did exactly what he should have done - played to his strengths.

It couldn't have been unanimous as clearly Toby Young's was pissy at the lack of dessert in Hosea's three courses.

As far as awarding the title to the chef who wins the most Elimination Challenges is a poor idea - if one chef, like Stefan did, has a great run then the competition could end before the season ends.

I had to avoid Serious Eats for a day or so as to not stumble on any spoilers but this is a great post filled out with significant links. Cheers.
posted by geekyguy at 12:37 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you liked this thread just wait until the finale of "The Amazing Race," because if this stands I'm totally making an FPP about The Amazing Race so I can discuss it with Metafilter. Sure I could just join some board where they discuss TAR, but I'd rather do it here.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:38 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is this something I'd have to watch Reality Shows to... oh, never mind.
posted by dammitjim at 12:38 PM on February 27, 2009


If you liked this thread just wait until the finale of "The Amazing Race," because if this stands I'm totally making an FPP about The Amazing Race so I can discuss it with Metafilter.

Fucking A. I'll be here waiting.
posted by Skot at 12:41 PM on February 27, 2009


Spoiler? It's been 36+ hours since it aired. How long do you expect people to wait until they talk about it?

I never said anything about a spoiler.
posted by studentbaker at 12:43 PM on February 27, 2009


If you liked this thread just wait until the finale of "The Amazing Race,"

This "Amazing Race", is it something you need talent to compete in?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:45 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's interesting to note how much the wheels came off of the Top Chef franchise this season. I'm not sure that anyone could honestly say that the best 3 chefs made in to the finale and that the best chef won

Do you say the same thing about the NCAA basketball tournament when all the No. 1 seeds get knocked out before the Final Four?

The rules are the rules. Each challenge is independent, meaning that all Stefan's previous challenges didn't matter. Hosea was somehow able to stick around and then won the last challenge because Stefan and Carla made shitty desserts. Fwiw, I think Stefan should have been sent home for the overcooked salmon and bad spinach in the round of 5. (Of course, Leah should have been sent home many times before ...)

It's a game that is affected by the biases of the producers. It's not a serious competition to determine the best chef in the country, ya know. Chill. Hosea did seem like a douche, but all we know is what the producers showed us. Stefan seemed like the best cook but he dropped the ball with the dessert. Fabio knew it.

/topchefseason5
posted by mrgrimm at 12:46 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not true at all. He's been on a disastrous trajectory, on the chopping block for weeks and you fucking know this. The only reason he made it to the finale at all is because people would've stopped watching if he hadn't.

Did I say he wasn't on the chopping block? I was talking about the quality of his food, not the massaged-by-the-producers decisions. Many of the decisions were bad... Ariane got thrown under the fucking bus by Hosea and Leah, Jamie should absolutely have not left as early as she did. As far as I'm concerned, the finale should have been Stefan, Carla, Jamie.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:48 PM on February 27, 2009


That Asian woman on the first season of Top Chef? She was hot.
posted by jonmc at 12:53 PM on February 27, 2009


The producers had to massage the decisions because the quality of his food had gone to shit. And I'm glad Carla made it into the finale, but she really shouldn't have made it past restaurant wars if we're being honest. I liked Jamie though. I think if it had been her brought back instaed of Jeff she might have been able to do something with the chance.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:54 PM on February 27, 2009


Spoiler? It's been 36+ hours since it aired. How long do you expect people to wait until they talk about it?

Well, to speak for someone who could otherwise defend themselves, Blazecock didn't ask people to not talk about something, he asked for a spoiler tag so he'd know not to read what everyone is talking about. That's fair, right?

(By the way, when I am very bored I go around the internet and defend the downtrodden in various message boards.)
posted by bDiddy at 12:55 PM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have never seen this show but from glancing at the descriptions on the linked pages it's clear Bourdain could kill this punk with a flick of his heavily-scarred index finger.
posted by aught at 12:55 PM on February 27, 2009


I'm going to tell myself that Richard was the reason Hosea won and go back to Flip this weekend for tasty Blais foods.
I am glad Carla got fan favorite.
posted by pointystick at 12:59 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Leah's hot, too. Since we can't taste food throough our TV's, I think we should all admit that we're watching for the babes.
posted by jonmc at 1:00 PM on February 27, 2009


I'm glad Carla made it into the finale, but she really shouldn't have made it past restaurant wars if we're being honest.

Yeah, she was pretty disastrous on that one. But Radika (sp?) made one of the cardinal mistakes of the program, which is to take a leadership role and then fail to lead. Pretty much the same one Carla made in the finale. I imagine that the producers would have really liked to give Carla the win, but absolutely couldn't with the meal she put out.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:00 PM on February 27, 2009


I'm of mixed feelings.

I don't get the love for Carla. Most of the early season, she was just terrible. I think one of the most telling moments was during Restaurant Wars. In an ironic twist, Radikha chose Stefan over Carla because she didn't want to deal with Stefan's attitude. At that exact moment, I predicted that Carla would lose it for her, and as luck would have it, Stefan and Carla basically ended up going head to head on desserts.

The judges loved Stefan's desserts. Carla's desserts were essentially the worst thing they ate that night. Radikha went home as the team leader -- had she chosen Stefan, her team wouldn't have even been on the chopping block.

So, I also don't entirely get the hate for Stefan. He's a dick, yes. But, he's a dick who can clearly back it up, when he isn't phoning it in. I got the impression, near the end, that he just didn't care anymore -- that he was perfectly happy to just wing it, and it was less arrogance, more that he knew that he didn't need this. He's an accomplished chef, he owns his own business, and he will continue to do great, title or no.

And so that brings us to Hosea ...

Let's face it: Hosea and Leah both suck. The whole thing between them was stupid on both their parts. Both of them floundered constantly in the challenges, and Hosea should've been gone way, way before.

But, what can you do? Stefan could've won it if he wanted it. I just don't think he wanted it that badly. So, I can't be that angry.

Still, the finale really should've been Stefan, Jamie, Jeff. Or, something similar. Maybe Fabio instead of Jamie, if he could get his shit together. Hosea .probably shouldn't have been there at this point, and mainly benefited from one contestant allowing herself to be railroaded into shit she had no experience with, and one contestant giving up.
posted by tocts at 1:00 PM on February 27, 2009


From the first link:
Hosea fucks Stefan by taking all the foie gras. Hosea fucks Stefan by taking the caviar. Hosea gleefully eats a cake—he's a fucking fat whore—in which he finds a golden baby.
Not that I'm expecting journalistic integrity from Gawker or anything, but here's how Hosea "fucked" Stefan: Both Hosea and Stefan separately choose to make a foie gras dish. Stefan goes to the kitchen and sees that there's not enough for what he wants to do. Then he finds Hosea - who had gotten to it first - and demands that Hosea give it to Stefan because he's Stefan and he needs it. Hosea offers to split it with Stefan evenly and then Stefan refuses, basically telling Hosea to take his generous offer and go fuck himself. Rinse and repeat with the caviar. Stefan is an asshole, Hosea is just a gregarious guy who can cook consistently well.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:01 PM on February 27, 2009


I have no idea who any of these people are but the situation sounds very dramatic.
posted by bshort at 1:03 PM on February 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Of course the rules are the rules and by putting up the best collection of dishes for the Finale Hosea was clearly going to win. A lackluster dessert and a fucked up fish dish weren't going to win it for Stefan. You might be able to bounce back from 1 slightly crappy dish if the rest of your dishes are golden but not 2. Carla of course doomed herself by listening to her Sous-Chef Casey, but seriously you are functioning as the Executive chef you need to present the vision. The judges have clearly said in previous seasons that the title is not Top Sous Chef.

I do question having the penultimate elimination challenge be based on what it in effect a regional cuisine. I like creole food, but by making it the basis of that round I think it gave some of the Chefs a big leg up on the competition. You could tell that neither Stefan nor Fabio were really comfortable with the cuisine and their dishes suffered in comparison. Basically I honestly felt that the producers were uncomfortable with the idea of 2 europeans in the finale and sandbagged them in order to get rid of at least one of them.

Combined with the ridiculous tendency of Leah to avoid elimination, possibly to create more love interest drama on the show, and I'd say that season 5 was definitely weaker than seasons 2,3, and 4.

I didn't mind Tobey as a judge as he's far more interesting than the utterly pointless Gail Simmons but I'd rather have Anthony Bourdain be the designated asshole as he's much funnier than Tobey.
posted by vuron at 1:06 PM on February 27, 2009


Since we can't taste food throough our TV's...

Yeah, seriously. The people in this thread who think the wrong contestant won-- do they have some kind of special television that allows them to taste the food along with the judges?
posted by Kwantsar at 1:10 PM on February 27, 2009


The weird things about Top Chef is that we're completely, totally dependent upon the judges for what we know about the contestants' ability. In Project Runway, I can somewhat see how one design might fit better or look better than another. In the Amazing Race, I can see who came across the finish line first. America's Next Top Model doesn't count as any sort of competition, although I think I might be learning how to smile with my eyes.

But I was annoyed by the finale, I think less because Stefan might have been a better chef than Hosea, but because the series gave us such an unsatisfying narrative. The guy might be able to cook his ass off, but since I can't really experience his ability, I have to base my enjoyment on the show solely through the story it tells. I know editors have to work from existing personalities and events, but they have tremendous control over how we interpret the competition. Hosea wasn't portrayed as the most skilled chef or as an underdog whose cooking gained the respect of the judges as the contest progressed. He wasn't portrayed as the gifted asshole whose talent you can't help but admire or the workhorse whose dedication pays off while showier contestants fail. He was just sort of this guy who bitched a lot about Stefan, cooked well enough to not lose, diddled around with one of the more annoying chefs, and then whined about it. I didn't see anything that would make this guy's win remotely interesting, and I suspect a different edit might have changed that. So I guess I'm more disappointed with the construction of the story rather than the outcome of the competition.

And Casey can totally eat it.
posted by bibliowench at 1:12 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have no idea who any of these people are but the situation sounds very dramatic.

It's something you'd need a TV to know about.
posted by jonmc at 1:13 PM on February 27, 2009


I'd pay good money to hear Paula Deen address the judges with, "Hey y'all, today I made a poundcake for y'all! And snickerdoodles!"

Paula Deen's kinda hot, too, for an older lady.
posted by jonmc at 1:15 PM on February 27, 2009


Ohh and for most disliked culinary professional in the US I'd like to submit Sandra Lee for her monstrous Semi-Homemade, which is quite possibly the only show on television that can make Rachel Ray seem like a great chef in comparison.

And Guy Fieri as the runner-up.
posted by vuron at 1:17 PM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


When I was working on Next Food Network Star, Rachel Ray brought some of some sort of salami-cheese-pita wrap thing over for the camera crew guys who were the last wrapping up for the day. She was the only chef around who didn't just throw her food out after she was done with it. It was very tasty.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:20 PM on February 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


The deaf guy and his mom are TOTALLY going to win The Amazing Race.
posted by briank at 1:23 PM on February 27, 2009


do they have some kind of special television that allows them to taste the food along with the judges?

Have you no imagination? If you read a menu, can you imagine the combination of the ingredients and the flavors and the creativity to put it together? Food is not just an "I'll tell you about it when I taste it" thing. This is like saying that we can't comment on a painting because we're not standing in front of it or can't feel it's texture.

Of course we know what food is/should taste like, whether we read about it in a book or magazine or if we watch it prepared on TV. We know it because of past experience, whether from working in the restaurant industry or simply form past meals.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:24 PM on February 27, 2009


jonmc, you'll find this (NSFW) video interesting.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:25 PM on February 27, 2009


Rachael Ray is so attractive...until she opens her mouth. What with that voice?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:27 PM on February 27, 2009


SPOILER SPOILER SPOLIER. Please put that at the top of your post. I had avoided find out until just now.
posted by imposster at 1:27 PM on February 27, 2009


I've been watching Top Chef for a few seasons, although I abandoned this season about half way through as it was clearly headed downhill from the beginning. As mentioned above by vuron, they have consistently picked the wrong person to win the competition, year after year. I wouldn't be surprised if they do it purely to encourage outspoken disagreement and comments on the internet.
posted by sophist at 1:28 PM on February 27, 2009


Yeah, they never seem to pick the right winners, but it still makes for great TV.

Except for that relationship subplot. UGH.
posted by graventy at 1:29 PM on February 27, 2009


This is Top Chef not Top Scallop!!
posted by kaspen at 1:30 PM on February 27, 2009 [8 favorites]


I was kind of pulling for the bear who wanted to bang Tom.
posted by The Straightener at 1:33 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is Top Chef not Top Scallop!!

This is Sparta!

Also, could we please stop the usual humina-humina bullshit about which female Food Network personality is hotter? Please? Just this once? Thank you ever so much.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:33 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


My girlfriend is going to freak out when she sees this post. I swear, she's Top Chef obsessed. Then again, I'm World of Warcraft obsessed, so who am I to judge?*

Also, a TAR post would be fantastic. I am waiting.

*SOMEONE WHO JUST GOT HIS T7 SET BONUS MOTHERFUCKERS
posted by kbanas at 1:38 PM on February 27, 2009


Leah's hot, too. Since we can't taste food throough our TV's, I think we should all admit that we're watching for the babes.

Leah: the Eeyore of this Top Chef season.
posted by sharksandwich at 1:40 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't understand all the hate for Hosea, at all. I thought Stefan seemed stronger all season, but Hosea was entirely likeable, and seemed perfectly competent.
posted by Perplexity at 1:43 PM on February 27, 2009


Rachael Ray is so attractive...until she opens her mouth. What with that voice?

Arrrgh. Fingernails on a chalkboard.
posted by ericb at 1:51 PM on February 27, 2009


This shit is all Bravo's fault. The new format for the finale (three chefs, curveballs galore) is totally moronic. Honestly, Richard, Marcel, and Casey as the sous chefs? I knew it was going to end in disaster right then and there. The finale shouldn't come down to luck of the draw, but it so often does.
posted by mek at 1:58 PM on February 27, 2009


And Guy Fieri as the runner-up.

More like Guy "Who needs to learn how to pronounce his own last name or for the love of God change the spelling or something!" Fieri.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 1:59 PM on February 27, 2009


For some reason Stefan didn't irritate me so I wanted him to win. The other two did, especially Hosea. Mrs ob is of the opinion that it was the weakest season ever and I'm inclined to agree.
posted by ob at 2:07 PM on February 27, 2009


More like Guy "Who needs to learn how to pronounce his own last name or for the love of God change the spelling or something!" Fieri.

His last name at birth was "Ferry". Reminds me of one "Michael Weiner" changing his name to "Michael Savage".
posted by sharksandwich at 2:09 PM on February 27, 2009


I'm still too seething to read through all the comments, so forgive me and my rage if I'm repeating. BUT I FUCKING HATE HOSEA.

Not only is he a talentless hack with a hideous lazy eye face and I want to kick the stupid dents next to his mouth, but he won after he was left on the show due to what is CLEARLY a producer intervention to keep shit interesting (oooh, romantic drama). He is the Vincent (PR) of TC. Except they let him win. Fucking stupid, fucking beyond stupid.

And what's more? I hate Tom fucking idiocy I make sandwiches Colicchio too. My partner's gotten sick TWICE at one of his restaurants.

And that they don't judge blind? Forget it, it's stupid, I'm stupid for even watching, you're right.

Oh, and you know who else I hate. ROCCO DISPIRITO. Winning "Hottest Chef Ever" award, or whatever, doesn't mean you get to be called "an award winning chef." Fuck off.

I do love anybody Marsalis though, they got me there.

Oh wait, one more thing. The reason they don't ever have to bake anything (and I'm talking savory here too, people) is because TOM I JUDGE THIS SHIT COLICCHIO CAN'T BAKE AND BOY WOULDN'T HE LOOK STUPID IF HE JUDGED PEOPLE WHO COULD DO HARDER SHIT THAN HIM.

Oh my god wait, one more thing. Remember the roux? How he went on and on about how long and hard MAKING ROUX is? I was explaining to my partner how unbelievably stupid that is because roux is the easiest thing you will ever make in your life but TC doesn't allow for anything very time consuming or complex, like god forbid you have to stir a risotto or make a roux, so they act like holy shit it's so hard. Then the next day my boyfriend surprised me with a chicken pot pie in which he has to make a ROUX and he was like, seriously? SERIOUSLY? That's what they got all cryfucky about? And I was like...

Yeah.
posted by birdie birdington at 2:11 PM on February 27, 2009 [23 favorites]


All I know is that I want Bravo to give Fabio his own show as soon as possible.

"Eez Top Chef, not Top Scallop!"
"We can serve monkey ass onna empty clam shell."
"Hospital? I'll chop it off and sear it on the flat top so it doesn't bleed any more and tomorrow I will deal with nine finger."
posted by scody at 2:11 PM on February 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


Top Chef is one of those things that I'm only peripherally aware of. I don't watch it, but I know of it's existence. So when I read the lead in to this: so and so became the most disliked culinary professional in the United States, I had really high hopes.

I was thinking that maybe he killed a bunch of people by mis-preparing fugu, or he went on national TV and referred to everyone who enjoyed hotdogs as an unsophisticated rube who should be force-fed escargot and shipped out of his country... or perhaps he just came out of the kitchen and calmly but persistently walked around the dining area dunking his genitals in everyone's soup...

These are the kinds of things that should warrant the title "most disliked..." not winning some game show.

But I promise you this: any gameshow contestant that tries that last one might not win, but they will definitely be talked about for years afterward.
posted by quin at 2:14 PM on February 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


"This is our new judge? Gail? Gail?"

Toby Young sucks.

More Bourdain instead, please. "Your twice-baked potato, in spite of its absolutely Flintstonian execution, was, for me, the single most enjoyable mouthful of food that I had this evening."
posted by Sweetie Darling at 2:15 PM on February 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


So...this show...It's for foodies who feel too superior to actually watch American Idol?
posted by Thorzdad at 2:26 PM on February 27, 2009


Technically it's more of a Project Runway for foodies. I think Hell's Kitchen is pretty much the food themed American Idol. It even comes with it's own version of the jackass British judge.
posted by vuron at 2:33 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is this the thread where I tell everyone how much I hate their tv show of choice, and act superior to them because they like it?

It is? Goody!
posted by shmegegge at 2:34 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: That's what they got all cryfucky about?
posted by billysumday at 2:36 PM on February 27, 2009 [7 favorites]


Birdie: The brilliance of your rant so exceeds the horridness of brocolini as served in previous seasons of Top Chef. I cried. I'm still crying.

Sweet Darling, I would tend to agree that Bourdain was the best judge, guest or otherwise that Top Chef has seen. Period.

I concluded midway through the season that this was headed for an ending of total shit. Not unlike the complete manipulation of results last year to contrive a female Top Chef for it's own sake, this season was contrived in much worse ways. It appeared initially that they wanted a TV demo chef which would explain why Stephan didn't win and also why Carla was carried through to the end. I've had enough with the producer's shit. I'm not even going to bother playing back the final off of my DVR.

When Hell's Kitchen begins looking like a more authentic competition, something is seriously wrong.
posted by shagoth at 2:40 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know what it is, I think Top Chef is technically competent as a "reality" culinary competition, but that their work just doesn't have soul.
posted by kaspen at 2:40 PM on February 27, 2009


Rachael Ray is so attractive...until she opens her mouth. What with that voice?

Everyone in Western New York talks like that. Try spending college there.

"Let's gah tah Wegman's fer pop and suckers!"
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:42 PM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


birdie birdington: I admire your rage. Seriously. That was a great rant, and I would know.
posted by ob at 2:54 PM on February 27, 2009


All I know is that I want Bravo to give Fabio his own show as soon as possible.

Yes. Absolutely, without him the whole show would have been as dull as dishwater. Stefan had a couple of funny lines near the end ("Marcel, he's a bit of a twat" was good) but Fabio was consistently hilarious.
posted by ob at 2:57 PM on February 27, 2009


When Hell's Kitchen begins looking like a more authentic competition, something is seriously wrong.

Now just hold on there. HK is far far far worse than Top Chef. For starters it's painfully obvious that (like Project Runway) they generously mix some poor-acting whackos into the mix to generally mess shit up. The Asian guy from last season crying and breaking down? The fat pig from this season that keeps leaving the kitchen for naps? All planted by the producers. And the "regular" contestants, shit they couldn't even get simple steak identification correct a couple episodes ago. Half of them work at Waffle House or some shit. You can't tell me that they would give these clowns fish to take apart ala Top Chef. These hacks have to be given the most rudimentary of tasks and they even suck at that. Shucking scallops and removing the meat without mangling it is a fucking challenge? Hahaha. For as bad as Top Chef can be at times, they are light years ahead of the morons on HK.
posted by sharksandwich at 3:06 PM on February 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


sharksandwich: "HK is far far far worse than Top Chef. For starters it's painfully obvious that (like Project Runway) they generously mix some poor-acting whackos into the mix to generally mess shit up. The Asian guy from last season crying and breaking down? The fat pig from this season that keeps leaving the kitchen for naps? All planted by the producers. And the "regular" contestants, shit they couldn't even get simple steak identification correct a couple episodes ago. Half of them work at Waffle House or some shit. You can't tell me that they would give these clowns fish to take apart ala Top Chef. These hacks have to be given the most rudimentary of tasks and they even suck at that. Shucking scallops and removing the meat without mangling it is a fucking challenge? Hahaha. For as bad as Top Chef can be at times, they are light years ahead of the morons on HK."

I just want to register my complete agreement with every word of this.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:12 PM on February 27, 2009


Is this where I talk about my undying love for Jeff? Especially shirtless Jeff?
He says the show used his as a sex object, and I'd like to agree and thank the show for getting all those early morning shots.

I also went to his restaurant in Miami and it was good. I met him and he sent me free sorbets!
::faints::
posted by rmless at 3:12 PM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


All I know is that I want Bravo to give Fabio his own show as soon as possible.

Heck, let's also include the other half of the European alliance -- Stefan. Those two were so entertaining and knew their stuff.
posted by ericb at 3:19 PM on February 27, 2009


Colicchio: I’d pick Hosea again as ‘Top Chef’
“Tom Colicchio has absolutely no regrets about naming Hosea Rosenberg winner on Wednesday’s ‘Top Chef’ season finale, and now he has something to say to fuming fans.

‘If I had to do it all over again, reading what I’m reading, I’d still say Hosea wins. He made a better meal,’ he told PEOPLE exclusively, calling from New York on Wednesday afternoon.

While some fans — including many PEOPLE.com readers — stewed over Rosenberg’s victory and emphasized Stefan Richter’s multiple wins and Carla Hall’s passion for food, Colicchio, who acts as the show’s head judge, stands by the judges’ decision.

‘It’s fortunate for Hosea that he put together a better meal than Stefan,’ Colicchio says. ‘Simple as that. We don’t care about personalities. We don’t care about who was making out. We simply care about who put together a better meal from start to finish.’

Plus, he adds, the judges only consider the output from that night’s challenge — never relying on past performances or outside factors.

‘I come to Judges’ Table with an idea of who I think should win based on what the challenge was — not based on who I think the best chef is,’ he says.”
posted by ericb at 3:21 PM on February 27, 2009


'Top Chef': Where are they now? -- "...what happened to the contestants after packing up their knives."
posted by ericb at 3:23 PM on February 27, 2009


Well the precedent of giving a Bravo show to the competent contestant who is either funny or hypercritical has been established by giving Tabitha's Salon Makeover to Tabitha (The bitchy platinum blonde from Shear Genius) so I could definitely see a Stefan's Catering Fiascos or a Fabio the Crazy Italian Chef. Yes it would totally be a rip off of Kitchen Nightmares but that's pretty much the tv business in a nutshell.
posted by vuron at 3:25 PM on February 27, 2009


rmless: "Is this where I talk about my undying love for Jeff?"

If I had an adolescent son asking me for advice about girls, I would show him an episode of Top Chef, point out Stefan, and say, "You see this guy? Bald as an egg, starting to paunch, not conventionally handsome... and yet he can convert lesbians. Because it's all about self-confidence."
posted by Joe Beese at 3:26 PM on February 27, 2009


Yeah, this season sucked ass, but I so kept watching. Leah AND Hosea should have been sent home from like, the first episode. I couldn't figure out how Carla kept getting through but she grew on me by the end. Still, I would have liked to have seen Fabio and/or Jeff in the finale. And wtf, why bring Jeff back at all, just to dash his hopes again? I'm really hoping next season will pick it up.

Mostly I am posting this comment to say that yesterday I saw an Indiana license plate that said TOP CHEF on the 90/94 in Chicago. We tried to speed up to see who it was but they got away from us :(
posted by sugarfish at 3:32 PM on February 27, 2009


Sorry, I meant to write "What's with that voice?" (I hope ericb was referring to her voice and not my typo.) I'll do my best to stay out of western New York.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 3:49 PM on February 27, 2009


Hosea's dishes were boring, and have been all year. I could cook Hosea's menu, and I'm not a chef. I couldn't do anything Stefan did that night. If they were anywhere close taste wise (and it sounded like they were to me) the win should have been Stefan's. I am flabbergasted Hosea won.
posted by xammerboy at 3:55 PM on February 27, 2009


and yet he can convert lesbians.

No. He really can't.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:59 PM on February 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Chef Sakai carefully wiped a pan, studiously ignoring his assistants and neglecting his dishes, the entire time his opponent was being treated after she badly cut herself.

That is how you should win a bullshit TV cullinary reality show...with HONOR!
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:28 PM on February 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


Hiroyuki Sakai is a god.
posted by mek at 4:49 PM on February 27, 2009


and yet he can convert lesbians.

Eh, he got one easily-awed bartender for a minute. She probably kissed another girl before the night was over.

He still hasn't even convinced this straight girl.
posted by rmless at 4:59 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I really quite enjoy the Top Chef, myself." Lynn, donned in her favorite shirt, thinks to herself as she puts away her Calphalon pans and pours some Quaker Brand Oats into a Glad Brand Plastic Bag Product... then relaxing on the couch to read a cookbook as she sips a Diet Dr. Pepper she bought at Whole Foods.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:12 PM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Or maybe this is my favorite shirt.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:13 PM on February 27, 2009


That was supposed to link here. Whoops.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:14 PM on February 27, 2009


Ugh don't remind me about the Diet Dr. Pepper desert challenge. The thought of cooking with Aspartame flavored soft drinks is pretty damned disgusting.
posted by vuron at 5:51 PM on February 27, 2009


What Food Network is failing to understand is that the people who watch Top Chef

(ahem) Top Chef is on Bravo, not Food Network.

Food Network appears to understand its audience all too well; unfortunately, its audience apparently has an insatiable appetite for cheaply-made Challenge shows, endless Iron Chef America reruns, Ace of every-show's-the-same-and-how-come-you-never-see-them-baking bloody Cakes, and Bobby Flay's aging-fratboy antics.

And yes, Guy Fieri.

Bah. Good Eats is the only thing left that's worth watching. A pox on the Network.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:52 PM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Hosea should have been turfed after not being able to fillet the goddamn fish."

It's worth pointing out that he got second place in that competition, and that he had never filleted that particular kind of fish before... and Stephan grew up in a family where he prepped eels.

I mean seriously, how many of *you* grew up peeling the skin off of eels? Who knew how to do that crap?!
posted by markkraft at 6:36 PM on February 27, 2009


Ace of Fondant, amirite?
posted by birdie birdington at 6:38 PM on February 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


I want to go to a taping of Ace of Cakes just so I can throw things at the contestants when they are trying to carry their cake on the walk of doom to the judge's table (which is like 8 feet away).
posted by mek at 6:44 PM on February 27, 2009


I hope ericb was referring to her voice and not my typo.

I was. And what's up with her faux peppiness? Girl, settle down. Have a drink or two.
posted by ericb at 6:55 PM on February 27, 2009


All I can say is, Top Chef has *ALWAYS* been about snooty arrogance, bitter backbiting, high drama... and haute cuisine. I think a lot of people really like that combination. Sure, you're likely to want to toss those little french pickles at the TV set, but really, you shouldn't take it too seriously...

With that in mind, I strongly recommend Top Chef Slash.. where what's left of Top Chef's integrity meets la petite mort.
posted by markkraft at 6:59 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is this show really deserving of a centi-thread? Come on metafilter, I expect better of you.
posted by recursion at 7:41 PM on February 27, 2009


sharksandwich: The difference between Top Chef and Hell's Kitchen is pretence. Top Chef pretends to be a real culinary competition and then falls into drama and BS. Hell's Kitchen is a desperate effort by prep chef's and line cooks to leap frog the years of experience and dues paying that usually happens to get lead positions. It's drama and BS but the competitors are legitimately desperate to get ahead. On Top Chef they aren't and it's become clear that the producers care much more for drama and BS then anything else. I almost turned it off midseason and despite not actually the finale still feel ripped off.

The more I watch the kind of fixed competitions that Top Chef represents, the more I wonder how professional sports rig things in a way that's going unnoticed. Just wondering, though, not accusing.
posted by shagoth at 7:59 PM on February 27, 2009


Combined with the ridiculous tendency of Leah to avoid elimination, possibly to create more love interest drama on the show, and I'd say that season 5 was definitely weaker than seasons 2,3, and 4.

Perhaps seasons 2 and 3, but you're clearly forgetting Lisa from season 4, who I wouldn't trust with a grilled cheese sandwich and still made it to the final.
posted by LionIndex at 8:06 PM on February 27, 2009


"I really quite enjoy the Top Chef, myself." Lynn, donned in her favorite shirt, thinks to herself as she puts away her Calphalon pans and pours some Quaker Brand Oats into a Glad Brand Plastic Bag Product... then relaxing on the couch to read a cookbook as she sips a Diet Dr. Pepper she bought at Whole Foods.

Actually, miss lynnster, that's one of our favorite parts of the show. The product placement is so completely over the top.

Also over the top? The celebrity judge intros --
"Joining us today to judge the quickfire is award winning chef Name Unfamiliar"
Obviously scripted cutaway to one of the competitors
"Oh, wow! Name Unfamiliar is New York's hottest young dessert chef!"

I also greatly enjoy how incredibly varied the prizes for winning each week are. One week you get a "Good job", next week you get Name Unfamiliar's shitty new cookbook, the week after that you get an entire kitchen of appliances. WTF Bravo?!
posted by graventy at 8:57 PM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


There are two things that have definitely improved about Top Chef through the seasons. Say what you will about the quality of the contestants this season, but let's not forget how awful the show used to be.

1. Judging. The judges were just completely inconsistent. They'd get a dish that tasted horrible, and say, "Psh! No WAY should you actually serve this!" And then they'd get a gutsy chef who threw most (or all) of their dish out because it didn't turn out right and they'd say, "Psh! This is a competition! You can't just not give us anything!" Or someone would take a leadership position in a challenge and do poorly, and they'd say, "Psh! You should have avoided being in a leadership position if you couldn't handle it," but then someone else would pass up a leadership position, and they'd say, "Psh! You have no excuse for avoiding a leadership position." Over and over again, the first season or two would have just way inconsistent judging rubrics. It all felt completely random. Sure, nowadays, it's probably not really that much better, but at least it appears as though it is.

2. "I'm a chef, this is all beneath me." How many times, in earlier seasons, did the chefs have to have some hissyfit about how the hoaky challenges were beneath them? And how many times did they have to whine about wanting to just make their food, without any restrictions from the judges? It's a TV cooking competition! Of course you're going to have to use ingredients from a vending machine or way too much oatmeal at some point or another! Geez!

(And if I can add one thing that is continuously irksome.. How about how they always talk about being passionate about food? "I should be allowed to stay because I'm passionate about food," "you could really tell from this entre that s/he is really passionate about food," "I just have so much passion! For food! Can you believe it that a chef would be passionate about food!?!?" What does it even mean to say you're "passionate" about food? They all say that so much it's a meaningless expression by this point.)
posted by Ms. Saint at 9:10 PM on February 27, 2009


I mean seriously, how many of *you* grew up peeling the skin off of eels? Who knew how to do that crap?!

I did. And no, it isn't easy. But it shouldn't be beyond the skill of a chef from a Capital-F Fish House.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:14 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ms. Saint: I'm not here to make friends.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:43 PM on February 27, 2009


The best part was when they won the kitchen of appliances this season, it was right after they had to cook in a kitchen with horribly dysfunctional appliances that fucked over several contestants (the freezer that wasn't cold and the oven that was way too hot).
posted by mek at 10:02 PM on February 27, 2009


The thing about Name Unfamiliar is that, while it won't in general be a familiar name to us, it probably is a very notable name to the ambitious chefs involved in this sort of competition. Industries tend to be like that, especially at their higher levels. If there were a modern-rock reality show, and it announced one episode that the judges would be Adam Schlessinger and James Iha, I'm sure a majority of the audience would wonder who the fuck they were talking about, but that the contestants would know that, as far as their field is concerned, they were going to be addressing royalty.

Also, I guess I'm getting now why people disliked Hosea so much, at least a little bit. This was the first season of Top Chef that I watched, because my roommate and his girlfriend got me into it, and we were all cheering for Hosea from the beginning, though. I can't tell if the people here who are pissed off are pissed that Hosea won at all, or that he seems to have won fair-and-square despite it all, or that he won not due to anything spectacular, but because of Carla's epic disaster and Stefan's over-ambition on his carpaccio and under-ambition on his dessert plate.

No matter - Hosea played to his strengths, which come from the Capital-F Fish House, as kuujjuarapik said. Cooking fish, as I understand it, is largely about getting out of it's way. If someone is ordering seafood, it's because they want the taste of seafood. Stefan screwed up there, by trying to make the presentation of the fish in his carpaccio subservient to the dish as a whole, and in doing so destroyed the flavor of the fish. It looked beautiful, and probably would have worked if Stefan had a way to let the fish thaw after thin-slicing it so as to drain away the water before making his presentation, but it all goes to show that he didn't respect the basic flavors the way that Hosea did.

But yeah, if Carla trusted herself more, she probably could've won in a walk. Sad that she didn't. Still, I can tell you for a fact that she's D.C.'s favorite chef/caterer now, so it will hopefully all work out in the end for her.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:48 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


"The thing about Name Unfamiliar is that, while it won't in general be a familiar name to us, it probably is a very notable name to the ambitious chefs involved in this sort of competition. Industries tend to be like that, especially at their higher levels. If there were a modern-rock reality show, and it announced one episode that the judges would be Adam Schlessinger and James Iha, I'm sure a majority of the audience would wonder who the fuck they were talking about, but that the contestants would know that, as far as their field is concerned, they were going to be addressing royalty."

Wow. I'll cannonball a few of whatever you are huffing.
posted by sharksandwich at 12:38 AM on February 28, 2009


Cooking fish, as I understand it, is largely about getting out of it's way. If someone is ordering seafood, it's because they want the taste of seafood.

Then you remember when Hosea, instead of thinking creatively and changing his seafood choice, chose canned motherfucking crab when Whole Foods didn't have any crab BECAUSE IT WASN'T FUCKING CRAB SEASON BUT YOU WOULDN'T KNOW THAT IF YOU WERE A GODDAMN SEAFOOD CHEF IN COLORADO ANYWAY NOW WOULD YOU?

...uh, sorry, what? Oh right, he served the judges canned crab and I guess hoped and wished they wouldn't notice that it tasted like foul tinned shit. But they noticed, because they have tongues and mouths and things. And he didn't go home.

Seafood chef. Right.
posted by birdie birdington at 1:29 AM on February 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


"YOU WOULDN'T KNOW THAT IF YOU WERE A GODDAMN SEAFOOD CHEF IN COLORADO ANYWAY NOW WOULD YOU?"

Exactly. I'm sure he's a very good seafood chef... for someplace that isn't remotely near the sea. But look at the menu for his restaurant! The only choice of seafood that isn't something you're likely to find available at a Sizzer is the Fijian tombo... and that's only because Sizzler would call it by its common name of Albacore tuna.

No monkfish, no eel, no nothing that someone in Boulder would feel particularly challenged by... and why should they stock things that their customers don't eat?

Oh, and about 75% of the sushi-grade fish served in restaurants? It's shipped in pre-frozen. If it's thawed correctly, most people can't tell the difference. I'm not saying that's what his restaurant does, but... I'd be willing to take bets.
posted by markkraft at 2:06 AM on February 28, 2009


Top Chef has *ALWAYS* been about snooty arrogance, bitter backbiting, high drama... and haute hate cuisine.

Fixed that for you.

Speaking of which, I want to confess my undying enmity for Tom Colicchio. Not because he's an annoyingly inconsistent judge. Not because his voice makes me bleed from the ears. Not because his head is shaped not unlike a canned ham.

No, I can't stand Colicchio because he named a restaurant Craftsteak. Roll that around on your tongue for a second, especially the middle four sounds--"ftst".

A restaurant's name should not sound like you're already trying to get gristle out from between your teeth, damn it.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:25 AM on February 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


(ahem) Top Chef is on Bravo, not Food Network

Oh, it airs on Food up here.

Also, I fucking hate Ace of Cakes with a fucking passion. Sculpting shit out of thirty pounds of fondant isn't cake making.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:28 PM on February 28, 2009


All I can say is, Top Chef has *ALWAYS* been about snooty arrogance, bitter backbiting, high drama... and haute cuisine. I think a lot of people really like that combination. Sure, you're likely to want to toss those little french pickles at the TV set, but really, you shouldn't take it too seriously...

Ugh, they're called cornichons. If you were passionate about food, you'd know that though.
posted by mdaugherty82 at 1:18 PM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh god, it never actually occurred to me to read the Jax Fish House menu.

Local Butternut Squash Soup 4/7
dungeness crab, preservered apple, pecan


Heehee.
posted by mek at 9:04 AM on March 3, 2009


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