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Chris Hennes

Top Chef: Season 6 – Las Vegas

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Ah, the Alexia brand snack foods. Whole Foods sells them.

Other places besides Whole Foods, too

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Finally Robin is gone! For once she didn't survive because of another's mistake. Eli's dish sounded disgusting, but it wasn't a technique failure like hers was. I can imagine that some will say disgusting is worse than bad technique, but the judges have used similar logic before.

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I think that many of us will take delight that Robin is now gone. Whether you liked her or not (and personally, I don't know of anyone who liked her) she is finally out of the running. Originally I had predicted that the top four would be the V brothers, Kevin, and Jen. But, Jen being so wishy-washy and Eli coming out for a win now and then, I think the only thing we can count on is that the top three will be Kevin, Michael, and Bryan. I project Kevin for the win, even though I like the V brothers an awful lot. This is really probably the toughest season to figure out who I want to win.


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I think that many of us will take delight that Robin is now gone. Whether you liked her or not (and personally, I don't know of anyone who liked her) she is finally out of the running. Originally I had predicted that the top four would be the V brothers, Kevin, and Jen. But, Jen being so wishy-washy and Eli coming out for a win now and then, I think the only thing we can count on is that the top three will be Kevin, Michael, and Bryan. I project Kevin for the win, even though I like the V brothers an awful lot. This is really probably the toughest season to figure out who I want to win.

Based on skills shown and consistency throughout the season, I agree that Kevin and the Voltaggios are the best bets to make the top three. I still think that in a close call the producers would prefer to have a woman in the final. Jennifer is running out of chances to screw up, but she clearly has the ability if she can just get her head straight. In last night's episode, as far as I could tell, the chefs were permitted to cook whatever they wanted. Why on earth did she choose beef, when her specialty is fish? I know there was a tenuous "medieval times" theme, but I'm sure she could have figured out a way to do something in her wheelhouse.


Edited by oakapple (log)

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Jen looked disappointed she wasn't sent home.

I was almost hoping it would be Eli before Robin so I could see him throw a mantrum.

I was at a Thomas Keller book signing yesterday afternoon and asked him if he's going to be on the show and he just laughed and handed my book back to me.

Guess I got my answer in the previews.


Edited by KristiB50 (log)

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Was I the only one skeeved out by Nigella Lawson's comment regarding Robin's panna cotta? She said something like "when you poke panna cotta it should resemble the inner thigh of a 17th-century French courtesan." If the image brought to mind when I'm eating panna cotta is the pasty-fleshed plump thigh of someone who covers up her lack of regular bathing with a lot of perfume and wears lice-infested powdered wigs, I may never eat panna cotta again.

I think Nigella's schtick is wearing thing, although I have never been a fan.

Jennifer has basically given up. Unless a miracle occurs or someone else totally bombs, I predict she will be gone soon. I would be cool with Kevin or either Voltaggio brother winning, although I'm tired of Michael's "what Kevin cooks I cook on my day off" crap.


Edited by Darcie B (log)

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At the beginning of the show Nigella Lawson was identified as a "contemporary Julia Child"...

Are Nigella's recipes that good?

Skipper

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A question too, speaking of advertising, that I'll toss out is, other than Glad products, what advertisers do you remember from say the last 2 or 3 episodes? We get GE monogram and Whole Foods drilled into us from the show itself, but who remembers any of the other advertisers?

Let's see here:

-M Resort

-Verizon

-CraftSteak

-TV Guide

-Schwan's

-Restaurant Depot

-the aforementioned Toyota (Venza to be specific)

I think Seattle's Best would be very disappointed if no one noted the coffee cups (perfectly angled for readability) in all of those closeup-transition shots at the house.

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At the beginning of the show Nigella Lawson was identified as a "contemporary Julia Child"...

Are Nigella's recipes that good?

Skipper

Weirdest comment. Nigella has her charms, but Julia Child she ain't.

I've begun my descent into not being able to stand Michael. What an ass.

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What's with the Brits and their prepared comments? There's no way you come up with that thigh comment or "Spamalot , not Camelot" on the fly.

I think Robin is probably a fine cook -- you know, someone that would make a great one-note breakfast. Just not Top Chef-worthy.

Notice that she got hugs from everyone, including Eli, at the end.

I was surprised that Eli wasn't eliminated, since Nigella wanted to spit it out.

Oh, and worst Quickfire reward ever.


Edited by Reignking (log)

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I knew Robin would be out as soon as it was an individual challenge. Without a team or someone else to use as a crutch there wasn't going to be a way for her to stay in there.

I actually wasn't too surprised when they didn't boot Eli, and i'm not just saying that because i'm a fan. Yes, his wasn't that great, but I think they did to an extent appreciate his 'balls out' attempt, and not only that, I think from a technical standpoint Robin just was miles behind. Hers was too stiff and panna cotta didn't taste right, the sauce didn't taste right, and the only real thing that even came close to resembling the casino she went to couldn't even make it on the plate. Eli's at least you could see the tie-in to Circus Circus I guess, even if it didn't come out great, I think they made the right choice.

And I was thinking Jen would pull out of her funk, but man is she mentally done. It's a shame to see her so defeated already. Honestly, unless Eli really screws up again, I can see it being her that goes home next, since the V brothers and Kevin still seem to be doing ok, I think I may have been wrong in saying Bryan would be the one going home before the others.


Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

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As always Colicchio's blog has the explanation for why Robin went home, rather than Eli. TC said that he liked Eli's dish. He admitted that it wasn't perfectly executed, and that his fellow-judges liked it less than he did. Still, he is the head judge, and he didn't think it was bad. That contrasted with Robin's dish, which all four of them agreed was a disaster.

Regarding Toby Young's bon mots, bear in mind that a challenge takes a full day to shoot, and remarks that appear to be improvised could actually be pre-planned.

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I'm just glad they finally put Robin out of her misery. It had to be hard to keep competing and keep getting called out on the bottom, waiting for the ax to fall each time. I was disappointed at times at how high schoolish things turned in the group re Robin's insufferable-ness and at the same time think I understood it and was certainly no fan of hers. They mustered up the empathy to be nice to her as she was leaving, and she accepted the gestures though I wonder whether her middle finger was twitching to make its own gesture. But she should have been long gone....

Jen just seems dispirited, and I'm not sure what it was that turned her from the self-composed competitor she was at the beginning to something Robin might try to make for dessert. I predict she will go next -- the judges are just too aware of her dwindling enthusiasm.

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I've always thought that Nigella was a bit gross and silly with her sex-ridden approach to cooking. Completely juvenile. To say she's like Julia Child is moronic.

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I knew Robin would be out as soon as it was an individual challenge. Without a team or someone else to use as a crutch there wasn't going to be a way for her to stay in there.

The previous episode was an individual challenge.

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I can't help wondering WHY TC producers chose Robin out of hundreds (could it be thousands?) chefs willing to participate in the Top Chef competition 2009. After seeing the show so far I can't believe that her "test food" was close to Kevin's or either of the brothers'...

It would be great if BRAVO published statistics and showed some of the test tapes on the basis of which they chose the TC participants. I would also like to know WHO are the people who choose TC contestants. What are their qualifications? What do they know about food? What is their background: TV casting, PR or Foodservice? Do they start their day with breakfast at home, dollar menu at McDonalds or do they have business breakfast at the Ritz or Four Seasons on a daily basis? Do they eat lunch? Does it come from Pizza Hut or do they go to David Chang's newest restaurant? etc. etc. etc.....

To me, Robin came across as a fairly nice person who overcame personal obstacles she most probably did not create: cancer, but was completely out of her element when paired with younger/never-met-cancer cooks. Most of the negative comments on this board were about her, not about the judges or actual cooking or recipes or ingredients or appliances used.

Are TC producers so stupid and incompetent that they inadvertently allowed this to happen, or are they so experienced and smart that they were searching for someone like Robin? If they needed "a Robin," it would be interesting to know WHY? In any case, including Robin in this competition was a big minus, not a plus, as it took time away from discussion of actual cooking. A lot of time, that could have been devoted to judges' discussion of dishes they tasted was wasted on Robin's interaction with younger men with bad manners. Who cares? Michael V is no gentleman. He is not trying to portray himself as a gentleman. We got that from his first interaction with Robin. Having good manners is not a prerequisite for being a good chef or a top chef. Why emphasize his rudeness over and over and over?

The TC production team should understand that interactions with "Robins" will not attract non-cooks to the show, but will turn away many of us who would like to see the real competition, the real battle of imaginative use of BTUs and knife skills. I hope next year's casting is entrusted to a different team. Skipper

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I don't understand, that with the strongest array of chefs to date that you are so critical fo the shows selectors. To think that the non-cooking viewers is just plain wrong. The non-cooking viewers are interested in the action/interactions and not the food. To an extent these are the more important viewers as well since they are most likely the viewers who will be more impacted by the commercials which, as with any good captialistic venture, is truly the bottom line. Regardless of whom they have on the show, there will always be the same approximate time spent on substance as there will be on the personalities, that will not change regardless of who is on the the show.


Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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Don't know what key I accidentally hit, but to continue on, was Robin a good choice for the show? We don't know what criteria they used, but, she did, for whatever reason outlast many others and she did win one quickfire. There are many people who have the qualifications to get onto a show that will fold under pressure or not respond as they did in getting onto the show. Certainly others, such as Ash showed that they were intimidated by the skills of the other chefs around them. Don't misunderstand, I am not a Robin fan, I just don't dislike her and I do admire her guts. She was the heavy favorite to be going home as she isn't in the same league with the 5 remaining chefs though I thought for sure Eli was going to go (and I really wnated to see him stay around. If there was a time when I think the producers influence might have been used up to now this would be the time. I'm sure they much prefer Eli remaining rather than Robin (and I do too.)

Early on I felt Kevin and Jen were the top 2, followed by The V boys, then below them Mike I and Eli. Laurine and Mike I both succombed to the competition I think and just mailed it in. Laurine didn't want it, Mike just thought he could be lazy about it. Jen now though seems to have totally had her spirit broken. She is showing no inspiration, no determination, and just taking a fatalistic approach at every turn. At her best she is capable of making it to the finals, but she isn't a shadow of the chef we saw early on. She had to struggle when she was sick and perhaps that just took too much out of her. I'd be very surprised if she is around after last week.

While it looks like a Kevin vs the V's final, Eli is the joker in the deck. Eli has shown flashes, but with a few stumbles along the way but he does have the talent to sneak into the finals.

Is it more about the food or the personalities for everyone here? There are a certain amount of people here who don't care about the drama and interactions, but I would guess that the majority of those here have bought into the personalities and have their own favorites. Certainly for the non-foodies the personalities ARE the driving force. Personality wise I've liked Kevin the best from early on. Objectively I think Kevin is also the best of the chefs.

As for Nigella, I can't take that woman. Unlike some others, her looks aren't enough to even begin to overcome her personality. As far as a personality pairing, I'd like to see them pair Mike V with Marcel. Then again, perhaps they are made for each other.


Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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I knew Robin would be out as soon as it was an individual challenge. Without a team or someone else to use as a crutch there wasn't going to be a way for her to stay in there.

The previous episode was an individual challenge.

Oh yeah, true enough. Although she still did poorly, and that was even WITH food she said she should shine with. The only reason she stayed is because Mike I was way too cocky and careless. If he had actually tried she would have gone IMO. I mean, it's bad when you tank on food you say you love to eat and cook all the time. She got real lucky on that one.

Either way, it was long past time for her to go. Drama aside, she was out of her league and i'm sure she knew that.


Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

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People! This is drama not cooking. I think Mike I. was thoroughly disliked by the judges. Robin could have gone home for the past three or four weeks, but Mike was such an unmitigated jerk that they kicked him out the door and reminded him on the way out that Robin was staying. This Jen thing has been a complete setup. If you watched the teaser for next week carefully you will notice that all of a sudden the wan, desheveled, babbling Jen is gone. She's had her hair done and highlighted, she is speaking coherently and I will predict that seafood will somehow reappear along with a miraculous turnaround. I have not been suprised by Jen's emotional breakdown but rather her total inability to expand her culinary range. Putting her out there as broken, stressed and put upon merely hides the fact that she can't cook with the others when her scallops and fish are taken away from her. There will be some Kevin or V Brother screw up where they will barely hang on for drama's sake but hang on none the less. Eli is easily the weakest link left but they may let him hang around for the sake of shock at someone else's expense.

I am not quite sure what is up with Nigella. The comment about the quivering thigh of the medieval courtesan is ironic if not autobiographical. She looks like she is a little the worse for wear. She has always been a little Rubenesque but the other night she looked a little bloated and pasty. I would agree that comparing her to Julia Child is so ridiculous as not deserving of comment. She seems like a very nice person but more Sandra Lee than Thomas Keller.


Even Samantha Brown would have hard time summoning a "wow" for this. Anthony Bourdain

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SO hailarious cranky and snarky - and spot on, by the way - that I just had to comment, too, in between choking in laughter on my lunch (!) Jen's highlights - too funny!

Nigella IS looking a little pasty and bloated. I thought she, not Padma, was the preggers one for a moment, but I guess it was just jet lag/fluid retention or too much in-flight booze.

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She not doing too badly for a 50 year old. But her schtick is too Benny Hill-ish for my taste. (cue the Boots Randolph LOL)

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She's doing VERY well for a 50 year-old, actually. But I just thought she looked a little puffy and Octomom-ish in the room service segment. She looked much better in the eliminating challenge judging - could see her cheekbones again. Maybe she had had a few carbs on the way over from the UK - that could make even the best-boned woman look like Winston Churchill.

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Yay, Robin went home! She'd been hanging on by the skin of her teeth, frankly. I think Mike got tossed due to his arrogance as much as to his dish, and this saved Robin last time. This time, her lousy pana cotta did her in.

Jennifer really needs to wake up, she was doing so well at first and now she's doubting herself and has become her own worst enemy. What a shame.

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