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Bravo's Top Chef Season 2


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My thoughts:

Both Marcel and Cliff played it too safe in the dinner (and Marcel commenting that Cliff was playing it safe was therefore ironic).

Cliff screwed up; he admitted how much he screwed up, he paid the penalty, enough said.

Marcel gets my respect for not running screaming for the Production Assistant and instead just getting clear of everyone (Bravo blogs have details).

Sam helping Marcel plate, especially when Marcel ran into trouble, and didn't help anyone else, well done.

Ilan irritates me enormously.

Marcel needs to work on soft skills. People skills are vital, and he just doesn't seem to have them.

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This episode underlines the reason alcohol can ruins even the best of celebrations. They had a good night, they gitched and growled at each other but it was marcel that popped the first bottle of bubbly on camera. A few too many for Cliff got him into a bit of a jam. I really don't believe any of it was career threatening at all. I've seen worse in the backrooms of many a shop.

The producers are milking this sorry season to make the most of it. The timing of the "bad-mouthing" articles are just that. Sensationalism will get you viewers any day. There is a lot happening behind the scenes or left on the cutting room floor that we don't see that adds to the controversy. No one gangs up on Marcel, it's the perception the producers want you to see.

All in all a pretty good night. Ilan- what was that??????? Chicken livers and chocolate, wow, what a let down. All in all I think Ilan is a weeny. He hides behind everyone and can cook, but not very impressively. I don't know who wins this, but I will be sorely disappointed to see Marcel walk away with this. Although, I'll be able to put it in perspective with the rest of reality tv. A bunch of limelighters that amount to not much of anything but entertainment.

Think about it. Anthony Bourdain and Marcel co-equals? I think not.

Very well said...

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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This episode underlines the reason alcohol can ruins even the best of celebrations. They had a good night, they gitched and growled at each other but it was marcel that popped the first bottle of bubbly on camera. A few too many for Cliff got him into a bit of a jam. I really don't believe any of it was career threatening at all. I've seen worse in the backrooms of many a shop.

...

This is the same production company that liquors up the participants of Project Runway for the reunion show prior to their finals. No surprise the booze showed up just after the last California competition.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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And finally, we have a case of the Producers over-ruling the judges.

From Tom C:

"Any one of them could have spoken up and said, "This isn't cool, guys. Knock it off."

But they didn't, so as far as I was concerned they were all to blame and I was ready to send the lot of them home and let Marcel win by default.

For the first time all season, the Producers stepped in with a veto. Sending all of the chefs but Marcel home wasn't going to happen."

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The thing is, I'm not sure if there is a point to continuing to watch.

Either Marcel wins (which frankly should have been the case after this episode), or I'm not going to watch next season anyway. So I may just wait to find out whether or not I'm going to bother to continue as a viewer until after the show finishes this season.

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Very interesting episode. Too bad the Cliff-thing got in the way of the food. Really Cliff should have gone, so that was at least just. As for the others, I'm not sure if I support Chef Collichio's view entirely, but they were certainly not in the moral right.

I feel bad for Chef Ripert having to witness that mess. I don't think we'll have culinary world superstars like Chef Ripert and Tony Bourdain after the showing the cheftestants put forth this season.

On a happier note, Padma is oh so clever. "Elia and Marcel, you can pack your knives...and go to Hawaii." She really milked that one.

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I think the Producers got it wrong and Tom C. got it right. I am not a lawyer, but it seems patently obvious that Cliff committed assault and battery. The other three not only didn't step up and say, "Knock it off," but they were involved in planning the crime. The word for that is conspiracy. I've seen still photos of Marcel storming out of the room after the assault, and they show Elia with a full head of hair. The timeline that aired is not accurate and tries to show Elia, Ilan, and Sam in a better light than they deserved. Elia and the other guy (was it Sam or Ilan, I forget) shaved their heads after the assault.

And finally, we have a case of the Producers over-ruling the judges.

From Tom C:

"Any one of them could have spoken up and said, "This isn't cool, guys. Knock it off."

But they didn't, so as far as I was concerned they were all to blame and I was ready to send the lot of them home and let Marcel win by default.

For the first time all season, the Producers stepped in with a veto. Sending all of the chefs but Marcel home wasn't going to happen."

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I think the Producers got it wrong and Tom C. got it right. I am not a lawyer, but it seems patently obvious that Cliff committed assault and battery. The other three not only didn't step up and say, "Knock it off," but they were involved in planning the crime. The word for that is conspiracy. I've seen still photos of Marcel storming out of the room after the assault, and they show Elia with a full head of hair. The timeline that aired is not accurate and tries to show Elia, Ilan, and Sam in a better light than they deserved. Elia and the other guy (was it Sam or Ilan, I forget) shaved their heads after the assault.

Wow, that puts a whole different face on everything, doesn't it?

I disagree that Marcel milked this. He seemed to be pretty quiet about it, just from what we saw. And while I don't think Cliff should be charged with anything, I do think what he did was not only out of line on the everyday level, but not the kind of behavior anyone should have been displaying at this late stage in the competition.

"d00d where r u???"

"im in ur kichen cookin ur f00dz!"

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All of the contestants signed an agreement ahead of time and one of the

regulations is/was that one contestant is not to touch another in an

aggressive manner. If only for this reason alone, yes, Cliff deserved to be booted out.

Actually, I thought Marcel handled it pretty well. He wasn't nearly the crybaby

I expected him to be after that little "episode" with Cliff.

Speaking of Marcel, yes he does irritate me, BUT what was with that stupid

poll near the end of the show, asking, "Who hates Marcel the most? Sam,

Ilan, Cliff, or me/you?" IS that really necessary?

Chocolate and liver - now that's more nauseating than watermelon and

bleu cheese.

Edited by hungryCAT (log)
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In fairness to Ilan, who I actually find truly repulsive, the first dish I thought of when they announced the challenge was from Alice Medrich's Bittersweet, which are sauteed chicken livers in a sherry-cocoa nib sauce. The difference is that the subtlety and crunch of the nibs seem like a more harmonious counterpoint to the livers than a creamy overpowering ganache. I'm sure he's familiar with the book or has at least seen it done somewhere else. After all, he's as much of a master at noncreativity as he is at execution.

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All of the contestants signed an agreement ahead of time and one of the

regulations is/was that one contestant is not to touch another in an

aggressive manner.  If only for this reason alone, yes, Cliff deserved to be booted out. 

Actually, I thought Marcel handled it pretty well.  He wasn't nearly the crybaby

I expected him to be after that little "episode" with Cliff.

Speaking of Marcel, yes he does irritate me, BUT what was with that stupid

poll near the end of the show, asking, "Who hates Marcel the most? Sam,

Ilan, Cliff, or me/you?"  IS that really necessary?

Chocolate and liver - now that's more nauseating than watermelon and

bleu cheese.

Of course its necessary to poll at the end of the show... It cost 99 cents to text each vote.. :biggrin:

Edited by Daniel (log)
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I think the Producers got it wrong and Tom C. got it right. I am not a lawyer, but it seems patently obvious that Cliff committed assault and battery. The other three not only didn't step up and say, "Knock it off," but they were involved in planning the crime. The word for that is conspiracy. I've seen still photos of Marcel storming out of the room after the assault, and they show Elia with a full head of hair. The timeline that aired is not accurate and tries to show Elia, Ilan, and Sam in a better light than they deserved. Elia and the other guy (was it Sam or Ilan, I forget) shaved their heads after the assault.

Wow, that puts a whole different face on everything, doesn't it?

*nods* The images are from DjLexxy's post on Television Without Pity's form on Top Chef (or rather, she linked to the URLs I gave below): http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.com/in...dpost&p=6869539

Hmm-to be fair, the still images are a bit fuzzy, and it was a bit fuzzy when I watched the scene on my Tivo, but from the first three photos, it certainly seems to me that Elia has her hair at that point. The fourth photo was tough to make out, but I think it appears that the chronology as given on the show is off.

The still images are at:

http://img404.imageshack.us/img404/306/eliaqe1.jpg

http://img255.imageshack.us/img255/7414/elia2pj3.jpg

http://img255.imageshack.us/img255/178/elia3iu3.jpg

http://img440.imageshack.us/img440/3945/elia4ve0.jpg

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Thank you for those photos. I've lurked on the TWoP Top Chef forum before and there's almost too much info to sort out most of the time. With that said, there's some pretty good analysis of the situation over there that goes into much more detail than what we discuss on eG.

While it is true Marcel's storming off could have been edited in from another incident, that seems to be making another assumption in what is already a very puzzling incident. If indeed those stills are directly from the same incident, it is quite clear that Elia had her hair when Marcel was accosted. I think it goes back to what we were discussing before in that they decided to shave Marcel first and only shaved themselves afterwards so it would seem as if it was all in good fun.

Very interesting.

ETA: What really puzzles me, if in fact Illan and Elia did shave their heads after Cliff attacked Marcel, is why the production team wants to perpetuate this bizzare timeline. Are they trying to preserve the (perceived) integrity of the other cheftestants to some degree?

Edited by BryanZ (log)
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Poor Chef Ripert. I cannot imagine his reaction to this display of juvenile behaviour. The look on his face when they walked in that room with shaved heads was one of shock and horror. Now that the head shaving appears to be an ass covering strategy, I am even more disgusted with the four.

The fideos and clams looked really good, though. I am not big on clams either. Cliff's sirloin didn't seem to belong in that meal. Marcel's QF dish looked really good, and I think he came out pretty OK considering his salmon was a fall back plan, and half the pan got dumped in the kitchen. Considering Cliff's later behaviour, and in the interview he said he had felt like punching Marcel about five times, I wonder how accidental that pan dumping was in reality. Stranger things have happened in a kitchen.

Edit to add: If they had a talk with the cheftestants the first time Marcel was threatened with bodily harm, wasn't it Frank?, then maybe it would have calmed down the Marcel feeding frenzy enough to avoid this sort of thing.

But that wouldn't make good reality TV, I suppose.

And isn't Sam a diabetic? What's he doing drunk?

Edited by annecros (log)
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I have been reading this forum since last night.

A couple of things. I saw the show. I mean really, who care if they shaved their own heads, they have to go around looking like thumbs. I really doubt Eric Ripert really cares about if they shaved their heads or not. Knowing Ripert I am sure Tom and Eric feigned horror, and then went out after the shooting to have a long laugh over dinner.

It is amazing within Gullet we es-toll and celebrate all the virtues of Anthony Bourdain "ruff house-derelict cooks " theory. When those actions lie right in the faces of everyone, people are aghast, and condemn the very behavior they once romanticized about.

I am surprised that Marcel did not get his a.. kicked a little earlier. He is a arrogant ,sniveling passive aggressive rat. (I mean what is a master cook any way?) Who is about nothing but himself. And his food is terrible.

Granted it is a cooking competition, but there is also edicate, and unspoken rules in the kitchen, a credo if you will, that cooks no mater what the circumstance follow.

He refused to help anyone during their plate up, then we are supposed to feel bad for him when his salmon crashes to the floor. This is not the first time I have seem his higher than thou attitude. I wonder if that plate up would have been acceptable at his former kitchen?

I believe that this was a issue of rough housing that one of the parties did not like. Grant it I felt it was stupid Fraternity behavior, but that is what is encouraged on the show.

If anyone believes that Eric, and Tom C are appalled, have not been in many French kitchens. I think they have seem much worse acts of "assault", physical, and verbal. Seeing the kitchens they trained in I am sure it was not a P.C. ,all friendly kitchen environment.

This what happens when TV exploits a side of the competitive cooking and restaurant environment. Pandora's box is suddenly sprung open, and no-one wants to see what is inside. Kitchens are not all glamor and pontificating about food.

This is all good TV. (Look we speak about it here in this forum.) The producers of the show gave; I am sure allowed the Alcohol, and encouraged the behaviour. When it gets out of hand, it not only makes great Television , but they are now forced with the option to throw "Cliff under the bus", with the contract.

Personally I think Cliff was going home anyway, when you heard the judges comments about his food.

Edited by matthewj (log)
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Personally I think Cliff was going home anyway, when you heard the judges comments about his food.

I thought this even before the judging, just based on the ingredients he chose for his dish. Lentils and garlic for a romantic dinner??? Farting and bad breath are not great aphrodisiacs.

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Does anyone really care now how good the food is in the finale? Stick a fork in this show, it's done. There is no winner on Top Chef season 2, but there is a clear loser.

Tom Colicchio has been completely emasculated by the Bravo producers.

He wanted to boot the three off for their dreadful behavior but of course that would put a crimp in the fake "feel good" finale wouldn't it? The producers couldn't have that so they told Tom to pound sand.

Tom has no real power or standing in the decision-making process. Guess he was just meant to be a shill for Kenmore, Kraft and Bailey's.

A "Shame on You" award to the producers for editing this episode to make it seem like the hair shaving came before the assualt, when it came afterward.

Message to the producers: The audience isn't that stupid, we can actually handle reality.

And Padma...what the heck...in the finale preview, her delivery of "You are the top chef" is more leaden than the paint in a crack house.

If there is a Top Chef Season Three, count me out. I'd rather go to my church's weekly drum circle.

Click.

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One little almost off-topic question in the he/she/razor/assault fray:

How DID Marcel flip that salmon with all those cutesy hearts lined up so perfectly? What if they had stuck to the skillet and looked like rick-rack gone wild? That was a weird chance to take.

And Cliff DID keep muttering about mayhem.

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"Listen Trish, you can say whatever you want about the contestants and Tom.. But lay off Padma.. she's pertty."

padma is lovely. does she have a background in food, or is she just there for the obvious reason?

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Padma as a diciplinarian - now its was almost as funny as it was pathetic.

Someone should tell Ilan the Unibomber look is out.

Ilan has it pretty bad for Elia if he is willing to shave his head for her.

I cannot taste and pick the right wine because I'm diabetic? - Sam do you live in fear? The amount of sugar from swish and spit would not send him into a coma. If that were the case how could he even taste his food. Wus. Stop complaining already, there are millions out there who have bigger issues with thier illness.

I'm surprised that Cliff didn't get bounced earlier, I think he deserved to go home more than Michael did.

Marcel has made progress he has switched from foam to puree, which is like a foam with less air right?

Tom looks completely disgusted I would be surprised if there was a season three to see him stick around.

This season is ending badly. There has to be better talent out there.

Daniel please send in a tape so we will have a reason to watch next season. They are casting now.

**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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I have been reading this forum since last night. 

A couple of things.  I saw the show.  I mean really, who care if they shaved their own heads, they have to go around looking like thumbs.  I really doubt Eric Ripert really cares about if they shaved their heads or not.  Knowing Ripert I am sure Tom and Eric feigned horror, and then went out after the shooting to have a long laugh over dinner. 

It is amazing within Gullet we es-toll and celebrate all the virtues of Anthony Bourdain "ruff house-derelict cooks " theory.  When those actions lie right in the faces of everyone, people are aghast, and condemn the very behavior they once romanticized about.

I am surprised that Marcel did not get his a.. kicked a little earlier.  He is a  arrogant ,sniveling passive aggressive rat. (I mean what is a master cook any way?) Who is about nothing but himself.  And his food is terrible.

  Granted it is a cooking competition, but there is also edicate, and unspoken rules in the kitchen, a credo if you will, that cooks no mater what the circumstance follow.

He refused to help anyone during their plate up, then we are supposed to feel bad for him when his salmon crashes to the floor.  This is not the first time I have seem his higher than thou attitude. I wonder if that plate up would have been acceptable at his former kitchen? 

I believe that this was a issue of rough housing that one of the parties did not like.  Grant it I felt it was stupid Fraternity behavior, but that is what  is  encouraged on the show. 

If anyone believes that Eric, and Tom C are appalled,  have not been in many French kitchens.  I think they have seem much worse acts of "assault", physical, and verbal. Seeing the kitchens they trained in  I am sure it was not a P.C. ,all friendly kitchen environment.

This what happens when TV exploits a side of the competitive cooking and restaurant  environment.  Pandora's box is suddenly sprung open, and no-one wants to see what is inside. Kitchens are not all glamor and pontificating about food.

This is all good TV. (Look we speak about it here in this forum.) The producers of the show gave; I am sure allowed the Alcohol, and  encouraged the behaviour. When it gets out of hand, it not only makes great Television , but they are now forced with the option to throw "Cliff under the bus", with the contract.

Personally I think Cliff was going home anyway, when you heard the judges comments about his food.

I don't entirely agree with everything you're saying here.

I've learned after watching the first season (and most of the second) that you have to take Top Chef's episodes with a grain of salt, no cooking pun intended. Time and again, the footage has been edited to give the viewers a certain preconceived "opinion" to agree with. Hell, they're also running those polls -- it was noted earlier that the last poll was about "who hates Marcel more." Wha? I'm sure Marcel has pissed folks off, but I'd lay money that there was plenty of Cliff being difficult (which we saw a bit of) and Ilan as well. And like Betty wasn't a snarky pain in the ass?

Yes, Bourdain touts how he was into drugs, sex, and general mischievous behavior (as noted in Kitchen Confidential and other books) -- I'm not sure, however, that means we're all hypocrites for being a tad shocked when someone wakes up Marcel from his sleep, just to put him in a half-nelson. I have my doubts that Bourdain would actually be FOR something like that.

I don't know if Ripert was appalled, nor do I think it really matters. Colicchio was appalled, and not because French kitchens have that kind of attitude at times. If anything, I'd be appalled because the behavior was fucking stupid. I don't know of ANY reality show where they allow that kind of behavior, and it's the last thing you want to do, especially when you have so much at stake. That's a no-brainer right there. If Cliff wanted to wrestle an unwilling partner, he should have decided to do it when the loss of $100K wasn't a possibility.

To end my thoughts on the wrestling/shaving incident, I'm curious how you figure the producers encouraged the behavior. Given that Cliff was definitely one of the better cooks, I think it would have been an odd choice for the producers to think, "Okay, let's give them some alcohol to fuel the fraternity behavior and see what happens." It not only put Cliff at risk, but the production company as well. I don't think the producers necessarily encouraged any kind of behavior, and instead let them do their own thing.

They gave the folks in Season One alcohol, and we didn't see any behavior along these lines.

***

Re: Marcel in the kitchen.

I was very confused by Marcel in the kitchen this past week, because he didn't say, "No, I won't help you" to Sam -- instead, his explanation was that he had a lot to tackle, and wouldn't be able to assist because he was behind. Even moreso, we saw that Ilan was using practically all the available burners, which definitely put Marcel behind.

Does this mean I like Marcel, necessarily? No, but obviously if he has a lot to do to meet the cutoff time imposed by the show, he can't be plating and tackling his own food at the same time. This is not me being sympathetic, necessarily, but understanding that if it is a team effort, the other team members understand that he's got a lot to do and a tight margin to do it in.

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Listen Trish, you can say whatever you want about the contestants and Tom.. But lay off Padma.. she's pertty. :biggrin:

So, the soy isn't working, I gather? :laugh:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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