Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I DON'T KNOW WHY I'M GOING HOME:  And on Top Chef All Stars tonight, I can't explain it either.  I don't even know that an elimination by Gail Simmons and Katie Lee should even count on a show that's bringing back Anthony Bourdain and Wylie Dufresne next week.

Seriously.  This isn't just Somerton pride speaking here.  No way a strong chef like Jenn Carroll should be going home ahead of someone who didn't contribute a damn thing to the meal.  And Tre's "I knew it was a shitty, overly salty sauce but didn't do anything about it" is a worse offense than Jen's "the dish I cooked tasted better than the one you claim you ate."

These were fair challenges, to be sure, and I do wonder if the lack of sleep got to Jenn temperamentally just as much as the length of the competition did her first time around.  Clearly, by Judges Table she was at the end of her reserves -- but it's food, not attitude, which is supposed to decide things.  This very good show got slightly less good tonight.

(That I'm sick of Angelo and especially Fabio is a side point.)


  1. Jenn C12:04 AM

    I think it was her lack of awareness. Tre at least knew what was wrong with his sauce. Jen's comments made it seem like she really didn't think anything was wrong--they've eliminated pple before bc of that "flaw."

    Wonder if there was any awkwardness between the ex Mrs. William Joel and Padma.

    Angelo's creepy laugh when he was bagging carrots with Dale made me laugh out loud, starting to find Casey irritating again, and I heart Dale L.

  2. I really really thought Tre was a goner. I think Jen got sent home mostly for her stridency toward the judges. I mean, if you can elicit a hushed, chagrined "oh. Wow." from Tiffani Faison? Yeeeeah....

  3. Roger1:17 AM

    Can't wait to try to see Colicchio explain this one.

  4. Maggie7:13 AM

    I'm bummed to see Jen gone so soon.  And I don't remember Jamie being that bratty on her season, but I'm definitely not pulling for her anymore.  I thought she was a total pill - even before she seemed to wimp out after cutting her finger.

  5. Oh my:

    <span>In trying to understand what the Deep Thinkers at Bravo Central were thinking, one can only imagine an urgent desire to appeal to that vital demographic of potential car buyers in the age 8-13 group. I would have thought it past their bedtime when Top Chef airs. In fact, I'd guess that about 99% of the people who even know or care who the Jonas Brothers are would be long asleep in their jammies by the time Top Chef comes on.   But what do I know?  At least many of these young people will be, in time, making heavy use of the Glad Family of Bags -- as I did as a tween. Good to start early building that kind of brand loyalty. You could actually see the chef/contestants' expressions cave, their spirits slump -- as it became clear that whomever was going home today would be doing so covered in a sticky sheen of Twizzlers, Silly Bandz, and crushed Ritalin. It was apparent which among the chefs had any familiarity with children as some actually wondered out loud whether the kids would prefer salty or sweet.</span>

  6. Heather K10:14 AM

    Jamie was a big big pill her season.  But I also still really liked her.  She was a pill in a if she was a man it might be called something way nicer and more flattering than bitchy sort of way on her season.

  7. Maggie10:20 AM

    Good point. She just seemed particularly whiny last night.

  8. Marsha10:26 AM

    Eric Ripert on Jen's elimination:

    So Jaime didn't actually cook, Tre made a rookie mistake and sent out something inedible, and the frittatas were raw and thus a health hazard. So Jen goes home for being bland? Ridiculous.

    On another nore, Tiffani has sure learned from watching herself on TV, hasn't she? I always liked her food and thought she was just kind of agressive, but this season she's cooking great, taking charge without pissing off her fellow competitors, AND she comes across as nice and fun. Loved her talking heads about the kids - learned my lesson, changedmy attitude, and I'm here to have fun. And thus she freezes marshmellows and wins. Awesome.

  9. Heather K10:30 AM

    WOW!!!  Just wow. Do NOT miss reading that Bourdain blog, especially if you are also a fan of the show he references in the title.

  10. Fred App10:37 AM

    I think the biggest dilemma was what to do with Jamie. Should she get a free pass for doing nothing? On the one hand, it seems cruel to eliminate someone for an injury. On the other hand, at least Jenn put a dish out there. And other chefs have continued to cook under worse circumstances (I'm thinking not only of Fabio's finger, but also Angelo's performance in last season's finale). Personally, I think that the person who doesn't complete a race is the one who finishes last.

  11. Even though she was eliminated, do you think there was any merit in Jen's stew room observation that you cater to the judges not that episode's "client"? Despite her later meltdown, I thought there was something smart in her point along the lines of, "who do you care about more, the 150 people you'll never see again or the judges that could declare you winner of the whole thing?"

  12. Anonymous11:34 AM

    I can't believe that Jen got eliminated. I also don't think it was because of her attitude (although uncomfortable to watch); even Tom said that he didn't mind her defending the dih. What I don't understand is how undercooked fritattas stayed over under seasoned. I think Tiff 2 or Antonia needed to be eliminated, no question. Even an over salty sauce is not as much as a complete foul as not cooking something like a fritatta all the way.l

  13. 2 quick things
    1) i loathe jamie.  i eagerly anticipate her knife packing and hope it comes sooner rather than later.  i don't remember her being such a stuck up pill during her season.  and if i was on her team i'd been pretty pissed that she went to get stitches.
    2) are they showing everyone's quickfire entries?  i don't remember seeing what blais or carla made this week, and i definitely remember having the same feeling last week.

    i still love dale l, but i don't understand why they do such tight shots on him during confessionals!

  14. Andrew11:50 AM

    Note: Bourdain's blog post does have major spoilers for season 5 of The Wire. (Though if you haven't seen it yet, why are you not catching up right now?)

  15. For whatever it's worth, I think they're flogging the Jonas Bros on Bravo ahead of the holiday hoping that parents will mix them up with Justin Bieber when buying music and merch for Christmas. 

  16. I haven't watched the episode yet, but Bourdain is worth reading if just for the suggestion that Joe Jonas is a dweller in the 9th Circle of Hell.

  17. Jamie is and has always been a pill.  I think if Jenn had said that Jamie's absence made it harder to complete the dish, Jenn would have had a shot.  Jenn was fried - girl is old like the rest of us!!

    I am sensing a male-heavy season again.

    Katie Lee, ugh.

  18. K Rovinsky12:15 PM

    food, not attitude, did decide things. that bacon-in-water concotion looked gross and was universally panned for its taste. don't get sucked in by the edit, this was a no brainer.

    you can argue Jenn choked, and perhaps she did, but an objective analysis shows this to be a well-reasoned elimination.

    Me thinks Jenn needs her sleep. She did not hold up well in her own season either.

  19. Joseph J. Finn12:26 PM

    Jeez, I don't watch the show at all but I'm going to be reading that blog from now on.

  20. Raoul1:53 PM

    had a feeling that Jen was in trouble as soon as Casey said, "It tasted like wet bacon."
    Then I saw the photo - it looked like it'd have the texture of pork belly, but it was grayish and unappetizing looking, and it sat in a bunch of thin, muddy-looking liquid.
    I can't taste it (and it might have tasted fine), but it LOOKED unappealing. I think Jen was trying to say that the egg on top was fine because the "bacon" was so salty and seasoned, but my gosh, bacon = crispy, crunchy strip of fat. It does NOT = watery, chewy, gummy pork.
    I think she suffered from overpromising and underdelivering.
    I'm not surprised that she, like Elia, expected to be in the finals. Just about ALL of those contestants made it to the finals, so for any of them to get eliminated before then will be them.
    It did not look like Jen came prepared and felt that she could just stroll in and dominate. She made a half-ass version of what MikeV made in the hangar challenge, and it bombed. Laters.

  21. Dan Suitor2:33 PM

    <p>I feel like Jen's argument was undercut by the earlier scenes of the judges talking to, and taking into account, the criticism of the children at the museum. So far this season of Top Chef tends to be good about sticking to the spirit of the challenges, so I think Jen was completely wrong.

  22. Paul Tabachneck2:48 PM

    That hard-boiled egg should have been whipped into some kind of salad -- instead, she just crumbled them atop her pork belly.  Bad choice, pure and simple! 

    ...And I love Jen, but holy crap.  What the hell happened to her?  She was on-edge from the top of the challenge, leaping down throats during the menu plan.... The only time she was Jen-like was when she was nice to Jamie about leaving her in the weeds, but even that felt passive-aggressive.  Did anyone get the impression that Jamie not cooking would make everyone think that she would automatically go home?  Because SHE SHOULD HAVE.  Not that it was any reason for the other chef's to try to throw her under the bus.

    Also, telling Collichio he should have been smart enough to tell them how to plate their food during the competition was a baaaad move. 

    That wasn't our Jen.

  23. Jen is totally correct that you succeed by cooking for the judges and not the clients.   Tom's never going to send you for home for food he likes no matter what the general audience thought of it.

  24. I have a feeling that the judges (or perhaps producers, although Colicchio always says the producers have nothing to do with eliminations) were loath to eliminate Jamie for not helping, since it would give the impression that they think a chef should work injured, and perhaps give the wrong impression. (i.e., the show doesn't care about injuries, or about the safety of food after a bleeding cut, etc.)  I think it's even possible that the show urged Jamie to get stitches, to cover their own butts so she couldn't sue them later because of an infection or something.  But I still think she should have gauzed it up, covered it with a glove, and kept going.

  25. Speaking of male-heavy, did anyone else notice how the teams were practically split by gender?  Spike's team had only one woman (Carla) and Tiffani's had five.  I don't know if this observation means anything, except that perhaps male chefs go for men and women for women?  Anyway, I am sad to see two women go first. I would love to see a woman win All-Stars.

  26. Genevieve4:34 PM

    And here, the judges didn't like Jen's dish either.