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Thread: Top Chef: Season 2

  1. #151
    Gold Member Tater Tot's Avatar
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    I'm so ready for this season to be over. I don't really love any of the people left. I can't believe I'm actually rooting for Marcel, because the rest of them are assholes. I just hope they all get drunk at the reunion show!

  2. #152
    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tater Tot View Post
    I'm so ready for this season to be over. I don't really love any of the people left. I can't believe I'm actually rooting for Marcel, because the rest of them are assholes. I just hope they all get drunk at the reunion show!
    There is no reunion show this season...fortunately.

    *not sure on the reason for no reunion..have heard speculation but nothing concrete yet*
    Don't slap me, cause I'm not in the mood!

  3. #153
    Elite Member cynic's Avatar
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    ^^So, I guess absence doesn't always make the heart grow fonder.... ......or maybe Marcel was having his face stitched back on (I really do feel badly for him if that happened....).

    I'm seeing that tonight is a two-part episode of a finale? That means no one will be kicked off? I might have to watch it Saturday instead. Staying up until 11 o'clock is getting harder and harder....(I am SO old)......

  4. #154
    Gold Member Tater Tot's Avatar
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    I think that two people will be kicked off tonight, and then next week will have the last two go head to head? And i'm bummed there's no reunion show. I really wanted to see them show Cliff what an idiot he was... again! Oh well.

  5. #155
    Elite Member cynic's Avatar
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    Maybe Marcel got a restraining order against Cliff and they couldn't hold a reunion show because the stage wasn't big enough to seat them at opposite ends....

    Doggone it, now I have to try to stay awake long enough to watch which two get kicked off. From the preview, it looked like Elia was telling on Marcel and Sam for cheating....but their previews lie....

  6. #156
    Gold Member Tater Tot's Avatar
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    WOOHOO! It's on! I'm a bit in shock that Sam didn't make the finals. Before this episode, I would have picked Sam and Elia as the final two. Now, i'm rooting for Marcel all the way! I can't believe Elia and Ilan tried to get Marcel booted. Elia totally embarassed herself there... but in the end it didn't matter. I swear, this season is so junior high. I just want Marcel to win and it be over. Ilan is a little punk and I will take pleasure in him losing next week!

  7. #157
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    Wow! I'm surprised they picked Sam to go. He reminds me a lot of Harold from the previous season -- he just seemed like he would win. Plus, he is the crowd favorite. I was kind of surprised when Tom said he frankly did not care what when on in the kitchen. Yikes. How embarassing for Elia. What a tough decision between Sam and that other guy (I can never remember his name -- Ilan?) The look on Sam's face -- he was so crushed -- I got tears in my eyes!! Well, to Sam and Elia! You did a great job!!

  8. #158
    Silver Member simone's Avatar
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    I hate Ilan more and more each week, esp. with his smug, pricklike attitude. And, he TOTALLY hung Elia out to dry, first prompting her to tell on Marcel, and then backing away from providing any examples of his "cheating" (aka unprofessional behavior). Elia certainly proved herself to be a backstabber!

    Sam definitely deserved to be in the finals, but now that it's Marcel v. Ilan, I guess I'll hafta root for Marcel...
    The first step to acquiring wisdom is to admit that you really know nothing.

  9. #159
    Elite Member louiswinthorpe111's Avatar
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    I hate to say it, but since Sam didn't make it, I'll have to root for Marcel.

  10. #160
    Elite Member KristiB's Avatar
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    They just posted the previews on the Bravo site for next week.

    Sam and Mike will be assisting Marcel. And, get this, it looks like Elia and Betty are assisting Ilan.

    http://www.bravotv.com/Top_Chef_2/vi...x.php?id=58214

    ETA: AND a Farmer's Market with no budget.

    I also read a spoiler and if it's right I know who won. It'll be interesting to see if the source is correct.

    Unrelated gossip that explains alot!!

    From VH1's Best Week Ever

    According to a source who worked on the set of Top Chef, the ex-model turned trophy wife turned hostess Padma Lakshmi allegedly enjoys smoking pot on set, giving a whole new meaning to the term “Quickfire Challenge” — see, cause she’s allegedly lighting up a joint instead of a stove! Anyway. Exactly how often this happened is disputed, though we were assured it was allegedly “fairly regularly.”

    But really, is this shocking? An addiction to marijuana would actually serve to explain a lot of strange Padma-related phenoms, such as:

    * Her large appetite (remember, she’s an ex-model)
    * Her detached, soulless vocal inflections
    * Her insane outfit choices
    * The strainge “itch” she got in the back of her throat during this week’s Hawaiian challenge
    * Why she speaks soooo slooooowly
    * Why she married Salman Rushdie
    * Why she seems high all the time.

    On second thought, that still doesn’t explain the outfits. Allegedly.

    http://www.bestweekever.tv/2007/01/2...teral-pothead/
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  11. #161
    Silver Member simone's Avatar
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    Oooh, where'd you read the spoiler? I really don't wanna stay up late next week to watch it, and would rather dvr it, but still would love to know who wins!
    The first step to acquiring wisdom is to admit that you really know nothing.

  12. #162
    Elite Member KristiB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simone View Post
    Oooh, where'd you read the spoiler? I really don't wanna stay up late next week to watch it, and would rather dvr it, but still would love to know who wins!
    Remember it may not be right. 50% chance

    Do not click if you don't want to know

    SPOILER ON WINNER HERE

  13. #163
    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KristiB View Post
    Remember it may not be right. 50% chance

    Do not click if you don't want to know

    SPOILER ON WINNER HERE
    Yeah I saw that myself. I am not so sure though..there has been alot of questioning about the reliability of that source. We will see.
    Don't slap me, cause I'm not in the mood!

  14. #164
    Silver Member simone's Avatar
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    thanks, kristi! verrrry interesting!
    this cracked me up: http://blog.ruhlman.com/2007/01/guest_blogging_.html.

    i couldn't agree w/ him more... :-)
    The first step to acquiring wisdom is to admit that you really know nothing.

  15. #165
    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    BIG TIME SPOILER!!! SEE BELOW!!

    Food and Wine magazine really screwed up and briefly posted the WINNER and the article about the win ONLINE!!! those idiots! the article is below!!!!! It was quickly taken off their site but too late!!! Someone's head will roll!!
































































    Bravo’s New Top Chef Tells All
    How did Ilan Hall, the 24-year-old with the Tintin ’do, beat out 14 other contestants to become Top Chef on the Bravo reality show? And what’s he planning to do with the $100,000 he won? Adam Sachs finds out.
    By Adam Sachs
    What did I learn watching the second season of Bravo’s hit reality show Top Chef? I learned that cooking is an extreme sport. And that competing in this full-contact cook-off requires repeating the phrase "flavor profiles" as often as possible. I understood the full power of host Padma Lakshmi: Not only is she mesmerizingly beautiful, but she also has a way of hypnotizing contestants by speaking very… very… slowly. And I discerned that the long, hard road to culinary dominance begins with a dish made from poached snails, peanuts and American cheese.

    That the 24-year-old Ilan Hall was able to turn those odd-couple ingredients into appetizing escargots with cheese sauce probably should have been a sign that he was destined to win the Top Chef title. The series pitted contestants against each other in dozens of stressful and often wacky cooking challenges; in one episode, for instance, the chefs were asked to turn vending-machine snacks into elegant amuse bouches. Much backstabbing and many emotional meltdowns, ruthless expulsions and dramatically scored moments of truth ensued throughout the episodes—along with some impressive cooking under pressure. Ilan’s suave handling of the cheese and snails won him the first episode’s QuickFire Challenge.

    I met up with Ilan to see what he’d learned about cooking and about the alternate reality of reality TV, and to find out what kind of restaurant career he envisions. We sat at the hot, smoky counter at Yakitori Taisho, a cramped Japanese place in Manhattan’s East Village. Ilan stops in regularly for skewers of quail eggs and raw octopus with wasabi. "What I love about this place is the food is great and it looks like a dive bar," Ilan said. We drank beer and ate skewers of chicken skin ("Extra crispy," Ilan requested) and tried grilled pig’s feet and french fries with mentaiko (spicy fish roe) mayo.

    What, I asked Ilan, could he take from a place like this and re-create in his own restaurant? "There’s no barrier between the customers and the kitchen," he said. "Everything is in front of you and the food is honest. You order grilled pig’s feet and it’s grilled pig’s feet." We sat watching the cooks work in a kitchen covered from wall to ceiling with tinfoil, and neither of us could have been happier to be away from the pretensions of fine dining, far from foie gras, let alone a fork.

    Ilan clearly has a passion for food, but he doesn’t lecture his peers about molecular gastronomy, as Marcel Vigneron, his archrival on the show, tends to do. (That’s not the only difference between the two. It’s TV, so hair is important: Ilan has a Tintin-ish spike, whereas Marcel’s feral ’do rises like the flames from Lady Liberty’s torch.) Ilan has a deadpan sense of humor and an unfussy style behind the stove. That and a wanderer’s curiosity about food and the world.

    When Ilan was growing up on Long Island, his father, a Scotsman with an electronics-importing business, was the family cook. His repertoire was mostly straightforward Mediterranean—olive oil, no butter, lots of grilled fish—and he passed along his respect for fresh ingredients to Ilan. Ilan’s Israeli mother, an art director for the Long Island newspaper Newsday, stayed out of the kitchen but encouraged her son’s interest in food.

    In high school, Ilan had a job at a seafood store and learned how to work with various types of fish. But observing the lifestyle of a cousin who worked in restaurants around the world sealed the deal: "My cousin was living this nomadic life, hanging out in the south of France, cooking at a Terence Conran place in London. Every time I’d see him, he’d have a better-looking girlfriend." With the blessings of his parents and teachers, Ilan spent the last semester of high school studying cooking and staging at a restaurant in Florence. After that, it was off to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), followed by more travel and a stint at Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio’s Craft restaurant, where he clashed with chef de cuisine Damon Wise and got fired. "I’m good friends with him now. He’s apologized. I was young and obnoxious," Ilan said.

    When he applied to be a Top Chef contestant, Ilan was working as a line cook at Casa Mono, the Mario Batali-funded Spanish spot in Manhattan, and living in a 300-square-foot studio. "I’ve cooked in my apartment only twice," Ilan said. "Once for a party with my grandmother and once for the Top Chef audition tape. I made leftover ramen noodles with Kewpie mayonnaise because they were the only things I had in the house."

    Now he’s won $100,000 in seed money and a fully loaded Sears Kenmore kitchen (where he’ll put it is anyone’s guess), and Ilan’s wanderlust is back. He’s quit his day job and plans to travel to the Far East and to Spain—Seville, Costa Brava, San Sebastián—and spend his time eating and cooking. "I could tell you I’d like to do a stage at El Bulli," he said. "But the truth is if I could cook anywhere, it would be at a place called Chez Eugenette on the beach in Guadeloupe. I went with my family when I was 10. The husband is the fisherman. The wife cooks the fish. It’s simple and perfect."

    One of Ilan’s long-range plans is to open a small restaurant serving Spanish tapas-style dishes with Asian influences—like the pan-fried fideo cakes studded with chorizo and shrimp, a riff on the grilled rice cakes at Yakitori Taisho. "I love plancha cooking, and I love wok cooking for the same reason—they’re quick and fresh," Ilan said. "Eventually, I’d like to have two restaurants. One will be the tapas-inspired place, which will always be packed and make me money. Then I can open something tiny and elegant. With seven seats. Next door."

    Ilan believes that too many expensive restaurants operate without a soul. "The seasoning can be right, the preparation fine, but a robot could have made the food. It’s cafeteria food for wealthy people." Downtown dives aren’t the only places that move him, though. "I love Per Se, too," he said about the haute New York City restaurant. "The food there is very, very elegant but still very simple. It doesn’t set your tongue on fire and then slap you in the face like Wylie Dufresne’s does at WD~50—which I love also, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes that kind of thing is more about an experience than about a piece of fish."

    One of the lessons Ilan learned on Top Chef is the importance of getting people to do what you want them to do in a positive way: "You encourage them and make them want to work with you and cook great food, which is the goal of any restaurant." He keeps relationships cordial in the kitchen, but on the show he wasn’t afraid to engage the enemy. He quickly identified a few cast members as dangerous competition: Cliff Crooks and Sam Talbot, two likable New York-based chefs with impressive chops; and Elia Aboumrad, a 23-year-old from Mexico City who trained with Joël Robuchon and who, Ilan said, had the best pure talent of anyone on the show. And then there was Marcel, the first runner-up for the Top Chef title. "I knew he had skills, and you want to win the money, but that’s not the reason I wanted him out," Ilan said. "It was his attitude."

    Ilan and Marcel both trained at the CIA, and they represent opposing strains in American cooking: keeping it real versus making it new. "On the first day of taping, when we were waiting to go on camera, Marcel said to me in his little ridiculous voice, ’Lights, camera, action, yeah?’ I wanted to elbow him," Ilan recalled. The tension lasted until the two were the only ones left for the manic finale in Hawaii.

    Ilan did learn something from Marcel: "He showed me how to pit olives using a funnel. You just pop the olive through the center and the pit comes right out. It’s one of the greatest things I learned from anybody. It’s just a little ironic that I got it from him."

    So why did Ilan come out on top? Turns out he had a mantra, one that should serve him well in the real-life competition of the restaurant business: "Make the food too delicious for them to send you home."

    Adam Sachs has written for GQ and the New York Times Magazine.
    Don't slap me, cause I'm not in the mood!

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