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Seasons vs. Seasons


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#991

stillshimpy

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Posted Dec 21, 2012 @ 12:39 PM

Bullying and small minded criticism of others, should that behavior surface, always goes right on screen for us. So far, this group has at least managed to be, in my opinion, just annoying rather than awful human beings. Last season, people said things that made me cringe. The editors didn't make those words come out of their mouths.


I agree entirely. Last season there was a strange, middle-school bullying vibe to a lot of the interactions and everyone just seemed so freaking immature in their reactions, but not in a "Yes, they are young" way. Some of the chefs truly should have been absolutely, without question, full-grown. That's just how they really were (which made me shudder to think what someone like Heather was like as a younger woman, since she was stunningly unaware of how she came off at forty).

But this season is more the garden variety stuff. Josh is super prickly, and I did end up wondering if there had been a different confrontation with Tyler, because Josh was unnecessarily nasty to him. Similarly, I'm not sure what the real deal was with CJ and Josh mixing it up with John so harshly, but I really did have the feeling that something went down that might have put CJ and Josh being such giant twerps into an entirely different context. Like maybe John wasn't quite as blameless as he seemed in that moment.

I guess all I'm saying is that last season seemed to be a case of the cast being made up of some actual bullies, with truly hateful personalities. Whereas this season I feel like a couple of people are being shaped in the editing room and only half the story presented, yet I am enjoying it much more because everyone seems like they are likely a full person, with both positive attributes and a detraction or two. Much of the bickering here lacks the actual venom that really seemed present in the Texas season.

ETA: I should mention that there was one contestant last year who just struck me as being a really nice human being and who kept swimming against the tide pretty admirably. I wish I could remember her name, but when Lindsay tried to start harping that Beverly was ruining her dish (with poor Beverly less than six full feet away), she really shot back immediately shutting Lindsay down. She was sort of tall, with fantastic, crazy hair and she was just a super appealing person on a lot of levels.

Edited by stillshimpy, Dec 21, 2012 @ 12:46 PM.

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#992

RescueMom

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Posted Dec 21, 2012 @ 12:49 PM

ETA: I should mention that there was one contestant last year who just struck me as being a really nice human being and who kept swimming against the tide pretty admirably. I wish I could remember her name, but when Lindsay tried to start harping that Beverly was ruining her dish (with poor Beverly less than six full feet away), she really shot back immediately shutting Lindsay down. She was sort of tall, with fantastic, crazy hair and she was just a super appealing person on a lot of levels.


stillshimpy, was that Grayson?
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#993

stillshimpy

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Posted Dec 21, 2012 @ 12:54 PM

stillshimpy, was that Grayson?


Yes! Thank you so much, you just lived up to your name RescueMom. I really liked her and weirdly enough, loved her name (but I was never going to remember it on my own). I liked her so much she made the season worthwhile, even if she wasn't the most skilled chef yet (she was actually young enough that some experience might make the difference).

But yup, she rocked and kept my faith in human nature alive during an otherwise thoroughly disheartening season.

Edited by stillshimpy, Dec 21, 2012 @ 12:55 PM.

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#994

RescueMom

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Posted Dec 21, 2012 @ 1:09 PM

Grayson and Ed (from last season also) were in a commercial with Hugh during the show this week. I liked both of them quite a bit, and would love to see them back if they do another all-stars season.

I'm getting a bit of a Paul vibe from Sheldon this season.
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#995

stillshimpy

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Posted Dec 21, 2012 @ 1:18 PM

There were several chefs last season that weren't bad or were even really likable. Paul was really delightful and Ed was a lot of fun too.

I'm getting a bit of a Paul vibe from Sheldon this season.


They have that same quiet kindness and unassuming vibe. I do think Sheldon might not quite be up to Paul's level yet, but I think it is a case of yet.

Paul was so nice and so talented. I know there were a few good things about last season and he really was one of them, but the horror posse tend to leap to mind when I think of the Texas season.
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#996

VirginiBound

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Posted Dec 22, 2012 @ 7:10 AM

I do think Sheldon might not quite be up to Paul's level yet, but I think it is a case of yet.

from Sheldon's Bio:

The Executive Chef of Star Noodle in Lahaina, Sheldon is a two-time James Beard semifinalist -- for “Rising Star” and “Best New Restaurant,” both in 2011. Also in 2011, Maui Nokaoi Magazine named him “Chef of the Year.” Food & Wine Magazine named Sheldon “Best New Chef People’s Choice” nominee in 2012.

I'd say by what his bio say is there already.
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#997

JTMacc99

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Posted Dec 26, 2012 @ 8:21 AM

I also think that at this point in the show, Sheldon's success isn't much different than what we had seen from Paul. Maybe Paul had won something more than Sheldon, but I don't remember Sheldon making anything really bad yet. The big difference is that Paul stood out as a decent human being in his season, so I noticed him more. (Note, that's not because Sheldon hasn't also appeared to be a decent human being. It's more because he doesn't stand out in this group just because of it.)

I will say one thing about Sheldon, he doesn't make me think about past contestants on this show, but he does make me think about the boring Hawaiian dude that was recently on Food Network Star. In the few minutes of what we've seen from Sheldon so far, I am way more interested in his take on food.
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#998

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Posted Jan 16, 2013 @ 11:53 PM

Tonight has absolutely tainted the entire season, and at this point in time, I don't think I can forgive the show.

I was really enjoying Top Chef Seattle. It seemed like such a refreshing change from the previous seasons, which allowed me to look past some of TC10's big flaws (and it's had many flaws: the gimmick of bringing back past contestants; the Pike Place challenge; some of the most mediocre, venomous chefs sticking around past their expiration date; etc). Honestly, the main reason I was sticking around was to watch Kristen, Brooke, Lizzie, and maybe Sheldon duke it out. Everything (and everyone) else was a distraction.

But tonight just brought all of the worst aspects of this show to the forefront. Josie should have been eliminated in Week 2, after her disastrous turkey brought down an entire team. Immunity saved her (which raises the question - why was immunity even on the lines for a team challenge?). Stefan AND Josie should have been eliminated tonight. I thought it was BS that Sheldon's team was declared the winning team, when in reality they could have said it was a tie. They've done that before (Seasons 2 & 3), so it's not like they have to declare a winning team. Sheldon still could have received an individual win, but Stefan didn't deserve immunity for being on the winning team (just like Leah several years ago). Josie hasn't done anything to prove she can cook (aside from the dumpling in the QF she won). How could she possibly be in the Top 6 right now? It takes away the credibility of the show. Lizzie, Brooke, and Sheldon clearly deserve to be there in my eyes, but they're standing alongside Josie. It's simply not right.

I feel like the show has fallen back into the patterns that made it unbearable during Seasons 7, 8, and 9 (IMO). They're aiming for ratings and drama over culinary merit. If I keep watching the show, I'll be giving them exactly what they want, so I think I'm calling it quits. Forever. For me, it's actually uncomfortable watching Josie flounder every single week (just like it was uncomfortable watching the bullies of S9, and watching Richard Blais attempt to undermine Stephanie's win during each week of S8, and watching the horribly conceived challenges and numerous irritating chefs of S7, etc). This is now the 4th season in a row that they've ruined for me, and I'm tired of getting invested in (what once was) my favorite reality show, only to be heartbroken when I realize it now disgusts me instead of satisfies me.

Edited by DoleWhip, Jan 16, 2013 @ 11:55 PM.

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#999

novhappy

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Posted Jan 17, 2013 @ 4:37 PM

In past seasons has Restaurant Wars been done earlier in the season so there were more contestants to staff each side?
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#1000

gilaymar

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Posted Jan 17, 2013 @ 4:50 PM

This is definitely the most boring season for me. I cannot get through the coma-inducing episodes. I don't know if it's the competitions or the chefs but I am completely disinterested. I feel like I cannot connect emotionally with any of the chefs. If Stefan (and he's an asshole) wasn't there, I would totally delete my season pass.
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#1001

Dana Girl

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Posted Jan 28, 2013 @ 7:09 PM

This season isn't good. It's not as bad as last season, or the deadly dull DC season, but it's not good.

I'm a little perplexed as to where TC has gone wrong. For example, I thought the New York season was pretty awesome-except for Toby (gah!), and the Hosea disaster. Las Vegas was super fantastic! Then DC sucked, All Stars was great, Texas was a disaster, and this season is also pretty bad. WTH, Top Chef?
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#1002

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Posted Jan 29, 2013 @ 5:06 PM

Yeah, I also can't really put my finger on what went wrong. Seasons 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 are pretty amazing in my opinion. Lately, something has been very off, and I don't really know what it is.

I think that if Kristen or Brooke wins, this season will still be a fairly good one for me. Out of the people left, the only one I don't like is Josh. Stefan hasn't been the lovable douche he was in Season 5, but his friendship with Kristen was cute, so I still adore him.

ETA: Although, I think I know exactly WHERE it started to go wrong - Carla's elimination in season 8. The show hasn't been good since then. I tend to cut the last part of season 8 out of memory and imagine that Carla or Antonia won the whole thing.

Edited by Xazeal, Jan 29, 2013 @ 5:11 PM.

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#1003

JTMacc99

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Posted Jan 30, 2013 @ 1:07 PM

I think that if Kristen or Brooke wins, this season will still be a fairly good one for me.

Or Sheldon for me. All three have come off as talented and likable. Another female winner is past due, and despite Brooke's bad day and Kristen's day that already got her eliminated, I still have some hope for both of them.

And I'm not even sure if I need one of those three to win for me to look at this season favorably. There have definitely been people to root for, and the people I have rooted against are just annoying and not terrible people who stain the entire season with their horribleness.

After the general quality of people this season, which is okay in my book, the big thing that pleased me is a much better set of challenges. Between All-Stars, Texas, what they did in TC Masters during the same period, I was starting to lose my interest in this show. It was going down the path of making the show about the challenges as opposed to being about the talent of the chefs, and I think they corrected it somewhat in season 10. Mostly, everybody has had a fair chance to succeed in the elimination challenges. Yes, some challenges are more in the wheelhouse of certain people, but none of them were just "cook Thai food using only equipment and ingredients found in the local Super Target."

Edited by JTMacc99, Jan 30, 2013 @ 1:09 PM.

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#1004

Totale

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Posted Jan 31, 2013 @ 5:09 PM

I think it is a measure of the Zero Personality Quotient of this year's crop that I ended up fast-forwarding through large swatches of this past episode. I didn't care about the cruise. I don't care about the chefs, or what their thought and opinions are on, uh, anything. Except for Josh I don't hate any of them, and except for Brooke I'm not particularly pulling for any of them - and I know that even that's for completely shallow reasons, because I'd miss looking at her if she got cut. If as was threatened elsewhere they put some huge gap in before the finals to try to pretend that whichever one is returned for the finals was decided by viewer vote and not scripted weeks in advance I may just nod out in between and forget to watch them. Better luck next year.
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#1005

SilentMinority

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Posted Feb 7, 2013 @ 9:01 AM

I guess I don't understand the "boring" or "Zero Personality Quotient" type comments. Almost universally in the past, "personality" to me has become equivalent to "asshole", "high-drama", "snarky", or some other negative trait. Other than Josh, I adored all of the F4, and actually most of the cheftestants this season (excepting Josh, John, Josie, CJ, and Stefan, whose sexism will always repulse me). In fact, eliminate the returnees and I think this is one of the more likeable casts we've had. There's a very good chance I will actually be happy for the winner the way I was for Paul last year, and not annoyed that Yet Another Asshole won TC as with many past seasons.

I don't watch TC for the drama, artificial or otherwise. I watch to see good people who are good chefs cook good food under interesting (not ridiculous) constraints.
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#1006

cooksdelight

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Posted Feb 7, 2013 @ 9:37 AM

Yeah, I also can't really put my finger on what went wrong. Seasons 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 are pretty amazing in my opinion. Lately, something has been very off, and I don't really know what it is.


Last Chance Kitchen. That has changed this show for the worse, I just don't see any added benefit.
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#1007

stillshimpy

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Posted Feb 7, 2013 @ 10:22 AM

Last season I couldn't stand the concept of Last Chance Kitchen. For one thing, when Beverly was eliminated I just wanted her to never have to be in a room with any of those women again, Heather, Sarah, even Lindsay. So I wasn't cheering on her second chance and that finale was made horribly awkward between Sarah's heinous condescending attempts to make things right and the bizarre athletic crap they had to do.

This season I really liked the concept and it works for me. It did mean I didn't get as upset about things like Tyler going down with CJ for no reason other than not being willing to stuff CJ in a walk-in or drug him silly with Nyquil in order to make a better pickle dish, but that made it more pleasant.

I'm liking this season. The challenges haven't outright sucked as much as Texas's challenges did (seriously, those were embarrassing) and aside from some early overdone drama between Josh, CJ and John that seemed to be entirely resolved when John went home, it's been pretty good IMO. Less of the Top Team Challenge and thank the culinary gods and the freakin' magical elves there has been no "ride a bike to a restaurant and..." Even the sort of mud-wrestling for oysters was just fairly pleasant. Other than really wanting Josie to go, I've enjoyed this season.

Still, it's not exactly stuffed with dynamic personalities. I'd like to see Brooke or Sheldon win, but even if Josh somehow pulls it all out in the end, it's not like I'll be outraged.

Which season was it that Kevin won? Ed was in that final and so was another chef from Colorado (whose name I cannot remember), that was a low point for me. This middle of the road guy who I'd barely noticed was declared the winner. It's not that he was bad, or offensive it was just sort of "Oh. Good for him. I guess. I wish I could remember even one other thing he made."

I think some seasons have better luck than others in the casting department. Also, I read that piece about Sandy Birdsong and how they photograph the beauty plates and apparently she also designs the challenges. That's a bit disheartening. An actual chef came up with the utter bullshit of season nine and its "cook some steak! Cook some BBQ! Cook in these inadequate spaces with an actually dangerous heat level, because apparently it's a surprise that Texas is hot in the summer to the Top Chef production!"

Yeah, I prefer this season to last season by a lot. Poor Paul, he is so gifted and kind, but he still won a season that was just kind of embarrassing for the franchise.

Edited by stillshimpy, Feb 7, 2013 @ 10:25 AM.

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#1008

SilentMinority

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Posted Feb 7, 2013 @ 7:13 PM

Which season was it that Kevin won? Ed was in that final and so was another chef from Colorado (whose name I cannot remember), that was a low point for me. This middle of the road guy who I'd barely noticed was declared the winner. It's not that he was bad, or offensive it was just sort of "Oh. Good for him. I guess. I wish I could remember even one other thing he made."


That would be S7, and the 3rd finalist was Angelo (yeah, the guy who was on the Andy Cohen show after the last episode).

The S7 finale was a little like the S5 finale for me: The favorite, whom I didn't like (never warmed up to Angelo, hated Stefan), lost to a chef who had never impressed me during the season. I don't like rooting for the lesser-talented contestant to win any reality show, so neither of those seasons is among my favorites.
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#1009

stillshimpy

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Posted Feb 7, 2013 @ 11:14 PM

That would be S7, and the 3rd finalist was Angelo (yeah, the guy who was on the Andy Cohen show after the last episode).


Thank you, SilentMinority. I somehow spaced poor Angelo's presence because he was back for the next season. Felled by the flu in the finale. Yeah, another low point. I was actually thinking of the female chef from Colorado who was baiting everyone's hooks for them.

Season five was Hosea, wasn't it? Lord that was a low point for food, television and the credibility of this show.
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#1010

AladdinSane

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Posted Feb 8, 2013 @ 2:18 AM

shimpyI think Kelly Liken is the Master Baiter you are thinking of <rimshot>
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#1011

stillshimpy

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Posted Feb 8, 2013 @ 11:26 AM

Ha!! Yes, that's her, AladdinSane and well done on the pun :-) She was an enjoyable contestant and part of the final four.
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#1012

zmulls

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Posted Mar 12, 2013 @ 11:15 AM

I always wind up rooting for the quieter, smarter competent female chef. I rooted for Stephanie in S4 and Kelly in S7, Antonia in S8, Lindsay in S9 and of course Kristen in this season. It's a prejudice I have. I appreciate talent without the drama or ego (a little ego is healthy). I want someone who just gets the job done and looks slightly bemused and appalled at the a-holes on the show.

(But that's not what the producers want, apparently).

I enjoyed this season a lot because of the lack of major drama (Josie excepted) and the skill of a handful of contestants. John was a big ego and personality but in the kitchen he generally was a good egg (and worked well with teammates). The talent level was tons greater than S7.

LCK is gimmicky all right, but I don't think it was totally manipulated. I do think Tom shows a bias, but if the dishes are about equal, it's who Tom likes. CJ, for all his asshattery, was showing some technique and skills he didn't have before, and it seemed to me that he was winning LCK fair and square. Tom really liked Kristen, though. LCK seems to be a "get out of jail free" card for Tom to give to someone, but they have to earn it (step up in LCK and at least tie, and earn your spot in the final).

I wish they had given more time and had better use for the nine Top Chefs. They were mostly window dressing. Maybe the former Top Chefs should judge LCK (since Tom has biases and have some knowledge of the contestants during the season).
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#1013

Artistictype

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Posted Apr 21, 2013 @ 2:06 PM

It looks like the G4 channel is rerunning the Top Chef episodes. Today was Season 2, and I forgot how deeply unpleasant a season , mainly due to some very unpleasant characters. Weird Marcel, smirking saffron-monkey Ilan, annoying would-be actress Betty, passive-agressive Sam, disapproving Elia, frat-boy Michael. And don't forget, this was the season that introduced braying Josie. Yikes!
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#1014

Mlle Poilane

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Posted May 15, 2013 @ 11:16 PM

One of my least favorite contestants (and a bully) was Josie on this last season's shows. I hope I have her name right. She seemed intent on proving how masculine she could be and how nasty she could act toward others.

I used to like and respect some of the guest judges on TC, but not so much in recent seasons. I thought that Eric Ripert was an excellent judge. Sometimes now I think that Tom, Hugh and Emeril aeem more interested in clowning around than they do about the contestants, although Emeril did give some extra attention. As a result, the show seemed more serious to me in the early daya. Maybe it's just me.

Edited by Mlle Poilane, May 15, 2013 @ 11:20 PM.

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#1015

dreamoffood

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Posted Jul 3, 2013 @ 12:42 AM

From ThreeDimen:

Ilan Hall was a line cook of no particular distinction when he went on Top Chef, and according to Mario Batali, won by ripping off Casa Mono's tasting menu. OTOH, this season we have executive chefs, chef owners, etc. who have merited a Michelin star and several James Beard nominations. That already puts them in a different universe than Hall, who couldn't even manage to serve a decent funnel cake.

 

I'm new to Top Chef and watch them on DVD rather than weekly. I'm almost through season 6. I have been wondering since Michael mentioned his restaurant earned a Michelin Star; why can he "claim" it as his and why do people attribute it to him? There have been many chef contestants that worked in Michelin Star restaurants but they aren't thought to have earned it. This was before Michael opened his restaurant ink. I think at the time he was taping the show, the Michelin Star restaurant he worked at was a hotel restaurant that he didn't own. Wouldn't the Star "belong" to the chef-owner of the restaurant much like we think of Le Bernadin's 3 Stars as Eric Ripert's and not his chef de cuisine or whoever runs the day-to-day show there? Thanks for any clarification.


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#1016

BizarroElaine

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Posted Sep 25, 2013 @ 3:24 PM

Interesting question, dreamoffood. I don't know the official answer, but I would think that the star would belong to the owner of the restaurant and not just some chef that works there, like Michael. I'm re-watching the same season right now and am wondering who people think is the better chef: Michael Voltaggio or Richard Blais? I would love to see these two go up against each other in a competition. I wish Bryan V. would have been on All Stars - he would have given Richard a run for his money for sure. He's clearly learned a lot since he's faring so well on TCM, but I don't think he's going to win.


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#1017

ThreeDimen

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Posted Oct 3, 2013 @ 7:54 AM

There wasn't a chef-owner of the hotel restaurant that Voltaggio ran, it was part of a chain. He was the chef de cuisine, so he ran the kitchen, developed the menu, etc.
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#1018

JTMacc99

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Posted Oct 3, 2013 @ 1:48 PM

am wondering who people think is the better chef: Michael Voltaggio or Richard Blais?

 

Based entirely off of what I saw on TC (so in other words, my two cents) Voltaggio by noticeable margin. And he wasn't my favorite that season at all. A little bit of me believes that Richard enjoys being on TV more than he enjoys cooking.


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#1019

seltzer4

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Posted Oct 3, 2013 @ 3:30 PM

While I'm really impressed by the talent of this season, I'm kind of unsure to have the level so high.  It almost seems like top chef masters and regular top chef there isn't as much difference.


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#1020

Lamb18

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Posted Oct 4, 2013 @ 9:28 PM

I would like to see a season of Top Chef winners compete against each other.  There's enough of them now to sustain a season.  Let's see: Harold, Ilan, Hung, Stephanie, Hosea, Michael, Kevin, (does Blaise count for All-Stars?), Paul, Kristin - I feel like I've forgotten someone. 


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