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Top Chef Recap 5.7: Focus Group

After a two week break, Top Chef was back last night with an exciting new episode. We were introduced to Gail Simmons' replacement judge, Toby Young, a vicious British foodie. We watched the chef's get creative in the kitchen and critical at the dining table. If you're anxious to discuss all the delicious details (warning: spoilers ahead!),

.

  1. What exactly did the Diet Dr. Pepper have to do with the quickfire challenge? Was it a requirement to use the soda in the sugar-free dessert?
  2. Don't you just love Fabio? He's hilariously Italian: The guy actually thinks the reason guest judge Jean-Christophe Novelli didn't like his dessert is because the Frenchman is still bitter about France's loss to Italy in the World Cup!
  3. Whose dessert was the most mouth-watering? I wanted to try Leah's strawberry balsamic crepes!
  4. Do you agree with Radhika: does Stefan create stress in the kitchen?
  5. Was it a good idea or bad idea for Jamie to make scallops again?
  6. Did group B have an advantage because they cooked knowing Toby Young, and that they would be judged by their fellow competitors?
  7. Is Toby Young saying it how it is or just plain rude?
  8. Will the chefs cook differently now that they know what it's like to be a judge?
  9. Why didn't Fabio's undercooked lamb get mentioned at judges' table?
  10. Did they send home the right two cheftestants?

Photo courtesy of Source

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ann418 ann418 7 years
I did love how Jamie made fun of Fabio for doing pasta, as if she's never done anything predictable. And she does bug me how she thinks she should win all the time. I'm sure the other contestants want to win, too! I like her, but if she does scallops again...
Entertainment Entertainment 7 years
If Carla had gone home, my guy and I would have to stop yelling "hootie! hootie hoo!" at the screen every time she's talking. So, for that reason alone, I'm glad she stayed, though I really like Eugene and agree that he's more creative in his cooking than almost everyone there, even if it doesn't always work. Stefan is starting to bug me more, and I really wouldn't have wanted to be in the kitchen with him. I'm even liking Fabio more because of him. I think it was a good idea for Jamie to do scallops again, because she knew she could do better — and she did. Shoneyjoe's comment about the blogs is interesting -- I wondered if group B had an advantage from knowing Toby, because they did all seem to do so much better. Maybe it's just that he stopped being so hypercritical between groups. (Also, I don't know how I'm going to handle a whole season of Toby Young. He bugs me.)
Food Food 7 years
shoneyjoe - "shrill" is the perfect description. I was looking for a word that hit the nail in the head. Thank you. :P
shoneyjoe shoneyjoe 7 years
If you read the Top Chef blogs on Bravotv.com, Tom shared today that Toby had originally thought he was brought in for zingers and potshots, which is how he acted when ripping apart the first group of cheftestants. Tom continues: "he quickly realized that they were all very serious-minded about their food and about this competition, and he switched gears and began assessing the food in earnest." So yeah, Toby's was bit of a pompous jackass, but if the producers didn't properly inform him what he was supposed to be doing, he might well assume that they had wanted another Simon Cowell.
Savs Savs 7 years
I'm surprised no one's mentioned Jeff's dessert... I was so torn about which I would have ordered in a restaurant (his or Leah's).
aimeeb aimeeb 7 years
1. What exactly did the Diet Dr. Pepper have to do with the quickfire challenge? Was it a requirement to use the soda in the sugar-free dessert? It's all about the benjamins baby! 2. Don't you just love Fabio? He's hilariously Italian: The guy actually thinks the reason guest judge Jean-Christophe Novelli didn't like his dessert is because the Frenchman is still bitter about France's loss to Italy in the World Cup! He's grown on me over the season but love, that's a stretch... 3. Whose dessert was the most mouth-watering? I wanted to try Leah's strawberry balsamic crepes! I'm with you, the rest weren't very appealing... 4. Do you agree with Radhika: does Stephan create stress in the kitchen? Not so much stress as aggravation...and annoyance... 5. Was it a good idea or bad idea for Jamie to make scallops again? Well they liked them so good but I wish she would change things up a bit... 6. Did group B have an advantage because they cooked knowing Toby Young, and that they would be judged by their fellow competitors? Nah not really... 7. Is Toby Young saying it how it is or just plain rude? I think he's a bit over zealous with his comments like he needs to play the Simon Cowell of Top Chef character... 8. Will the chefs cook differently now that they know what it's like to be a judge? Possibly...it can't hurt to of been on the other side of the table... 9. Why didn't Fabio's undercooked lamb get mentioned at judges' table? Because the dish itself if you took off the lamb was perfect. 10. Did they send home the right two cheftestants? Yep!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
1. So sick of their product placement challenges. Diet Dr. Pepper had nothing to do with the food! 2. Fabio is still my fave. He's just so funny and good natured. 3. I'm with you - I really wanted to taste Leah's dessert. 4. I don't see the problem with Stephan. I actually like him - he's a little egotistical, but he at least has the chops to be there. 5. I'm with Fabio on this one. It's not Top Scallop! 6. I think they maybe had a little advantage in knowing the enemy a little bit. 7. A little of both, but at least now they're really weeding people out. 8. Myeh, they never learn their lessons. 9. I feel like Fabio's lamb was so outdone in the "this really sucks" category that there wasn't even a need to mention it when compared to Eugene and Melissa. 10. Yes. Melissa has been consistently awful, and I'm really sick of the "I haven't shown you my best!" excuse. It's a cooking competition honey. If not yet, when exactly were you going to start showing your best? I'm also so over Carla's new age nonsense though, so I wouldn't have minded if they sent home all three.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
"This is Top Chef, not Top Scallop!"
masonsmama masonsmama 7 years
I think the blatant product sponsorship is annoying, but I think it's also a reality for more and more shows with everyone having tivo/dvr of some sort now. So I try not to hold it against the show specifically :) I can't say enough how much I don't like Ariane. I feel like I could be on the show and come up with the same things she's making - there's nothing that says chef about her ideas. It seems more like practiced home cook. I can't understand how she keeps managing to do so well. I hope the new judge continues with the snarky comments - it certainly livens up what has been a dull season so far.
mlen mlen 7 years
1- yes more shameless advertising and product placement! but it is what it is- i'm just glad they all didn't actually use it in their dessert! 2- my roommate and I were actually laughing about Fabio in the repeat episode before- Gail's shower- cause when he brought out their dishes the ladies just swooned everytime he talked. He could have said "you are about to eat dishsoap" and the ladies would have giggled and been like "Oooo" lol 3- I honestly don't remember all the dessrts but yes Leah's looked good 4- Stefan certainly has a strong personality and an ego- so i could see how it would create conflict or discord, and Radhika seems more quiet, so it makes sense she might want a quieter environment 5- could have gone either way- if she had made bad ones again she would have been gone- but since she made very good ones then she did redeem herself and it was a smart move. though if i were her i'd steer clear of them for the rest of the show as not to be repetitive 6-I think they certainly had an advantage- they knew more about the new judge and more about who they were cooking for and the comments the judges were making- that's huge 7- I think he's trying to be like the Simon Cowell of the show. i'm glad he didn't have a witty one-liner for everyone. at least some he actually liked and made constructive criticism on- that made him more believable as a judge 8- lets hope so! 9- i'm surprised it wasn't mentioned actually. maybe the two new judges prefer their lamb on the rare side so it wasn't a big deal to them? 10- yes i think so
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 7 years
Anyone else notice that Jamie won the challenge but did not "win" anything??? :ROTFL: sucks to be her!
mannylove mannylove 7 years
Diet Dr. Pepper was just another shameless sponsor plug via Top Chef, same as the Swanson broth soup challenge, etc etc. I love Carla, she has been cracking me up since the first episode. I thought that Fabio's undercooked lamb was mentioned by the judges a couple of times, and Stephan said something about it too, but then they went on to talk about how good the pasta was after that. I do not like Jamie at all, I was hoping she'd never get her win, but oh well.... I actually didn't think Toby's comments were that bad, they kept showing the 3 bad things he said on the previews for the episode, but aside from that, he wasn't too bad, had some good things to say also, so I think he will be fair but honest!
smileyface smileyface 7 years
I LOVE Carla and if she had gone home last night I would have been so sad!!! I was ready for Melissa to go, and I liked Eugene, but he hadn't done well this challenge or in the last. I was mad that Jamie won. I don't like her and I don't like her attitude that feels like she in entitled to win. I hope she doesn't win any more challenges or quick fires the rest of the season!
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
1. i was wondering the exact same thing. it didn't seem like it fit all that well. and the set up for the quick fire wasn't really that relevant either 2. it's really funny to see this dynamic with him, but i'm telling you if i hear one more story about his grandma - i'm going to scream. it was endearing at first but this is too much. 3. i agree that leah's was really great. i LOVE the combination of strawberries and balsamic 4. YES - he's just so cocky 5. she did well with them this time so it was good - it's just tiresome at this point. choose another protein! 6. not really - i think that they had the same pressures as group A. cooking is cooking ya know? 7. he's like Simon Cowell - you kind of just have to deal with it 8. i doubt it - they will probably all do the same that they have been. 9. there were so many other horrible things going on that it didn't make a difference, and i think that they knew who they wanted to get rid of - so he could have had an all around awful dish, and still would have stayed. he's good ratings. 10. i don't know - i guess so since none of them were going to be in the finals. carla will probably go home soon enough. she kind of annoys me.
lilegwene lilegwene 7 years
Fabio has the best lines -- cracks me and my husband up! As for Diet Dr. Pepper, they are a sponsor and the whole advertising initiative about Diet Dr. Pepper is that it tastes like it isn't diet. That was the challenge -- make something that doesn't taste like it is a diet food. It didn't seem odd to me. I don't think Radhika wanted to cook with Stefan because he is alllllways talking. He's not judgmental of other people's dishes, or talking down to anyone, (which is what I would imagine would make a hostile working environment) he is just constantly talking. During this episode he was saying how Germans and Austrians were rolling over in their graves because his food was so good, etc. I think Radhika didn't want to cook with him just so she could have some quiet and be able to focus. Didn't seem to help her much though! They did mention Fabio's duck was undercooked, but the rest of his dish was great so it was kind of skipped over. I was hoping that Eugene would stay as well, shoneyjoe. I think there have been more inspired and original pieces from him than from Carla. I am curious to see if this will change Carla's cooking at all. Just want to add, I really don't like Jamie. She is so defensive when she screws up and she is continually incredulous when her dish does well, but doesn't win. It didn't bother me so much until this episode when she won, and she was exclaimed "Finally!" like all of her dishes are sooooo amazing that she should be winning every time.
cassedy04 cassedy04 7 years
haha shoney i agree, carla is very shrill... but i was laughing so hard when she was like "gail?!?!... GAIL?!?"
shoneyjoe shoneyjoe 7 years
1. I'm getting pretty sick of the branding on this show. It used to be that we were just treated to endless whoring of the GE Monogram line. Now, every single challenge has some product or name attached to it, and at least one of the chefs has to use the name of the product every time we come back from commercial. 2. I said it before and I'll say it again. Fabio is a walking stereotype. 3. Leah's sounded great. So did Eugene's. 4. Stephan creates delicious food in the kitchen. He's also intimidating to the rest of the competitors, and I don't think Radhika was entirely at fault in wanting out of his kitchen. 5. I agree with Fabio - it's not called Top Scallops. Lee Anne's blog on Bravo after the last challenge said it best: "Occasionally the Top Chef scallop gods will come slap you on the hand for using them too much." Then again, it worked, so it's not like the gambit didn't pay off. 6. I think group B did have an advantage, and I think it showed in their dishes. 7. A bit from column A and a bit from column B. He's seen the show before and I'm sure he knows how much exposure Tony Bourdain got for being a douche on the show. It's definitely an affectation, but there's real wit in being that mean, and I do think the Brits have one up on the Americans in truly excoriating wordplay. 8. One can only hope so - it's been a snoozer of a season so far. 9. Because his pasta was amazing. I think they found it to be better than the ridiculous risotto that Carla produced, even though both suffered from a poorly-cooked protein. 10. I really should have known that the pre-commercial editing cuts would not have lead so easily into the post-commercial axing of the contestants. I guess I was hoping against hope that Eugene was staying - I really liked the guy. I thought that the daikon fettuccine was intriguing and could have been delicious. The fact that so many of the judges came at it with and attitude of "this is not how you are *supposed* to serve daikon" showed not only their unwillingness to try new things but also the depths of their preconceptions. The same might have been said of zucchini "pasta" ten years ago, but then the low-carb craze made people try to mimic pasta in different ways and now it's definitely not uncommon. Lame. My picks: still going with Stefan, and I'm pretty keen on Hosea now too. Not so sure about Leah anymore - she was pretty strong early on, but has faded. I don't care how strong she's been, I do not like Ariane. And I find Carla very shrill - not a fan.
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