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Top Chef: Chicago


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Top Chef: Chicago will premiere Wednesday, March 12, 10:00 PM (ET) on Bravo.

16 Hot New Chefs Take To The Kitchen Along With Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons And Ted Allen

Let the flames begin. The newest crop of 16 rising chefs from across the country take on the windy city of Chicago. Returning to the kitchen, cookbook author, actress and host Padma Lakshmi presides over the judge's table alongside head judge Tom Colicchio, renowned culinary figure and chef/owner, Craft Restaurants, judge Gail Simmons, of Food & Wine Magazine and judge Ted Allen, Emmy-winning cookbook author and TV personality. In what will prove to be the most exciting season yet, some of the biggest and most respected chefs will guest star on "Top Chef: Chicago."

The 16 "Top Chef: Chicago" cheftestants will be skewered down week by week as they compete to out-flavor, out-cook and out-do their competition. The winning chef will receive $100,000 in seed money to help open a restaurant, furnished by the makers of the Glad family of products, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, a gourmet dream vacation in the French Alps, and will earn the title of "Top Chef."

BRAVO

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Thanks for posting Dade. I love this show and have watched since season 1. I'm so glad its back!

:pixiedust:

Another one of my fave shows Hells Kitchen is coming back in April! Yippie!

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Looks like a great bunch of chef's this time around. Tonight was all about the classics unfortunately for for Nimma she over salted shrimp and rendered her dish "inedible". So long. No favorite for me yet..but looks like plenty of drama coming from the season preview...hopefully it won't overshadow the cooking.

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, TV SHOW BLOGS

Top Chef

by Mario DiMaio

Episode Recap: Anything You Can Cook I Can Cook Better

Even though a new winner was crowned on Project Runway, Wednesday nights will continue to be fierce with Bravo's other flaming hot competition show Top Chef. I hope you're as excited as I am about the new season, so with 32 dishes to consider in the premiere let's dig in.

The 16 competing cheftestants arrive in the Windy City and head over to Pizzeria Uno to get acquainted and sample the restaurant's signature deep-dish pizza. Serving as a clue to their first challenge, I don't think anyone was surprised when host Padma Lakshmi and head judge Tom Colicchio showed up to announce that the first Quickfire Challenge would be to create a deep-dish pizza.

Miscalculating how dough rises, using too much crust and unfamiliarity with the kitchen were problems to overcome. As someone who was crafty enough to create a tattooed tuna carpaccio for his audition video, Andrew should have thought to gather the tools he needed or he wouldn't have had to compromise and use a cast iron skillet when Richard used two deep-dish pans instead of one. Ultimately Andrew's pizza with smoked marinara and prosciutto wasn't one to win over the judges.

Arriving at their new home with pizzas in delivery bags, the chefs meet Rocco DiSpirito who introduces himself as the episode's guest judge. He and Padma must have fasted in order to tackle tasting 16 different kinds of pizza.

Though considered too dry, Nikki's white pie with mushrooms, truffle oil, Romano and comt

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, TV SHOW BLOGS

Top Chef

by Mario DiMaio

Episode Recap: Zoo Food

In this second episode of the new season of Top Chef, first impressions may change. A fowl-mouthed zebra can change his stripes and some winners who were proud peacocks ate crow.

If we continue to see more sunny sites of the city, I may have to take a trip to Chicago. The outdoor Green City Market, making locally grown food available to chefs and the public, was a great location to begin the Quickfire Challenge. With all of the fresh meats and produce, the hardest part for the cheftestants was selecting only five ingredients to prepare an entr

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Tonight's lame quickfire to reinvent the taco to a high end dish was just as dumb as tonight's Guest Judge Rick Bayless. It was Richard's Jicama inspired taco that won and gave him immunity.

Tonights elimintion brought the shock of the losing team at the block party challenge. Seriously how they could be surprised they lost. Ryan's watery Waldorf salad, Zoe's pasta salad she didn't want to do and ended up tasting worse (according to the judges) than store bought pasta and lastly Eric's super soggy corn dog which ultimately caused their demise and his ouster.

I'm starting to get annoyed by Andrew. He's just too cocky stating he's going to win TC. What's up with his stupid speech at judges table saying they would need sucurity to drag him out the door and he's not getting evicted "This is my house" What a tool! I was hoping the judges would confiscate his knives ( so he wouldn't run amok) and tell his ass to go.

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, TV SHOW BLOGS

Top Chef

by Mario DiMaio

Episode Recap: Block Party

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Well its looking likes Dale and Richard seems to taking the early lead as the chefs to beat. Dale's victory tonight in the quickfire as well as being on the winning team in the dinner after your favorite movie challenge. Dale along with Richard (who won tonigt), and the freak Andrew who wanted to present their Willy Wonka inspired dish as oompa loompas.

Tonight's loser was the team of Spike and Manuel who's "Good morning Vietnam" inspired dish lacked execution as well as class, as Tom put it "didn't see the value on the plate" compare to the others. Well it was Manuels lack of input into the idea that got him the boot. Spike lives another day to cook.

Tonight's food looked great and can't wait to see them doing dishes of their own.

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, TV SHOW BLOGS

Top Chef

by Mario DiMaio

Episode Recap: Film Food

This week's episode required the chefs to think with both sides of their brain, demonstrating their technical skills as well as their imagination. The Quickfire Challenge was almost more demanding than the Elimination Challenge, and it came with a higher reward giving the winner immunity rather than sending someone home.

Padma, joined by Chef Daniel Boulud, who makes a return visit as guest judge this season, announced that for the QFC the chefs were to create a beautiful vegetable plate demonstrating at least three techniques. As Richard said, technique is more than knife proficiency. And while I can appreciate the fact that not all chefs attend culinary school, should they not be well versed in creating food art? Perhaps the word art isn't accurate but there is a lot to be said for presentation.

It was interesting that both Richard and Ryan spent time training with Chef Daniel, but Ryan vocalized that preparing foods like this was not his style. Lisa also mentioned this and was told her poached egg, blanched asparagus and batonettes of bell pepper showed no train of thought and went back to basics. Manuel may have used the "sentimental jinx" this evening by saying he missed his sons. Chef Daniel told him that he showed level one techniques with his blanched asparagus and brunoise of yellow pepper. At least he knew that brunoise is a method of fine dicing.

Looking almost as frazzled as her accompanying chiffonade of fris

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Is it Spike who's been in the bottom the last three times?

I was chocked that Manuel was so uninspired by this challenge. Why did he agree to the spring roll crap?? I thought it was odd that these chefs couldn't describe the movies.

I don't like the rooting out of the soul food chefs, so far this season. And I cannot STAND the Marcel2.0 BS that seems to have enbodied half of the chefs on this season.

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, TV SHOW BLOGS

Top Chef

by Mario DiMaio

Episode Recap: The Elements

How do you account for taste? Celebrity chef Ming Tsai was on hand for tonight's episode that from start to finish had everyone's palate cooking overtime. My favorite challenge each season is Restaurant Wars but Antonia was doubly stoked when she won her favorite Quickfire Challenge to compare and identify 15 higher quality ingredients while blindfolded. With the highest score of 12 out of 15 correct, her immunity seemed to cause the most friction in the kitchen.

The Meals on Wheels Chicago Celebrity Chefs' Ball was the setting for the Elimination Challenge, which used a theme of the four elements. Accordingly, each chef pulled a santoku knife and divided into four teams of three to create a first course that complimented water, air, earth or fire for 80 guests. Ironically, each team had a pair that worked together in last week's EC.

I'm a big fan of butternut squash soup but might not have wanted to serve it to a crowd of 80 people. Keeping it hot enough rather than having the server spill it would give me pause. Antonia did say she would be on board to make a squash soup but eventually sold Spike and Zoi on the idea it may not appear to be of high quality. Only in her confessional did she speak out against it. Ultimately it was Chef Ming who said that a well-made soup would have been the way to go. The Earth team just couldn't win. Head judge Tom Colicchio wanted to get rid of both Zoi and Spike for not rejecting Antonia's input over serving a bland beef carpaccio. But to her detriment Zoi was responsible for intentionally under seasoning the accompanying mushrooms and fris

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I just don't get it...how in the HELL can you screw up tailgating food?

Every season I'm shocked by the majority of the chefs who believe they are somehow "above" us commoners. Yes, I know you're not from the US, but Jeez, everyone tailgates. I don't care where you're from. I was really hoping the aussie would pull something uber cool, but he brought chowder...soup?? soup to a tailgating?? Are you f*cking kidding me?

I felt bad for bitchy peppers & onions. The guest judge was a little too shocked that she didn't have time to make the sausages herself. I'm sorry, but I wouldn't think it was in her budget to buy the sausage materials (including casings). I also don't recall a sausage press being in the kitchen. but then again, I could be wrong. What I was a little shocked about was the quickly depleting peppers & onions. I've made my fair share of that wonderful tailgating cuisine, and I have to say, the outcome is usually the reverse...no more sausage/ shrimp but plenty of peppers.

Then the guy who got booted, I can't remember his name, so I'll just call him Ramble-o. STFU!! "I don't eat heavy" is not an excuse to make a dry chicken "thing". You can eat light and healthy at a football game, you just have to be creative. Before the judges said it, my husband laughed, "You got to wrap that bitch in something, moron."

But the strangest problem I had with the entire episode was the lack of the beer food/ classic tailgate food...the mighty hot wing. Really?? You couldn't come up with a creative twist on the bite size delicacy?

I'm also really liking the drama between the little Asian dude and Big girl. Did she call him "bitch" a few times? I cold be seeing a team sabotage or a final 2 face off with those two.

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She did! He ought to be a little scared of her, I think. She's no delicate flower.

The guy the booted was making me sick the whole night. Couldn't stand how he thought he was so cool, working the crowd. Puke. Glad he's gone!

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  • 1 month later...

So here we are a month later and no one has posted a thing! Is it just me or has this group (or a certain few within the group) been really mouthy with the judges this season? Chef Tom has held his cool a lot better than I would. I think I would have done a group firing a long time ago. Spike and Lisa still need to get the heck out of there so the rest of them can compete. IMO, Spike and his dorky hats should have been gone a few weeks ago. Lisa's food hasn't been horrible but her attitude and that stonewall pose she does at judge's table with the squint eyed glare is really getting to me. Dale is intense and doesn't take well to losing but I do think he is a notch above the rest, ok, 10-12 notches above Spike and Lisa. My ideal final 4: Dale, Richard, Antonia and Stephanie.

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For some reason, it's been hard for me to catch Top Chef. I see the same episodes over and over and miss the latest ones. However, I'm happy to say that I caught twitchy guy's boot. That guy was HORRIBLE. Telling the judges that HE knew better. I know that no one likes criticism, and there are some times when the judges have picked on the wrong person, but you didn't play by the rules, again (there was a quick fire that he "forgot" one of the rules). Suck it up, twitchy, suck it up.

I didn't see who turned up the rice...did anyone else?

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Well, I've enever watched Top Chef before until I saw two episodes two weeks ago and I love this show now! They've showed a lot of reruns, so I've been able to catch up a lot.

Antonia seems really good. I was also rooting for Andrew, but he just got kicked off.

I, too, was surprised at how much they talk back to the judges. And I didn't see anyone turn up the rice. If it was someone else, and they had tape on it, you know they would have shown it.

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Since the first season, there have been issues of chefs turning on/off/up/down burners, so I am still a little surprised they don't have camera catching ALL of it. I guess they like the drama.

Next week they're bringing back the restaurant wars, which was one of my favorite comps. I love how these "chefs" are so high and mighty about how good their food is, but have so little restaurant line experience. I would take a diner cook or "kitchen monkey" over a "chef" any day when it comes to running a restaurant.

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There's been a lot said, especially on the Bravo blog site, about Dale being such a hot head and I usually can't stand a hot head but I really like this guy. If I were in his position I would probably be letting my temper show too. He is definitely one of the top three as far as skill and talent are concerned. He just needs to be patient while they weed out the slackers. IMO, Richard and Stephanie are the other two to round out the top three. It would be nice to see a woman win but I'm not sure Steph has what it takes. Going back to Dale.........for him to win he is going to have to do something magnificent that isn't in his Asian cuisine comfort zone. I agree with whoever said Antonia was good, but Top Chef.........probably not. Lisa and Spike, ugh! Enough said.

Thanks for the input folks, it's nice to see people here talking about this show again.

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I think Antonia and Dale are in the same position. When they're doing their specialty, they are awesome, when they don't they fade intothe woodwork. I like Dale, but I'm really tired of the carbon copies of Marcel. Hong, last season, IMO, was so bad, I didn't even watch the finale. You can make fake caviar, WOW...now move on.

I agree, i think Richard is the most well rounded chef, but he needs to break out of the pop-style cooking and let the art of basic cooking show his talents.

I think steph could get lucky. her style reminds me a lot of Sam. She's very conscious of the customer's pallet, but sometimes she, like same and the watermelon and cheese dish (gag), can miss the mark.

Spike should have been gone WEEKS ago. His little man crush on Andrew is telling of his style. he's a kitchen bully, and one that doesn't have the skills to back it up.

I'm very interested in seeing how they do on the line. Spike and Lisa are so in love with their own smells that I see a crash and burn coming. I think they've both said, "I'm not dumbing down my food." What they don't get is, what they consider "dumbing down" is called "doing you job." I'm kind of keeping my fingers crossed for a fryer accident, but I don't think wither would even consider getting near one.

Dale and Richard have a good anxious giddy-up in their work. When you work the kitchen in a high volume restaurant, that's great, but it can also get in the way. They both seem like they aren't very conscious of who/ what is right beside/ behind them when they start hustling. They need lots of room to dance around. When you're in a tight setting you need to learn to dance with everything and everyone around you.

Antonia and Stephanie both seem like work horses that would be just as happy doing the lion's share of the grunt work or leading the charge. IMO, is great in the restaurant, but horrible at the judges table.

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The difference I see between Dale and Macel/Hung is that he doesn't gloat like they did. I have yet to see him talk about how superior he is to EVERYONE. He does seem to respect one of the others when and if they deserve it. During the relay challenge, I had to agree with his "what are you still doing here?" remark with regard to making mayonaise. (Speaking of mayo, if you can get your hands on a jar of Helman's mayo made with lime juice buy it! It's excellent.) He seems to know that his element is Asian cuisine as opposed toMarcel and Hung who just thought they were flat out perfection on a plate. I have to agree though when the season first started, I thought he was just a Marcel clone.

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I'm not sure if Dale and Lisa are going to knuckle up or hook up. There's something there that makes me laugh. Maybe it's the proportions that are a little out of wack.

After last season, I had very little hope for this one, but it seems to be doing better.

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