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Past Seasons Talk: The Stew Room

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I imagine a fw members of the cast of Southern Charm will be at least in the background of one challenge!

I think you just stilled my heart.

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I think it would be nice if they had an episode concentrating specifically on Low Country cuisine, especially if they decamped to one of the islands.

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I think there's definitely such a thing as enough Sean Brock, but I think they more or less have to let him run a challenge, under the circumstances.

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I'm hoping they spend an episode in Savannah. Without the Deens.

 

That would be nice. Especially sans the Deens.

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A "long read" from eater.com on Gullah Cuisine & Charleston, which also talks about the appropriation of the cuisine by (who else) non-Gullah star chefs who make money off it in their fancy downtown Charleston restaurants while food folks talk about the cuisine while largely ignoring the actual source (both history and the folks) of the cuisine.

http://www.eater.com/2016/3/22/11264104/gullah-food-charleston

 

Let's see how Top Chef approaches the subject.

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53 minutes ago, The Solution said:

Because it can't be said enough, Battleax Betty was a harridan.

I never understood why no one found Betty as annoying as Marcel, if not more so.  That season had so many annoying people, but somehow they came together and singled Marcel out.

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I'm wondering if Betty's worst moments were all that we saw on TV. I've met her, had meals at her L.A restaurant, Grub.... she's a sweetheart in person. I watched her working and she was pleasant to the staff, etc.

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Due to the fact that my shows are on vacation due to the winter break and i can't bear to watch the news these days. I have been binging on Top Chef Masters. Is anyone else watching this?

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I'm watching Masterchef Canada, which gets repeated here after the winner has already been declared, so I am not looking online for any updates. It is soooooooooo much better than the Gordon Ramsay version. It airs on the Cooking channel.

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20 minutes ago, cooksdelight said:

I'm watching Masterchef Canada, which gets repeated here after the winner has already been declared, so I am not looking online for any updates. It is soooooooooo much better than the Gordon Ramsay version. It airs on the Cooking channel.

I couldn't agree more (the fact that I find Claudio adorable beyond belief notwithstanding). This show is everything MC-US isn't.  They highlight their nationality via ingredients and challenges, they don't make the participants into sideshow freaks (well, Mary's hair/glasses and Matthew's dumb hat),  and the judges are uniformly respectful when they eliminate a contestant.

Fox should take note, but they won't.

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7 hours ago, Lillybee said:

I have been binging on Top Chef Masters. Is anyone else watching this?

Are those old episodes?  What channel has them?  I don't see them on Bravo's schedule.

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I never understood why no one found Betty as annoying as Marcel, if not more so.  That season had so many annoying people, but somehow they came together and singled Marcel out.

I've been re-watching previous TC seasons, and had forgotten how Frank threatened Marcel with "I will beat you so badly your mother won't recognize you." WTF?? What could Marcel have done to possibly warrant that?!

It seems like Marcel grated because he was always talking, and it's the same reason S6 chefs gave for having problems with Robin - she was always thinking aloud and it was distracting. A few S2 contestants have said "they didn't show how bad Marcel was!" but I can't imagine anything rising to the level of him needing to be threatened like that by Frank, manhandled by Cliff, and mocked constantly by Ilan and Betty. 

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On 12/16/2016 at 11:19 AM, archer1267 said:

I've been re-watching previous TC seasons, and had forgotten how Frank threatened Marcel with "I will beat you so badly your mother won't recognize you." WTF?? What could Marcel have done to possibly warrant that?!

It seems like Marcel grated because he was always talking, and it's the same reason S6 chefs gave for having problems with Robin - she was always thinking aloud and it was distracting. A few S2 contestants have said "they didn't show how bad Marcel was!" but I can't imagine anything rising to the level of him needing to be threatened like that by Frank, manhandled by Cliff, and mocked constantly by Ilan and Betty. 

When I saw Sam pop up on the current season, I went back and rewatched season 2.

The one thing I noticed was that Marcel did talk a lot, but he did a lot of extemporaneous talking to the camera and none of the other cheftestants did that. Now the show expects all of the chefs to do that. Back in season 2, Marcel must have seemed like a loon to the rest of the cheftestants. He intuitively understood aspects of reality TV that the other chefs failed to get.

The other season 2 chefs can say that Marcel was worse than depicted, but I've never heard one of them give specifics. Was Marcel any worse than Dale, Lisa Fernandes, Blais, Spike, Mike Isabella, or those gorgons in Texas? This show has had some loud, bragadocious, rude, sour, and really fucking obnoxious contestants. Marcel is annoying and cocky. But those assholes in season 2 act like he was the antichrist. If he hadn't had some skills, we and the season 2 chefs would be laughing how Marcel couldn't live up to his own hype.

The problem with Marcel is that he was annoying and the right people (Betty and Ilan) hated him. Unfortunately, Betty and Ilan were some of the most malicious contestants the show has ever had. They both went about making sure that everyone else hated Marcel too. Betty also started floating this myth that Marcel didn't help the other chefs, which is hilarious because you can see Marcel helping other chefs plate after he'd sent his dish to the judges as she says it. I also find it ironic that Ilan would say anything about any other chefs when it became apparent to viewers that he was cooking Mario Batali's menu at Casa Mono for nearly every dish in the competition. Furthermore, there is a lot of evidence that the head shaving scene was edited and shown out of order to make Sam, Elia, and Ilan less complicit. We see a scene where the others contemplate shaving their heads. They then shave off Elia's and Ilan's hair and announce that they all should shave their heads and we cut to Cliff and Marcel. When Cliff drags Marcel out of bed, both Elia and Ilan have all of their hair. And Marcel is actually really generous when Cliff is disqualified. Marcel worries that the incident might negatively impact Cliff's career.

I think a lot of the season 2 chefs decided to keep their heads down and cook after the show because they know they came across like the biggest assholes this show has ever seen. They wanted Robin gone in season 6 and all they did was ignore her and wear red scarves. These season 2 dickbags threatened to and actually assaulted Marcel.

Edited by HunterHunted
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The other season 2 chefs can say that Marcel was worse than depicted, but I've never heard one of them give specifics.

Yup. Even at the semi-finals in Hawaii, when Ilan and Elia interrupted the judging to say that Marcel had "cheated" several times, all they could really come up with was some mumbling and "he doesn't respect the kitchen," before Tom told them he didn't care. WTF did that even mean, he doesn't respect the kitchen? Elia's turnaround was a surprise and I never figured out how she went from being Marcel's only friend to being anti-Marcel.

It was in an episode or two before where Cliff shared that he was colorblind, and mentioned that Marcel had offered to help him find purple-colored foods for his dish. That made his attack on Marcel that much nastier to me - this was someone who'd tried to help him in a challenge.

(Strangely enough, the head-shaving attempt was in the newest US Weekly yesterday, as part of a round-up of the biggest reality show fights ever. I guess they needed to fill the space, because most of the incidents happened some time ago.)

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For anyone wondering who Amanda was, or wasn't... this is Leah, the chef Amanda is often mistaken for. Maybe because Leah hasn't changed much at all, and Amanda has.

IMG_1889.JPG

Edited by cooksdelight

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2 hours ago, SuzWhat said:

Sam is really working overtime to appear nice this time around. 

I've met Sam. He IS nice!  (And I'm usually very good at picking up on phonies.)

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3 hours ago, SuzWhat said:

Sam is really working overtime to appear nice this time around. 

A lot of people thought he was nice the first time around. Obviously not everyone but many of us. And clearly his competitors feel the same.

Edited by biakbiak
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I believe the not-nice opinions of Sam relate to how he went along with / didn't intervene in the harassment of Marcel. It's always been fairly hard for me to reconcile -- he seems like a nice guy overall, and yet that happened and he participated. That contributes to unease about him, a concern about him being two-faced. 

I haven't seen those episodes in many years, I couldn't say anymore what exactly he said or did, so I don't hold strong opinions.

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On ‎12‎/‎24‎/‎2016 at 11:19 AM, snarktini said:

I believe the not-nice opinions of Sam relate to how he went along with / didn't intervene in the harassment of Marcel. It's always been fairly hard for me to reconcile -- he seems like a nice guy overall, and yet that happened and he participated. That contributes to unease about him, a concern about him being two-faced. 

I haven't seen those episodes in many years, I couldn't say anymore what exactly he said or did, so I don't hold strong opinions.

You're right.  I forgot about that.  The hair-shaving thing was not cool.   And you said exactly what Tom says below in his blog after that episode aired (back on January 17, 2007...10 freakin' years ago!).

I still think Sam is otherwise a decent and nice guy who had a moment during which he messed up.

Anyway, what's the expression...."great minds think alike". You and Tom are of like minds here :)

http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/season-2/blogs/tom-colicchio/shave-and-a-haircut-dim-wits

"Tom Colicchio says the followinig in his blog after the episode (January 17, 2007)
The sight of Sam yukking it up or Ilan yelling, "Get him! Get him!" from behind the camera was just as disturbing as the sight of Cliff tackling a stunned and terrified Marcel on the floor. And I'm not willing to hold Elia blameless just because she wasn't in the room -- I know she heard the others entreating her to join them, so she must have heard Marcel calling out for help. The whole thing brought to mind that famous quote, "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing." Any one of them could have spoken up and said, "This isn't cool, guys. Knock it off." But they didn't, so as far as I was concerned they were all to blame and I was ready to send the lot of them home and let Marcel win by default."

Edited by Jextella
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Has anyone managed to get a spot to dine at restaurant wars or any of the other Top Chef events? I have sent in emails to volunteer and follow the Twitter feeds, etc. but no luck. The Mr. and I are ready to jump on a plane and go wherever the event is but I can't seem to get a toe in the door. We are actually considering going on one of the cruises which isn't my thing at all. Any tips? How did you secure your spot?

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On ‎12‎/‎16‎/‎2016 at 9:19 AM, archer1267 said:

I've been re-watching previous TC seasons, and had forgotten how Frank threatened Marcel with "I will beat you so badly your mother won't recognize you." WTF?? What could Marcel have done to possibly warrant that?!

It seems like Marcel grated because he was always talking, and it's the same reason S6 chefs gave for having problems with Robin - she was always thinking aloud and it was distracting. A few S2 contestants have said "they didn't show how bad Marcel was!" but I can't imagine anything rising to the level of him needing to be threatened like that by Frank, manhandled by Cliff, and mocked constantly by Ilan and Betty. 

I remember that well. Frank got his panties all in a bunch. This was in the Thanksgiving challenge. Marcel and a few other chefs were to use the second kitchen in the place that they were staying and frank and a few others were using it as a bathroom< to shave< etc> they left their shaving kits on the kitchen counter and Marcel had the nerve to move it> Frank was pissed that Marcel placed his kit on the floor.

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On 12/16/2016 at 0:19 PM, archer1267 said:

I've been re-watching previous TC seasons, and had forgotten how Frank threatened Marcel with "I will beat you so badly your mother won't recognize you." WTF?? What could Marcel have done to possibly warrant that?!

It seems like Marcel grated because he was always talking, and it's the same reason S6 chefs gave for having problems with Robin - she was always thinking aloud and it was distracting. A few S2 contestants have said "they didn't show how bad Marcel was!" but I can't imagine anything rising to the level of him needing to be threatened like that by Frank, manhandled by Cliff, and mocked constantly by Ilan and Betty. 

 

1 hour ago, Lillybee said:

I remember that well. Frank got his panties all in a bunch. This was in the Thanksgiving challenge. Marcel and a few other chefs were to use the second kitchen in the place that they were staying and frank and a few others were using it as a bathroom< to shave< etc> they left their shaving kits on the kitchen counter and Marcel had the nerve to move it> Frank was pissed that Marcel placed his kit on the floor.

Here's an old fun-to-read recap of that episode, with details (as recounted by the recapper). From this recap, if the details are correct, Marcel did not deserve Frank's over-the-top threat; and also posits that Sam did shit-stirring for the same incident.

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I'm here for Padma's outfits, hair and makeup this year.  She looks stunning in just about every shot.   I did not really like the tank top and jeans outfit much this past episode, but man.  She is killing.  It.      

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On 12/15/2016 at 7:24 AM, cooksdelight said:

I'm watching Masterchef Canada, which gets repeated here after the winner has already been declared, so I am not looking online for any updates. It is soooooooooo much better than the Gordon Ramsay version. It airs on the Cooking channel.

I totally agree!  I am watching, too. The American version went down hill very fast after Graham and Joe left.  Gordon went to more of his Hell's Kitchen persona.  I think that was a producer/network decision and not Gordon.  They use ratings as the barometer and pay no attention to SM feedback. 

Thanks everyone for the refresh on Sam and the head shaving.  Everyone got into it, Sam did not stand out among the others.  Peer pressure is hard to buck.  That was the beginning of my shift to liking Marcel. 

I adore Padma, she is the glue, I cannot imagine it without her or Tom.  

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I'm rewatching from the beginning on Hulu, and am on the season 2 finale.  While I totally get that some people just rub you the wrong way and you hate them for no logical reason, they really went too far with Marcel.  Yeah, his hair looked like whipped cream and he was a little cocky, but mostly he just came off (upon new viewing) suuuuper awkward.  There were times I rolled my eyes at him, but I just don't get why everyone decided to dogpile on him.  I'd totally forgotten about Frank threatening him for putting his toiletries bag on the floor.  It's not like he tossed his toothbrush, brush-side down, on the floor.  I did, however, agree that the foams were useless and unappatizing. :P

If anyone was the "villain" of the season, fucking Ilan.  I can't.  At the beginning of the last episode, it really felt like he wanted to beat Marcel rather than win.  His win felt like rewarding shitty behavior.  Ugh.

On a side-note, as a woman who has shaved her head twice, it is the most liberating thing ever, and I am kind of tempted to do it again...

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I grew to like Marcel after seeing him compete again. And seeing him on other shows. He's socially awkward, I think, but he seems to be a decent chef.

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I am also doing a rewatch of all the seasons and I completely forgot how much Padma and Tom absolutely LOATHED Toby Young. Since he was the absolutely worse this pleased me greatly!

Even other guest judges couldn't stand him, I thought Michelle Bernstein was going to jump across the table at him when he made an issue of the pronunciation of paella. 

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On season 4 on my rewatch on Hulu.  Man, I'd forgotten how obnoxious the whole "I'm doing this for Zoi!" bit was.  Like, dude.  She didn't die.  She got eliminated on a game show.  

I also forgot how much fun Andrew was to watch.  And I still adore Antonia.

Edited to add:

I fucking hate Lisa and her smug face and her greasy hair.  She just looked like she never showered, and that just turned me off from eating anything she put on a plate.  

Edited by Mrs. DuRona
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For those who are interested, Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef, New Orleans (season 11) will be appearing on Iron Chef Showdown Wednesday. Dec 27,  9PM.
 

Quote

 

Miami chef Timon Balloo battles Philadelphia's own Chef Nicholas Elmi over a bar food staple.  Then the winning chef goes up against Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli.

Judges : Anya Fernald, Ludo Lefebvre

 

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I am rewatching the Seattle season and there was a nice little moment that made me love Kristen even more, in the getting ready in the morning montage they show Kristen nicely making her bed complete with the detrective pillows!

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I have recently watched seasons 4, 5, and 6. It feels like a case of déjà-vu. I feel as if everybody has appeared on Chopped. 

Have you noticed this?

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I'm sure that this old news, but who does everyone think wrote that Reddit AMA who calls himself Choppy Choppy?

Edited by LeighLeigh

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I've been rewatching old seasons and am now watching season 8 All Stars. Jamie and Tiffany F. were just eliminated. I am wondering why Jamie even bothered doing All-Stars since she was such an underachiever on that season. She was scrappy in season 5 but it seems like she just wanted to hide in the All Star season.

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I recorded (and am working my way through) a crapload of S8 All Stars, which ran last week in a lead-up to the new season.  Awkward to watch in the wake of Mike Isabella’s spectacular downfall, and doubly-so when I got to the episode judged by Paula Deen and John Besh.  Throw in a handful of appearances by the sadly-departed Anthony Bourdain, and this is kind of the most depressing season ever—why would they chose it as their pre-debut marathon??

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I've been watching season 9 now, the Texas season. I thought maybe Heather and Sarah weren't as bad as I remember from watching when the season aired.  Nope, they were just as bad if not worse. Heather berating Beverly for cooking "Asian" food: "No, that's too Asian! We don't want Asian!" Of course Paul and Ed were standing right there, too, but then she never said anything against Ed or Paul cooking "Asian." Then Sarah, talking to Beverly like she was a child, the condescension dripping from her during Restaurant Wars. Lindsay was just as bad. Then Beverly wins (ha)! Tom C. noticed it all, too.  He got in a good zing! against Heather (just as good as Zingbot).  Beverly and Heather were at Judges' Table at the end of one episode and Heather complained about Beverly's slowness in peeling and deveining 400 shrimp in the previous challenge. Well, the following challenge both Beverly and Heather used a pressure cooker. Heather tanked and complained at Judges Table about having trouble with the pressure cooker and Tom says, "Beverly used the pressure cooker and she didn't have any problems." ZING!

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I agree about the Season 8 rerun.    I couldn't believe it when both Paula Deen and John Besh showed up, and then I remember the Mike Isabella allegations, and have zero trouble believing all of the allegations.      Then Anthony Bourdain showed up, and all I could think is how much pain he was in, and what a loss he was. 

I hated the way Heather and Sarah treated Beverly, and how they got away with it.      Personally, if I was hiring a chef (not that I ever will) and Sarah or Heather applied, I would never hire either one.      Hiring someone who showed on national TV they are bullies, and bigots would be proving a lot of the case if any employees ever filed a grievance.         I hope Beverly is doing great now.    Hugh Acheson's blog on the TC website was spot on about Heather and Sarah being awful to Beverly.      I wonder if they know that Beverly escaped an abusive relationship before this?   If so that makes their remarks and behavior even more despicable.  

 I read that Sarah won a James Beard in 2017, I hope she treats people better though.     Being a good chef doesn't mean you get to demean others. 

Here's an article about some of the Sarah drama at the reunion, and Sarah's idea of appropriate behavior:

https://ew.com/article/2012/03/08/top-chef-texas-reunion/

Edited by CrazyInAlabama
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I am watching the Boston season now, the firefighters episode. It was weird seeing Brett from Survivor Millenials vs. GenX sitting next to Padma while they were eating. (He's a Boston firefighter.)

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On 11/6/2018 at 11:03 PM, Lamb18 said:

I've been rewatching old seasons and am now watching season 8 All Stars. Jamie and Tiffany F. were just eliminated. I am wondering why Jamie even bothered doing All-Stars since she was such an underachiever on that season. She was scrappy in season 5 but it seems like she just wanted to hide in the All Star season.

I adored Jamie at the start of season 5 and then lost respect for her after the constant whining about not winning a challenge. Her comments and bitterness about it were annoying, as she consistently complained that everyone thought she should have won challenges by now and how she was deserving, etc. She was even worse in the All Star season and barely cooked, even alleging that Carla and Fabio (who went farther than her in season 5 and All Star) were not as good as she was as a chef. 

The only time she stuck her neck out was during the dim sum challenge where she was way too slow and incompetent to complete two dishes while others only did one. 

 

On 12/10/2018 at 11:50 AM, Lovecat said:

I recorded (and am working my way through) a crapload of S8 All Stars, which ran last week in a lead-up to the new season.  Awkward to watch in the wake of Mike Isabella’s spectacular downfall, and doubly-so when I got to the episode judged by Paula Deen and John Besh.  Throw in a handful of appearances by the sadly-departed Anthony Bourdain, and this is kind of the most depressing season ever—why would they chose it as their pre-debut marathon??

I love many of the challenges of that season, but it has not held up well over time. I hate that I have such a sour perception of Besh now, as he was a personal favorite of mine. And watching the Bourdain episodes always make me sad. I still love his quip during Restaurant Wars (I think) about "You're not talking to your parole officer."

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1 hour ago, RebeccatheWriter said:

And watching the Bourdain episodes always make me sad. I still love his quip during Restaurant Wars (I think) about "You're not talking to your parole officer."

My favorite Bourdain comment on Top Chef (to CJ in that ridiculous airplane challenge) was "you couldn't serve that broccolini in prison."

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I'm watching the Boston season now and they just had the head to head battle challenge. (Each challenge is named after a Revolutionary War battle.) Aaron (scallop noodles and meatballs) and Katie (chocolate cake) were head to head and the subject of Aaron's smack-talk against Katie's cake came out. Tom asks him why and Aaron says, "Well, have you ever seen anyone win a war with chocolate cake?" And Hugh Acheson responds, "Have you ever seen anyone win a war with a scallop noodle?" HA HA HA! Aaron was such a disrespectful drip all season. And Aaron was eliminated - finally!

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I'm keenly aware a little Hugh goes a long way, but I generally am pleased to have his Top Snark on board.

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Crap, I'm watching season 12, the episode where family members come to help out. Anyhow, George is a partner in Isabella's restaurants. And in this episode is a blurb in which George says when his dad sold his restaurant, he invested a lot of the money into Isabella's restaurants. Crap. I'm just wondering how George is dealing with all of Isabella's garbage. 

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14 hours ago, Lamb18 said:

Crap, I'm watching season 12, the episode where family members come to help out. Anyhow, George is a partner in Isabella's restaurants. And in this episode is a blurb in which George says when his dad sold his restaurant, he invested a lot of the money into Isabella's restaurants. Crap. I'm just wondering how George is dealing with all of Isabella's garbage. 

I read a huge long profile on Isabella's harassment timeline and the conversations that were part of the lawsuits, and unfortunately, George came across as a fairly active and willing participant in Isabella's crimes. So the only person I feel bad for is George's father. Hopefully, that's not who George learned his bad behavior from... 

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On 12/10/2018 at 8:50 AM, Lovecat said:

I recorded (and am working my way through) a crapload of S8 All Stars, which ran last week in a lead-up to the new season.  Awkward to watch in the wake of Mike Isabella’s spectacular downfall, and doubly-so when I got to the episode judged by Paula Deen and John Besh.  Throw in a handful of appearances by the sadly-departed Anthony Bourdain, and this is kind of the most depressing season ever—why would they chose it as their pre-debut marathon??

I did a rewatch of All Stars this week on Hulu and yeahhhh, kind of squirmed when I got to the Paula Deen and John Besh episode, not to mention all the Mike Isabella stuff.  

I had kind of forgotten about Jen Carroll going OFF on the judges though, and just how stunned everyone was.

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