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The Chefs/Cheftestants of Top Chef


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Blais can't see himself on TV enough. Isabella is just a step or two behind him.

 

At least Isabella has several highly successful and well-reviewed restaurants that he's actively involved in. He is a credible chef who does what chefs do, in addition to playing famewhore. From what I can tell, however, we PTV-ers haven't even determined for sure what Blais is doing these days.

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I wonder when Midnight Feast will air.   I know I'll forget all about it if it's months away and, I'll admit it right now, I like Spike and I like the idea of seeing more of Chelsea Market, a place I'd love to go to some day.

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Are FYI and Food Network under the same corporate umbrella?  Because otherwise it just seems weird to have another cooking show shot in the complex which houses FN's offices.  Obligatory TC content - Spike yecch.

Edited by Totale
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 Being nitpicky, but what bothers me most about Blais' "Hungry Games" commercials is that the announcer guy at the end of the commercial calls the show "Hunger Games."  I listen every time because I think maybe I misheard it last time the commercial aired. 

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There's a new show (which I will request a forum for) called Midnight Feast. From one commercial, I saw several TC alums. Hosted by Spike, I think Stephanie Cmar (New Orleans TC) is a contestant, and the synopsis said one episode features Sam Talbot.

http://deadline.com/2014/04/fyi-greenlights-new-cooking-series-midnight-feast-orders-two-pilots-721851/

 

 

 

I'm interested in watching the show but Sam Talbot is one of the last freaking cheftestants I want to see. I've only watched a half episode of Knife Fight because I can't with Illan. I don't love Marcel but what Illan, Betty, Sam & Ellia (or whatever the shrew's name is) did to him in Season 2 was unacceptable.

Edited by turbogirlnyc
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cooksdelight, back a page, you asked WHY Richard Blais was on TV.  When I saw him do a promo for his show, I nearly got sick on the spot.  After  questioning myself, I've decided that Richard wanted to be known to the entire culinary world.  Now, having accomplished that, he wants to be known by the entire world. 

 

The other possibility is Richard's love for masochism.  If you watched "Top Chefs: Where Are They Now?" a year or so ago, you saw Richard's wife practically having a breakdown because he continued opening restaurants and was never home with her and the kids.  It could be that Richard resents that little blow-up airing and humiliating him, so he's paying her back by hosting a show and hoping to see a total meltdown.

 

I think it took Blais a full hour in front of the mirror to decide whether to wear his glasses for the show ("I'm so handsome without them, but so Altonish with them!"  Blech!

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Sad news from Angelo Sosa, season 7. His restaurant of 2 years has closed. And, I'm not sure when or why, but he's no longer engaged. He now has a cat. :)

This was his second engagement to a "mail order bride".... I wish he could find a nice local girl.

http://vegas.eater.com/archives/2014/08/29/angelo-sosas-poppy-den-shutters-at-tivoli-village.php

Something always struck me as a little off about that guy.  I think a cat is a good match for him.

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Something always struck me as a little off about that guy.  I think a cat is a good match for him.

Yeah, something is... odd. I don't get a total creeper vibe like I did for the Top Chef: Desserts guy who later got in trouble (child porn, was it?), but something not normal. It's almost like a movie about a serial killer and his "he seemed so nice" facade.

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In Huffington Post's Food Section today, Tom Coliccio gives an interview in which he says that one winner was clearly ahead from the beginning, so they had to "adjust" the show and try not to let viewers know, or they would have turned the show off after the first episode.  I tried to post a link to the interview, but it wouldn't work.  Tom went on to say that this contestant was the best they've had in ALL of the shows. 

 

DO NOT READ BEYOND HERE IF YOU WANT TO GUESS OR READ THE ARTICLE AND FIND OUT!  For everyone else, I've written the contestant's name backwards.

 

     

.iuQ luaP si  eman  siH

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Speaking of Top Chefs...

 

I just opened my new copy of Cooking Light, which arrived in the mail today. On page 5 or 7, I see the face of a rather handsome young man. He looks familiar, but I can't place him. I look more closely at the page, and it's an ad for the U.S. Postal Service on shipping treats to your loved ones. Then I look over to the left-hand page (4 or 6) and see all this nifty info on how to pack and send your own homemade goodies, with recipes for sugar cookies and gourmet popcorn. I finally look at the upper left-hand corner, and I see the identity of the young man in the photo, who's allegedly answering questions on behalf of the USPS. 

 

The young man is . . . Angelo Sosa!

 

First of all, they did something to him. I don't know the limits of PhotoShop and I don't care to know because I couldn't design a simple circle.* But his face is not that wide and he is not that classically handsome, at least not on television when he's moving around and behaving and looking like, you know, a real person. But this photo, we're talking movie-star good looks. Second, I thought he was a really odd choice for this particular ad. Why is Angelo Sosa talking to us about popcorn and cookies? Why is he telling us how to ship said snacks? I realize he's probably a lot cheaper than, say, Emeril or Bobbie Flay or any of the usual suspects. In that regard, this reminded me of a vacation when we went to the sea lion caves in Oregon, and there were three huge sea lions with big harems of 20-30 females, and a barky young stud with three females. Compared to the many other male sea lions with no harems, three was a great accomplishment. But he wasn't one of the big boys yet.

 

Okay, I digress. If anyone else sees this, you'll probably have a similar reaction. His face really isn't that wide!

 

*For the designers among us, and you know who you are, this was a brilliant ad, because my eye went over the entire thing. First, I land on the handsome young man's face. Then I look around on the page to try to figure out what he's selling, and there's just a small box and a logo, which really isn't much, so I look over next to the copy, which I'd skipped (and so much copy is skipped) and I saw pictures and a Q&A-ish column (like!) and recipes. I might not have read every single word, but the message was delivered. This is aside from the fact that I was weirded out by it being Angelo Sosa.

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LOL!! Kudos to whoever designed the ad and developed the campaign if you looked over the entire thing to figure out what's going on. That's our job.

He's got a new cookbook out, might be why he's doing ads for anyone... even the USPS. We're friends on Facebook and he doesn't post a whole lot. Except pictures of his cat. And this new cookbook.

http://www.amazon.com/Healthy-Latin-Eating-Favorite-Recipes/dp/190948718X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413852014&sr=1-3&keywords=angelo+sosa

Oh, and that he's trying to sell his Jaguar. I am dying to ask him what happened to the Toyota or whatever it was that he won on TC.

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In Huffington Post's Food Section today, Tom Coliccio gives an interview in which he says that one winner was clearly ahead from the beginning, so they had to "adjust" the show and try not to let viewers know, or they would have turned the show off after the first episode.  I tried to post a link to the interview, but it wouldn't work.  Tom went on to say that this contestant was the best they've had in ALL of the shows. 

 

DO NOT READ BEYOND HERE IF YOU WANT TO GUESS OR READ THE ARTICLE AND FIND OUT!  For everyone else, I've written the contestant's name backwards.

 

     

.iuQ luaP si  eman  siH

I'm not surprised.  Paul always seemed much better than the others.

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Seems like a risky way of getting money in the first place.  I like Carla, but I'm not sure she's chosen the right way of going about getting it.


Seems like a risky way of getting money in the first place.  I like Carla, but I'm not sure she's chosen the right way of going about getting it.

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Unless she's in hock up to her eyeballs, she must be making a decent living. Cookbooks, the TV show, special appearances on other shows... I mean... really? She actually had a few $10,000 donors. Why don't they just invest with her the old-fashioned way? Become a partner and actually get something back.

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Here is the link to Tom's interview about about the show in general and mentions season 9 (Texas) winner, his favorite all time chef.  This was recorded before this show so that could change, I suppose.

 

http://www.huffingto..._n_5998356.html

 

Tom did not say that Paul was his favorite, only that he was the best that had appeared. I love that he admitted that they had to bump up the drama so that it wasn't so clear that he was running away with it. Maybe that is why so many of the other chefs from that season (yes, I am pointing to you Sarah and Heather and Beverly) came off looking so bad! It is clear that the editing monkeys play games, but I am surprised that he admitted it.

I knew Paul was good, but to have Tom say he ranked ahead of the Voltaggio brothers and Blais was a surprise to me. And before people give me grief about Blais, you may not like him, but remember that he was on the show twice and came in 2nd one time and 1st the next.

Edited by AriAu
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Have you forgotten about Hosea? :)

Give me time...

I was bingewatching TCM, and it was genuinely squicky watching Ilan and Hosea serve as judges in the finale of season 1.

Edited by Julia
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To MangoFed, the top tier of previous Top Chef contestants in my mind are:

 

--->Richard Blais, hate him or love him, his two runs on two of the most competitive seasons of Top Chef is quite an accomplishment.

--->Paul Qui, by season 9, Tom did said that Qui is his favorite of all the winners thus far.  Richard Blais can talk about being a James Beard nominee but only 2 on this list can brag about being a James Beard winner.  Qui is one of them.

--->Stephanie Izard- speaking of James Beard winner and Top Chef winner, there is Izard.  And for the record she deserved to win season 4.

--->Michael Voltaggio- winner of one of the toughest season of Top Chef (season 8 then season 6 then season 4).  Most of those associated with him ended up having a long run or became winners such as Marcel, Hung, Kevin S.  I would imagine that Mike Isabella learn a trick or two from both Voltaggio during season 8 break and came back to give Blais a run for his money.  Let see, if this trend continue with Mei Lin.

--->Bryan Voltaggio- his run on both Top Chef Master and during season 6 solidified him among the very best.

--->Kevin Gillespie- for the longest time and I still think he held the most wins record of all contestants: 5 elimination wins that he doesn't share with anyone else, 3 quickfire wins, and 1 quickfire team win.  In later season, there are more challenges than the usual 14 episodes.  And season 9 had some really weird format that is like half of all contestants can "win" or that ridiculous episode where Beverly eliminated where 3 of the 4 contestants "win."  Giving season 6 is full of heavy hitter, this is not an easy accomplishment.  Speaking of Wolfgang Puck bashing of Top Chef contestants lately, well, Puck remember liking Kevin G alot and what he had cooked.  I guess that count for something right?

 

So I guess those 6 are the gold standards.  Let talk about other contenders that should be ranking up there with them.

 

--->Shirley Chung- This girl really really challenge Kevin G for his most wins record.  She got 4 elimination wins that she didn't share with anybody, 4 quickfire wins.  Then we have to take into the account of the episode where Stephanie Cmar get eliminated because Nick failed so badly.  She and Stephanie cooked the best dish of the night.  Wouldn't that brought her total up to 9 wins??  After season 6, the field of chefs that compete on Top Chef had massive resume compare to pre season 6 (though season 4 is a notable exception).  Even lackluster season 7 filled with James Beard nominee and etc.  People complained about season 9, 10, or 11 talents level but geez, when I look at these chefs' biography, all I was seeing chefs that work in Michelin restaurants, James Beard nominee (or in the case of Paul Qui, James Beard winner shortly after his TC win), or Michelin restaurant owner (like Carlos).  So getting 9 wins in season 11 is quite a record.

 

I realized I type way way too much, I may continue later but Nina Compton, Brooke Williamson, Kristen Kris, Angelo Sosa, Dale Talde, Hung Huynh, Tiffani Faison, and Antonia Lofaso are among the best chefs in this show.  Though, I may take out Hung (even though he is one of my favorite).  Hung played the game way way too much and just skate by the middle when he want to.  In earlier seasons, there really no incentives to win elimination challenges since there are no prizes.  Hung, I think, didn't try that hard for couple of challenges.

 

Top Contenders per each season

Season 01---- 1) Tiffani Faison-----2) Lee Anne Wong-------3) Harold Dieterle

Season 02---- 1) Sam Talbot--------2) Ilan Hall----------------3) Cliff Crooks

Season 03---- 1) Hung Huynh------2) Tre Wilcox-------------3) Casey Thompson/Dale Levitski

Season 04---- 1) Stephanie Izard and Richard Blais--------3) Dale Talde----------------------4) Antonia Lofaso

Season 05---- 1) Stefan Richter----2) Carla Hall---------------3) Jamie Lauren------------------4) Hosea Rosenberg

Season 06---- 1) Michael Voltaggio, Bryan Voltaggio, Kevin Gillespie-------------------------4) Jennifer Carroll

Season 07---- 1) Angelo Sosa and Ed Cotton------------------3) Kevin Sbraga------------------4) Kelly Liken/Tiffany Derry

Season 08---- 1) Richard Blais-----2) Dale Talde-------------3) Antonia Lofaso, Angelo Sosa, Mike Isabella

Season 09---- 1) Paul Qui-----------2) Sarah Grueneberg----3) Lindsay Autry/Edward Lee

Season 10---- 1) Kristen Kish and Brooke Williamson------3) Sheldon Simeon--------------4) John Tesar/Elizabeth Binder

Season 11---- 1) Nina Compton and Shirley Chung-----------3) Nicholas Elmi/Carlos Gaytan

Edited by weixiaobao
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Weixiaobao, while I might rank some of the placements a little differently, I found myself agreeing heartily with your overall season-by-season list of favorite contenders. Nice to see Lee Ann Wong get some credit for her Season One performance - I think she's dropped off many fans' radar because her post-TC career seems to have focused on behind the scenes work and, recently, appearing in Cooking Channel shows as a commentator on the Best of This or The Strangest That or whatever. But she was very appealing, both as a chef and as a person. I love her still! Another thing I liked is that you seem to have ranked exclusively on how you perceived their abilities as a chef. For example, in Season 5, Fabio was a delight, completely entertaining, but although he knocked some dishes out of the park, he wasn't consistent enough to be one of the best chefs, especially in that very competitive season. He does seem to attract unexpected friendships (Stefan in Season 5, Blais in All-Stars).

 

Bryan V was not only my favorite chef in his season, but my favorite Volt brother. I know Michael is doing very well, but I don't hear much about Bryan any more and hope he's still cooking up a storm in some restaurant.

 

I gave up on Season 9 when it seemed that all they were ever going to be asked to cook were steaks and barbecue. But what I did see of Paul Qui makes everyone's enthusiasm for him (including Colicchio's) understandable.

 

Some chefs I liked very much at first I ended up not liking later (Elia in Season 3 was one of my favorites until the last few episodes, and then her defeatist attitude in All-Stars sealed the loss of love). Lost a lot of my respect and enthusiasm for Jennifer Carroll during her All-Stars run.  Others I like much better now - Marcel annoyed the hell out of me in Season 3 (though I loved his rap, and felt no matter how annoying someone is you don't get to assault them), and I thought his food was precious and not that appealing, though he clearly had skills. I liked him and his food much better in All Stars and a couple of other things I've seen him in. Tiffani also had a major attitude adjustment between Season One and All Stars, but I always thought her food looked appealing and well thought-out.

 

The two female winners (so far), Stephanie and Kristen, get nothing but love from me for both their appealing food and their gracious, calm behavior. Also totally love Antonia, Carla, Casey Thompson and Tiffany Derry. Hung was, as they like to say, a machine, and nearly everything he made looked amazing. Not wild about his personality at times, but you don't ask the wait staff if the chef is a nice guy/gal, you want the best food. Not only was Stefan a fantastic chef with some great ideas, well-executed, I never got the whole 'villain' thing - he was arrogant, but so many of them are and I don't mind it in the ones that can back it up, and he could be a (funny) bull in a china shop ("What part of 'lesbian' don't you understand, Stefan?") but he was helpful to others and everyone else seemed to like and respect him.

 

Ok, I'll admit it - I've already said so on his thread - but I love Richard Blais, even while acknowledging that his behavior on some occasions could have been better.

Edited by TudorQueen
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Weixiaobao, while I might rank some of the placements a little differently, I found myself agreeing heartily with your overall season-by-season list of favorite contenders. Nice to see Lee Ann Wong get some credit for her Season One performance - I think she's dropped off many fans' radar because her post-TC career seems to have focused on behind the scenes work and, recently, appearing in Cooking Channel shows as a commentator on the Best of This or The Strangest That or whatever. But she was very appealing, both as a chef and as a person. I love her still! Another thing I liked is that you seem to have ranked exclusively on how you perceived their abilities as a chef. For example, in Season 5, Fabio was a delight, completely entertaining, but although he knocked some dishes out of the park, he wasn't consistent enough to be one of the best chefs, especially in that very competitive season. He does seem to attract unexpected friendships (Stefan in Season 5, Blais in All-Stars).

 

Bryan V was not only my favorite chef in his season, but my favorite Volt brother. I know Michael is doing very well, but I don't hear much about Bryan any more and hope he's still cooking up a storm in some restaurant.

 

I gave up on Season 9 when it seemed that all they were ever going to be asked to cook were steaks and barbecue. But what I did see of Paul Qui makes everyone's enthusiasm for him (including Colicchio's) understandable.

 

Some chefs I liked very much at first I ended up not liking later (Elia in Season 3 was one of my favorites until the last few episodes, and then her defeatist attitude in All-Stars sealed the loss of love). Lost a lot of my respect and enthusiasm for Jennifer Carroll during her All-Stars run.  Others I like much better now - Marcel annoyed the hell out of me in Season 3 (though I loved his rap, and felt no matter how annoying someone is you don't get to assault them), and I thought his food was precious and not that appealing, though he clearly had skills. I liked him and his food much better in All Stars and a couple of other things I've seen him in. Tiffani also had a major attitude adjustment between Season One and All Stars, but I always thought her food looked appealing and well thought-out.

 

The two female winners (so far), Stephanie and Kristen, get nothing but love from me for both their appealing food and their gracious, calm behavior. Also totally love Antonia, Carla, Casey Thompson and Tiffany Derry. Hung was, as they like to say, a machine, and nearly everything he made looked amazing. Not wild about his personality at times, but you don't ask the wait staff if the chef is a nice guy/gal, you want the best food. Not only was Stefan a fantastic chef with some great ideas, well-executed, I never got the whole 'villain' thing - he was arrogant, but so many of them are and I don't mind it in the ones that can back it up, and he could be a (funny) bull in a china shop ("What part of 'lesbian' don't you understand, Stefan?") but he was helpful to others and everyone else seemed to like and respect him.

 

Ok, I'll admit it - I've already said so on his thread - but I love Richard Blais, even while acknowledging that his behavior on some occasions could have been better.

 

Your comment about Stefan is spot on, in my opinion. Yes, he was a bit egotistical and silly at times but all in all I never saw him as a villan. Also, Bryan V is my favorite cheftestant next to Harold from season 1. Bryan owns Table 21 and I've read many reviews from TWOP and PTV members that say the food and the experience are amazing.

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so they had to "adjust" the show and try not to let viewers know

 

So Paul is responsible for all the BS barbeque challenges in the Texas season?  "We gotta keep them out of a real kitchen or this Qui guy will run away with it.  Come up with some new elimination challenges!"

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And before people give me grief about Blais, you may not like him, but remember that he was on the show twice and came in 2nd one time and 1st the next.


I have to disagree w/you. Richard came in third the first time, behind Lisa (of all people). He totally choked thr finale of his first run.
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I don't know what Angelo is going through right now, but I do know he advertised his car for sale and his apt. for sublet. I hope whatever it is, he finds peace. This was posted publicly:

"Today I want to acknowledge to those I hurt in life...I'm learning to be responsible. I'm learning to be 100% honest and I'm learning to take ownership for everything.

I specifically want to apologize to Kristina for not sharing with you everything and not being 100% honest with you I know trust is broken and I'm committed to devoting myself to rebuilding that trust. I love you more than life and I'm responsible for my actions.

To Maria my ex wife. I want to tell you I'll be more responsible in caring and supporting in raising our son Jacob Elias.

To my loving Family

I acknowledge that most of my life I put work before you and I'm committed to my family to support you in your life journey and unconditionally love you.

To me. I promise that I will be a Man of honesty from this day forth. a man who is worthy a man who will give all of himself for his family and friends.

I love you all and thank you for being in my life.

Love Angelo Alexis

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I don't no how that could be. The judges hated ALL his dishes, except the repeated dessert, snd they commented on that issue.

Stephanie won 1st & 3rd courses, it was very obvious that Lisa won 2nd w/her soup & dessert.

The only reason I can think Ted would say that is because they don't want their precious Richard to be remember ed as a choker.

Evenin the Stew Room, Lisa made a comment abt winning 2nd & 4th, and neither Richard or Stephanie corrected her.

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I don't know what Angelo is going through right now

 

I don't know a thing about Angelo but that sounds like someone in a step program planning to make amends.  (I worked in alcohol rehab long ago.)

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From the most recent episode thread:

 

 

I did not know that, but one point of clarification - she didn't move to Boston after Top Chef, she had worked in and around Boston and for Todd English before she went on TC.

 

Then that would be moved back she was in SF for at least a year because we used to go to the same neighborhood bar.

Edited by biakbiak
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