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April 18, 2014

Top Chef

Andy Cohen on Jersey Housewives, 'Top Chef,' and Being the Face of Bravo

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 18th 2010 2:02PM
Andy Cohen of BravoWhen NBC Universal had their all-star party at the January press tour, I got a chance to talk to Andy Cohen of Bravo. Who's Andy Cohen? Many of you who follow Bravo's reality shows may know him as "the reunion guy," who hosts all the reunion shows at the end of each season. Others may know him from the talk show 'Watch What Happens Live,' which debuted last summer and discusses the week in the world of Bravo and beyond.

But Cohen has a day job: as the network's senior vice president of original programming and development, he's largely been responsible for bringing shows like 'Top Chef,' 'Project Runway,' 'Flipping Out,' 'The Real Housewives' series and others to the network. So he's the perfect guy to talk to about the mishegas going on with the Jersey Housewives as they shoot their second season, fluky edits on the finale of 'Top Chef,' and whatever he could say about the Salahis, who crashed a White House dinner while being recruited for 'The Real Housewives of D.C.' Our talk is after the jump.

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'Top Chef Masters' Second Season Contestants Announced

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 10th 2010 12:30PM
Top Chef Masters
If you were to make a second season of a cooking competition show, would you bring back several contestants from the first season of the show? That's what Bravo is doing when they launch the second season of 'Top Chef Masters' on April 7. Entertainment Weekly has the list of chefs that will compete on the show and it features several familiar names.

First the newbies: the new chefs include Marcus Samuelsson, Jody Adams, Govind Armstrong, Jimmy Bradley, David Burke, Susan Feniger, Debbie Gold, Carmen Gonzalez, Maria Hines, Susur Lee, Tony Mantuano, Monica Pope, Thierry Rautureau, Ana Sortun, Rick Tramonto, and Jerry Traunfeld. The returning chefs are Wylie Dufresne, Graham Elliot Bowles, Mark Peel, Jonathan Waxman, Ludo Lefebvre, and Rick Moonen.

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'Top Chef' Contestant Drops Out of Bocuse D'Or Competition

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 2nd 2010 11:02AM
Kevin Gillespie of 'Top Chef'This item flew a bit under the radar last week, but it's a good way to illustrate what happens with contestants of reality competitions after the cameras turn off.

Fans of 'Top Chef' remember the episode where official fan favorite Kevin Gillespie (aka "The One With The Funky Beard") won a spot in the finals to determine the US team in the prestigious and demanding Bocuse D'Or competition. Well, it seems that Gillespie has decided to drop out of the competition this year, citing his schedule since 'Top Chef' ended. He hopes to try again in 2012.

Believe it or not, moves like this are what made Gillespie a fan favorite. Even though he cranked out consistently solid food week after week during the season, he was also relatively humble and aware of his limits, a quality most of the chef'testants never displayed.

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Best TV of the '00s: Reality Series

by Kona Gallagher, posted Dec 31st 2009 2:02PM
top chef judges
More of our best of the decade coverage, which started on Tuesday. You can read the other posts at the link above. Here, we talk about a major category that came of age in the aughts: Reality shows.

While I would never call myself a reality TV junkie, it really bugs me when people make blanket statements like, "I hate reality TV," or, "Reality TV is the bane of my existence." The genre has grown so much in the past decade that it has become just like scripted television, in that there's good and there's bad. Even though we're splitting this up into two lists, "Reality," and "Trashy Reality," you won't see a single show that starts with, "Who Wants to Marry" on either list.

This list is dedicated not to the guilty pleasures, but to the shows that you wouldn't be embarrassed for your neighbors to know you watch: the classy reality, if you will. So without further ado, here is TV Squad's list of the best reality shows of the decade.

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Best and Worst TV of 2009: Michael P.'s list

by Michael Pascua, posted Dec 20th 2009 3:08PM
Kelly and Isaac host The Fashion Show
A year has passed and there has been a lot of best and worst lists here at TV Squad. I know tons of reality television shows have grazed my TV so I've compiled a list of the best and worst reality shows of 2009.

Finding the best shows are easy, but it's hard to pare down the worst list. I define "worst" as shows that had potential and never did anything with it. While shows like I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here and anything involving the words "Real Housewives" aren't mentioned, they aren't the worst because they started at rock bottom and had nowhere to go. Several of the worst shows I've mentioned could just go through some tweaking and it could have been amazing.

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Review: Top Chef - Season Finale, Part 2

by Kona Gallagher, posted Dec 10th 2009 1:15AM
top chef finale
(S06E15)
Well, it's pretty hard to argue with a Top Three whose members have won twelve of the thirteen elimination challenges, as Tom tells us at the beginning of the episode. Some of you may think that Jen was robbed in favor of creating more drama by having the Voltaggio brothers in the finale, but I disagree. She had a several-week stint toward the end where she just fell apart and barely made it through elimination. None of these guys had that, so they absolutely deserve to be here.

However, it is mighty convenient that having brothers in the finale tugs at our heartstrings just a little bit more, since they bring the moms in for the final challenge. I love the idea of having the chefs create a first course that reminds them of childhood memories, especially since we got such good stories out of it. Kevin's mom loves fried chicken skin! Brian was inspired by the texture in his mother's simple dishes, while Michael was a picky eater who "hated everything." I guess he got past that.

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Review: Top Chef - Season Finale: Part 1

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 3rd 2009 2:45AM
season_finale_part_one_top_chef_season_six(S06E14) Well, if you think this competition was getting easier, forget it. This is the toughest Top Chef I can remember. These final four were all excellent and as they gathered for the last leg to the finale, you could see that it was game on.

Unlike other seasons, there aren't any obvious villains in this group. Who are you rooting for? I don't know. I like them all in some ways, and yet there isn't a clear favorite either.

I like Kevin, but the Voltaggio brothers have been excellent, too. Their food really does look good enough to eat! And Jen, for all her insecurities, has been great throughout. Tonight would be a close call. More after the jump.

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NBC cooks up a new food reality show with a big prize

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 19th 2009 2:30PM
nbc_logo_colorOkay, take the idea of Shark Tank (or Dragon's Den if you're a BBC America fan), mix it with the Top Chef folks, offer a great grand prize and hope for the best. That's the recipe behind NBC's new food competition show, United Plates of America. The network is turning to the Magical Elves from Top Chef -- no, seriously, that's the production company's name -- to succeed in the food field where NBC has flopped in the past. Remember The Chopping Block? Remember Rocco DiSpirito's The Restaurant? NBC has more luck with the dieters on The Biggest Loser.

This go-round is not about a single restaurant. It's about a chain of restaurants. To me, that's a questionable goal. Most successful chains start off with one great restaurant and then take off. This concept is go big or go home. Maybe it's more complicated, but it doesn't sound that way.

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Review: Top Chef - Culinary Olympics

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 19th 2009 1:05AM
tom_padma_top_chef(S06E12) When I saw that the title of tonight's episode was "Culinary Olympics," I didn't really imagine what the chefs would be going through. Were they going to be pole vaulting into the kitchen, did they have to prepare a meal on an ice skating rink? What could be the Olympian angle? Well, apparently there's a culinary competition that's as intense as the Olympics -- and it's not held in a kitchen stadium with Alton Brown doing play by play.

That said, this may have been one of the toughest assignments ever on Top Chef. I tried to envision how past season winners -- let alone the runners up -- would have done in the same circumstances that these final five faced. I can't say for sure that I can think of one that would have aced it ... and for how this five did, read on.

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Review: Top Chef - Strip Around The World

by Kona Gallagher, posted Nov 12th 2009 9:29AM
top chef(S06E11) This episode isn't about drama, stunts, or (gasp!) vegetarians. It is simply a case of "we have six chefs and we need to get down to five," so it kind of felt like a filler episode. The guest judge was Nigella Lawson, and while Nigella Lawson would be a welcome edition to any TV show, there just isn't a whole lot going on here.

Although, I will say that the quickfire challenge probably provided foodie fantasy fodder worldwide, as it opened up with Padma in bed, wearing a robe with tousled hair -- and if that wasn't enough, we find that Nigella is also in a robe and in bed as well. Granted, they're different beds, but still: same room. The ostensible reason for this was to to a breakfast in bed Quickfire challenge, but come on-- they didn't have Tom Colicchio in that bed.

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Review: Top Chef - Meat Natalie

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 29th 2009 12:40AM
top_chef_Padma_tom_colicchio
(S06E10)
After last week's restaurant wars, which I found really disappointing, I was hoping for a really tough challenge tonight. As Hemal guessed, having Natalie Portman as a guest judge did turn this main competition into a vegetarian duel. Oooh, yum. Vegetables. More about the kale and mushrooms after the jump.

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Why I may have to boycott this week's episode of Top Chef

by Hemal Jhaveri, posted Oct 27th 2009 8:00PM
top chef portman There's always an actor or an actress that, for whatever reason, raises your ire so much you can't stand to see the person in anything, be it a TV show, movie or glossy magazine spread. However irrational it is, his or her presence is enough to set your teeth on edge.

This week, I have to decide if my love for the Voltaggio brothers out weighs my dislike of Natalie Portman.

Until recently, I didn't particularly feel one way or the other about Natalie Portman, who's set to be the guest judge on Top Chef this week, but after reading her recent editorial preaching the upside of vegetarianism on Huffington Post, I'm ready to add her to my small but intense list.

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Bravo orders from the Dessert menu

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 26th 2009 10:02AM
top_chef_logoIf you're a fan of Top Chef, there's nothing tougher for the contestants than desserts. Just this past week during 'restaurant wars,' did you notice that one team decided to have no desserts on their menu at all. They just didn't want to risk blowing it.

Well, Bravo noticed, not just last week but all through the Top Chef series. Bravo's creating a Top Chef spinoff called Just Desserts in which chefs will have no choice, they'll have to deal with sugar, icing, cakes and struedels.

Top Chef: Just Desserts is the second Top Chef spinoff, after Top Chef Masters. I'm anticipating Top Chef: Maitre D's down the road, aren't you?

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Top Chef Masters coming back for season two (with a new judge)

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 22nd 2009 2:02PM
Top Chef Masters
As far as I can tell, from comments on this site and other sites I've looked at, Top Chef Masters wasn't loved by fans half as much as fans love the original Top Chef. I think fans want two things from their food competition shows: more conflict and a sense that the contestant isn't necessarily a "master" at cooking (though being a chef is fine). For the most part, the chefs on the first season of Masters were nice and professional, and I think that the fact that they're all great chefs already zapped some of the tension that usually comes with the judging segments of the show. Plus the chefs competed in sections, not usually all against each other.

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Review: Top Chef - Restaurant Wars

by Kona Gallagher, posted Oct 22nd 2009 10:29AM
top chef
(S06E09)
The thing that sets Top Chef apart from similar shows such as Project Runway or Hell's Kitchen, is the level of professionalism on display. While both of those shows have strong contestants, on the whole, the pool seems more amateurish than those on Top Chef. This was clearly evident in this week's episode with the Quickfire Challenge.

The challenge, in which the contestants had to go in blind and complete a dish in ten-minute segments was amazing. I was thoroughly impressed with not only the fact that they could do this in the first place, but with how cool and calm everyone stayed. There wasn't a single contestant who didn't seem completely professional-- a fact that was evident when you saw how impressed guest judge Rick Moonen was with everyone.

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