Top Chef

Season 5 Episode 7

Focus Group

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Jan 07, 2009 on Bravo
out of 10
User Rating
16 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The remaining contestants face some brutal challenges this week. First up is a sweet QuickFire without a sweetener, then an Elimination that is a mystery for not only the chefs, but the judges as well. Toby Young joins the judging team. Guest Judge: Jean-Christophe Novelli Diet Dr. Pepper QuickFire Challenge: Create a Guilt-Free Dessert using Any Non-Sugar Ingredients Elimination Challenge: Create a Family-Style Meal for a Blind Tasting Round Sevenmoreless

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  • New judge, is annoying!

    The new judge is, UK author Toby Young. And he is taken over for, regular judge, Gail Simmons. As she is on her wedding and honeymoon. So far, he is annoying. But not as annoying, as the French judge. And that the latter judge, whom is a well-known pastry judge. Came off very arrogant, and really cruel. To the remaining chefs. Not just was there one elimination, but two. Since it was the holidays. And nobody had to go home. Jamie really, came off, arrogant and won. Melissa and Eugene were sent home. We shall see, how the new judge does. But so far, he is pretty annoying.moreless
Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio

Co-Host/Head Judge

Toby Young

Toby Young


Ariane Duarte

Ariane Duarte

Season 5 Contestant

Carla Hall (II)

Carla Hall (II)

Season 5 Contestant

Eugene Villiatora

Eugene Villiatora

Season 5 Contestant

Fabio Viviani

Fabio Viviani

Season 5 Contestant

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • First Run Fan Poll:

      Which of Toby's comments was the most harsh?

      A. Weapons of mass destruction 27%
      B. The bland leading the bland 15%
      C. Tastes like cat food 58%

      (all percentages are as of the end of the initial broadcast.)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • (After one of Toby's comments on a fellow-chef's dish.)
      Carla: Whoo! Omigod. And this is the new judge? You have got to be kidding me. Gail! Gail?

    • Eugene: (watching the other group eating their food) Do they know that they're being videotaped, or what?
      Hosea: It looks like a secret camera.
      Fabio: Live is ugly; in television, it's even uglier!

    • Fabio: (ranting about Jamie's penchant for scallops) All she does is scallops, for Christ's sake, come on. This is Top Chef, it's not Top Scallops!

    • Radhika: (about immunity) I feel bad sometimes when I look at my other fellow chefs who work just as hard as I do, but then, that's very passing. It's a chef-eat-chef world.

  • NOTES (6)

    • Eugene was the second of four chefs to fall to the Top Chef Birthday Curse, being eliminated on or around his birthday.

    • Graphics misspelled Jamie's name as "Jaime" in the QuickFire Challenge.

    • Tom says that even though it was supposed to be a "blind" Challenge with the Judges not knowing the identity of the chef presenting each dish, he pretty much knew immediately who had done what, and that Toby and Jean-Christophe were the only ones who were really Judging blind.

    • New Judge Toby Young said that he was a bit nervous when he discovered the identity of this episode's Guest Judge, because they have a rancorous history. A few years ago Toby was a Guest Judge on the TV show Hell's Kitchen: UK in which Jean-Christophe Novelli was one of the celebrity contestants, and Novelli took such exception to some of Toby's comments that he banned Young from ever dining in any of his restaurants. But he says that after some initial unpleasantness, they managed to put this in the past and had a few drinks together after the episode finished taping.

    • According to Tom, this episode had one of the only Elimination Challenges in which he laid out the guidelines himself. They had originally planned to have an Elimination Challenge that was dessert related, since Guest Judge Jean-Christophe Novelli is a pastry chef, but after the poor showing in the previous episode, Tom asked the producers to scrap their planned Challenge and give them a new one that a) gave them the freedom to do what they wanted, so they'd stop playing it safe, and b) allow their peers the chance to taste the food and contribute to the critiquing process.

    • This marks the first appearance of Judge Toby Young. Toby is taking over for regular Judge Gail Simmons because of her upcoming wedding.


  • 10:00 pm