Top Chef

Season 5 Episode 7

Focus Group

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Jan 07, 2009 on Bravo



  • Trivia

    • 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

    • (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

    • 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.

  • Allusions