Top Chef

Season 5 Episode 4

Today Show

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Dec 03, 2008 on Bravo



  • Trivia

    • The tool that Stefan used to cut the perfect circle off the top of his egg is called an "egg topper". It has a suction cup which is pressed down on the section to be removed, and a hammer that breaks the shell beneath the cup, which leaves the rest of the egg nicely intact. There are also other varieties of the tool that actually cut the shell itself with a scissors-like pair of blades, but these are marketed for hard boiled eggs.

  • Quotes

    • Jeff: (on the "Today Show" top three competition) I'm gonna be serving a Middle Eastern flavored roll to a bunch of ladies with unsophisticated palates at 6:30, 7:00 am, so I'm pissed off.

    • Melissa: The scariest thing about failing is failing.

    • Padma: Now Fabio, when did you come from Italy?
      Fabio: I am fresh out of the boat.

    • Fabio: We get to the Top Chef kitchen, and here we go with Padma and Rocco DiSpirito. He's an American chef Italianized. He's not real Italian, but, you know, he has a lot of knowledge of Italian cuisine, and he's a good chef.

    • Daniel: Time to make the donuts!
      Melissa: Let's roll like a donut down the hill!

  • Notes

    • During her reward appearance on The Today Show, Ariane prepared mushroom and herb goat cheese bruschetta and tequila marinated shrimp with avocado cream for Kathie Lee and Hoda.

    • Tom says in his blog that he and his fellow Judges were intentionally trying to distract the competitors while doing their segments, since that kind of thing is inevitable from the hosts of TV segments, and therefore a hurdle all chefs on television must be able to navigate.

    • Knowing how difficult it can be to cook for the camera, Lee Anne created a list of advice for the contestants, but the producers chose to pass on only some of it:

      • Consider your audience: Can this recipe be made at home by the viewer?
      • Will your recipe hold at room temperature for 2 hours?
      • How much time do you have? 2 minutes in TV time goes fast.
      • How complicated is your recipe? Does it have 4 steps or 20? What equipment is available to you and how much will you need?
      • Food styling: what can you do to dress up your table and give it "character" (ex: ethnic or worn cooking equipment, spices, colorful fabrics, etc)
      • What are the essential steps/points in your recipe? You will need to emphasize the most important parts through visual and verbal cues.
      • What small/quick techniques can you demo on TV that are not messy and do not take a long time?
      • Is there any part of your recipe that you can include the host in actively?
      • Will your beauty plate be edible in 2 hours?
      • Demo the key parts of your recipe: Show raw ingredients, beginning steps of cooking and have finished/almost finished steps of same ingredients.
      • Always have backup of each step ready in case you need to reshoot.
      • Account for all raw ingredients, partially cooked ingredients, and finished ingredients/steps.
      • Equipment: demo bowls to hold ingredients, pots, pans, small tools, appliances, beauty plates, cooking equipment/heat sources, decoration for table, tasting forks and knives
      • Timing: Your introduction, what recipe are you cooking, what do you start with, what steps can you glaze over, here it is almost done cooking, finishing steps, beauty plate already prepared, tasting/verbal exchange with host.
      • Smile. Look directly into the eyes of your host and the camera. Eyes up, remember.
      • Breathe. Speak slowly, loudly, and clearly. Because you only have 2 minutes every word out of your mouth will count. It's always a good idea to write a list for yourself of important steps you will cover and touch upon during your demo.
      • Talk technique, but keep it personal. No one knows your food like you do. Why is this your signature dish? Why do you love a certain ingredient? What caused you to treat this particular ingredient in this way?
      • Go with the flow. Again, 2 minutes is a short time but at the end of the day you have a beauty plate already prepared for tasting so if you can't get to all of the steps in your recipe, improvise. Don't get flustered, just push through it.
      • Smile and relax. The camera picks up everything, including nerves. This is you, just showing the host how to cook an easy, quick meal.

    • Tom says that he was chosen to do Top Chef because one of the show's producers saw a tape of a Today Show segment he had done.

  • Allusions

    • Daniel Baba Booey!

      Daniel is giving a nod to The Howard Stern Show. Gary Dell'Abate, one of the regular cast members of the show went by the nickname "Baba Booey", and it's often used by fans of the show as an amusing catch phrase.

    • Daniel: Time to make the donuts.

      The chefs leave their apartment to the well known commercial tag line of the Dunkin' Donuts chain.