Casey’s Rant

By this point, you’re probably sick of reading people’s reactions to last night’s “Top Chef” Finale–“Poor Carla!” “Ugh, Hosea!” etc.–but have you seen Casey’s rant? I just found it, via Eater (it’s on a site called Side Dish) and Casey lets it rip.

“Carla was not prepared,” begins the rant, “and in over her head. The show did not talk about how the first course (crab) took her half of the friggin’ cooking time that day, I was left to work the rest of HER dishes.”

[Click here to read the rest.]

Now, Casey, I understand your frustration. You went on a reality show and didn’t like the way they portrayed you as the great saboteur of Carla’s Top Chef title. And you’re probably frustrated that Carla fans around the country are hating on you and blaming you for her loss.

But, Casey, the savvy viewer already detected that Carla’s loss was her own doing: that if she were more confident, more in control, she would’ve owned her dishes, she would’ve thought through all her choices. Her decision–and yes, it was obviously her decision–to use a technique she’d never used before (sous vide, for those who didn’t see it) was an ultimate act of self-sabotage. Very few of us thought Carla was robbed; most of us understood that Carla’s bad choices led to her own demise.

Yet, Carla was a master–and a definitive champion–in the one area that maybe matters more than winning $100,000: P.R. She branded herself as a lovable, genuine, truly soulful cook that the judges (including cranky Tom) and most of America couldn’t help but fall in love with. In doing so she ensured that whatever restaurant she opens, whatever book she writes, there will be loyal fans waiting to patronize her. Do you realize how huge that is? Do you realize how many chefs agonize to achieve this very thing? You might be a technical dynamo (look at Hung, look at Marcel) but if you don’t get P.R., you’ll die out there on the vine. And that’s why, Casey, your rant was such a bad idea.

P.R. is a subtle art. Even over-the-top personalities like Paula Dean’s and Emeril’s are finely crafted, carefully tooled to be successful. And with the exception of Anthony Bourdain (who gets away with it because he’s smart and clever), very few people make it in the food world riding a wave of negativity. You could’ve gone the graceful route, Casey, and said, “I was frustrated because Carla seemed a bit frazzled by the final challenge,” but instead you lobbed mean grenades. And now, just like in those cartoons, you’ll come to realize you’re not holding the pin, but the grenade itself. Lucky for you, not that many people will care enough to see the explosion.

30 thoughts on “Casey’s Rant”

  1. Carla drove me batstuff crazy in the beginning of the season, but by last night’s episode, I was rooting for her all the way.

    Thank you for pointing out that yes, the viewing public was well aware that Carla’s own bad choices were her demise.

  2. Well said! I didn’t think that Carla was sabotaged by Casey–but as others have said, she did not help matters. And as for snarky/mean commentary–even Anthony Bourdain will begrudgingly give respect to someone he’s goofed on in the past(like Emeril during the New Orleans episode of No Reservations) if he realizes that maybe he was out of line. This little episode is even more egregious than Jamie’s petulant “I’m not inspired by this type of food!” excuse after the Le Bernadin disaster.

    You’d think that having experienced her own disappointing performance in the season 3 finale Casey would possess a modicum of compassion, you know?


    I have this on the DVR to watch tonight.

    All day I have avoided spoilers. I knew I shouldn’t have opened Google Reader.

    Surprise ending FAIL!


    I’ll read this tomorrow after I watch tonight.

  4. You know, I liked Casey until she said on the reunion show that thing about “When I was kicking y’all’s butts.” Tacky. I always knew she had the capacity for backbiting, but that rant is pretty bad news. Especially when Carla has come out and said that she never blamed Casey in any way and has no ill feelings towards her.

  5. Yes Adam! Casey will be regretting her words tomorrow when the backlash begins (wait, it already has!) In her defense, I can sort of understand why she seemed upset that everyone was blaming her for Carla’s loss, even though most acknowledged that it was Carla’s fault ultimately, NOT Casey’s. What Casey said showed lack of CLASS. Carla, on the other hand, did not blame Casey and never would. That’s the difference between these two women.

    By the way, I really liked Casey when she was on TC….but she has sunk to a new low in my book.

  6. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not from the staes, or maybe it’s because I watched all but the last episodes of top chef during a marathon run, but I really don’t see what anyone can see in Carla. When she did manage to make good food, I couldn’t even care because watching her and listening to her was such a negative experience. I missed the 2nd last episode and was shocked when I saw the promos showing that she had made it to the finals.

    On another top chef note, I was recently at a private event catered by Micah from Season 3. She has made a baboutie inspired meatloaf her signature dish… I had forgotten what got her thrown off the show.

  7. WELL said! When I watched the show, I thought “Carla – OWN YOUR DISH” and knew that when she started playing with techniques that she wasn’t familiar with, well then – it was a potential disaster waiting to happen. Hearing (and reading) Casey’s rant makes me wonder where CASEY’s head is at currently. Sure, there will be people who will blame Casey for “sabotaging” Carla but Carla made those decisions to use those techniques and owned up to it. That, in my book, makes me think well of Carla and, quite frankly, I don’t think I’d give Casey a second thought.

  8. You hit it on the head Adam! Carla weirded me out a little at first but I really grew to respect and like her, and I probably would buy her friggin cookbook. I felt bad for her at the finale, but as soon as I heard her say she was using a NEW technique during the finale I knew she was sunk, and it was not Casey’s fault.

    Although why you would even suggest a chef use a new technique in a finale competition is beyond me. It did seem like Casey was trying to put her own stamp on Carla’s food, which is pretty shady as it was Carla’s booty on the line. But obviously it was Carla’s decision, so I don’t know why anyone would actually BLAME Casey for her loss.

  9. Casey is contradicting herself by saying she didn’t influence Carla and then saying that Carla had no ideas of her own. I’m sure being edited is rough, but the souffle and the sous vide steak (how horrible that sounds) were undeniably Casey’s ideas. They were the two most problematic parts of Carla’s meal.

    Carla should have been more assertive and confident. At the same, Casey should have kept her place at sous chef. Marcel knew that freezing the fresh was a bad idea but left it to Stefan.

    We kept saying “Why is Carla listening to Casey? Casey LOST her season badly.” I sense that Caey is now angry she’s been shown to blow two TC finales.

  10. Very well said, Adam. We all realize that Carla’s own insecurity caused her to be swayed away from what she should have done. She didn’t trust herself enough. We also all know that Casey can be very bossy, nasty and opinionated, which she proved beyond a doubt by her hurtful, mean-spirited rant. I never liked her when she was on Top Chef and I like her even less now. I take comfort in believing what goes around, comes around. I only wish I could be there when it comes around to kick Casey in the butt!

  11. Casey is just bitter she failed to redeem herself once again. SHE IS pure failure. I’d rather have a burger flipper from Mcdonald’s on my team rather than her.

  12. Thanks for sharing this, Adam. I can always feel assured that I’m up on foodie news when I read it here!

    So many have said it already, but well written post. I whole-heartedly agree.

  13. I hadn’t heard about this rant, until I read it here, but wow. As someone who works in media, I completely agree with you. Casey did way more to harm her image with that rant than any editing ever could. Especially since Carla came of as owning her mistakes and taking full responsibility for them.

  14. Well said and absolutely on target. I was rooting for Carla, but as soon as she agreed to try a technique she hadn’t used before I knew she wasn’t going to be Top Chef. She took responsibility for her mistake and learned a valuable, albeit painful, lesson. Too bad Casey couldn’t so the same.

  15. Here’s the other thing, is Carla blaming Casey? I don’t think so. I think the only thing she said was something like, “I know when I cook MY food it’s…..” Never did she say it was Casey’s fault, so clearly she is the much classier loser. I seem to recall Casey throwing another team member under the bus during her season and getting all teary. My point being, it’s not the first time she’s done this sort of thing.

  16. Grr, Top Chef, grr. The sous chef “twist” was such garbage. Anyone who had Richard had a major advantage. Anyone with Marcel or Casey…? Well, we saw what happened. Poor Carla. This really got her in her weak spot– it was a flashback to when she didn’t stand up to Weird Beard putting those awful mushrooms on her salad.

    I hope it’s not the last we’ve seen of her. She’s one of a handful of Top Cheftestants that I would like to try the food of. I just ended this sentence with a preposition but I couldn’t figure another way to say it.

  17. Well Casey definitely is embarrassed about this in retrospect, but she’s making things up saying she was “tricked” by the interviewer:

    “Just after the airing, an acquaintance contacted me on facebook and, it turns out, was seeking to create some controversy. She did not represent herself as a reporter and did not ask for a quote. Instead, she took advantage of me.

    I’m a fan of Carla’s and as disappointed as her fans are that she came up short. I’m more disappointed that my great experience with a fellow female chef of Carla’s talent would be damaged by such reckless and unprofessional reporting.

    I feel hurt and compromised. The publication who is involved has always treated me well, but in this case– it should be embarrassed.


    SideDish posted a response saying Casey was clearly asked for an interview for the site. And on what planet it would be reasonable to respond to any “acquaintance” with such a venomous rant about her “great experience with a fellow female chef of Carla’s talent”? Her story doesn’t make much sense.

    I really didn’t think I could be more grossed out by Casey’s behavior after her reaming Carla, but Casey’s lack of responsibility here is ridiculous. I would have expected a public apology from any decent person, not a diversion of blame.

  18. I haven’t watched the last few seasons of “Top Chef,” and so it’s only just now – after a conversation with a childhood friend and revisiting several of your old posts – that I realize that Chef Richard Blais is the same Rich Blais that I went to junior high school with. WHOA! So happy for him!! And how thrilling that you had such an amazing experience at his restaurant! I’ll have to check out the reruns…

  19. I agree with this post. I was a Carla fan and soooo wanted her to win but I never once blamed her loss on Casey. It was Carla’s fault she lost not Casey’s. Anyone with common sense and who takes responsibility for their own actions knows this. Carla even knows it. It really doesnt matter what Casey suggested, Carla should have said no, this is what I’m doing – enough said!

    I could tell the way they edited the final episode that they were trying to make Casey look like a little like the bad guy who led poor Carla astray BUT, those with a brain KNOW, at the end of the day, it was Carla’s fault, end of story.

    Because of this, Casey should not have responded in this manner. I think by now she knows that she actually DOES look bad now and it is not Top Chef or Carla’s fault, it is her own. Stop playing the victim, Casey. It isnt your fault Carla lost but it *IS* your fault you responded to that loss in such a pathetic manner that you dug yourself in such a deep hole only a public apology to Carla admitting full responsibility for your actions will correct it. Blaming a friend for setting you up is making you look even worse… In order to learn from your mistakes and grow as a person, you must accept responsibility for your own actions and own up to it by apologizing and accepting full blame…do not play the victim! You did this to yourself!

  20. Pin. Grenade. Ha ha ha ha. That kills me.

    You know, everything you say here is true so I must agree with you. But, I have one concern about Casey that goes for all chefs — I have this lasting concern about excessive uncontrolled hair. There’s a very good reason for the tradition of hairnets and hats. I do worry about little bits flying off.

    That is all.

  21. Casey’s hair is beautiful.

    I think she’s just trying to defend what she didn’t do. Carla was there to take control of her own situation which she clearly didn’t do. I believe she can cook, but chose the wrong route in the finale.

    It’s just about cooking good food. Simple or complicated. Plus we were only shown the parts that make “good TV”.

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