Monday, February 23, 2009

Top Chef New York Episode Thirteen, AKA Finale Part One

Maybe I should have titled this post "Top Chef New Orleans" because that's where we find our intrepid finalists....

Instead of the usual scenes of eating breakfast and making beds, along with the occasional "exploitative" beef cheese cupcake shot of a shirtless Jeff, we see the final four arriving in the Crescent City after several months of not seeing each other.

Nice pink scarf, Fabio. Must be a European thing, eh?

Everyone is excited about the finale. Hosea is pumped to be in New Orleans for the first time. Fabio is sure he's going to win this competition. Stefan has a cigarette. And Carla is completely tickled at the thought of winning.

Before we head over to see what the Quickfire challenge is all about, let's rejoin the Baldarama Pissing Contest, already in progress:

Just to let you know, we'll be seeing quite a bit of that throughout the episode. Along with scenes of Stefan indulging in his nasty little nicotine habit.

The chefs head out to meet Padma, who introduces the guest judge for this episode, none other than Emeril Lagasse. Once upon a time, I thought Emeril was a real cutie-pie. What the hell happened to him? He's starting to look like a horror movie villain. Maybe I've seen him do that awful "Bella Lagasse" schtick too many times at Halloween....

Actually, no, Emeril, that's not the challenge.

(Didn't our Superior European look a bit chilled throughout this segment? Guess the warmth of California has spoiled this Finn.)

If the finalists don't cook in the Quickfire, then who does?

Losers do! Jeff, Jamie, and Leah compete for a chance to be in the finale.

The Losers get one hour to create a dish with crawfish.

Funny. And several million viewers thought you should have been eliminated weeks before.

Leah says she's never cooked with crawfish. How is it that an untrained home cook like me has worked with ingredients that the pros have never used? To quote Eric Cartman: "lame."

Jamie is intimidated to cook for a "badass" like Emeril. So she thinks he looks like a horror movie villain too!

...and Jeff's mind has "a couple people talking in it." Hmmm....

After tasting the dishes, Emeril declares Jeff's the winner. Jeff not only gets a chance to compete in the semi-finals, he also gets a copy of Emeril's new grilling cookbook.

Emeril then extends a dinner invitation to his restaurant Delmonico to the now five finalists, Jeff, Carla, Fabio, Hosea, and Stefan.

At dinner, we find out why Fabio really wants to win:

A noble cause, Fab. Much better than using the dough to pay your wife's Prada shoe bill.

I don't know, Stefan - what is a butt-rubbing contest? Sounds kinky. I thought this was a penis-length contest. Does "coming out with the short end of the stick" mean anything to either of you?

The next morning, the chefs meet Padma and Bella at Mardi Gras World.

The Elimination Challenge is revealed: each chef must prepare two dishes and one cocktail for the Krewe of Orpheus' annual masquerade ball at the New Orleans Museum of Art. One dish must be in the Creole style.

If Jeff is to compete in the finale, he must win this challenge. The winner also gets a new Toyota Venza. Not only does Fabio need the money, he needs a new car.

As eloquent as ever, Fabio.

Emeril invites the chefs to use the kitchen at Delmonico, including all of the foodstuffs found therein.

But didn't the Top Chef keetchen have stoves and ovens too?

Although the challenge is to make two dishes, Fabio opts to make three. Actually, he bakes bread, which doesn't quite count as a separate dish. Carla has decided to make oyster stew, but has no experience shucking the creatures. And the Hose and Stefan both decide to make gumbo.

Stefan is getting Hosea's goat. Ha ha. :)

Clearly one person is going to win Balderama 2009.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Finally, prep is done and the cheftestants head to The New Orleans Museum of Art to start a rousing game of Go Fish.

Carla has cream for Jeff (and that just sounds so wrong). Hosea asks for a whisk and Carla says "go fish." Then we hear Hosea in a voiceover talking about not bringing a ladle for his gumbo. Did he need a whisk AND a ladle, or just a ladle but he couldn't tell it from a whisk? Someone send the boy to culinary school, ASAP!

Despite getting an "asshole edit" this week (a pretty convincing one, I might add), to his credit, Stefan did help Carla shuck her oysters. Hmmm...I thought we weren't supposed to know that the man can actually be nice. (This unsolicited boost to your public image does not come without a price, Stef. I'll just add it to your tab. ;)

Finally the guests arrive and hit up the various stations for food and drinks.

Huh? What kind of porn do they have in Italy? Hmmm...Padma's outfit does seem a little bondage-y, doesn't it?

After the party, the chefs and judges head back to the Hotel Monteleone for Judges' Table. The lovely and boobaceous Gail Simmons is finally back, but oddly enough, Bravo doesn't include even a glimpse of her in the preview or recap videos.

Although Emeril thinks that Jeff is a refined cook, Carla's oyster stew and piping-hot beignet were better.

That means, of course, that Jeff doesn't make it to the finale. And Fabio doesn't get a new car.

Hosea is congratulated for not winning or losing, and is dismissed by Tom. Stefan and Fabio are left and one of them is going home.

First it looks like Stefan's time is up.

But gumbo on grits wasn't necessarily a bad thing, especially since the grits were delicious. The roux was criticized as being a little light, but the flavors were all there.

Fabio's maque choux was good, but could have been spicier. His flavors, however, didn't have as much depth as the judges would have liked. And his drink was too sweet. Sadly, this was enough to lose him the competition.

So Stefan lives to smoke another day (and that, ironically, will probably kill him in the long run) and makes it to the finale with Carla and Hosea. My prediction: Carla takes it all.

Back to Baldarama 2009 - any last words?

Tune in next week for the exciting conclusion!


FB @ said...

You know, I thought that Jeff gave it a real good effort and I am kind of sad he didn't get to go on, but he IS kind of all over the place and not consistent enough.

Carla is really kicking butt! :) And she's a bit too energetic but it's like she's coming out and showing everyone who's boss.

Stefan, I was such a huge fan before, and he CAN be a nice guy, but he does get arrogant in the kitchen b/c he won all of those challenges before.. well.. it's not against amateur chefs any longer so he's got to pull a Ripert and be a LOT more humble.

I'll miss Fabio :( But I have a feeling we'll see him at the end somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to recap with your schedule. Hilarious as ever. Anyone see Ariane as a sous chef on Iron Chef last night?

Bob said...

All I can say is HOOTIE HOO HOOTIE!!!!

Kit Pollard said...

FINALLY! (just kidding)

I'm with you on Carla...and did anyone else think she looked very pretty with her hair down? I got the model vibe...

Also, did you see on Tom's Bravo blog (and Gail's) that there was a problem with Jeff's oysters that didn't make the edit? Apparently the taste of the sterno transfered to the oysters. So he was never actually in contention...

the dogs' mother said...

I think I heard the finale is at Commander's Palace? Been there, eaten there - yum. :-)

theminx said...

I have as well - bread pudding souffle! yum!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for finding the time to post a recap. It was hilarious and just what I needed after a rough Monday.

Miss Ginger Grant said...

I love the way you have Emeril saying "Colla"! Everytime he would say her name I would think of Padma's bondage necklace and wonder where this episode would end up! I'll also love the fangs you gave him!
Great recap- worth waiting for!

Anonymous said...

I knew you'd do a recap! I love it: die monkey die, the Hosea/Stefan stuff. The pic of Stefan and Carla is sweet!