Thursday, February 26, 2009

Part One: How Did I End Up All Discombobulated At The Finale Of Top Chef?

Chefs I Hated, I Love (Stefan, Rocco and Judge Toby); Chefs I Loved, I Hate…Well, Not Really, More Like Chefs I LIKED, I now LOVE (Carla) BUT I Still Hate The One I Hate – And The Winner Is...

Hah, you’re not getting off THAT easy. You have to take this journey with me.

They’re still in New Orleans. Carla is doing yoga. Hosea is giving himself a pep talk.

The three remaining chefs have breakfast on the paddle boat, The Creole Queen. They chat companionably. Hosea is waaaaahhhhh, waaaaahhhhh, waaaaahhhhh-ing to the camera about how he has so much more to prove than Carla and Stefan, because they already own their businesses and he works for someone else in a small town.

Stefan is bummed that Fabio went home.

They meet Padma and Tom at The Historic New Orleans Collection. Tom gives them the final challenge: Cook the best three course meal of your life.

Oh? Is that all? I just did that last Thursday.

He continues: He “wants to see the fire, passion and soul and more importantly, it must be delicious.”

He adds that even though it’s three courses, they do NOT have to make a dessert. Is that a trick? If they DON’T make a dessert, the judges won’t think they’re deficient in that area? We’ll see.

Stefan is a bit cowed by the directive and remarks to himself: "@!&#*% if Tom says you can make ANYTHING.”

They’ll be cooking their final meal at Commander’s Palace. Didn’t they recently have a huge fire? Oh wait, that was Paula’s place in Savannah. They’ll be serving 12 people.

Tom says they’ll have some help. Ricky, Casey and Marcel from past Top Chefs walk in. I have no idea who they are, so this means nothing to me. Oh wait, that’s Richard, not Ricky. I know him – the king of molecular gastronomy. They each came in second in their respective seasons.

Carla picks the first knife to determine the order for choosing their sous chefs. She gets number 3. For some reason, Stefan lets Hosea pick the next knife and Hosea gets number 1. He chooses Richard. I can see the two of them together. But that doesn’t mean much, since I don’t know who the other two are.

Stefan picks Marcel, saying he’s a bit of a @!&#*%. The language of these foreigners! Carla gets Casey. They’re prepping in the Audubon Tea Room.

Hosea grabs 2 large logs of foie gras. Stefan tells him one of those is his. (I don’t think it really was.) Hosea refuses to hand any over. Stefan gives him a hard time for sneaking off with all the foie gras and Hosea says, okay, we’ll each take 1½. Stefan says forget it. Why do I think that decision will come back to haunt him and that the judges will say that one of his dishes needed more foie gras?

Hosea is a flavor junkie, he tells us. Ugh!

Oh crap, Stefan sees that Hosea has grabbed ALL the caviar too. I actually think that although that’s smart, Hosea is really a jerk and the only way he can win is to steal all the food and not allow anyone else to have anything good.

Casey suggests to Carla that she SOUS VIDE the beef. NO, DON’T DO IT!!!! Every single example of sous vide-ness on Top Chef has been a failure. PLUS, Carla says she’s never done it before. Don’t do it!!! Carla, listen to me.

Stefan says that cooking basic food is much sexier than a bunch of bull@!#%. Well, I hope he’s right. I actually don’t mind if either HE or Carla wins. I just don’t want Hosea to win. And now I’m really nervous for Carla. Drat! Why couldn’t that Casey have kept her mouth shut? I’m worried…

A Voodoo Tarot card reader comes and tells their fortunes. Stefan asks her about a girl named Jamie. She says she could be his girlfriend. (Not unless a WHOLE LOT has changed.) Stefan says he bought voodoo dolls and called them Hosea and Carla and stuck pins in them. Don’t you sort of have to admire his completely brazen hubris?

They walk into the kitchen of Commander’s Palace and Tom is standing in back of an alligator on ice! Gross! He’s adding one more course to their meal. Each of them has to make an appetizer to go on a tray to be passed before dinner. They have to use some traditional New Orleans ingredients. They each will cook with one of the following: crab, red fish AND alligator. Carla says her butterflies are turning into bats.

Stefan says, “Alligator is just a wacky meat. It’s like having a kangaroo or eating @!#% raccoon. What’s the point?” I’m with him!

To pick who cooks what, Tom uncovers a king cake. (It looks exactly like Em’s!) Whoever gets the baby in his or her slice gets to pick who gets which protein. Yikes! Obviously, if Hosea gets the baby, Stefan gets the alligator. And vice versa.

DARN!!! Hosea gets the baby. Surprise, surprise, he picks the red fish, gives Carla the crab and, natch, he gives Stefan the alligator. THEN in his interview he gives Stefan the finger and is sooooo proud of himself for sticking it to him. Classy...

I KNOW that Stefan would act just as abominably, but HE doesn’t need every little advantage to win, whereas Hosea may win, just by stealing all the good food and having an easier time with the appetizer.

They get to work. Hosea blathers on about his hors d'oeuvres, saying he’s proud to be there, proud to be cooking in Commander’s Palace and he’s cooking a dish that represents New Orleans. Hush! Go away. I have complete and total antipathy for him. Ugh, again!

Stefan cuts the tail off the alligator and cuts the skin off the meat. He decides to make a soup out of it. He says WHAT else am I going to make out of it? Dumplings?!! Good luck.

I’m not sure what’s going on with why I’m pulling for Stefan so much. I suppose it’s because I dislike his male competition so much.

We hear Carla scream. Apparently, she’s having some trouble with her crab. I’m not sure what happened. Did a crab grab her? I couldn’t really see. Stefan rescues her. Was she hurt? I guess not. See? Stefan CAN be a good guy.

Carla’s feeling the pressure of the appetizer and not concentrating on the rest of her menu.

Hosea’s not making a dessert, because it’s not his strength and he doesn’t want his last dish to be not up to par.

Sorry, I like Stefan’s menu the best. If Carla’s is REALLY, REALLY good, then that might overcome it seeming a little simple, compared to the guys’ meals.

Casey suggests doing a bleu cheese soufflé instead of a tart. NO CARLA! Stick to your guns. PLEASE! Do what you’re comfortable with. She sticks with the tart…I think.

Marcel isn’t happy that Stefan is freezing his fish to get a really thin carpacchio. We are definitely being set up for his carpacchio failing.

I’m really on pins and needles, thinking Hosea could pull off a win. Please, no.

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