February 16, 2009

Top Chef NY: Week 12 - "Tomorrow I will deal with nine fingers."

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So, down to five and during this episode the top 4, who would be going to New Orleans for the finale, would be revealed. We are left with Carla, Stefan, Fabio, Hosea & Leah. Going in to the episode, I'm hoping that it's Leah who goes home, but you never know how the cookie will crumble on Top Chef.

Quickfire Challenge

I was excited to see Wylie Dufresne. I am really fascinated by molecular gastronomy and all of the kinds of things he's known to do with food, and with experimenting with new techniques. And... it's down to the eggs.

Create a dish with eggs. Seems pretty simple, but from what I've seen in the past, cooking a perfect egg is actually one of the great challenges of learning to be a chef.

I thought that Hosea's ideas were really interesting from the get-go, if he could pull them off. Doing things you've never done before can be a huge risk, because if you pull it off you look smart, but if you fail you just seem dumb for trying something you're not familiar with.

"I'm the tortise here" - Carla about her dish. She was so calm, instead of trying something really crazy, she was trying to do something simple, but perfect.

Carla and Stefan were the ones he liked, and the win went to Carla! At this point in the game, I think Carla is my favorite, and I'm rooting for her to win.

Elimination Challenge

Cook "The Last Meal" for a culinary master.

What an interesting challenge! It's not necessarily the most complex or hardest dishes, but cooking for some of the biggest names, and best palates in the field. Carla's advantage for winning the Quickfire was that she could swap meals with anyone else in the group.
I liked that they went to eat at Harold's restaurant (winner of first season of Top Chef). What a cool night out before finding out who is in the final four.

"It doesn't matter how good a cook you are, you make one mistake and you can go home." Hosea said that at the store, and it's so true. Just like Jamie last week, you never know who is going to stay and go. It depends on the meal you are cooking here and now.

Stefan was thinking very highly of himself with the salmon, that he's been doing it for years and cannot possibly mess it up. Carla was going with the philosophy that less is more.

Suddenly, there was a crash. Fabio broke his freaking finger. Good God! Right in the middle of the challenge. The medic asked if he wanted to go to the hospital. "Hospital? No. I'll chop it off and sear it on the grill to stop the bleeding, and tomorrow I will deal with nine finger." Dude, Fabio? Hardcore. I know it was a finger, but that crap hurts. Unfortunately, it did put him at a disadvantage throughout the challenge, because of course his hand was wrapped, and he couldn't move the way he normally does. I like him, and it sucked watching him struggle with it.
Tom Coliccio came into the kitchen and just said not to embarrass him. So, if they weren't feeling nervous already... they HAVE to be after that. The guest judge representing at judges table would be Jaques Pepin.

I like that even in the end they help each other get ready. It's one of the things I like about this show in particular, the chefs are almost always willing to help each other out, and it makes it more of a fair game. About the cooking, not the plating etc.

Wylie thought the egg whites were runny on his choice for a last meal. The judge that Stefan cooked for was FROM Sweden, so they both had the same idea. Unfortunately, they all thought the fish was overcooked. Poor Fabio had trouble cutting the chicken because of his hand. The judges really liked Fabio's dish, and the chef who picked it thought it was great. Jaques Pepin loved his squab that Carla cooked.

I agreed with Hosea, as a whole, they did a very good job with the challenge. Going into the judges table, I was thinking that Leah and Stefan would be in the bottom based on this challenge only.

"It's Top Chef, not Top Pussy", Fabio's remark about why and how he kept going after busting his hand. Way to go giving me the favorite quote of the episode AGAIN.

Then, judges table. I couldn't believe that Stefan's dish was so much in the bottom of the judging, after him throughout the competition. I don't know why they cared about Fabio's salad. Maybe it was less refined and to the point than if it hadn't had the salad. As for Carla's squab, since it was Pepin's dish and he really liked the squab, I think he should overrule anyone who thought it was overcooked. In the end, I was thinking that Carla and Fabio were definitely staying. It seemed like Stefan was going to go home, and I was honestly surprised. It really does go to show that it depends on THIS challenge.

In the end, Fabio won the challenge, broken finger and all! He also won a trip to a vineyard for 3 days, which was cool. I'm glad he's going to the finals, after all, who else will provide me with the best quotes every week?

Carla then did an impression of a tortise which was hilarious, but lead into ominous music and tension for Hosea, Stefan and Leah.

Who had to pack their knives and go? Leah. I can't say I was disappoitned. Hosea, Carla, Stefan & Fabio would go to New Orleans for the Top 4 Semifinals.

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