Thursday, February 19, 2009

Top Chef: New York - Finale, Pt. 1

Previously on Top Chef...

Last meals! Broken Italians! Hey Leah... SUCK IT!!!


-I'm going to tell you up front, this is going to be a significantly shorter recap than what I've previously presented to all you fine, food-savvy folk. As many of you are aware, I'm in the middle of moving my life from NYC to Texas and, well... you know... that kind of thing can take a lot out of a person. Even one as resilient and handsome as myself. So, point is, C-dog is tired. Thus, recap is short. I'm sure y'all understand.

-Emeril is the guest judge this week... they're in New Orleans, after all, so to not invite him on the show would have upset the natural balance of things... and he was actually pretty fantastic. Good critique, an apparent appreciation for the food, AND he did it all with out being "clever" like SOME judges on this show. It was enough to make me forget how bad his whooping, easily-pandered-to audience on Emeril Live makes me itch.
-Speaking of Toby Young... his baldness and anti-way with words were nowhere to be seen tonight. He was not missed.


So, as I mentioned, the whole production has pulled up stakes in New York and headed down to The Big Easy. Why? Because why not. I've never seen the point of switching cities for the finale, particularly... as with this season... when they didn't even do all that much with the show's main city to begin with. Was there anything particularly "New York-y" about Season 5? A few challenges very early on made mention of NYC, but that's kinda it. So whatever, I guess... now we're doing it in New Orleans. Throw a topless skanks some beads.
Ah, the topsy-turvy roller coaster of Top Chef. For the QC this week, our four remaining contestants WILL NOT be competing. Instead, the last three contestants to be eliminated... Jeff, Jamie, and, (sigh) Leah... will get a shot at reentering the game. (I'll pause for a moment so you can collect yourself and/or wipe up any shock-diarrhea)
They each have to cook a dish using crawfish; the chef with the best dish is back in the competition. So they cook... Jeff handsomely makes some sort of crawfish and grits affair, Jamie does something gross with eggs, and Leah whines about everything and you can kind of tell that Emeril wants to punch her, no matter the damage it would do to his reputation.
And the winner is... The Cutest Chef In All the Land, Jeff. Which I'm pleased about, actually, as I think he was eliminated too early and also... and I mean this in as hetero a way as is humanly possible... yum.
BUT THERE'S A CATCH: For Jeff to stay alive and make it to the finale, he has to win this weeks Elimination Challenge. Not just do a good a job or place in the top three; he has to outright be the winner. Long odds, for sure, but hey... a second chance is a second chance.
They're catering a bullshit Mardi Gras masquerade ball that's notable only because all the judges arrive in masks and it's VERY Eyes Wide Shut for a minute. Each contestant has to make two dishes... one of them incorporating Creole flavors... and a cocktail as well, even though the cocktail won't really factor into the judging at all, so what's the point? (this is true EVERY time the contestants are asked to make drinks)
Also... this close to the end... why another fucking catering challenge? The skill sets are different! Sometimes, I swear to god, Top Chef, I don't think a court in the world would convict me if I popped you one in the mouth.
Anyway, I guess it doesn't really matter because, for once, all the contestants kicked ass. Across the board, there wasn't a straight-up bad dish. Which means the judges have to get super-picky about shit, but really that's how it should be. If someone serves fried turds on a plate, CLEARLY they're going to get sent packing and that's way too easy. And, frankly, pretty boring television. When they all do a good job, though... when every one of them brings it hard... well that there is some high drama.
Carla - Oyster Stew, Beignet of some sort, and an alcohol-free beverage that was awesome even without booze (which is apparently possible; who knew?)
She didn't just win; she knocked a walk-off grand slam in the playoffs while shooting the game-winning basket at the buzzer and hitting eighteen holes-in-one and some other sports metaphors too. The judges freaked out about her dishes, said they were flawless, kind of humped her legs a little, then gave her a new car. All in all, it was a good day to be a crazy-pants bird lady from the fashion runways of Mars.
Jeff - Fried Oysters w/ Sausage, a Crawfish Pot de Creme (whatever that is), and a Cucumber Mojito

The truth is, Jeff almost won. Had Carla not just flat out clownstomped everybody, he WOULD have been the winner. The judges really didn't have anything bad to say about his dishes, plus his cocktail was the best of the night. Although, let me just say this: The thought of cucumber mixed with any sort of liquor makes me barf hard enough to travel through time. Sadly, as he was only there on a provisional basis, he was eliminated. Goodbye again, you blond vision of loveliness in check-pants...
Hosea - Gumbo with various shit in it, Pecan-Crusted Catfish, and a Hurricane
Somebody last week asked me why I don't like Hosea, so let me answer that question first: I don't like him because the dude complains like a little bitch, fucking constantly. The whole thing about how everyone hates Stefan and thinks he's an asshole, etc.? That was mostly from Hosea. You really get the feeling that he's just threatened by him, thus he feels like he has to talk lengthy novels-worth of smack to make himself feel better. He, as well, shares some of Leah's whiny-ness... which I guess is why they knocked boots or whatever. Anyway, his dishes were all fine and he will be in the finale, which means I'll have someone to root against.
Stefan - Another Gumbo, Another Beignet, and a Black Cherry & Rum drink.
Dude nearly lost it this week. It's pretty clear that he's started to believe his own hype; he could not have given less of shit this challenge because he already assumes he's going to win. He knows it already, if you catch my meaning, so he's not really trying all that hard. His dishes were all technically proficient, but... to quote the judges... there wasn't any soul or love in them. All skill, no heart. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but that's going to make it hard to beat out Carla, who's apparently got the skills AND those mystical, intangible ingredients that are hard to describe, exactly, but seem to certainly make their presence known in the food.
Fabio - Grits w/ Sausage and Rabbit, Pasta of some sort, and a Bell Pepper Martini
First of all... a Bell Pepper Martini? REALLY? Because that sounds like a war crime. But beyond that, his dishes weren't bad. Not exactly. They were more just missing something; a little heat, some properly layered flavors, the ever-important LOVE, man. Had someone fucked up royal, he would have been fine... however, his little mistakes or whatever you want to call them were enough to send him packing. Sad face for the funny foreign man.
Next week on Top Chef...
The final showdown! Stefan v. Hosea v. Carla! Honestly... and I never thought I'd say this... my money's on a dark horse Carla victory. She's only getting stronger and it appears that Stefan may have plateaued. But really either of those two is fine with me. If Hosea wins, I'm going to roll my eyes so hard all the cars on my street will flip over.


Blogger Big Daddy said...

I'm rooting for Carla too.

Just to see the expression on Stefan's face.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I love how everyone associates Emeril with New Orleans when he's from Massachusetts and studied at a culinary school in Rhode Island.

8:53 PM  
Blogger blythe said...

hootie hoo! the real winner of this season is jeff's hair.

11:56 PM  
Blogger TFKoP said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:13 AM  
Blogger TFKoP said...

Hey now! I'm still rooting for the crazy-eyed Love-infusing lady from DC. Look back in your Top Chef posts...I've been on Carla's Crazy Train from way back. And I hope she doesn't go off the rails in the finale.

Apparently on Top Chef, if your name incorporates one of the big prizes, you win it! Bad joke...CAR-la. Get it? She won a car? Her name is Carla?

If the grand prize was a hose, we know who would've won. Or, if it was a staph infection..well, that one is a stretch.

Go Carla! Feed me your love on a plate of yummy goofyness.

7:15 AM  

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