Top Chef Finale, Part Two: Paprika in Paradise!
So it's come to this. An entire season of Top Chef and we're left with two immature little shits.
Much has been made of the obvious sexual tension between the two finalists (Amuse-Biatch covered this aspect very well) but nothing prepared me for hearing how Ilan wanted to pee on Marcel! look, what they do in the privacy of their own Kenmore Pro Kitchen is their business, but I don't want to hear about it. Oh, alright, I want to hear about it a little bit.
Anyway, other than the uni sting (you'll just feel a little prick, Marcel) they appeared to be having a lovely, romantic getaway at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. They played in the tide pools, Marcel showed Ilan how to make foam, and Ilan showed Marcel that it wasn't a bottle of paprika in his pocket.
Some of the chefs were brought back but not all of them. I guess Bravo didn't want to pay to send them all to Hawaii. Mia requests working with Marcel, which is nice. Stupidly, he doesn't pick her. He picks Sam and Michael. Even though they don't get along, I guess I can understand picking Sam but I don't understand picking Michael. He has his moments but I wouldn't describe him as being terribly motivated or helpful.
Ilan picks Elia and Betty. Fair enough.
They are serving eight people at separate restaurants and they have four hours of prep time. The judges are Michelle Bernstein, who we know; Scott Conant, who I've never heard of; Wylie Dufresne, who apparently knows about the gastronomic whatever Marcel is always going on about; Roy Yamaguchi; Hubert Keller; and, of course, Gail, Padma, and Tom.
Ilan makes a surprise appetizer. It's eels from a jar on a piece of toast and it's not very good:
His next course is fish and apparently it's delicious and cooked perfectly. Third course is squab and shrimp. Betty is knocking the heads off all the shrimp:
Betty: "What do you expect? I only know how to make soup!"
Next is short ribs, which don't impress the judges at all. And for desert he serves little balls of fruit and sorbet with a bay leaf that has been dipped in batter and fried.
Ilan: "I built the entire meal around that bay leaf."
Marcel starts out well during the prep:
Michael: "Marcel really know what he's doing. He's really easy to work with and can tell me exactly what he wants me to do. We make a great team!"
But not so good when they take the food over to the restaurant kitchen and do the cooking:
Michael: "Marcel sucks!"
I'm not sure whose fault this is but it seems Marcel is surprisingly poorly organized and the team seams to have lost most of the food:
Marcel: "I think Sam just put the fish up on that high shelf because he knew I wouldn't be able to reach it!"
Anyway, he recovers. His first course is uni (hasn't he learned to stay away from those things) with a Meyer lemon gelee, or something like that. The judges love it. The next course is a salad:
Judges: "What the fuck? A salad? Is this a joke?"
Wow, calm down; it's just a salad.
Judges: "That's the point! It's just a fucking salad!"
Oh. I see what you mean. Well, it was supposed to have these super cool little sugar capsules full of vinaigrette dressing but it didn't work because of the humidity.
Tom: "Didn't I mention the humidity?"
Yes, you did, Mr. Smartypants. OK, so that course was a thumbs down. Next is something with hearts of palm. It was supposed to be fish but the three stooges forgot it in the main kitchen. Cue video footage of the fish sitting forlornly on a shelf; you can almost hear the fish saying, "I'm so lonely, here in this refrigerator all by myself. Why has everyone forgotten me?" Anyway, the judges love the dish and think it was perfect without the fish. They don't understand why Marcel told them something was missing. I know why. It's because he's an idiot.
Then he serves seared beef, which I guess is fine. For desert he serves blinis with Kona coffee caviar, which is pretty damn clever and the judges seem to really like it.
The judges compare the meals course by course:
Marcel wins the starter, Ilan wins the second course, the third course is a draw, Marcel wins the fourth course, and the desert seems to be even. By my count that means Marcel wins! Congratulations, Marcel!
Oh, wait, the judges aren't done deliberating. They bring out all the other chefs to bitch about Marcel.
Other Chefs: "We hate Marcel!"
OK, we get it!
Tom: "Elia, who do you think should win?"
Elia: "Ilan's food tonight was much better than Marcel's"
Tom: "Did you even taste Marcel's food?"
Elia: "I didn't need to."
Yeah, Elia's an idiot but why did Tom ask her that stupid question in the first place? Obviously she had no basis for an opinion. As a side note, I think Elia said in some insane interview she did last week that the producers were going to bring up Marcel's cheating in the finale. They didn't.
Oh, and remember back to earlier in this episode when Sam and Michael said they wanted Marcel to win because it would be a great reflection on their skill? Oh, I forgot to mention that? Well, they said something like that. Guess what? They changed their minds at the judges' table.
Ilan wins. Congratulations. Whatever. He wins $100,000 worth of Glad Wrap and a very reasonably-priced Kenmore Pro Kitchen.
Ilan: "Does anybody want to trade me a watch for my Kenmore Pro Kitchen? Yeah, baby; I'm gonna be a real Top Chef; not like that boring Harold. Man, there was a rush of blood through my body as soon as I heard the 'C' word!"
The "C" word!?
Ilan: "Yeah. 'Congratulations.' What did you think I meant?"