Top Chef: Miami: Not in Miami: Special double finale recap!
OK, so I missed last week but it was really just the first half of the finale so I'm just going to pretend that I planned to wait and recap it all at once. You'll never know the difference.
Oh, wait, pretend I didn't just write that.
So last week they did the whole Brokeback Mountain thing:
Tom: "Howie, I wish I could quit you."
Oh, stop that. No, there was none of that going on. Just the cowboy part and cooking by a mountain stream. It was pretty much a disaster but judge Eric Ripert was impressed by some sauce Hung made:
Ripert: "You maded it yourself?"
Aw, he's so adorably French. Somehow Casie wins the quickfire and gets the chance to use her special ingredients in the elimination challenge, which she decides not to do because her Asian ingredients don't go with the cowboy challenge.
So, for the elimination challenge they have to cook for lots of hungry cowboys and cowgirls who are pretending to come in from a hard day's work. Oh, yeah, and they have to cook elk, or something weird like that:
Casie: "Well, I'm from Texas so ..."
Say no more. We understand.
I forget exactly what happened next. I think Hung's flavors were off because he wasn't cooking for cowboys and Brian had too many ingredients:
Ripert: "And he made us choose our own cheese! That's his job as chef!"
Padma: "Yeah, I don't have time to be choosing my own cheese! Just cheese me, already!"
Actually, I would love to be given the option of stinky cheese or no stinky cheese but, since I think both those cheeses were pretty stinky, I don't see why he didn't just go with one of them. Brian is out.
I think Dale and Casie did well, though Casie's elk was really rare:
Ripert: "No, that was raw. That was elk sashimi."
Dale wins the opportunity to cook with Eric Ripert, I think for some charity event. Congratulations, Dale! It's about time.
Now, on to the live Top Chef finale!
For the finale, the chefs are taken to the top of Mount Everest, where water doesn't boil, souffles don't rise, and Casie's head explodes:
OK, not really. The producers of Top Chef did something even more spectacular: They secretly moved the entire city of Aspen into the Bravo studios in Chicago just so they could do a live broadcast!
Me: "Why didn't you just film the live broadcast in Aspen?"
Padma: "We didn't think of that."
So the "live" broadcast is really just the taped final challenge and Padma standing in front of a studio audience telling us over and over again that it's a live broadcast. How exciting.
For the final challenge the chefs are cooking at some fancy schmancy club in Aspen:
Padma: "This is a very exclusive club. I could get in but none of you could. To become a member you have to pay $100,000 a year and allow Dick Cheney to shoot you in the face during a quail hunt."
Chefs: "Sounds worth it."
Padma: "Oh, it is."
For the first day of prep work, the chefs get three of our fabulous guest judges to work as their sous chefs. I forget their names but trust me, they are big deals. The next day they get new sous chefs (CJ, Sara, and Howie) and they have to add a fourth course to the meal, with only an hour to go:
Other Eric: "Ooh, it's just like Project Runway, when they have to make an extra outfit at the last minute and they get an eliminated contestant to help make it."
Casie and Dale make another protein dish, while Hung goes for it and makes a dessert for the fourth course. Good for him. As I've said before, I want my damn dessert!
Two courses go to Hung and two courses go to Dale:
Tom: "It's a tough decision but one thing is certain: Casie is not the winner."
Casie: "I can hear you, you know. I'm standing right here."
It really was hard because Casie made a lot of mistakes but none of her dishes were complete disasters, while Dale had a couple of stand-out dishes but he also made one that Tom thought was inedible. Hung had three strong courses but the judges weren't wowed by his dessert. Apparently his chocolate cake was very good but not exciting. More of a problem, in my opinion was that it didn't go with his Vietnamese menu. But it was good so I think he should have gotten credit for making dessert. I think four protein dishes in a row is a bit much.
So who won?
Padma: "We're here in front of a live studio audience. I don't know why. If you don't live on the East Coast you aren't watching live, anyway. And most of you are just recording it and watching it tomorrow, you ungrateful losers. Why do I even bother?"
Tom: "Thank you for that gracious introduction Padma. This was a really tough decision. All three of you did such a good job."
Casie: "Everyone already knows I lost, Tom."
Tom: "Oh, yeah. Well, it was a really tough decision between Dale and Hung."
Padma: "Congratulations ..."
[Padma stares blankly at the camera for several minutes]
Padma: "... Hung!"
He deserved it. He was really strong during the entire competition and he didn't screw up any of his courses during the finale. It's nice to see this not be a popularity contest, for a change.
Thanks for reading! This was a pretty good season. Coming soon: Project Runway!