Top Chef: Chicago, finale, part two: still in Puerto Rico!
OK, so Eric and I just got back from New York (see my previous post for a report on my trip) but our hotel did actually have Bravo so we got to see the finale on Wednesday. Also, speaking of Puerto Rico (yes, we were; just look at the title), we got into the city last Sunday during the Puerto Rico Day parade, which made it really hard to get to our hotel. Our friend Lisa, who was in the car with us, kept saying, "Ooh! I love the Gay Puerto Rico Day parade!" and we kept having to tell her it was just the Puerto Rico Day parade:
Lisa: "Are you sure? Well, I happen to love the gay Puerto Ricans!"
Anyway, back to Puerto Rico and the remaining chefs: Richard, Lisa, and Stephanie. Stephanie tells us she is hoping to be the first female top chef, Richard says he doesn't want to be a total loser because of the baby, and Lisa tells everyone to suck it.
We meet up with Padma and Tom, who introduce the culinary god Eric Ripert and two other people I've never heard of. They are going to be the sous chefs, which is really demeaning and I can't figure out why they would subject themselves to this but they seem to handle it well.
The three guest chefs each have different proteins to work with so the contestant chefs will get both the guest chef as a sous chef and have to design a menu around those particular proteins. Got that? They will have to make a four course meal with fish, poultry, meat, and dessert.
Stephanie picks first and she chooses chef Ripert. Good choice. Who can resist that adorable French accent?
Richard is doing the molecular gastronomy thing. His special request for cooking equipment is a small nuclear reactor and he's using it to change the molecular structure of Tabasco sauce:
Eric Ripert: "I've never seen that technique used outside of North Korea."
On day two, Tom comes into the kitchen and tells the chefs that their sous chefs all called in sick. I bet they went to the beach. Lazy bastards.
Lisa's menu is grilled prawns, tom kha gai soup (Gesundheit!) and dumplings, Wagyu beef (which I guess is like Kobe beef), and black Thai rice pudding.
Richard's menu is scallops, guinea hen with froie gras and eggs, pork belly, and the ever popular banana scallops with bacon ice cream.
Stephanie's menu is red snapper, quail with lobster ravioli and quail egg, lamb medallions, and ricotta pound cake.
Tom visits the chefs. Richard has nothing to say other than the fact that his menu is abstract:
Tom: "Abstract like Picasso or completely nonrepresentational like Jackson Pollock?"
Richard: "Liquid nitrogen banana scallops Toyota Glad wrap."
Tom: "I'll let you get back to work."
Stephanie is making the best pound cake she's ever tasted, which doesn't seem to impress Tom.
Lisa is very relaxed. What do you want to bet there's some burning rice somewhere in the kitchen?
Richard is making liquid nitrogen ice cream. Doesn't that sound delicious? Stephanie is inspecting her pound cake with a magnifying glass. She's hoping that it's so boring the judges won't even notice it.
OK, I understood why they were at the governor's mansion last time because the first lady of Puerto Rico was actually at the garden party. But why are they still at the governor's mansion this week? Did NBC buy Puerto Rico?
Anyway, at the dinner in the governor's mansion are the three sous chefs (Eric Ripert and those two other people), some other chef from Puerto Rico, Mr. Zagat (no shit!), Tom, Padma, and both Gail and Ted (I didn't know they could both be in the same room at the same time!)
Stephanie wins the first course with her soup, though the judges liked Richard's scallop, too.
Lisa wins the second course with her soup. The judges also liked Stephanie's but they were really upset by the leeks. Who can blame them? Leeks can be very annoying.
Stephanie wins the third course with her lamb. The judges were not impressed with either Richard's or Lisa's dishes.
Lisa wins the dessert course with her rice pudding (she finally proved she can make rice!), though the judges also like Richard's bacon ice cream. Personally I'm sick to death of his banana scallops. It's just a banana slice! Get over it!
OK, so it looks to me like Lisa won two courses and Stephanie won two courses. Richard is clearly out of the running but I really think it could be either Lisa or Stephanie. Oh, my God; how upset would America be if Lisa won? There would be rioting in the streets! I'm secretly hoping she wins! OK, it's not a secret any more.
Padma: "Do you have any last words before you are executed?"
Stephanie: "The problem with my dessert was that I second-guessed myself. And it just wasn't very good. But I've learned from it and I would make a good top chef."
Lisa: "Suck it!"
Richard: "I don't think that was the best meal I've ever made."
Gail: "Well, I've never! I am so shocked by what Richard just said! Ooh . . . give me a minute . . . wow, that knocked the wind right out of me. How could he say that? I can't get over it!"
Padma: "Jeez, Gail; would you pull your shit together?"
The judges deliberate all night and finally decide to avoid World War III by making Stephanie the first female top chef! Congratulations, Stephanie!
Thanks for reading, everyone! Come back for Shear Genius and Project Runway recaps!