Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Top Chef New York Finale Part Two: The Finale!

Padma: "Welcome to the finale of Top Chef New York in New Orleans, which will be taking place in New Mexico with a little excursion to New Delhi! This show has so much newness it just couldn't be contained in one new city! This season the chefs faced relentless competition, a small troll named Toby, and, of course, the polar bears."

To demonstrate the level of excitement this season, we are shown a montage sequence featuring scenes of young chefs falling in love, sheep, and possibly young chefs falling in love with sheep, although the images go by too quickly to be sure.

Last time Fabio was out and we are left with the three finalists:

Stefan, who really messed up a couple of times but was out in front through most of the season.

Carla, who really impressed us for the past few weeks.

And Hosea, who, let's be honest, is just there by default. He was consistently not quite the worst through the entire competition.

Now it is the time in the recap for the chefs to say something stupid:

Carla: "If I can keep winning, I think I can win!"

Hosea: "The finale is a really important challenge."

Stefan: "I'm too sexy for this shirt."


Padma: "For the quickfire, two chefs will be eliminated, leaving one chef to go on to the elimination challenge. Just kidding; there's no quickfire challenge."

For the final challenge the chefs have to create a three-course tasting menu.

Stefan: "Bleepity bleep bleep Fabio bleeping pleepers Jamie bleep bleep bleeping sheep."

Seriously, I have no idea what Stefan said during this entire episode because there was so much bleeping. I guess I'll have to watch the uncensored version of Top Chef After Dark on Showtime.*

*(Showtime has yet to get back to me about this programming idea.)

Padma: "You will be cooking at Commander's Palace, one of the most famous restaurants in the world that nobody has ever heard of! And you will have help making your travel arrangements: it's the Travelocity Roaming Gnome! Oh, wait, that's just Toby. Never mind."

The chefs do get help in the kitchen. They will have three seasons of runners up: Marcel, Casey, and Richard! Fun! Well, that's certainly less random than the "all-stars" that we had earlier in the season.

They draw knives to pick their sous chefs: Hosea picks Richard, Stefan picks Marcel, and Carla has her dreams shattered, er, I mean, she gets Casey.

They start cooking.

Stefan gets upset because Hosea is using all the foie gras.

Stefan gets upset because Richard is using all the caviar.

Stefan gets upset because Carla is using all the love.

The chefs are visited by a fortune teller:

Fortune Teller: "Carla, I see people judging you. Does that mean anything to you?"

Carla: "Yes! That would be the judges!"

Fortune Teller: "OK, well, I see that they really like what you do."

Carla: "That's right! I should keep making food the way I want to do it!"

Fortune Teller: "Oh, wait, I see a dark presence in your life. A woman who is supposed to be helping you is going to suggest you do things differently and this will be bad."

Carla: "How mysterious! I wonder what it could mean!"

The next day there is an announcement:

Tim Gunn: "Gather 'round, chefs! You will need to make a thirteenth dish using only some left-over chiffon and an alligator."

Stefan: "Whatever."

Tim Gunn: "I don't care for your attitude, missy."

Hosea's first dish was a trio of sashimi. His second dish was scallops and foie gras. And his third dish was venison with wild mushrooms. Richard's contribution was to dip everything in formaldehyde and carbonate the blackberries.

Stefan's first dish was halibut and salmon carpaccio. His second dish was squab with braised red cabbage and Fahrvergn├╝gen. And his third dish was ice cream and chocolate mousse with vanilla syrup and lollipops. Marcel's contribution was the foam.

Carla's first dish was seared snapper with saffron aioli and crouton. Her second dish was new york strip steak and potato with Merlot sauce. And her third dish was a cheese tart with apple coins and marmalade. Casey's contribution was to completely fuck everything up:

Carla: ". . . so that's my menu."

Casey: "Uh huh, uh huh. That sounds great. I have an idea: let's take your ingredients and cook them in a completely different way than you were planning. Trust me, you can't go wrong with sous-vide steak. Who doesn't love meat boiled in a plastic bag?"

Carla: "Hmm. It seems like someone was trying to warn me about this. But I don't want to be rude, so OK."

Padma: "I'd like to introduce you to a bunch of famous chefs and, for some reason, Branford Marsalis!"

For the appetizer, Stefan made alligator soup, Hosea made a fish pancake, and Carla made some crab thingy. The judges liked all three.

The judges loved Carla's first dish but her other two dishes were disasters, thanks to Casey, otherwise known as the "Black Hammer."

Antonia: "No, I'm the Black Hammer!"

They loved Hosea's scallop dish and his third dish was good but his sashimi dish was boring and he didn't make dessert. Toby wanted dessert but Tom is adamant that they didn't have to make dessert so that shouldn't be a factor in the judging.

Stefan's carpaccio dish wasn't very good but they loved his second dish and some of the judges appreciated that he made dessert, although they didn't think the dessert was very inspired.

Wow, there really isn't an obvious winner. It could be either Hosea or Stefan. Obviously, the only way to pick a winner is to ask the chefs why they should be Top Chef:

Hosea: "I should be Top Chef because I'm not the worst."

Stefan: "I should be Top Chef because I'm so adorable."

Carla: "I shouldn't be Top Chef. Come on; you were all thinking it."

Hosea wins! I'm completely shocked and not entirely convinced by this result. Congratulations, Hosea! I guess.

Toby: "Well, I just have to say that I appreciated that Stefan made dessert."

Tom: "I have some dessert for you, Toby. How would you like a knuckle sandwich?"


Cliff O'Neill said...

Congrats with being able to turn that mess of a finale into an entry!

And I thought I tasted some Fahrvergn├╝gen in there!

Anonymous said...

I'm almost always disappointed with the show results (so far, the only winner I've totally agreed with was Stephanie). Fabio was my guy up until he got kicked off, although I never disliked Carla - especially after she said - "It’s what I believe TOM!!!!"

But it’s not a popularity contest, and I *suppose* I'd agree that Ho Hum Hosea had the better progression vs Stefan.

Tak for all the recaps - without them to go to after a show, I'm just a pent up ball of WTFs???.


Anonymous said...

Excellent! I love the Casey with the fortune teller part and the Carla's using all the love the best.

Tom said...

That was 1000 times more interesting and entertaining than the finale. Bravo, Eric!

eric3000 said...

Thanks for your comments! And thanks for reading; this season was not that great but there were a few fun bits.

mumblesalot (Laura A) said...

Yes thanks Eric! You make it all bearable.

Anonymous said...

I only recently discovered your Top Chef blog, and wish I had sooner! You are hilarious! I especially loved the Tim Gunn/Stefan exchange, since Project Runway and Top Chef are two of my favorite shows! "I don't care for your attitude, missy." LOL! You're in my Bookmarks now!

eric3000 said...


Vic said...

You summed that finale up hilariously as usual, but sad to say it wasn't fun or hilarious. Our watercooler crowd agreed that these dishes were the worst in TC finale history, and that they barely seemed special or out of the ordinary. Honestly, if TC had started out this way, there would have been no Season 2. Poor Karla should have stuck to her original plans. That Casey even suggested changing her dishes was out of line; but ultimately Karla messed up her own game. Had Stefan not made his chocolate lollipops, he would have won, but the voting seemed rather close nevertheless. The diners at Commander's Palace were not as turned off by Stefan's dessert as the judges were, and Toby hinted that the judging at the table was closer than shown. If that was the case, the win should have gone to Stefan. I am so over Top Chef. From the lack of comments about this season, I think other fans are too.

Thanks for being the one bright note this season and maintaining your sense of humor. Vic