Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Top Chef - 2.18.09

It's down to the wire - Finale, Part 1!

Fabio's rocking a faux-hawk, and I'm not sure about that look. Carla's look is really great - she had her hair straightened, and it makes her look less crazy. Stefan is cocky as ever. Hosea is also much unchanged.

And they are in New Orleans - with Emeril.

(I kind of hate Emeril. No real reason except a visceral one. And, he released pans that we tried to sell at the store I work for, and he never used them on his show. Ever. So, we couldn't sell the pans. They finally ended up going on clearance. At least we didn't have to listen to people saying "Hey, look - Emerilware! BAM!" 40 times a day after they were gone... At least Rachel Ray uses the wares she peddles.... but I digress.)

Quickfire Challenge

They don't have to compete in their quickfire challenge? Who will? Jamie, Jeff, and Leah.

What the heck???

They have a chance to get back into the competition (in honor of New Orleans' rebirth)????

The winner will join the finalists in the elimination challenge, and will have a chance to get into the finale.

They have an hour to create a dish with crawfish (yum). Emeril will be judging.

I thought it was amusing to see some live crawfish crawling across the table.

Leah made Crawfish Soup with Andouille Sausage. The judges seemed to like it.

Jeff made Crawfish and grits with andouille and beer. Total poker faces.

Jamie made Corn Cake, greens, poached egg with tasso, adouille and crawfish cream sauce. Sounds delicious.

The winner of the Quickfire (the most important Quickfire of the Season!) is Jeff. I would have prefered to see Jamie win. The twist is, in order to make it to the finale, Jeff has to WIN the Elimination Challenge.

All Five will go to Emeril's restaurant for dinner, and Jeff got a (product placement!) copy of Emeril's new book.

Elimination Challenge

The Cheftestants will be catering an annual masquerade ball for ~100 people. They have to create 2 dishes and 1 cocktail, and 1 dish has to be creole-style - influenced by French, Spanish, and African-American. They have 5 hours to prep and cook (in Emeril's restaurant kitchen), and then have 1 hour to get ready at the event.

The winner will get ....

(in my best Price Is Right Voice)

A New Car - a Toyota Venza, to be exact.

In our short during the commercial break, we learn that Fabio always dresses as a woman for Halloween. Like Wonder Woman. I'd like to see that.

The kitchen is totally stocked. Turtle meat. Veal. Very cool.

Hosea's menu is:
Duck, Andouille & chicken gumbo
Pecan Crusted Catfish
Pomegranite and Blood Orange Hurricane with Grand Marnier & Rum (yes please, I'll take one now)

Carla's Menu is:
Oyster Stew (she's hoping Emeril has shucked Oysters hanging around, that did not happen. She is not comfortable with shucking oysters and has to do 100)
Shrimp and Andouille Beignet
Non-alcoholic cranberry spritzer (not sure how that will go over - they asked for a cocktail)

Stefan's Menu is:
Duck and Rabbit Gumbo with Creamy Grits
Apple Beignet
Black Cherry and Rum cocktail

Jeff's (predictably complicated) Menu is:
Fried Oyster with freshmade sausage
Crawfish Pot de creme
Cucumber Mojito (I'd try that)

Fabio's Menu (with more dishes than required) is:
Sausage and Rabbit Maque Choux with grits
Crawfish and Crab Stew with Caserecci Pasta
Muffaletta Bread
Bell Pepper Martini - he called it a Trinitini (hmmmm... not sure about that one)

Stefan felt confident enough to take a smoke and use pre-made sausage, which Jeff scoffed at.

Tom came into the kitchen to check in. Tom wasn't sure about Fabio's Italian influence, and Carla's oyster shucking was worrisome (he brought up that she should have steamed them), thought Stefan was calm to the point of cocky, and he appreciated Hosea's black roux, which is essential for good authentic gumbo.

Each Cheftestant got a Bartender to help them out.

Gayle is back! The judges are all decked out in Masquerade finery.

Hosea forgot some cream and needs a whisk. Carla gave him some cream, but noted that no one helped her shuck any oysters. Stefan went to help out.

Fabio thought the party-goers reminded him of an "old porno movie with the masks." Oh, Fabio.

The judges tried out Jeff's offerings first. His cucumber mojito was really neat.

Next was Stefan and his ego. His roux was not dark enough, but his grits were appreciated.

Fabio and his charm were up next. His pasta was appreciated, but it wasn't spicy enough.

Carla's non-alcoholic cocktail kicked off her loving dishes. Her dishes were appreciated.

Hosea's offerings were spicy, and they liked his gumbo.

Stefan thought that Hosea's gumbo sucked, and said that you can make different kinds of gumbo with different kinds of roux. Keep telling yourself that.

Judge's Table

Jeff's cocktail was the favorite cocktail of the night. They really seemed to like his dishes and he got a dig in at Stefan for not making his own sausage.

Fabio's Italian influence was appreciated, but they wanted it to be spicier. They liked the way his cocktail smelled, but didn't really like the way it tasted. Fabio said that he just likes things sweet.

Stefan's gumbo over grits was different - though the grits were good. The roux was not dark enough, and Gayle didn't think the flavor was deep enough. He said he is not cocky, he is just beyond stressing. Surrrrre.

Carla tried to say that she thought her Oyster Stew was heavy on Bay, but the judges told her that it was not at all. They loved it. Her non-alcoholic cocktail was refreshing and fine, and they loved the flavor and the freshness of the beignet.

Hosea apologized for his drinks being a bit watered down because it was late in the evening. The judges really appreciated his gumbo. Tom was worried about the fish dish, but it ended up being wonderful.

The Europeans are in the bottom this week!

The winner for the night is Carla - so Jeff is going home - and Carla gets....

A New Car!!!

(Yes, I watched too much Price Is Right growing up. Attempted to watch the Drew Carey hosted version this week - he's really painfully bad)

The loser is, sadly, Fabio. I was hoping for the overly cocky Stefan to get the boot. Maybe his near-loss will check his attitude a bit.

I think it was the Faux-hawk that did poor Fabio in.

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