Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Top Chef - 2.25.09

Finale Time!

Hosea has a lot to prove, Carla is hoping to go steady to win it, and Stefan is cocky.

The final challenge is to cook a three course tasting menu, with or without dessert. They will be serving to a table of 12 guests.

And of course they have help.

Richard, Casey, and Marcel, from previous seasons.

Hosea drew knife #1 and chose Richard.

Stefan chose Marcel, which is funny, because Hosea said that Marcel reminded him of Stefan, and then Stefan admitted that Marcel is "kind of a twat, but who isn't?"

Carla happily chose Casey.

Hosea absconded with foie gras, and that made Stefan pissed. Hosea also snagged all the caviar.

Casey told Carla that she should sous vide the sirloin, and Carla has never used that before, but Casey taught her how.

After prep, they were treated to a voodoo tarot card reader, and Stefan wanted to know if he had a chance at romance with a girl named Jamie.

I guess "lesbian" reads "challenge" to him.

Next morning, they are told they have to make a fourth dish - a passed appetizer, with New Orleans traditional ingredients. They are choosing who gets what with a King Cake. Whoever gets the baby gets to choose who gets what - Alligator, Fish, and Crab.

Hosea got the baby, and chose Redfish, gave Carla crab, and Stefan was saddled with Alligator.

They returned for more cooking.

Hosea's menu (minus the appetizer) is:

Trio of sashimi
Scallops and Foie gras with pain perdu
Venison loin with wild mushrooms.

Stefan's menu (minus the appetizer) is:

Halibut & Salmon carpaccio
Squab with braised red cabbage & schupfnudeln
Ice Cream & chocolate mousse with vanilla syrup & lollipops

Carla's menu (minus the appetizer) is:

Seared snapper with saffron aioli & crouton
Sous-vide ny strip steak, potato rod with merlot sauce
Cheese tart with apple coins and marmelade

The special guests include Fabio, and Ti Martin, who's place it is.

Hosea's appetizer is blackened red fish on corn cake with creole remoulade and micro cilantro. It looked really delicious.

Stefan's (cockily prepared) appetizer is alligator soup with celeriac and parsley and puff pastry. It went over well.

Carla's appetizer is shiso soup with blue crab and salsa. It also seemed to go over well.

Rocco Dispirito, Hubert Keller, Branford Marselis, Fabio, Susan Spicer, John Besh, Tory McPhail, and Ti Martin join Gayle, Toby, Tom, and Padma, in the tasting.

The first courses are served. John Besh thought that Carla's dish was something special. Others agreed. Hosea's dish didn't pop "in the mouth" though it looked pretty, and Fabio thought it was underseasoned. Tom didn't like Stefan's technique of freezing his fish to slice it thin.

The second courses are served. Hosea obviously worked with Richard, with foam galore. Carla's meat is tough, so the sous-vide was not a good idea. Stefan's squab was very good and very him. Gayle adored Hosea's dish. Rocco said he was tired of foie gras. Poor guy. Let me get him a tissue. And then I'll steal his foie gras.

The third courses are served, and Casey's other idea about making a souffle instead of a tart for the cheese course also backfired, because the oven wasn't turned down, and the souffle curdled. Carla decided not to serve the souffle because it was not right. Carla chose to tell the judges about her failed souffle. Gayle said that she is disappointed to not see the souffle, but was glad to know it was supposed to be there, and she called Stefan's dessert dated. The judges seemed to like Hosea's dish.

Fabio grudgingly gave the edge to Hosea. Others disagreed with him, so we'll see. Carla is feeling low, saying that it was not the best meal of her life, and that's sad.

Judge's Table

Carla's appetizer and first course were good. The meat and potatoes dish got good marks for sauce, but that's about it. Casey's suggestions of sous-vide and souffle brought her down, and Tom said that she suffered because she let her sous chef talk her out of the food that got her to where she is, and that's not the best idea.

Hosea admitted that it was fun to stick it to Stefan a little. The judges said that they wanted more seasoning from the sashimi. They loved his second course, and the venison went well, too. Toby said that the meal had a beginning and two middles, because there was no dessert.

Stefan's first trip into cooking alligator was very good. Gayle called him on his carpaccio tasting watered down, and Tom called it bland. The squab was very strong.

Carla broke down in tears, saying her food is good when she makes it. She allowed Casey to steamroll her a bit, and it didn't go well. I wish we had seen her original menu.

There was much discussion about who the winner should be.

In the end, it is Hosea, and I am pleased. Pleased, pleased, pleased. I wanted Carla to win, but she blew it at the final moments. Stefan was so damned cocky, and such an ass, I just couldn't stand it if he won. Poor Carla.

Hootie Hoo to you, Carla.

And congratulations to Hosea.

I love Top Chef.

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