Posted by: Lauren on Apr 5, 2011
Last week, the final 3 battled it out, and Antonia came up short. So sad. This week, we have Richard (who is clearly a culinary genius, but sometimes gets in his own way by overthinking things and doubting himself) vs. Mike (who is clearly an a-hole, and hasn’t done much of anything exciting all season, food-wise). Can you tell who I want to win? The chefs get just one final challenge: create the restaurant of their dreams.
Elimination Challenge: Create your dream restaurant featuring a four-course menu.
All of the chefs from this season are in the kitchen, and Padma unceremoniously gives them a challenge of creating an amuse-bouche for the final two to help them pick their teams. Some of the people (Jen C. (although maybe that is just what her face looks like), Jaimie, and Marcel (I assume, behind his stupid sunglasses that he is wearing inside)) look less than thrilled to be there under these circumstances. The two finalists have to blind taste their dishes and select their sous-chefs based on that. This is a genius move on the producers’ part…no one is going to pick Marcel, but they might pick his food.
Richard picks Spike’s dish, and neither of them are thrilled (Spike had just snarked that he had jet ski reservations later that day). Mike picks Tiffani, and they both seem fine with it. Next, Richard pick’s Angelo’s dish, which does seem like a boon. Hahahhaa…Mike picks Jamie’s dish next. Hilarious. Mike said before this challenge that he wouldn’t want Jamie because she has a bad attitude and she is slow. Richard’s last pick is Antonia’s dish and he is (rightly) concerned that she might be emotionally spent from this and not able to give it her all. Mike’s last pick is Carla’s dish. That is a win, for sure.
They start menu-planning and team-managing, and where Richard decides to play to his sous chefs’ strengths, Mike decides to not listen to anyone and just tell them what to cook.
Richard – Tongue & Cheek
Richard’s restaurant is up first, and it has a gross name. Maybe fancy chefs like to eat tongue, but most of us do not.
He does an amuse bouche of raw oyster with crème freche pearls and salsa verde. The judges love it. His first course is raw hamachi with fried veal sweetbreads, garlic mayonnaise and pickled cherry. Apparently the judges licked their plates clean. Richard’s second course is pork belly, black cod cutlet, bone marrow, beets, burssels sprouts and kumquat. His third course is beef short rib with mushrooms, red cabbage, marmalade and celery root horseradish puree. Phew. That is a lot of shit on one dish. It is bringing back memories of Marcel. The judges really like it, although they do comment that it is fairly simple. Richards “dessert” is cornbread with foie gras ice cream and whipped mango. Barf. The judges don’t love it, so Richard sets out to tweak it before the second group of judges shows up.
Mike- Restaurant Iz
Mike seems a bit manic when he is introducing his food. His first course is spiced beets with mozzarella truffle and chocolate vinaigrette. The judges say it is a good start. His second course is halibut with kumquat marmalade, cauliflower puree and pancetta crumbs. The judges really appreciate how well-cooked the fish is. Mike’s 3rd course is braised pork shoulder with pepperoni sauce, roasted cabbage and turnips. His dessert is rosemary caramel custard and pine nuts with citrus, celery and apple. There are some negative comments about this dish. There is apparently a problem with the way it was cooked and the texture isn’t great.
The judges praise almost everything each of the chefs did, except for their desserts. They kind of divvy up the courses and it comes down to basically a 2-2 tie (first and second courses go to Richard, third and fourth go to Mike). We don’t get to see much more of their debate, which is too bad.
Our Top Chef, All-stars season is……………………..
I sure think he earned it. Thank goodness Mike didn’t take it. He is obviously very emotional, and Mike is obviously disappointed.
- Noise(s) of the week. I thought Mike had it with his pepperoni sauce (seriously, ew). But then Richard came up with a dessert so appalling sounding, that I really did feel ill. “Cornbread with foie gras ice cream and whipped mango”. 2/3 of that dish is disgusting. I love cornbread, and it doesn’t deserve to be treated like that.
- The judges split into two groups with some guest eaters (other culinary folk), and I feel like Padma drew the short straw in terms of dining companions. Her group seemed a bit dullsville.
- Turns out the producers’ attempts at manufacturing drama for the finale didn’t really pan out. All of the sous chefs did great work for their team and the food was top-notch. I guess this is as it should be for the finale of the all-star season, but still…drama is fun.
- I am so glad Richard won, but I would have liked to see Antonia or Carla in the final two with him. Carla, especially, was on a serious roll for a while there. She just lost her focus, I guess.
- That does it for the all star season of Top Chef! It was an entertaining season, overall and I had fun learning about weird and/or disgusting foods. Thanks for reading!
- You can catch more of my recaps here at www.culturemagazine.ca. I am currently recapping RuPaul’s Drag Race and Dancing with the Stars, so there is a lot of fabulous, glittery stuff to be found.