Always Be Covering: Still Just Top Chef

02.15.13 5 years ago 12 Comments

We’re just one week away from the finals, which probably isn’t the actual finale. After all, next week’s episode is titled Finale Part 1. But hey, who is to say they can’t squeeze three more weeks out of this season? Save a few more chefs. See what Kuniko is up to these days. But for now we focus on the last episode before the multi-part finale. When we last left these chefs they were sequestered in Alaska, and Josh’s wife was crazy pregnant…

And now she’s a full week overdue. If that baby were a library book he’d be on the hook for $2.45.

The cheftestants notice a note that was suspiciously placed on the table by the producer fairy. They all hop into their moderately priced Japanese sedan and head up a mountain where they find a… helicopter! Brooke is terrified. Apparently she is averse to all methods of transportation that are not manufactured by Toyota. It’s a fifteen minute ride, but the pilot has seven days worth of survival gear. She definitely said that to make Brooke cry, and it’s working. Thank god for Xanax.

The chopper lands amid a pack of sled dogs. Sheldon says he’d die for some good reefer. Hey, I’m right there with you, Sheldon. But that’s kind of a weird reaction to dogs. Hmm, maybe he’s on to something, because these dogs look high as fuck.

Between the Alaskan wilderness and the dogs I’m starting to wonder if this episode was written by Michael Chabon.

I guess they’re taking a dog sled to the Quickfire location. Unless it’s like last season’s gondola debacle and they’re cooking on the dog sled. Or maybe they get stranded and they have to prepare dog meat that pairs well with a bottle of Terlato wine they find along the way? I’m getting ahead of myself. But there will definitely be Terlato.

So yeah, the dogs are taking the chefs the rest of the way to Padma and Tom. They go from one flat area to another flat area. I’m pretty sure the helicopter could have taken them the whole way. Maybe they thought Brooke would be afraid of dogs too. Or maybe they just wanted to make my dogs bark like maniacs for 90 seconds.

Quickfire: Oh, I get it now. They’re at an Iditarod training camp. Their challenge is to make a dish for using whatever they can find on site. They don’t have any electrical appliances, but they do have shallots that are about two weeks fresher than anything I could find at my local grocery store over the weekend. Seems legit.

Brooke and Sheldon are both making halibut. Josh is making breakfast because nobody told him he couldn’t make breakfast, just like nobody told Sheldon he couldn’t finish his halibut with cannabutter.

Josh wanted to fry his eggs, but he doesn’t have time so he’s going to scramble them instead. Weird because scrambled eggs cook much slower than fried eggs.

Padma sees breakfast and is able to guess who made it. Tom sees the scrambled eggs and asks, “Really?” I love it when Tom is a dick.

Brooke gets the win. She gets to keep all of the super cool Ray-Ban glasses everyone is suddenly wearing, except for Tom’s specially made steampunk frames.

After all that they’re taking the chopper back to the Toyota (aka Padma’s chariot). They get back to the house where the table is all set and guest judge Roy Choi is in the kitchen with Emeril. They’re going to make lunch based on the dishes that inspired them to become chefs (foreshadowing). Choi, a major trend-setter in LA’s gourmet food truck (stop making that wanking motion, it’s a real thing) scene shows Emeril how he cleans his rice with his ancestors (also water).

Over lunch Roy tells the story about how he came to be a chef late in life. He was a bad bad dude. You wouldn’t want to meet him on the street. And now I regret joking about his ancestor rice…

Roy turned things around when he saw Emeril (coincidence) cooking short ribs on TV and Emeril jumped out and slapped him in the face. Then Emeril tells the story about how he started cooking at some bakery, but nobody is paying attention because it doesn’t involve a poltergeist. All of these stories are supposed to impart on the chefs how they need to tap into their early culinary roots while preparing dinner for the King and Queen of Alaska.

The chefs thank Roy for the delicious lunch. He says they can do the dishes. They laugh knowing that some piece of shit intern is going to have to do it while they go sit around a table smoking cigarettes because they are serious chefs, damn it.

Josh’s phone is buzzing. It’s his wife and there is a person coming out of her. I don’t know how, but he’s keeping it together.

Elimination Challenge: Josh knew he wanted to be a chef when he read about and/or tasted foie gras, so he is making a foie gras torchon in a day. That would probably be some kind of record.

Sheldon was inspired by a cooking show hosted by Hawaiian legend Sam Choi. He’s making snapper (rockfish), and its head is making my wife squeal. And yet she makes fun of Denard Span.

Brooke has wanted to be a cook since she was four, so she’s going way back to her childhood. If she can put together a whole dish in an EZ Bake Oven she should win.

Josh’s “a-ha” moment came during his high school wrestling career back in Oklahoma. Oh hey, Josh? What was your high scool’s mascot? Asking for a friend. He couldn’t eat his mom’s cooking anymore because he had to make weight. So he was reading Food & Wine magazine while riding an exercise bike in a sauna and it all came together. It’s a story as old as cooking itself.

Josh’s wife calls him crying. She wants him to be there. DAGGER. Josh stays composed, and doesn’t really say much. He is made of iron.

Cut to the next morning and they’re video chatting. It’s a girl! Her name is Georgia. Hooray for Josh (also Josh’s wife).

They’re at the Governor’s mansion/castle to finish off their dishes. Sheldon is worrying about cooking his fish too early. Tom warned him about this, so he’s waiting and waiting and waiting. There’s no way this doesn’t end with him waiting too long. Tom’s mental sabotage game remains strong.

Uh-oh, Sheldon waited too long and his broth is over-reduced. The judges notice. Even the first lady/queen notices.

Brooke is up next. She had trouble conceptualizing (cheftestant word) this dish. She was inspired by her mom’s homey chicken dish, so she went with that along with a quail to represent her growth as a fancy chef. Everybody shuts up and eats. Good sign. The quail breast is overcooked, but quail breasts are ALWAYS overcooked. They are the size of Josh’s daughter’s fist.

Josh’s torchon isn’t solidifying in time, so he tosses it in the freezer. He also has a seared foie gras and a foie gras profiterole with a mouse. The torchon wasn’t set, because making that in one day isn’t possible. It was a bit ambitious, but what the hell. At least he didn’t make bacon.

Judgement: That torchon was veiny and lacking the proper texture. I bet Kristen would say the same thing about Stefan. Sheldon’s fish was perfect, but his broth was salty as hell. The judges all have a good laugh about that, and Sheldon looks like he wants to kill himself. The hidden complexity of Brooke’s dish impressed them. She is the clear winner once again. God she’s pretty.

Now they debate who goes home. Sheldon made a pretty basic mistake, and Josh tried to do something that can’t be done.

Josh is going home to his baby girl. It’s pretty sad that he missed the birth of his daughter and lost, but it was the right call. I wasn’t wild about Josh when the season started, but he’s a cool guy and I would very much like to eat his bacon (definitely a euphemism).

Sheldon and Brooke will face off in the finale in LA against the winner of Last Chance Kitchen/Save a Chef/America’s Next Top Plater.

Last Chance Kitchen: Whoa, Josh lost a lot of weight after seeing himself on television. He must have gone through a lot of magazines in the exercise sauna. Also, he’s wearing a chef coat from a new restaurant.

The winner of Save a Chef is…Lizzie. Of course we already knew that was coming because the bug on the top left of the screen says Josh vs. Lizzie vs. Kristen. So we just wasted four minutes to find out that CJ isn’t getting a shot at the finale. Nice work Bravo web gurus. Oh well. Everyone is told to make Tom a great plate of food.

They all head for the walk-in. Skinny Josh grabs venison and a shitload of coriander seeds. Lizzie has a nice piece of black cod that she’ll cook with vinegar and black pepper. Kristen is making orecchiette because she knows I love pasta. She’s so thoughtful.

I can’t tell if Josh’s beard is bigger of if it’s just looks that way because the rest of him shrunk. Either way, his venison looks a bit blue. Tom agrees, and Josh loses again. The next time we see him he will be a nothing but facial hair.

Kristen has to win because I said so. Come on come on come on. And…THEY AREN’T GOING TO TELL US. Ugh, I should have remembered. We won’t know who won until she shows up at the finale next week. Don’t worry, it’s going to be Kristen.

Top Chef Top Four

4. Lizzie- I have a tough time believing that there’s any chance Lizzie won LCK. She’s a good chef and everyone loves her, but I can’t think of a single dish she of hers that made me think she had any chance of winning the competition.

3. Sheldon- I make fun of this show a lot, but it’s been a pretty solid bounce back season in terms of the talent on display. Sheldon being ranked third is a testament to that.

2. Kristen- The show needs her. The recaps need her. I need her.

1. Brooke- She has earned the top spot. She wins.

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