Top Chef Finale Part 1 of 2

02.22.13 5 years ago 16 Comments

This is not a good dessert reaction face, guys.

Pregame: It’s all down to Sheldon and Brooke, plus one more person. Sheldon is celebrating with his ukulele and some weed (in about five seconds). I mean, nobody really plays that instrument without weed, so it’s bound to make an appearance.

And hey, we’re suddenly jumping ahead six months. You’ll have to buy the DVD to get the deleted scene showing Sheldon and Brooke blowing each other shotguns. :(

Sheldon has been guest-cheffing at a super high end restaurant in Honalulu, but now he’s back at Star Noodle at least until all of the funding for his hot new mainland restaurant rolls in.

And now we’re in LA with Brooke. She’s busy with her cute kid and also bogged down with the hassles of running two restaurants. She kicks back by having dinner with her husband who is definitely not as good looking as I am (hi, Brooke!). They are then joined by Roy Choi, who is either the chef at this restaurant, or who is grossly underdressed in a snock, as well as Sang Yoon. He’s the owner of Father’s Office, and apparently Brooke worked for him. Holy shit, that means if Brooke and I left our respective spouses she could make me the Father’s Office burger whenever I want it!

Now both chefs are together in LA for the finale as they roll up to Tom Colicchio’s Craft in a car of some sort.

And now they’re doing a season long recap of Last Chance Kitchen. Fast forward fast forward fast forward, and hey, it’s over. Kristen won! She and Brooke are probably the two favorites, with Sheldon a very close third.

Elimination Challenge: The chefs will be running the kitchen at Craft. Tom will be expediting to make sure he gets on camera and they don’t fuck up his kitchen. Each chef will be responsible for three courses including a dessert, which is a bullshit course.

Tom explains that his customers are really demanding and expect a lot. DO NOT FUCK UP THIS MAN’S YELP RATING.

Kristen eyes some tuna for her entree. Sheldon sees some spot prawns and calls dibs. His entree will be roasted quail. Brooke notices he’s straying from his comfort zone. Also, she has no idea what she’s going to cook. Sheldon notices some chicken breasts and suggests she give fried chicken another go. FACE.

Sheldon commences to ripping the heads off of his live prawns while counting off their deaths one at a time. Total power move.

Hugh Acheson tells Brooke that her best dishes have come out of left field. Then he adjusts his testicles and spits brown stuff on the floor. That guys really loves his baseball.

Man, Emeril really does come off as an awesome guy on this show. He just said “mahalo” to Sheldon and it was so heartfelt that I bet nobody even fantasized about punching him in the face. This Grantland article captures his emergence as a judge really well.

Brooke keeps burning her pistachios. She is on full tilt. Totally in the weeds and they’re still doing prep. But we do learn that she finally decided to make the short ribs she was eyeing from the get go.

Sheldon is not looking forward to making dessert. Because he’s a chef, and judging savory chefs on dessert is dumb, but they always do it so he should have probably gone to the library to check out one of Nick Malgieri’s cookbooks.

Tom asks everyone to stop what they’re doing to clean up the kitchen. Thanks, Mom.

Everything is really intense and nobody seems to be terribly confident about what they’re producing.

The first dish is out. The judges and guests seem to like Sheldon’s delicate and well executed spot prawn in broth. Kristen’s veloute is up next. It looks veloutey. Brooke made sweetbreads, but Hugh says they could have been cleaner, and were sliced too thin.

Tom is trying to be the nice judge while also expediting, but if this were a regular night at Craft back when he used to do this stuff for a living he would be ripping Brooke’s asshole apart.

As nice as he’s being, Kristen says she’s peeing her pants. And no, her pants will not be for sale on eBay. You are a fucking pervert.

The judges are disappointed in Sheldon’s quail. It’s not Sheldon enough. I’ll say it. It’s a haole dish.

Oh, in case you were wondering, Craft has bare Edison lamps in hanging pendants. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just picture the lights you’ve seen in every restaurant to open in the last six years or so. And yeah, I’m the person who notices lighting. Go to hell.

The judges really like Brooke’s brown butter cake and think less of Kristen’s chocolate curry…gloop? I’m going with gloop. Sheldon’s dessert features raw fennel, which is exactly the kind of dessert a savory chef would make if he hadn’t had six months to learn how to make a proper dessert. Bake something, man!

Oh my God, Bravo is debuting a show called LA Shrinks. How do these people have medical licenses? Bravo is weird as hell. I can’t wait to see what kind of weird ass shows they decide wealthy straight guys will like over at the Esquire channel.

Judge’s Table: This could get a bit ugly. The chefs in this finale are really solid, but they all had their struggles. No one made one made one of those “holy shit” dishes like we’ve seen in recent finales. There’s always next week.

Sheldon’s prawn was really good, but his quail with pine nuts fell a bit flatter. Everyone agrees that they miss the old “punchy” Sheldon. They didn’t like his dessert either. They ask if he came prepared with a dessert, and he says he has one for the next round. And now you know he’s going home. Goodbye Sheldon. You had six months and you only came up with one dessert and you were cocky enough to leave it on the table. You wrote your own exit.

Kristen’s soup was safe and “one note” according to Hugh. Her tuna was well-cooked, but the flavors were uneven. Her dessert was a bit of a mess, of course. Hugh makes a Hugh face (see above). Padma asks, “Were you happy with it?” Kristen answers, “No!” Emeril says he liked the flavors, Tom answers with a face of his own.

He was more disgusted with Emeril’s praise than he was by the chocolate curry gloop.

Brooke’s appetizer was meh. Her entree they loved. Padma says she had the best sauce of the night, and that she wanted to take Kristen’s tuna and dunk it in Brooke’s sauce (not a euphemism). Brooke thought that was hilarious and looked over at Kristen, who was not amused.

Everybody liked Brooke’s dessert, but Tom did not deem it to be worthy of Craft.

Tom admits that it’s hard to not take past performance into consideration. I’d say that doesn’t bode well for Sheldon. He has wowed them with some flavorful dishes in the past, but has been riding a bland streak. I’d say Kristen is most safe, followed by Brooke. Part two of the finale will be a sexy stare-down.

Tom sums up Brooke’s style by saying her dishes are complex without being showy. He’s good at this judging stuff. He also laments the disappearance of Sheldon’s bold flavors, and Kristen’s innovative risk taking. And yeah, it’s Sheldon who is going home.

Next Week on Top Chef: Finale Part II! It’s the first all-ladies edition in the show’s history. They’ll be cooking in front of a live studio audience. And there is at least one Voltaggio present! It kind of looks like Iron Chef, without the creepy chairman and judges who don’t rub their tummies and say everything tastes so yummy they wish they could eat like this every day. Because they do eat like this every day. And that is why we hate them. Also on next week’s episode, a bunch of bullshit nobody wants to see followed by 10 seconds showing the chef’s food without any of the technique that goes in to making it. TOP CHEF!

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