February 05, 2009 07:05 AM by DA Southern
Top ChefNew York is now in what is officially being called the “Countdown to the Finale” as we are now left with six chefs vying for the coveted prize of Top Chef after watching Jeff pack up and leave last week. With the Europeans seeming in charge, especially Stefan, the competition will become even more cut-throat as the judges will tolerate zero mistakes from the aspiring chefs.
As the events of the last episode played out, we saw that Carla was feeling underestimated even though she managed to win the last competition. Poor Carla thought that she was being dwarfed by the Europeans and that she could sneak in and take the prize in the end. Fabio was telling how important it was for him to win it for his family and Hosea was talking about being the last American male standing.
The Quickfire Challenge
Padma Lakshmi welcomed the chefs to their next challenge and introduced guest judge, Chef Eric Ripert, as she told them the next challenge that would test their culinary skills. Padma told he chefs that they would be involved in a three round fish elimination tournament that would test their technique and precision as they all would fillet fish for a chance to win the Quickfire.
Round one had Sardines at the forefront of the fillet action as Padma announce that they had five minutes to clean and butterfly two whole sardines according to Eric’s example. Carla completely messed up and Leah fared much better, edging herself into the next round. The Europeans fared much better as did Hosea as they all headed to round two.
Round two had Arctic Char on the cutting board as the chefs were given another five minutes to debone and fillet as Eric demonstrated. Jamie and Carla, who had lost the initial round, were sitting out and Leah choked and gave up early in the round giving Hosea and Stefan the final round to lay it all out on the line.
Round three was all about the freshwater eel and the darn things were still moving around and trying to sting Hosea and Stefan or whatever it is they do to you when given the chance. The chefs were funny as they tried to touch the eels and Carla’s face at the sight of the eels, alone, made the event priceless. Hosea was intent on taking out Stefan in the challenge in what has become a possible finale battle but, In the end, Hosea could not out-technique his rival and Stefan who again garnered bragging rights for a competition.
The Elimination Challenge
The chefs all headed out to Chef Eric Ripert’s restaurant for a look at what a real Top Chef restaurant would look like as they readied for a six course fish meal. The chef’s seemed to enjoy the food, except for Jamie, who said she was “Bored with this kind of food.” After the six courses were served, the Top Chef knifes were out and Tom Colicchio said that the chefs had to recreate the dishes they just were served.
Jamie was so uninterested in the challenge and it looked as though she might be heading out the door if her attitude didn’t improve. Carla seemed especially on edge knowing that her technique was weak in the first challenge and that she needed to step it up or face the possibility of going home.
Hosea was struggling since he said that he had never been schooled as a chef and was not as familiar with the spice ratio that he might need to use and Fabio seemed to be the most confident with his preparation. Chef Ripert came by to check each of the chef’s dishes and gave them each pretty valuable tips about their dishes and the chef’s then had fifteen minutes to prepare the fish for the judges.
Fabio’s dish was first out and the judges were overall impressed with the dish saying that only minor details were missing to make it an exact replica. Leah’s dish was savaged by the judges, with Toby Young saying it was “Bland like fish prepared in the Caribbean.”
Stefan’s lobster was a hit with the judges, making it look like Stefan may have a definite advantage going into the judge’s table deliberation session. Carla’s idea that she may have been underestimated proved to be true as the judges called her interpretation of her fish dish, “Loyal” and she impressed with her overall presentation.
Hosea’s monkfish was a big disappointment and Tom even pointed out that Hosea came from a fish restaurant and that for him to go home on a fish challenge would be a disaster. Jamie’s dish was assailed by Toby Young when he said that “Something had gone horribly wrong” with the dish and it looked like Jamie and Hosea might be on the hotseat at the judges table. It would be ashamed to lose Hosea at this point as he and Stefan have had quite a rivalry, but this is Top Chef and one wrong turn of the frying pan could send you home.
Fabio, Stefan and Carla called in my Padma and they were told they were in the top. All three were congratulated by the judges and Stefan picked up another challenge, and continued bragging rites, and he got a trip with Chef Ripert to a Food and Wine festival in Florida.
Hosea, Jamie and Leah were standing in the hot glare of the judges and Hosea freely admitted his mistakes and said he knew where he had gone wrong. Leah’s answers made her look like she had given up in the challenge, even to the point of Tom making the comment that she had given up in the Quickfire. Jamie’s answers seemed pretty lame and she looked totally uninterested in even being their anymore and made it worse for herself when she said she did not like the fish dish at lunch hat much either. In other words, she probably sealed her fate by telling a world-class chef she didn’t like his dish.
All three were equally savaged by the judges and it was hard to tell who would be leaving, although Jamie and Leah seemed to be the weakest as far as their commitment to the success of their dishes. When the three returned, Tom told them they all had made a mistake in observation or execution and that the lessons are ones that they should carry them through their chef careers. In the end, Jamie was sent packing, as her attitude probably got the better of her.
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Photo Credit: Bravo
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