February 11, 2009 10:19 PM by DA Southern
Top Chef New York is heading down the final corridor as the competition will lose the final contestant tonight and the finale will be set and then moved to New Orleans for the crowning of Top Chef New York,er New Orleans. With Jamie taking her exit last week for salty celery, of all things, the Europeans are poised, unless one does something goofy like cut off his hand or something, to be in the top four.
The guys gathered around on the balcony to talk about Jamie making a bad decision and that, at this stage in the competition, there was no room for error. Carla was still talking about being underestimated by the rest of them and Leah was very candid as she talked about cooking being the only thing she was good at.
The Quickfire Challenge
Chef Wylie Dufresne was with Host Padma Lakshimi for the Quickfire Challenge for the Egg-cellent challenge where the chefs were to prepare the best egg dish ever. While it was apparent that it was hard to imagine so many things that could be done with an egg, it was clear that the Europeans seemed to have an edge in the egg preparation category.
Carla didn’t really get the challenge as explained by Wylie and Padma, so she opted for a pretty simple egg dish and hoped that the simple dish would take the day. Stefan did two different egg dishes and impressed and Leah did a pretty impressive job as well, but not enough to win the challenge. Carla’s dish was inspired by Dr. Seuss and Hosea seemed to have the most edgy dish as stated by Wiley.
Fabio did a dish with no actual egg that was a dessert and at the end, his dish ended up at the bottom. Hosea did not fare much better nor did Leah, but Stefan and Carla impressed and Carla’s Dr. Seuss-inspired egg was deemed the most fun and the winner of the Quickfire.
The Elimination Challenge
The chefs then drew famous chef names on the knifes and Padma explained to the the chef’s that they were each required to cook that chef’s dish they wanted if they were to request a “Last meal.” Padma told them they had $300.00 to buy the meals with and then 2 hours to cook the meal the following night.
The chefs had a night out at a fine restaurant, Perilla, run by Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle, before the madness of the final competition in New York and had a chance to pick his brain and prepare mentally for the final New York competition.
The chefs had their final two hours to get their last meals prepared and things were going as could be expected with each of the chefs preparing the last meals as requested by the celebrity chefs. Chef Susan Bastianman was the chef Hosea was charged to cook for and was preparing a Shrimp Scampi; Leah was cooking Eggs Benedict for Chef Wiley Dufresne; Stefan had the task of cooking for Marcus Samuelsson a Salmon meal; Fabio was cooking for Lidia Bastianich a chicken meal and Carla had the distinction for cooking for Jacques Pepin a Squab dish.
With all of the commotion of the preparation, Fabio managed to break his pinky finger somehow and struggled with his injury but always funny with a comeback as he said, “I always said that I could cook with one hand behind his back, but I didn’t mean it.”
The cooks readied themselves for the dishes to go out and Leah had the unenviable position to being first out with her egg dish, Egg Benedict. While Leah struggled a bit with the egg challenge earlier, she didn’t really fare that much better with this dish with chef Wiley Dufresne saying that his eggs were runny in the middle.
Stefan, was a bit too confident and managed to overcook his Salmon for chef Marcus Samuelsson and the rest of the celebrity chefs agreed and Hosea’s Shrimp Scampi for chef Susan’s last meal was thought of as a bit uninspired, but not overall bad enough to probably send him home.
Fabio’s roasted chicken was a huge hit and called perfection by many of the chefs on the panel, although his salad was called an “Airplane Salad.” Finally came out with her Squab and the chefs were mixed by the dish with Tom saying that it was kind of a clash of generations going on as older chefs liked their Squab more cooked than the younger chefs. Carla’s peas were called perfect however, and Carla’s saying that she and chef Pepin were like two peas-in-a-pod may have come true.
Padma invited all five into the judges chamber to be grilled and Padma was somber in her declaration of the final chef being cut before going to New Orleans. Leah’s eggs were savaged as not up to par and Stefan didn’t like hearing that his fish was over cooked. Hosea’s dish was a huge hit and Fabio’s chicken was extremely successful, but the salad was not a hit. Carla’s dish was fairly mixed with the Squab receiving overall high-marks even though Carla though it was over-cooked.
Squab and the chicken, Carla and Fabio, were being considered as the winners. Believe it or not, Stefan was in danger and Leah was not fairing any better than Stefan. Hosea was the wildcard with the chef judges not thinking he should go home.
In the end, Leah may have run her course based on her overall performance and the fact that she might not even be in the running at the end and It would be hard to see the most successful chef in Top Chef history, Stefan, go home on this performance alone.
Finally, Fabio pulled a victory out, bad finger and all, with his chicken and Carla was announced that she was going to the semi-finals as well with Fabio. Hosea, Leah and Stefan were proclaimed the weakest dishes and Padma dropped the final nail in the coffin of Leah and Carla and the boys were headed to New Orleans to compete for the big prize.
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Photo Credit: Bravo