Top Chef Recap
By Jason Lee
February 19, 2009
This Week On Watch What We Say: We'll always have New Orleans
It's here. It's finally here. We've had to endure some pretty obnoxious chefs and some pretty untalented chefs. We've seen people go home who didn't deserve to go home. We see chefs in the finale that really shouldn't be in the finale. We've seen way too much of Leah and Hosea. But after ALL THAT, it's finally here. We're in New Orleans. And it's finale-time, baby.
We're treated to a quick montage of the chefs arriving into the New Orleans airport. Hosea has been studying up on creole cooking (very smart), Fabio wants to win this title so that he can use the money to take care of his mother (very sweet) and Carla feels that despite her status as the "underdog" of the group, she knows this city's food the best and will be able to surprise some people (very possible).
As for the A-hole of the bunch, Stefan looks like he's put on some weight during the weeks leading up to the finale and proclaims Fabio to be his biggest competition.
The chefs arrive at a plantation style home where they're greeted by none other than Food Network celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. For the record, I love Emeril and I think it's great to see such a well-known TV personality show off his culinary and judging chops.
Padma announces their very bizarre Quickfire. They won't be cooking. Instead, they're invited to relax and enjoy some Southern hospitality. Everyone (including me) is suitably perplexed...
...until we see Jaime, Jeff and Leah come out!!! In yet another great twist in season, the last three chefs to get eliminated have one more shot to make it to the finale. They will each have one hour to create a dish using New Orleans' most famous ingredient: crawfish. I'm totally, 100% rooting for Jaime (who looks and sounds more relaxed than she ever has this season) but I know in my heart that Pretty Boy Jeff, who hails from Miami, probably has the edge over my SF-gal Jaime.
Strangely enough, both Leah (who thinks that she has the edge since she was the last chef eliminated, haha) and Jeff are making a gumbo-type dish (with the main difference being that Jeff includes grits in his) while Jaime has opted for a grilled corncake with poached eggs. I'm praying and crossing my fingers for Jaime but after an agonizing commercial break, Emeril announces that Jeff has won the Quickfire. I let out a great, loud "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" upon hearing this - a groan of utter despair very similar to the one that Darth Vader emitted in Episode III upon learning of Padme's death. Be forewarned, this will not be the first Darth Vader impression that I will give tonight.
So Jeff is in the finale but with a catch: he can only advance to the next round if he wins the Elimination Challenge. Second place or anything lower and he will pack his knives and go. What a great twist. I love this show.