Top Chef Recap

By Jason Lee

February 26, 2009

He's smiling because Leah got voted off. He wouldn't have won otherwise.

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This Week on Watch What We Say: Step up or go home cause there ain't no looking back

It's here. After 13 episodes and 17 chefs, we are finally ready to crown a Top Chef for Season 5. It's been a long and rocky road (no food pun intended) with some crazy drama (the Hosea vs. Stefan rivalry), some ridiculous hooking-up (Hosea and Leah), some undeserved eliminations (my beloved Ariane) and some surprising triumphs (Carla making it to the finale).

So who do we have in New Orleans, competing for the title of Top Chef?

First is our Finnish villain of the season, Stefan, who prides himself on his European cooking techniques and pompously believes himself to be the only chef among the cast with the talent worthy of being Top Chef. He's won two Quickfires and four Elimination challenges.

Nexy up is resident adulterer, Hosea, who's been cheating (via kisses and flirting) on his girlfriend with Leah and has an ever-ready eye on Stefan, who he's unofficially dubbed as his rival. Pretty much the douche-bag in the cast, Hosea has won one Quickfire and two Elimination challenges.


Finally, we have wacky but lovable Carla, with hair out-to-here and eyes that seem perpetually in a state of shock. I think that every viewer has grown to love Carla as the season progressed, both for her perplexing-but-cute one-liners and her penchant for using "love" as her secret ingredient in all her dishes. Carla has won one Quickfire and three Elimination challenges.

As any faithful reader will know, I am definitely rooting for Carla to win this. I think that she's proven herself to be a great chef and a fantastic competitor and I would love nothing more than for her simple-but-delicious style of cooking to bring her $100,000 and the title of Top Chef. Baring this, I want Hosea to win. I hate Stefan.

The show opens with each contestant preparing for the finale challenge. Hosea is ready for a "do or die" competition, proclaiming that he has more to prove than his two fellow chefs in this competition (which I agree with, since he's been the biggest douche this side of the Top Chef kitchen). Carla sums up her run to the finale in one word, "wow," saying that she's been building momentum up to this last challenge. Stefan doesn't say much other than he thought that his food in the last challenge was much better than Hosea's (too bad the judges didn't agree with ya there).

The chefs come before Padma and Tom to receive their final directive. It's simple: cook the best three-course meal of your life. They will be cooking back-to-back and serving dishes simultaneously. Tom also says very specifically that they do NOT have to make a dessert - a boon for Hosea since both Carla and Stefan have proven adept at making desserts.

They will each have two hours in the first day to prep followed by three hours to cook before serving their dishes before 12 distinguished guests. But of course, they will have help. In seasons past, we've seen eliminated chefs come back to serve as sous-chefs, famous culinary masters serving as sous-chefs...what would happen this year?

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