Top Chef Recap

By Jason Lee

September 13, 2010

Why do the losers always look so unhappy?

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The finale is finally here, and you can color me excited. While this season hasn’t featured the strongest chefs (unlike the Las Vegas season) or the most compelling drama (like season two in Los Angeles), we’ve ended up with a pretty good group of chefs.

The first part of every Top Chef finale starts out the same. They arrive one by one in the city of the finale, ruminating on the path they’ve taken to get here. I’m personally eager to see which chefs A) realized that it would be smart to study some Singaporean cuisine before arriving and B) have drastically changed their hairdo.

Kelly arrives first, and she looks (disappointingly) exactly as she did before. No faux-hawks or anything. She’s excited to explore a part of the world that most people don’t have the opportunity to visit. Ed shows up and (sigh) looks the same, too. He believes that he can take this title, noting that he didn’t come all this way to pack his knives and go. He predicts bloodshed in the finale.
Incidentally, the group is congregating at what looks to be a local Singaporean market.

Kevin arrives wearing a stupid looking hat. Ed asks if he’s about to embark on a safari. It’s a nice moment of wit from someone who’s usually so uncouth. Hot Angelo is last and he already looks like he’s sweating. Welcome to hot, humid Singapore.

Tom shows up, congratulates the cheftestants and makes some small talk about their long journey, from DC to Singapore. He calls Singapore “one of the most exciting food destinations in the world,” and introduces Seetoh, Singapore’s leading authority on food,. Kelly’s impressed; she’s read his book. I’m impressed that she made the effort to read a book on Singaporean cuisine.
Seetoh will guide them through the market, giving them a taste of Singaporean street food. The cheftestants remark about the joys of eating authentic foods from different cultures and the aromas in the market. I don’t know about them, but I’m smelling a Quickfire Challenge.




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And sure enough, Seetoh mentions that they’re going to “check out one last place before calling it a night.” They walk around a corner and find Padma. The jig is up. The cheftestants are aware that they’ll be Quickfiring things up before they get to go to sleep.

Now that they’ve had a chance to experience the market, they’re going to try their hand at cooking their version of Singaporean street food. They’ll only be allowed to cook using one piece of equipment: a wok.

This is a brilliant challenge.

Oh yeah, and Padma throws in one CRAZY twist. For the first time this late in a season of Top Chef, the winner of the Quickfire will get (my mind throws out ideas: a car, a vacation, a bottle of famous wine)…IMMUNITY.

Wow.

The winning chef will get his ticket punched for the finale.


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