This is a great time of year for me in regards to television. I get to watch my Philadelphia Phillies inch closer to a playoff berth every night, and I just love, love, love
Top Chef. Yes, that's it. Two things make this great for me. What can I say, I'm easy to please. It's 11:12 pm right now as I'm writing this line and I'm just realizing that this is the only night of the work week that I can actually function relatively well at this time. I attribute being awake right now to the exciting first part of the season finale of
We begin the finale in Aspen, Colorado, with four competitors left - Brian, Casey, Dale and Hung. We also begin with the weekly rant of Hung claiming he's much more advanced than the other three chefs. I immediately wondered if there was anyone that could really humble Hung, then of course in the next 10 minutes we see that his father is one of those people and guest judge
Eric Ripert is the other.
Ripert is one of the premiere seafood chefs in the country; Hung calls him a "badass." He leads them into the quickfire this week and proceeds to tell them all that they need to take a piece of trout and cook up something delicious in just 20 minutes using a tree stump and a camp burner. Dale's immediately worried because he's not good with fish, and of course it didn't help that he got the stump that was a little cockeyed. Remember, this is the guy I picked to win it all back on Aug. 8, so naturally this worries me a bit, too. Brian's up on his stump cooking the fish to simply get it done but he isn't sure why. Meanwhile, Hung gets done seven minutes early and proceeds to completely forget lemon juice.
Needless to say, Brian and Dale do not get rave reviews. It was interesting that while Hung was presenting his dish, he actually pointed out that he'd forgot lemon juice. I can't imagine why he'd point that out this close to the end. But in the end, Casey takes the challenge with her corn and grape complement to the trout.
For the elimination they are told they are catering for 45 rodeo guys and gals. I thought it was funny how everyone starts panicking because of this. Hung wonders if they eat "baked beans, baked beans and baked beans" and Dale, being his usual hilarious self, says that he has no idea what they eat, but he's slept with a few of them! But it's not like they have to feed 45 mutant creatures. I'd expect them to be worried if a tomato foam might be the preferred choice of the one-eyed thing to their left but c'mon, these are just 45 regular people. Each chef is given $200 to bring their own ingredients from home, but only Casey gets to use them thanks to her win in the quickfire. And she doesn't even bother with them!
The chefs have to create a dish with Elk which Hung says he hates because it's "heavy and boring." However, Casey is confident with it because she cooks it all the time. And this is about the time that Tom walks in and tells them that absolute crap line that "because of the extraordinary level of talent" this season, they want to take three to the finals. Maybe good for TV, but a complete sham of a statement. But that's not really important, as of course it's the dishes that make the difference. And tonight they appear to be really quite good.
Casey tries a mushroom-crusted loin with a cauliflower duo and tomato butter. The judges were impressed with the smokey flavor of the butter, but underwhelmed with the use of the cauliflower and the fact that her elk was remarkably rare.
Hung served an elk loin with a chocolate and red-wine sauce. Tom agrees with him that technically he is the best chef there, but Hung still got mixed reviews on his execution.
Then there's Brian, who started giving his dish to Padma and by the time he was done explaining it, Casey had gotten caught downstream in his whiskey river. It was funny watching the amount of edits on that one. Maybe Padma needed a few drinks in there just to listen to Brian and that's why she kept leaving for the pub in the middle of the shot? I probably could go back to the tape to see what he made, but there's no way I could write all that down. Note to TV Guide: Provide me with a stenographer so I never have to use my VCR again.
Dale works with the loin as well and creates a huckleberry and blackberry sauce to go on top. Yum-o! He also tries a torte but it doesn't work out well so he scraps it and goes with potatoes and cauliflower instead. Nice to see he had a backup plan and it actually worked out quite well, well enough to win the first spot in the final. Let me say it again folks: Back in my post on Aug. 8, I said that Dale would win it all. One of my pals from work asked me why on earth I thought that and I told him that Dale would do just enough to pass under the radar throughout the show and then near the end he'd step his game up. God, I'm good. Ha!
The judges ended up thinking Brian's was the worst dish and sent him home. They didn't like the fact that he put everything in the world on his plate and Eric in particular didn't like that he let the customers choose the cheese they wanted with the meal. Most of us are surprised that Brian was still there anyway, so this had to be expected tonight.
So next week we end it with Hung, Casey and Dale and I can't wait to see which one of these chefs win. Hope you feel the same way.
Until next week, friends.
Check out our
online video guide
for more on
Top Chef .
This is a great time of year for me in regards to television. I get to watch my Philadelphia Phillies inch closer to a playoff berth every night, and I just love, love, love Top Chef. Yes, thats it. Two things make this great for me. What can I say, Im easy to please. Its 11:12 pm right now as Im writing this line and Im just realizing that this is the only night of the work week that I can actually function relatively well at this time. I attribute being awake right now to the exciting first part of the season finale of Top Chef. We begin the finale in Aspen, Colorado, with four competitors left Brian, Casey, Dale and Hung. We also begin with the weekly rant of Hung claiming hes much more advanced than the other three chefs. I immediately wondered if there was anyone that could really humble Hung, then of course in the next 10 minutes we see that his father is one of those people and guest judge Eric Ripert is the other. Ripert is one of t...