Previously on Top Chef:
Fabio rocks. Leah sucks.
Hosea, Fabio, Stefan and Carla make it to the finals, which are taking place in New Orleans. It’s been a few months. Hosea has further manscaped his goatee. Fabio has a mohawk and a pink scarf, further confirming his Eurotrash status. Carla has straightened her hair and legitimately looks good. Stefan is just as arrogant as ever. Everyone waxes poetic about how great New Orleans cuisine is.
They drive up to a plantation where EMERIL is waiting for them, looking as greasy as ever. Padma is wearing a gorge blue sweater with kick-ass boots. Tom has layered on so much clothing I’m pretty sure it’s added a good inch all around. (If it seems like I’m doing too much commentary on the clothing, it’s only because Project Runway should be in full swing right now and I’m still kind of upset.)
For the Quickfire Challenge, Padma announces that the finalists won’t be cooking. Who will, you ask? Out comes Jeff (of the beautiful, beautiful bangs), Jamie (of Team Rainbow, who has FABULOUS new highlights) and Leah (of the boyfriend cheating). The winner of this quickfire will become a finalist. It’s very Clay Aiken in American Idol season 2.
The quickfire picks a New Orleans staple: crawfish. Leah decides to do a gumbo, despite the fact that she’s never made it before or used crawfish (but, she’s learned how to use the trinity from Emeril, so she thinks she’s golden). Jeff is making crawfish and grits. Jamie is making crawfish and sausage over poached eggs.
Emeril announces that Jeff will be added the the finalists, which annoys me because I wanted Jamie to get another chance. In order to continue, Jeff will have to win the elimination challenge. In the meantime, we will get a lot more shots of him interviewing in that very, very nice gray zip-up.
Jeff and Fabio embrace. Or, well, Jeff nearly tackles Fabio with a hug.
They get to eat at Emeril’s restaurant. Jeff has unbuttoned the top buttons of his shirt. Mmm…I mean… um… Everyone talks about how their families are important to them. Fabio wants to support his mother. Carla, her husband and stepson. Hosea and Stefan, obviously family-less, talk more about winning. Stefan wears a shirt that says “Nothing Tips Like a Cow,” which almost makes me like him, but then he says that this isn’t a “butt-rubbing competition” and I remember why he’s not on my good side.
The next day they go to Mardi Gras world. They will have to create two dishes and one cocktail in the creole style for a masquerade ball. To sweeten the pot, they will be giving away a TOYOTA. A TOYOTA, did you hear? TOYOTA!!!
Also, apparently Fabio dresses up as female superheroes for Halloween. Namely, Catwoman and Wonder Woman.
Hosea is making a duck, andouille and chicken gumbo, pecan-crusted catfish and a hurricane with Grand Marnier and Rum. Carla is making an oyster stew, a shrimp andouille beignet and a non-alcoholic cranberry spritzer. However, the oysters aren’t shucked, so she will have to do it by hand. Stefan will be making suck and rabbit gumbo with grits, apple beignets and a black cherry and rum cocktail. Jeff is super-nervous, as shown by him running around the kitchen, bangs blowing in the breeze. He’s making fried oysters with sausage, crawfish pot de creme and a cucumber mojito. Fabio, our Eurotrash lover, is making sausage and rabbit (What is with all the rabbit? Are they secretly native to New Orleans?), maque choux with grits, crawfish and crab stew with caserecci pasta, muffuletta bread and a bell pepper martini.
Hosea and Stefan are both making gumbo, which apparently takes constant supervision. Stefan ignores this and goes out for a smoking break, as well as using packaged sausage, to the chagrin of his competitors. Tom comes around, a smile intact, and gives everyone support. Fabio studied the “flavor profile” of New Orleans, but wants to stay Italian, leading Tom to be concerned. He’s not as concerned about Jeff, who’s from the South. Tom is worried about Carla — shucking will take a long time. Stefan is too confident in his opinion, and Hosea isn’t taking enough risks.
Carla makes a MacGyver reference and becomes my new favorite.
They get to the location and Carla is STILL not done shucking. Everyone gets a bartender and teaches them how to make their drink. Padma and the judges come down wearing masks. Gail is finally back (THANK GOD!). They all look fabulous, and Padma’s boobs take the forefront in her corset dress with a drop-waist.
Hosea forgot some of his utensils so he doesn’t know how he’s going to serve his gumbo. Carla bemoans having so many oysters left to shuck.
Fabio seems to equate “masquerade ball” with “porno.” (Oh, Fabio. You never cease to amaze me with your metaphors.)
Jeff’s meal gets raves, especially his cocktail, giving me hope that I will see his bangs in the next episode. Stefan’s gumbo turns out a little lighter than it should be, but he otherwise does well. Fabio’s food is good, but is missing the “heat.” Carla reiterates that she’s putting LOVE in her food, which must have worked, because the judges love how authentic it is. Hosea has captured “the spirit of New Orleans” according to Emeril. Thanks for keeping us guessing, judges!
Judge’s Table. Everyone is called out. Two chefs will be eliminated. I’m on the fricking edge of my seat and I’m not kidding. Jeff is complimented for all of his dishes. Fabio gets called out for lacking heat and having a too-sweet cocktail. Stefan is called out for not having a dark enough gumbo, a rather sweet cocktail and a bad attitude. Carla is praised overall, as is Hosea. They are sent away while the judges deliberate, but not to the Glad! Room of Product Placement, but a nice sitting room.
The judges agree that Jeff is in the top three, but they don’t know if he was good enough to win. Team Europe are both the bottom two dishes.
The chefs are all brought in. Carla wins, leaving Jeff to be eliminated for the second time, leaving him with sad eyes and the most pressed smile I’ve ever seen. So now it’s between Stefan and Fabio. Fabio, our wonderous little piece of Eurotrash, is eliminated. He and Stefan embrace in the unity that is Team Europe. Fabio praises Stefan, knowing that he is the best (right, because that’s why he was in the bottom two).
Carla, Hosea and Stefan cook it out!