Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Any tenderness when I press here?"

Well, I could set this off by mourning the loss of my cell phone. (If you try to call and I don’t answer, I didn’t run off with the pool money! (I mean, I did just crack a bottle of 2004 Rolland-Maillet St. Emilion Grand Cru, but I bought it with my own cheddar) I promise!)

I could discuss the finale of MasterChef that I watched before TC DC.
(SEMI-SPOILER ALERT! I will not give away the winner cause I’m not a ruiner like that but I will say David, a software engineer from Boston, served Chef Gordon Ramsay (what does this MF have like twelve TV series now?) Beef Wellington! Yes, the same Beef Wellington Chef Ramsay serves in the Hell’s Kitchen “Restaurant” on a reg.
Why David? Why?)
But enough tears, and now I’m not talkin’ about my lost phone or the Wellington, I’m talking about the wine, I’m in full bodied bliss!
This is IT!
Make no mistake where you are-
THIS IS IT! The waiting it ohhhhhVER!

Three Chefs remain!
Angelo (aka Dusty); Kevin; and Ed from Boston. As you may well know, at stake is 125k from Dial Nutraskin (25k more than the usual 100- inflation, yo), a feature in Food & Wine Magazine, a spot at the F&W expo in Aspen and the title of...Top Chef.

They began the ep by showing Indie Film Star Kelly hug everyone goodbye again. Awwww man, don’t remind me!
Ed said he wanted Kelly around but he was glad he was there. Then Padma avec des monticules called them all back to Judges’ Table.
There was a butcher’s block and knives.
Monty said she wanted them to have as much time as possible to plan the final meal that was to be the: “four-course meal of your life.”
1st course-vegetable, 2nd-fish, 3rd course-meat AND Colicchio and Rippert would go to the market to pick their proteins (snap! can we get a spin off series of that alone?)
Colicchio: (with a smile) “I hear monkey’s in season.”
Honestly, I just want Rippert to ask for something in French and end up walking out with bag full of fire ants.
Gail: “Desserts are something that are always a bit of a controversy on this show. To be clear, you Must make dessert as your 4th course.”
Ed hung his head. Kevin (out loud) “Okay.”
Kevin said he was very comfortable with this. His wife was a pastry chef and both of his parent’s are bakers. (I’ve heard his cousins are butchers and candlestick makers.)
Then Monty said they could use some additional hands with their shopping and prepping.
OH THIS is when they intro the past Top Chef Winners- they came to HELP?!
I mistakenly thought (and posted) that they were cooking against them. But you know what? Maybe they still are. The TC Producers are sneaky like that…

Out walked my private bf chef (until I found out he was married (for ten years) with children) stern faced, I-beat-my-brother-in-this-competition-and-I-smoked-snorted-drank-and-shot-everything-Dusty-did-and-,-real-talk-,-I’m-still-standing-and-so-is-my-hair-and-with-less-gel-than-Dusty’s: Michael Voltaggio!
Michael wore chef whites that looked like a button-less white shirt with a wide priest’s collar, sans black material. I was almost certain ‘badass’ was stitched on the inside.
Kevin said he had worked with Michael Voltaggio before and they not only had a working relationship but a friendship.
Lucky break- if he gets him...

Also present, whiz kid: Hung Win (Top Chef 3 Winner and Executive Chef at Ajna Bar, formerly Buddha Bar in NYC) along with Ilan (pronounced E-LAN) Hall (Top Chef 2 Winner.)
Ed from Boston also wanted Michael V. Ah, who doesn’t? The line starts behind me.
Meanwhile Dusty’s chest filled with pride. He really wanted Hung. He said their cooking styles were similar. Recalling how fast Hung runs around in the kitchen, I think these two could turn an apartment-sized bowl of cream into butter in five minutes flat.

Monty asked them to pick knives to find out who would be paired with whom.
BUT- annnd, what’s up with this TC Producers? -we didn’t see how they determined Ed from Boston would pick first…hmmm...
Ed picked...Ilan. Ilan is currently Chef and owner of The Gorbals in downtown LA. He is a cutie who wears glasses and always cooked with saffron when he was on the show. Always.
From what I hear saffron is more expensive than yeyo. Yes, I’m sure Dusty has snorted saffron before.
Ed said he didn’t know much about Ilan but there was no reason not to respect him.
Kevin picked the second knife and got...
Michael said “Congratulations” as he hugged Kevin and they both cracked big smiles. Ed from Boston looked pissed.
Dusty got his wish. “We’re in Asia, I’m in the finals and I get Hung, this is the trilogy, so it’s showtime.”
Seetoh’s final words before they departed: “Sock it to me.”
And then they all ran up to Judges’ Table and beat him down. Hey, he asked for it.

The Final 3 and the three past winners went back to the hotel and Dusty said he didn’t feel well. Someone recommended ginger tea. He said he felt like garbage –the garbage he roots through looking for empty vials.
He wanted the other chefs to respect him but he went to sleep leaving everyone else awake.
Michael V told Kevin and Ed from Boston when (the judges) see the plate tomorrow “they want to be able to look at it and see you.”
Kevin cut him off: “Oh they’ll know whose dish is whose!”
Jumpin bad, Kevin? Stop yelling, please.
Ilan: “Don’t do anything new, don’t try and be crazy.”
Ed from Boston: “I’ve been waiting for snails, rabbit, foie gras.”
Um, you’re in Asia, Ed, try fish heads and century egg. Yeah, a 100-ass-year-old egg. People eat that ish. Thank you Easter Bunny!

Ed from Boston said he told his father’s eyebrows he was going to the finals. Kevin said it was going to be hard to sleep as he chewed on a pen cap or a piece of paper- he’s very oral all of a sudden...

The next morning Kevin and Ed ate breakfast as Dusty lay in bed. He spoke to Camera, eyes closed, saying his whole body was sore and the pain was excruciating. He said it felt like someone was stabbing him in the stomach.
(Hmmmm...what else feels like’s a 10 letter word that starts with W, ends with an L and rhymes with myth-drawl)

Kevin said he wanted to compete against the best, that’s the only way he could measure himself. Ed said he knew Dusty wanted to participate. Then the Doctor showed up. Uh oh.
Dusty told the Doc he had been vomiting out of the blue. (And possibly even the actual color blue.)
The Doctor said he needed fluids, rest and gave him a 20% chance of cooking the next day...YIPES.
You know, I keed Dusty cause I am keeder, but I gotta say I think it would crush him to not be able to cook.

In the kitchen, Colicchio and Rippert stood in front of Kevin, Michael V, Ilan, Ed from Boston and Hung. They had red plastic bags.
Colicchio said Dusty was under the weather and resting. To Camera, Kevin said there was definitely the possibility that Angelo was going home or Kelly was coming back...
That would be SO Indie Film!

Colicchio: “Here’s what we’re gonna do. Hung you’re gonna be on the phone with Angelo…”
“…tell him what you see, he can give you direction on what he wants you to prep and tomorrow if he’s well enough, he’s in the kitchen, if not we deal with it then.” Yah- this is a million dollar franchise show that just won an Emmy. You have already dealt with it TC Producers, I’m betting Our Star returns!
Ed: “It’s 125k, it’s a pretty good incentive, whatever is going on in your body, tell your body 'eff you' and get outta bed.”
Tough talk, Boston.

Rippert revealed his protein picks to the competitors and Sous Chefs: Red mullet (Rouget), cuttlefish, cockles and slipper lobsters.
Okay now, these lobsters really did look like slippers. The slippers of former dread-headed contestant John aka Male Carla Cosby. They were flat and as brown as the ground.
Ed from Boston: “Red mullet has a looootta little bones.” Pull out your tweezers, Eyebrows!
Colicchio revealed his picks: pork belly and a whole duck.
So, first course- vegetables, second- Rouget, third- duck and fourth- dessert. But all the proteins had to be incorporated into the dishes somehow. Kevin said when they all had to work with the same proteins the creativity really shines. Like glass MFs!

1 hour, budget: $300.
Michael V made a lot of suggestions to Kevin. Ed wanted to make corn soup, Ilan said there was no good corn in Singapore (how the hell does he know?) but Ed found some. Ilan kept telling Ed not to over think it. He went on for a bit longer.
Ed: “You are my Sous Chef actually, right?”
Ilan: “Just tell me what to do.”
Hey, look Ilan has new fangled chef white’s too. They sorta have a design on the back that looks like white panels have been sewn on like the patterns on the backs of Buffalo Bills’ victims in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. “What are you, about a size fourteen?”

Meanwhile Dusty had pillow talk with Hung who ran around the aisles just like Dusty would if he were there. Awww.
When Dusty said “Hey Hung” on the phone it sounded just like: ‘Hey Hun.”
Dusty: “Let’s do duck and foie gras marshmallows.”
Hung: “Ooo, okay!”
(Hey, Laura Zalanick, I'd like to see a TV series with these road runners too, okay and please bring Fabio back. He needs me.)

3 Hours To Prep!
Hung flew around the kitchen on puff pastry wings then called Dusty and told him not to worry, he got the foie gras.
“Foie’s gone guys!”
Ed: “Oh really!”
Ilan laughed. They all walked into the fridge. Kevin: “So that’s how he wants to play?”
Hey, Ed wanted to use some of that to stuff his duck necks! Hung said he needed the whole loaf. Ed said even though Dusty was sick he still had to watch out for him.
Um, that’s not Dusty, that’s how HUNG rolls. Move, itch, get out the way!

Kevin, with a smile:
1st course- eggplant, zucchini & roasted pepper terrine, tomatoes, jalapenos & black garlic purée (again with the purée?)
2nd course- pan-seared Rouget with cuttlefish “noodles” (hmm)
3rd course- roasted duck breast, caramelized bok choy (yum!) with duck dumpling and orange coriander sauce
4th course- frozen “Singapore Sling” 2010 with tropical fruits and coconut panna cotta (2010?)

Seeing how fast Hung was working, Ed jokingly asked him to break down his Rouget.
(Um, don’t try to eff with Hung, Ed. That sheet bounces off him. He’s a Vornado!)
Hung: Re: the Rouget: That sheet was one of the most difficult things I’ve done.”
Ed: “That’s not what I want to hear.”
Hung said he should have brought his cleaver as he cut duck. Ed offered his but told him it wasn’t sharp. Kevin said he felt bad for Hung because he didn’t know what he signed up for. Ilan put something in the oven near Hung who said: “Be careful of my pork bellies in there, I mean Angelo’s pork bellies.”
Then he laughed. What a good sport, this Vornado. He’s great. I remember in his season he was a badass and not very friendly. He just laid waste to the contestants and then at the end he said he really wanted to do this for his family, for his father and then he broke down and cried. Awwww. Then he ran around the kitchen so fast his tears dried! We gotta get this guy working on the BP oil spill!

Ed told Ilan he would show him how to do the brunoise (pronounced brun wah) if wanted but that Ilan was a “big boy" and could handle it.
Ilan: “Don’t eff with me.”
Ed: “ role in the kitchen is “Executive Chef.” He said he knew Ilan was a smart guy and knew how to make a corn soup but he wanted it made the way HE WANTED IT MADE.
Whoa is there room in the kitchen? What’s that growing in Ed’s pants?! Someone’s getting coooockkkkeeee.

Ed from Boston
1st course- chilled summer corn velouté (one of the four ‘mother sauces,’ stock-based) with crispy fried black cockles (yaaawn, you rocked out with your cockles out last week, Ed)
2nd course- stuffed Rouget, glazed bacon-wrapped slipper lobster & char-grilled cuttlefish with zucchini pesto (wow, three on one plate?!)
3rd course- duo of duck: roasted breast & braised stuffed neck with baby spinach (eh.)
4th course-sticky toffee date cake (nom nom nom)
but wait- Ed was letting ILAN do the dessert????

Back at the hotel Dusty was still experiencing massive migraines. The Doctor said there was a 3% chance an antibiotic shot would work.
An antibiotic shot in the buttocks.
Dusty took it like a man who had taken things in the buttocks.
Then the Doctor said it would be difficult for him to be 100% tomorrow.
Doctor: “You should really sleep for one or two days.” Worst case a WEEK! (Jesus, what did this Dood eat/drink or suck?!) Meanwhile Hung called. Dusty was getting the injection and didn’t pick up…

The next morning, Ed looked hung over and pale. Kevin was relaxed. The Doctor checked Dusty out. Dusty was sporting the second of two really dope t-shirts-
Singapore! Come for the t-shirts, stay for the high fever & vomiting.
The Doctor measured: No fever.
Blood pressure? Just fine.
Doctor: “Any tenderness when I press here?”
Hey, hey where are you pressing, Doc!?
Dusty was cleared to cook!

Ed looked EXTRA splotchy when he found out Dusty was gonna be back. He said he really thought it would be cool if it were just he and Kevin.
Yeah, I really think it would be cool if it were me and George Clooney. Sheet, at this point I’ll just take a Rosemary Clooney album and an orange Teeny drink.
Ed: Angelo is my biggest competition.”
Game On!

3 Hours To Prep!
Kevin was glad Dusty was okay because competition breeds better competition. (And yeast infections if there’s rubbing!)
Fast Paced Music ACTIVATE as Dusty was amazed and grateful that Hung was a speed demon. “Was it the best menu? No.” But he wanted to show the judges what he could do with what he was given under these circumstances. If this dood pulls it off it will be the biggest upset Evah!

Meanwhile Ed said you can never really trust anyone. Now there are trust issues?
Ilan wanted to know if he should add sea salt to the whipped cream in the dessert that Ed had given him control over.
Ed: “If you make a small batch I’ll try it.” Ed said Ilan works for him.
Ummm, if you give Ilan control of your gd dessert YOU work for HIM.

As Kevin plated, Michael V said he liked the old days when he used to plate the fish and Kevin used to pull the bones out. “Remember that?”
Lemme just say here: nice job TC Producers, you totally had me convinced from the footage last week that they were cooking against these past winners, but the winners are really their Sous Chefs. You got me. My mouth was open. My mouth was open on that one. (Vintage Eddie Murphy jokes, yay! We miss you Eddie Murphy. Stop being a donkey.)

Dusty showed Hung his surgeon-like sketches of the meal. One looked like dissected hassocks.
1st course- king royale mushrooms with noodles, char siu bao pork belly and watermelon tea (interesting)
2nd course- Asian-style Bouillabaisse over sautéed Rouget & poached cuttlefish (BOUILLE!)
3rd course- duck breast & foie gras with marshmallow & tart cherry shooter to cleanse the palate (wow!)
4th course-“Thai jewel” coconut-vanilla cream & crushed ice with exotic fruits and saffron syrup (delicious!)

Dusty wanted to sacrifice every part of himself. (Hopefully not Into the food.) He said his meals were three components and that’s it; “Ed’s were like 100.” Ed thought Kevin’s stuff was very artistic but did it taste good…? Dusty said it was time for the fall of Ed’s dynasty and time for him to reclaim the throne. “The story ends with me being Top Chef.” And riding a white horse to Jim Morrison’s mansion in the sky to make apps for him and Jimi Hendrix!

The Guests Arrived!
Pause Moment! Some CWAZY A** lights that looked like balls of tiny iridescent blue and silver striped fish, undulating in the air.
(Seriously. That's what I saw. I mean, yeah, my wine is that good but it’s not hallucinogenic.)
Monty wore a lovely blue above the knee plunger, hair in a half Snooki. Gail was stunning in a yellow garden party-ish dress with big brush stroked purple and black flowers. Dana Corwin in the hizzy in lively lilac! (thankfully no cleavage.) Eric Rippert and Colicchio and a host of other Chefs and Critics filled out the dining room. Kevin was impressed with the panel, especially David Chang, “he’s a stud.”

TC Producers I must give it up, you went big time on this one. David Chang is owner of New York’s famed Momofuku (something I will say to Mama from now on because she will think I’m swearing at her and it’s fun to upset Mama’s apple cart- also if you keep upsetting the apple cart you usually find a four-pack of wine coolers at the bottom! Hi Mama! Hi!) And that was just the tip of the culinary iceberg! Now ED looked like he was sick. He was the only chef who was crazy pale and sweating like he had cayenne on his nuts.

Dusty’s- king royale mushrooms with noodles, char siu bao pork belly and watermelon tea.
Dusty’s dish was in a bowl and looked hearty. The noodles were homemade. Restaurateur Iggy Chan gave Dusty credit for daring to be extreme. Food author Su-Lyn Tan said his dish was indicative of the flavors they enjoy in their local noodles. Coliccho said Dusty knew this cuisine but the dish needed a lot of work. Dayum! Smacked down in the early stages?

Kevin’s - eggplant, zucchini & roasted pepper terrine, tomatoes, jalapenos & black garlic purée.
Kevin’s plate looked like a painting. TC Master Susan Feniger said his dish didn’t have enough "Oomph" for her. Chang said he liked the dish. Susan responded by smacking his shoulder. (What the hell was that all about?) Chang said it took balls to do vegetable terrine as your first course. Okay stud, did no one tell you that’s what they were Supposed to do- vegetables as a first course?

Ed’s- chilled summer corn velouté with crispy fried black cockles was appreciated by both Valrhona pastry chef, Vincent Bourdin and Rippert. It sort of looked like a bowl of fried balls with a glass of eggy milk. Colicchio said there was restraint in all the dishes. Italian Chef Paul Bartolotta (also known as Mr. B) agreed.

Dusty tried to hydrate before prepping the second course. Which is something he said he never does. I mean if the water has moonshine in it, maybe...
Ed: “So now you’re not sick anymore, huh?”
Dusty: “Sick of your attitude.”

Dusty announced to the diners that the skate atop his bouillabaisse was “lightly blanched and meant to be eaten raw.”
Pause Moment! Rippert scrunches his nose and gives the baggy eyes to Vincent Bourdin like “What eees theees raw?”
Nervous Nelly Ed from Boston actually described part of his dish as having “some nice cuttlefish.”
Yeah, there’s some girls up on 110th Street that have ‘nice cuttlefish.’ I don’t think Rippert wants that on a plate either.

Kevin’s- pan-seared Rouget with cuttlefish “noodles” had Dana Corwin aka Linda Hunt jabbing. She said it was interesting. I wondered if Dana could qualify as an umbrella for the flight back. Save on airfare, yo. Chef Willin Low (Owner of Wild Rocket Restaurant in Singapore) said he had never thought of pairing the pork belly and squid ink and it worked well.

Ed’s- stuffed Rouget, glazed bacon-wrapped slipper lobster & char-grilled cuttlefish with zucchini pesto was a beautiful yet full plate. Rippert asked Seetoh about the dish and he said it was very complicated, he needed a user’s manual, but he had to respect the effort. Seetoh is very gracious. And his website is dope:

Dusty’s- Asian-style Bouillabaisse over sautéed Rouget & poached cuttlefish was liked very much by Iggy. Bartolotta said Dusty’s was the dish you’ll remember.
Mr. B: “The dish that will just be Boom!”
Yeah, that’s the sound your bowels make when you and they realize he just fed you a gigantic glob of his Singapore Sickness. Where the hell was his Michael Jackson mask?!

In the Kitchen, Kevin said he was worried that he didn’t have time to make the next dish perfect. Michael V asked for “white trash tongs” to fish out the duck dumplings he was frying for his Chef Pal. Ed from Boston jokingly said he took offense to that but his serious face betrayed him.
Ed: “If my duck is overcooked, I’m done.”

In introducing his dish, Ed, sweaty, skin splotchy and malaria-colored, used the phrase: “super green spinach." Someone has low blood sugar.

Kevin’s- roasted duck breast, caramelized bok choy was called the best-cooked duck of the three. Dusty’s- duck breast & foie gras with cinnamon marshmallow & tart cherry shooter to cleanse the palate was adored but Bartolotta and Iggy announced that the cherry shooter didn’t belong. I believe someone actually said out loud: “What am I supposed to do with this?”
Ed’s- duo of duck: roasted breast & braised stuffed neck with baby spinach was loved by Monty. She dug the super green spinach (you don’t have to repeat him, honey) in contrast to the smoky duck neck. Chef Andre Chiang (Owner Jann Par Andre- one of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants) liked the layers of flavors. Rippert said what they had done was remarkable and it didn’t surprise him that those three were in the finals.

In the Kitchen Ed thought Ilan (he pronounced it “Al-ahn”) could have got a little more intricate with the sticky toffee date cake. There wasn’t much too it.
Nope. Just looks like brown cake to me.
As he schlepped brown cake on to a plate with a plop of cream, he also thought the whipped cream might be too salty. Meanwhile Kevin and Michael V served fruit and coconut panna cotta INSIDE a gorgeous hollowed out dragonfruit. Yah.

Pause Moment! Bourdin’s forehead wrinkle at Kevin’s dragonfruit dish! That pastry chef did not look pleased. Meanwhile Ed’s appeared to be one of those dollah loaf slices of gingerbread cake you get at the corner store (mine was called Sunrise. And one time I bought donuts from there and when I opened them—remember this, Mama!? A ROACH popped out. The best part was Mama was close to me and said: “Gd! That roach was pregnant too!” How did she know?!)
Now I must ask, what is intriguing about Ed’s dessert? The dollop of melty Cool Whip?

Kevin’s- frozen “Singapore Sling” 2010 with tropical fruits and coconut panna cotta was deemed a triumph. Everyone agreed there was more to it than met the eye. (Transformers!) They all smacked their lips as Iggy said “he just created our national dessert.” Hot damn, that’s a compliment and a half.
Dusty’s-“Thai jewel” coconut-vanilla cream & crushed ice with exotic fruits and saffron syrup was really comforting (I thought Gail was gonna have a orgasm during this entire course) and bordering on savory.
Ed’s-sticky toffee date cake? Gail thought it took some cajones.
Chang: “This dish is hilarious. It’s sort of like an eff you!”
They laughed.
Is it a- 'ha, now you got stomach cramps!' kinda eff you? Cause I don’t want that eff you dessert. Bartolotta loved the cake and the toffee but hated the salty cream. Colicchio liked that part.
Gail Loved that all three guys got down with the desserts and said this might have broken the TC dessert curse. She did not go farther and plug her TC Desserts series airing just after this ep. Her agent pouted as he watched in LA, wearing his Bluetooth earpiece and riding his stationary bike while getting a mani/pedi –I feel for that pedicurist.

As the chefs cleaned, Dusty said regardless of being sick he thought he was pretty dangerous. (In a contagious type way?)
Ed tasted Kevin’s food and thought it was awesome. Kevin tasted a little bit and said the mental and emotional pressure was stronger than it was before.
Michael V: “That was the second best food I’ve ever seen on TC.
Ha ha!
Kevin: “Aww, this MF.”
Yes, you MF. You gorgeous, arrogant, MF. Now get over here and bake my bagel.
They high fived and then the cheftestants (the last time I will use that word) went to the front of the dining room. Everyone applauded forever. Monty raised a glass to Singapore and I raised my Grand Cru as well!

Here we go...
Dusty’s second course was called smart, they said he embraced the ingredients. Rippert liked the vegetables. Monty asked why the cherry puree was a palate cleanser, she said it “coated every corner of her mouth.” And red blooded men everywhere popped a chub.
Dusty said she should have gone back to the food and then back to the cleanser- Colicchio cut him off and said dishes shouldn’t come with so much instruction. Smack!

Ed’s duck showed skill and talent. Gail went on about his dessert: “It felt interestingly like you, 'I’m not gonna try to be anything I’m not and it’s not gonna look like much, but just eat it because you’ll enjoy it.'”
Ed: “Good to hear it.”
Colicchio: “I didn’t get that at all.”
Ow. Gail looked away slightly with her head and completely with her eyeballs -almost as if to say, I’m glad I’m doing TC Desserts, I need my own gig.
Colicciho: “If this is a close competition, which it is, that doesn’t make or break my day. It’s a dessert I’ll get at home.”
In your grocer’s freezer section, yo!
Ed: “What am I supposed to do…”
Um, you’re not supposed to TALK BACK! That’s what you’re Not supposed to do, Ed from Boston!
Colicchio looked like he was gonna take his belt off and beat some TC a**.
Ed: “…I wanted to make a lemon curd but I coulda just screwed the thing up 100% and it woulda been garbage.”
Oh Eddie you should feel lucky that they didn’t ask you who made that dessert. On dawgs, dawg.

Rippert wanted salt and spiciness in Kevin’s terrine. Gail generally didn’t like duck l’orange but enjoyed his. She also said she went to the place where the Singapore Sling was invented (aren’t all of youse you there now? ?) and said she would take Kevin’s.

Then Monty let them go to the Asian Stew Room.
I gotta say I dunno what the hell is gonna happen here...
At Judges’ Table
Gail said it was one of the best finales ever.
But...Dusty’s first dish wasn’t really vegetables. Kevin’s first course was timid. Ed’s corn and clam dish was spectacular. Colicchio said it showed his training.
In the second course, Ed’s dish was supposed to feature the Rouget. It did not. Kevin’s Rouget and combo was harmonious. Dusty’s seafood course was beautiful and the broth was lovely. (No one asked for the broth’s hand in marriage though.)
Dusty’s duck dish was good but the cinnamon (in the marshmallow) was misguided.
Coliccho: “Somewhere in there was a great dish.” Perhaps Colicchio will find it and steal it and we’ll see it on his menu.
Rippert said Ed’s duck was good. Colicchio thought it was slightly overcooked. Kevin’s was cooked the best.

Dusty’s dessert was yummy. Ed’s dessert shocked Rippert. Colicchio: “When he said what if he messed up the lemon curd, well, what if he messed up the duck?!” They all nodded and agreed.
Gail said Kevin’s dishes built up to a fruit punch. “Literally It was a fruit punch. It punched you with fruit.” Then the Hawaiian Punch guy came out and said anything more would be copyright infringement.

All three were very close but Monty said they had a clear winner…

In the “Who Do You Think Should Be Top Chef?” phone poll –
Angelo 26%
Ed 49%
Kevin 25%

Really?! Dayum. I still don’t know. I mean, who has more wins? Angelo.
Who has more recent wins? Ed from Boston.
Who talks the most shit? Ed from Boston.
Who yells loudest? Kevin.
Who took the cookies from the cookie jar? YOU!
Says who? Says me? Couldn’t be? Then who?
Annnnd we’re back!

Colicchio: “The Top Chef is the one who took the most risks and cooked the best meal.”
(I am gulping wine at this point!)
Then Menacing Music! Monty looked somber:
Ed stared at him.

Top Chef.”
His mouth dropped.
Kevin: “I am?”
They all hollered!
Stripes, Lucy, CC, Q and I are the Top Chef Pool Winners! WOOOHOOOO!

Ed: "Mr. Kevin is top Chef, I’m happy for him.” he said, not at all happy for him.
Kevin tried not to cry but there was some liquid in corner of his eyes.
Dusty said there was zero regret.
Kevin: “Jersey’s taking that belt home!”
Then Hung, Ilan and Michael V walked out with a tray of filled champagne glasses.
And, Hey, Indie Film Star Kelly is there in a cute yellow dress!
Ed said Kevin deserved it.
I think he came in under everyone's radar and snagged it. And so, sadly, I must ask LB, Holly and Jenna to pack their knives and go...

So, as Kevin sipped champagne and said he was proud to be the first African American Top Che-
Hold Up! Wait a Minute!
9pm, yo!
One clip: Tiffany: “When something is stolen, it’s a big deal.” CUT TO The Villain and his eyes popping out.
AWWWWW yeah, I shall be there with another bottle of Grand Cru (whaddaya think I only bought one?) and as long as I am there, you are too...

As always, thanks for playing, peeps!
Details about the next pool: The Next Iron Chef- to come soon! We already have 14 takers! Let’s hit half a G this time round!


  1. I'm behind you in line for Michael Voltaggio! (Don't tell CC.)

    Congrats on the win and thanks for another great season, Hotpockets!!

  2. You're very welcome, dahlink!
    We can share Michael V. I think he has the wandering eye anyway.
    But when it comes to Clooney there is No Sharing.

  3. So does this mean Kevin owes Padma a buck?

  4. Cause she helped him figure out how to use a wok?