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Top Chef: New York, Episode 11 – There Are No Eels In Colorado


Last course, Jamie’s black bass. She knows how to cook fish – but she has trouble with the celery. She has let is sit too long and the liquid over-reduced and is now too salty – she says at the time that it was awful. She must serve it – no choice anymore. She hopes it wasn’t too salty – oh, it was. Tom thinks it is “blanched out” and is a “salt lick.” Padma gags and Ripert and Toby also flinch. Tom thinks the fish is fine, but not as crisp. Toby thinks it is remarkably poor. He then whips out this week’s Crazy Toby Analogy – Jamie saw Ripert’s high wire act and thought she could do it and fell flat on her face without a safety net.

Commercials – Gerber purees – cute babies, crappy baby food.

Judges Table – After the chefs have a toast, Padma comes to get Fabio, Finn and Carla. Fabio high fives Leah and Finn gives Jamie a kiss. Hey, is Finn being nice?

Finn loves lobster and its flavors. Tom asks him if he thought it was easy and Finn stammers that he is just used to them because he grew up with them. Ripert complements the flavors and Tom thinks presentation was spot on, but the sauce was a bit thick.

Fabio loved the challenge. Ripert thought he would burn part of the bread. Tom thought it was flavorful and Toby thinks the fish was perfect. Carla loved it too. Ripert has a question about the béarnaise. It isn’t really a béarnaise. Carla calls it a bearuge. Or something like that. Hey, Glynis…what did she call it? Any idea? Carla totally breaks it down like an expert about how she put in the béarnaise and the veal stock and then whisked in butter. Toby thought the dish had a swagger and should be called Pablo Escolar. Sigh. Perhaps Vincent Chase could explain about how Medellin references don’t work in today’s pop culture. Of course, that would be tough since he’s a fictional character.

Carla totally impressed the judges with her analysis. I thought she was getting the win. Alas, it is Finn once again. He wins a week as Ripert’s shadow. Cool prize. That’s like getting acting lessons from Meryl Streep. Oh no! I just ERICed again!!! Fabio tells the others that “He won again!!” Finn sends back the others and now gives Leah a smooch. Hey, is Finn cool? Is this all editing? I am confused.

Hosea is somewhat surprised to be there, but never used the spice before so he was least looking forward to it. Ripert liked the sauce, but the fish was overcooked and the spice was too thick and overwhelming. Tom brings out the resting monkfsh. He let it rest for 90 seconds and knew it was a problem but had time issues. Tom is impressed that Hosea knew that, but you can see in his face that he was still disappointed in the execution. Hosea says he knows what he did wrong.

Leah explains that she mixed up lemon, butter and miso and mixed it up – with the hotness of the fish and broth, it made it greasy. She didn’t know how to fix it. She asks Ripert for explanation. They mix it with lemon and dilute it. Tom says it was subtle and without understanding it, there’s a problem. Toby didn’t have enough miso and says he had a lump of boring fish and some is still stuck in his teeth. Tom brings up the Quickfire surrender – does she want to give up? No, she doesn’t. She tap dances a bit, but clearly she just got frustrated and Tom is simply fishing here. No pun intended.

Jamie is not surprised – she knows about the salt issue. Ripert agrees and Jamie explains the over-reduction as it tasted fine earlier. Padma admits that she would have sent it back if she could – “it wasn’t appetizing to look at or to eat.” Ouch, that is hard to overcome. Toby calls out a rogue element in the sauce – with a metallic or burnt aftertaste that made the whole thing toxic and made him not want to eat it. It is clear here that two of the four judges are going to vote out Jamie – so she knows she’s doomed. She does think she got the sauce down, Tom asks if she knows what she was doing, and she admits that she did, but it was too late to fix the problems. Jamie and Leah each think they are out.

Padma thinks this was a tough, compelling challenge. Tom says Hosea should have seared the fish before spicing it. He missed it during lunch. He also hits Hosea on knowing the obscure monkfish sit rule and still didn’t leave enough time. Ripert thinks it was cooked furthest away from the others, Toby thinks the sauce was done well. Hosea wants credit for having not done the dish before.

Leah gets hit from Ripert for misunderstanding the dish. Tom is amazed she used butter – the dish clearly had no fat and thinks Leah’s head is not in the game, why should she stick around?

Jamie knew the problems, but Toby thinks she understood what was wrong. Tom wants to know what is worse – knowing what is wrong and not fixing it, or not understanding it at all. Good question. They lament in the Stew Room some more about who was hated more –as Jamie sits on Fabio’s lap. The six of them are acting so strangely this episode!

Commercials – Got me, after losing half my article after deleting the show from DVR and tossing my notes, I am watching a second recording that cuts off during these final commercials. This episode was clearly jinxed.

If I recall correctly, Tom sums up by telling Hosea that he got the fish wrong, Leah for not knowing what she was doing and Jamie for basically making an inedible dish. Padma knifes Jamie and everyone is sad. Padma tells her it was an honor meeting her and eating her food. I will miss the Scallop and Liquids Queen as she packs her knives and goes. She marks the end of Team Rainbow – clearly blowing away her teammates in performance. She has learned a lot about cooking and about dealing with people.

Next week – or in this case…tomorrow. The last elimination before the Finale. Tom doesn’t want to be embarrassed and Fabio wants to get his finger back.


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