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Top Chef: New York, Semi-Finals Recap – The Euro Alliance Cracks


It’s worse, she only has a third of them shucked! Fabio doesn’t trust anyone to mix his drinks. Finn gets another smoke. Carla explains that she doesn’t drink, thus her non-alcoholic beverage. Carla, you are not drinking it!

Padma comes out in her costume and looks like she should be a countess or something. It’s just not human to look this good. She reveals that Gail has returned. Carla calls out to her. Tom and Emeril round out the judges. Bye, Toby. Having to recap you was like having to get a colonoscopy – it’s rather uncomfortable but something you just have to do.

Carla lends Jeff some cream, and Hosea needs an extra whisk. Didn’t I warn you! He will have to improvise. Carla calls to the others that while they all are asking her for stuff, no one has offered to help her shuck. Finn says he will in “one second, honey.” Carla speaks for all the ladies as she laments the common guy mantra – “one second, honey.”

Commercials – The Poll – what do you want to see in a future challenge – Snake, Cactus or Kangaroo? What is this going to be? Top Chef: Sydney?

Service – All of the guests file in wearing their outfits and masks. Fabio thinks it reminds him on an old porno movie. Hopefully one with no monkey ass. Jeff is amazed how the people are tearing into the food. He is not talking much and getting his game face on. His official menu:
Jeff – Fried Oyster with Spinach and Arugula. Cucumber Mojito and Crawfish Pot Au Crème.

Guests call it “yummy” and comment on the very green drink. Gail loves the drink. Tom likes how you can taste the cucumber. Emeril thinks Jeff is a refined cook and very smart.

Finn – He says that he is not going home because of effing gumbo. His menu again: Duck and Rabbit Gumbo with Grits. Apple Beignet with Pecan Brittle and a Black Cherry & Rum Cocktail. He has the rim of the glass covered in something that looks like sugar. Guests like the “stew” and think it all “works for them.” The judges are perplexed by the grits as gumbo is never really served with them. Gail thinks the grits are quite creamy. Emeril thinks the gumbo has all of the flavors right.

Fabio flirts with the ladies and gets a joking admonition from a husband. He gets a few high fives though. His menu again: Sausage and Rabbit Maque Choux with Grits, Crawfish & Crab Stew with Caserecci Pasta, Muffuletta Bread and a Bell Pepper Martini, also called a Trinitini. A guest says there is a parade in his mouth. I wonder if everyone is invited. I am now making Simpsons jokes from the 90s. Thank you. Gail likes the crawfish; Tom thinks it was all nice as does Emeril. Tom thinks something is missing and Emeril answers that “the heat” is missing.

Carla says that when she goes out she can only have water, so she wanted to send her love to the non-drinkers out there. She also hilariously gets a “hootie” from a guest. HOO! Her menu: Shrimp Andouille (sigh) Beignet with Creole Aioli, Oyster Stew with Potato, Bacon and Scallions, and her non-alcoholic Cranberry Spritzer. She tells the judges that she used Emeril’s seasoning. Tom thinks that was funny. Carla tells Emeril that she is used to Southern cooking and her food has soul. The guests seem to agree. Emeril raves that this meal is New Orleans inspired. Tom beams that if Emeril loved the beignet, he will love the stew. I agree that stew looked delicious! Gail says that she got big, plump and juicy oysters in hers.

Hosea thinks he has the most authentic gumbo. His meal: Duck, Andouille, and Chicken Gumbo with a cornbread muffin and rice, Pecan-crusted Catfish with sweet potatoes, bacon and a Tabasco buerre blanc, and a Hurricane with Grand Marnier and Rum. I must say that Hosea’ presentation looks awful to me – that gumbo may taste good, but it looks brown and ugly with a giant hockey puck on top. Hosea tells the judges that they got there just in time as he was running out of food. Guests say that it is “spicy,” “good” and that it is “hard to please” a native and one would assume that Hosea did. Emeril agrees and loves Hosea’s gumbo with the rice and that it captured the spirit of New Orleans.

The chefs get beads, kisses and some well-earned cocktails. Jeff wants to make a deal with the devil to get into the finals. Fabio is confident and Hosea is worn out and worried. Finn says that every family has their own gumbo in New Orleans so that makes it hard to please them.

Commercials – V8 makes soup now. Another one of their products I will be ignoring.

Judges Table. The five come in.

Jeff – he says that in Miami everyone drinks Mojitos. Gail says it was her favorite cocktail and that his crawfish was great. Emeril thought his oyster dish was wonderful and Gail agrees about the flavors. Tom thought it was nice that he made his own sausage, as Finn cringes.

Fabio – Emeril thought the Italian-influence Creole had great flavors. Gail liked the idea behind the dishes but holds back a bit. Fabio is starting to get worried. Padma loved the pasta but wishes it had “a little hint of heat.” Tom wanted more. Fabio asks about the drink. Padma thought it smelled fantastic, but the taste didn’t deliver. Fabio thinks that he needs to get more sweetness out of the pepper. Gail thinks it was way too sweet already. Tom agrees that more pepper flavor would have been good, but it was too sweet. Fabio likes it sweet.

Finn – Emeril comments about never seeing gumbo over grits before, but the grits were good. Gail liked the flavors, but it wasn’t deep enough. Emeril says that Finn also made a too sweet cocktail. Tom tells Finn that he appears very calm and overconfident. Finn shrugs it off – “If it works out, if not, then fine.” Tom doesn’t care for that.


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