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Top Chef: New York, Finale Recap – The Final Battle of the Bald Men and Their Hairy Sous Chef


They will each eat a piece of King Cake and whomever gets the piece with the little baby figurine in it will pick their ingredient and assign the other two to the competition. I was thinking this was weird, but my wife finished Tom’s sentence for him so I guess it isn’t that obscure of a tasty treat. Anyway, Hosea gets the baby and amusingly has the baby say hello to everyone in a confessional. I must admit that it was here in that confessional that I guessed the outcome.

Hosea takes the red fish and to no one’s surprise gives Carla the crab and Finn the gator. Hosea says that if Finn is going to win he will have to earn it, and Finn says he knew the gator was coming his way.

Finn gets the gator and whacks off the tail where the most meat will be. Oh, and the inside of an alligator? Really gross. Carla gets bitten by the crab in the creature’s last throws of life – or perhaps in an autonomic reflex. That’s right…I went back to 10th grade Bio just now.

Menu teasers:
Hosea is making – Trio of Sashimi/Scallops & Foie Gras with Pain Perdu/Vension loin with wild mushrooms. He is bypassing the dessert because it is not his strong suit and smartly does not want a weak dish to be the last thing the judges taste from him. By the way…Pain Perdu is basically French Toast.

Finn is making – Halibut and Salmon Carpaccio/Squab with Braised Red Cabbage and Schupfnudeln/Ice Cream and Chocolate Mousse with Vanilla Syrup and Lollipops. Finn says that he wants dessert after his meals. And interestingly enough, while dessert usually is a deathblow on this show, Finn and Carla have actually been fairly successful with desserts this year. Oh, and schupfnudeln is a totally made up word.

Actually, it’s a homemade German potato noodle. I personally prefer my reality shows with schadenfreude.

Carla is making – Seared Snapper with Saffron Aioli and Crouton/Sous-vide New York Strip Steak, Potato Rod and Merlot Sauce/Cheese Tart with Apple Coins and Marmalade. Hang on…no she isn’t. Casey convinces her to change it to a Blue Cheese Soufflé. Good idea?

Finn explains that in order to get his salmon slices thinly for the Carpaccio he will need to freeze it first. Uh oh. Marcel agrees with me – “You take a nice fresh piece of fish and freeze it? That’s your decision, not mine.”

Commercials – More Diet Dr. Pepper. In honor of their pimping this season, I thought I’d give them one more shout out.

Oh When the Saints Go Marching In! Oh, when Fabio comes marching in! Fabio is a judge? I don’t care much for that – the finals is a bit too important for a just eliminated contestant to be chiming in. Also there…Ti Martin, the proprietor of Commander House. Padma in a stunning evening gown thanks all of the judges for attending.

In the kitchen, plating is taking place. Hosea’s hands are shaking as usual as he tries to plate a rather precise appetizer balanced on the bottom of an upside down glass. Richard steps up and takes over.

Other judges – Susan Spicer, the chef/owner of Bayona. Hosea says she is legendary. John Besh, the chef/owner of August. Hosea calls him a “total bad ass.” I find it endearing that Hosea is such a chef fanboy. It may make up for the whole cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater thing. Rocco DiSpirito is there as usual. Dude needs a new gig. Hubert Keller, the chef/owner of Fleur DeLys in San Francisco is there with his crazy mullet. Hosea’s heart is pumping.

Hosea’s appetizer – Blackened Red Fish on Corn Cake with Creole Remoulade and Micro Cilantro. Mullet likes it. Besh thinks the red fish was complemented and the tastes jumped out. Mullet thinks it showed great imagination.

Finn’s appetizer (after some more trash talk from his confessionals) – Alligator Soup with Celeriac, parsley leaves and puff pastry. I guess you drink it down without a spoon. Rocco thinks it is fantastic. Mullet liked the puff pastry. Fabio thought Finn did a great job.

Carla’s appetizer – served on a little spoon – Shiso Soup with Blue Crab and Chayote Thai Salsa. After a recording glitch from my crappy Comcast DVR, I hear Ti say it was well cooked. Susan thinks there was something nice about the flavors. Branford Marsalis – seriously, he is a judge here – says you can taste the crab and it “hits you in all the flavors.” Tory McPhail – the executive chef at Commanders, and another judge – liked it too.

The chefs prepare their first course and Richard suggests to Hosea that they plate in the walk-in. Another in the long list of great Richard ideas. Padma re-introduces the judges and adds Gail and Toby to the list.

First Course
Finn – Smoked Salmon and Halibut Carpaccio with Micro Greens, Citrus Vinaigrette and American Caviar and a Fennel Salad

Carla – Seared Red Snapper over Saffron (Ilan shout out!) Aioli, Braised Fennel and Grilled Clam on Crouton
Hosea – Trio of Raw Fish – Tuna, Hamachi and Black Bass Sashimi with Fennel Oil, Citrus and Fried Tempura Bits. And I think he said a candy kumquat as well.


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