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Top Chef: DC – Finale Part 1 – The Meal That Made Everyone Smile


First things first – many thanks for SusanF’s guest spot last week and for producing a great article. Your tangents were lots of fun to go on with you, Susan! I’ll see if I can get an homage somewhere in this week’s.

Secondly, while I loved my family vacation on the Disney Cruise Line – and I actually met someone who is friends with Amazing Race 1 Winner Brennan, seriously – I was a bit sad to have missed this episode. There were tons of great things to write about, including Top Chef’s upset win over The Amazing Race for the Emmy. After seven years, if my favorite reality show had to finally lose, I am glad one of my other favorite shows got to do it. Plus it was fun seeing Tom, Padma, and Gail on the stage looking jubilant.

Third, the episode itself was lots of fun. Having just visited NASA in Houston this month, I was bummed to miss the NASA episode. Plus, Anthony Bourdain is always full of awesome. I am deliberately trying to avoid addressing the departure of Tiffany. Tough one – you can almost accept being knifed when you screw up (like serving raw fish at a baseball game, Amanda!), but when the judges are forced to do a Nitpick Elimination, that’s tough to accept. As we will see from this week, another chef will learn about that hard way.

The Finale begins with this extra long episode. OK, Susan, here you go. After an overly long vacation and the inevitable pitfalls of returning to work, my mind has been a bowl of Sbarro’s tapioca. Couple that with my obsessive quest to finish Stieg Larsson Millennium series, I have lost all track of time. So at 1:30 am last night as I closed “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” for good, I realized, “Damn, today’s Wednesday!” So thanks to the wonders of modern technology, $2 got me the episode on Itunes, and a quick transfer to my Iphone (where’s my endorsement check, Mr. Jobs?), I was able to watch on my lunch break today.

Anyway, DC is no longer part of the show, it is now Top Chef: DC…from Singapore. I half expected Carol and Brandy (Crandy from AR16) to be bitching about their U-Turn some more. But instead we get Ed, Angelo, Kevin and Kelly (You guys made the finals, so I am giving you back your names) walking around a fairly awesome Food Center marketplace. Ed and Angelo are sweating more than Albert Brooks delivering the weekend news.

Seetoh, the leading authority on food in Singapore, is leading them around from tiny booth to tiny booth. Having actually watched the show before, I knew Padma and a Quickfire was lurking somewhere. I am still amazed when the chefs don’t see it coming. And here, yet again, they don’t. Oh, and I think our leading food authorities should use only one name. Oh wait…

Quickfire – At the end of the tour, Padma and Seetoh spring on them that they must make their own version of Singapore street food. However, they must only cook with a wok. Incredibly, Kevin says he has never cooking with a wok. Padma finds out and laces into him a bit “What’s wrong with you…You’re coming to Singapore to win $125,000…I know because I told you about it.” Word, Padma. Oh, and is she wearing the same dress that she wore to pick up the Emmy?

I mean, it wasn’t a surprise when they landed in Singapore. Kevin wasn’t like, “Whoa, I thought we were going to Seattle.” He knew he was cooking in Asia. Perhaps learning to cook with Asian cooking equipment was a good idea. Or am I crazy? I know, both.

The big problem for them is that all the ingredients are spread out for them, but labeled in Cantonese. Kelly cooks via taste anyway, so she is ok. Angelo touts his skills with the wok – it’s all about the flame. The night is hot and sticky and I think Ed and Angelo are adding their own secret ingredient to their dishes. Angelo lies that he prefers “cooking on the edge” instead of having immunity. He also changes his ingredient at the last minute to frog’s legs. Let’s see how that works…


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