Let’s be honest: We all went into last night’s finale thinking it would be a clear win for Stefan, but here in Washington everyone crossed their fingers and said a little prayer for our hometown girl, Carla. Hosea cruised into the finals only because the producers loved that he caused drama with Stefan, right?
Here’s the chefs’ challenge: Cook the best three-course meal of your life, and do it in the kitchen of the venerable New Orleans restaurant Commander’s Palace. Surprise, surprise—the cheftestants will have help. Casey, Marcel, and Richard, three also-rans from previous Top Chef seasons, saunter in. Stefan grabs Marcel to form Team Mean, Hosea goes for molecular-gastronomy whiz Richard, and Carla’s pumped to have Casey.
When the chefs begin to prep, Hosea tries to hoard all the foie gras, causing a shouting match with Stefan. Casey convinces Carla to cook a New York strip-loin sous-vide, a method using sealed plastic bags and a circulating water bath . . . and one that Carla’s never done. Eek, Carla—stick to your guns!
We get a quick clip of the chefs with a tarot-card reader, and Stefan murmurs something about stabbing voodoo dolls and Carla. Don’t hate the player, Stefan; hate the game.
The next day, Tom throws in a curve ball: The contestants have to cook a passed hors d’oeuvre, using one of three local ingredients, before the meal. Hosea gets to choose who cooks which surprise ingredient after he gets the piece of king cake with a baby in it. He chooses redfish, gives Carla blue crab, and forces the whole alligator on Stefan. But Stefan’s been cooking for 23 years, no problem.
When Padma asks each why he or she should win Top Chef, Stefan replies: “I deserve it.” Then Carla keeps on crying, and a little part of us dies. The judges promise her they love her food and tell Hosea he put together a steady meal. Stefan, says Tom, “had some really high highs and some really low lows.”
With Carla out of the running, the judges think exactly what we’re thinking: Stefan’s a cocky jerk, and Hosea should win. Who saw that one coming? Spike Mendelsohn, actually, when he came in for a chat with us after the first episode.
Leah runs up to Hosea and plants a wet one right on his lips. So not only does he take home $100,000, but he also gets the girl. It’ll be one good night for him. Take that, Stefan!
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