Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Live Blogging - Top Chef Season 5: Episode 12

Unsurprisingly, Fabio wins the elimination challenge and with it a bottle of Terlatto wine and a trip to their vineyard in Napa. Carla quickly joins him, equating herself to the slow-starting tortoise who's finally close to taking the lead. Padma and Co. give Leah the axe, leaving Carla as the final female chef in the competition. Next weeks the chefs meet up with Emeril in New Orleans with make-overs galore (Carla's straight hair! Fabio's mohawk!), and Gail is finally back from her extended honeymoon. I certainly can't wait, so until next week, I'll channel Leah and just say "Peace out, bitches!"

Padma asks the entire gang back to judges' table this week, the last one before they move down to New Orleans. The judges reiterate their comments at dinner, with Stefan, Hosea, and Leah all receiving mixed reviews and Carla and Fabio grabbing all of the praise. With those two sealing their spots in the final four, the other three chefs must all try to avoid elimination. In terms of feedback, Stefan should go home, but he's been too consistent for them to send him home over this, so I think we'll see one of the ex-lovebirds going home after the break.

Fabio's gimp hand definitely makes his meal preparation a little more difficult, but if he quits he'll be going home for sure, so he really doesn't have an option. I'm kind of disappointed by the lack of drama tonight, and when Tom comes into the kitchen and makes the chefs promise not to embarrass him, I have the sinking feeling that someone will. The dining room looks bizarre, with the judges and diners at one long table that is illuminated like a haunted house. The reaction to Leah's eggs is tepid to say the least. Surprisingly, Stefan fouls out with his overcooked salmon, which will definitely surprise him at judges' table. The mediocre reviews continue with Hosea, and there are problems with virtually every aspect of his shrimp scampi and tomatoes provencal. Fabio hits a homerun all around with his chicken and potatoes, easily taking the top spot with just Carla to go. If he got first place, Carla is a close second, with her peas earning much acclaim.

These meals all seem relatively simple, and coincidentally each chef has been paired with the meal that they are probably most comfortable with. Hosea gets shrimp scampi; Carla takes squab and peas; Leah picks eggs benedict; Fabio is paired with roast chicken and potatoes, and Stefan definitely feels confident with salmon, yet again. I'm still sure that at least one of them will completely blow their shot at the final four, most likely Leah. The calm episode takes a definite turn for the worse, though when Fabio cuts and breaks his finger. He refuses to go to the hospital and bravely soldiers on. That's the spirit!

We're down to five, and with only two weeks until the finale, the competition is closer than ever. The chefs have an hour for this week's quickfire, employing molecular gastronomy to create an innovative egg dish. I love eggs, and they're so underrated, so I'm excited to see what they come up with. Carla's interpretation of green eggs and ham looks delicious, and Hosea definitely took a risk with his tempura-fried whole egg. He's in the bottom, though, with Leah and Fabio, who doesn't hold back in letting us know that he's "pissed." Carla and Stefan both continue their hot streaks, and Carla grabs yet another win. The chefs then draw knives, each with the name of a culinary superstar, and they have to prepare the "last supper" for him or her. As the winner, Carla has the opportunity to switch with any of the other contestants, but she sticks with Jacques Pepin, apparently because of their mutual love of peas.

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