Top Chef recap: Famous Last Meals

The last five cheftestants prepare a ''dying wish'' meal for some of the greatest minds in the culinary world in their last New York-based challenge before embarking to New Orleans. Plus: Could Fabio be any more adorable?
Ep. 12 | Aired Feb 11, 2009

CARLA KICKS BUTT The quirky chef's simple, yet consistently delicious dishes secure her a place in the final four.

Okay, so Leah's gone. Finally. Let's face it, we're all feeling good about this elimination — I would not be happy to have a Lisa 2.0 in the final four this season — but it didn't make for a super-thrilling elimination. After all, how can I focus on this not-too-surprising ouster when there was so much more excitement during last night's episode?: Fabio's broken finger! Carla's amazingly accurate tortoise impression! Wylie Dufresne's sideburns! Regardless, I'm glad Top Chef realized that this was Leah's week to pack her knives and go home, and didn't opt to send Stefan away for his overcooked salmon. Because really, Stefan's got this whole thing in the bag, doesn't he (unless Carla's tortoise manages to rapidly sneak up on his hair-less hare!)?

Let's begin, shall we? The judge for this week's quickfire was Wylie Dufresne, a renowned molecular gastronomy-inspired chef, who instructed the chefs to cook a proper egg. And while four of the chefs ran off to the kitchen to cook their complex, clever variations of an egg — a panna cotta resembling yolk, a quail egg with brioche, an egg braised in monkey ass — Carla decided to stray away from molecular gastronomy and prepare an egg dish inspired by Dr. Seuss: green eggs and ham (fitting, considering Carla looks like she was plucked right out of Whoville). Hosea, for one, scoffed at Carla's dish — but then again, the man's insulting everyone from Stefan to homeless puppies these days, so maybe no one's immune to his ire — but that was before Scrunchy McAwesomeface nabbed the quickfire win. Yep, Wylie, a man who can cook and has a sense of humor (ladies?), loved Carla's dish and awarded her the prize over Stefan, who, admittedly, kicked ass with his poached egg in brioche and panna cotta with mango puree. The bottom-dwellers? Hosea, whose Japanese egg trio didn't fuse together well, and Fabio, who decided to cook an egg-inspired dessert because he wasn't comfortable cooking a breakfast dish.

Time for the elimination challenge! Padma instructed the chefs to pull knives, which were plastered with the following names: Lidia Bastianich, Marcus Samuelsson, Susan Ungaro, Jacques Pépin and Wylie Dufresne. The challenge? Cook what these famous chefs would desire for their last meal. Now, maybe I'm channeling my inner conspiracy theorist too much, but I'm beginning to think they sliced open the hands of our cheftestants, inserted a special magnet, brought them to the knife block, and released them. How else do you explain the Scandinavian Stefan drawing Marcus, a chef from Sweden? Or Fabio drawing Lidia, a chef who specializes in Italian cooking? Or Hosea drawing Susan, a chef who loves seafood? Or Carla drawing Jacques, a chef who's quirky enough to wear a bow tie and shares her affinity for peas (''I think Jacques and I are two peas in a pod...haha!'' Cue: nose scrunch!)? That left Leah with Wylie, who, unfortunately, didn't care too much for her quickfire dish, and is seemingly immune to her feminine wiles.

But before our chefs could begin cooking, they took a trip to Whole Foods, where Leah bombed her audition for Supermarket Sweep (who has to ask someone where to find butter and eggs in a supermarket?!). During their shopping trip and journey back to the kitchen, our chefs were flipping for joy over their challenge, which might explain how Fabio managed to bend his finger all the way back and break it as he was preparing his dish. Of course, Fabio has yet to save the princess this season, so he would never dare to accept defeat. When a medic asked him if he would like to go to the hospital, he responded with a resounding no, and said the following in his confessional: ''Hospital? I'll chop it off and sear it on the flat-top so it doesn't bleed anymore, and tomorrow, I will deal with nine finger.'' This isn't, however, a Japanese game show, so Fabio wisely decided to keep his finger attached to his hand, even if it gave him trouble slicing and dicing his ingredients. (His response to his nine-fingered struggles? ''I got so many kick in my ass that sometime when I'm in the bathroom I still poop shoe out of my ass.'') Other things to note about the goings-on in the Top Chef kitchen: Carla talked about the difficulty of cooking her meat perfectly, Hosea mentioned that there was no possible way for him to screw up his dish (If only there was some wood to knock on — maybe he should have called Leah over to help him out?), and Tom begged the chefs to not embarrass him at the dinner (sad that this mediocre season has gotten to this point, eh?).

NEXT PAGE: Judgment Day

Latest Videos

Advertisement