TOP CHEF RECAP: The Countdown To Stefan’s Anticlimactic Victory Continues


This is a Recap of Top Chef Season 5 Episode 11, entitled “The World’s Only Likable French Chef.” If you didn’t watch the episode, don’t read this, it contains many, many spoilers. “Stefan will win Top Chef this year,” for example.

Eric RipertFabio now has to win for his wife in addition to his ailing grandmother? What is this, Idol? Next week’s episode better not open with Fabio on the phone promising a victory to a crippled, wheezing orphan (“I-a gotta win-a dis competition for Little Giuseppe…”)

— All season, Bravo has been trying to make Stefan look like a jerk with his sound bytes, but he always comes off seeming like a completely ok dude, then this week, they showed a clip of the ‘humbled’ Stefan saying “I’m so glad to still be around, I feel so lucky!” and he seemed like a total d*ck.

eels– I enjoyed the technical fish-preparation Quickfire, but Iron Chef Japan already did the “Eels are disgusting” bit. Also, what a shocker that it came down to Stefan and Hosea as the final two with Stefan winning! This show is getting less and less predictable every week.

— My favorite quote of the night was Hosea talking about Stefan: “He’s been working with eels since he was like three, just another reason why he’s sooooo goood…” You’re right, Hosea — the fact that Stefan has a lot of cooking experience literally does mean that he is soooooo good at being a chef, which is also literally what the competition is measuring. Take that, Stefan!

— I’m sure the restaurant is great, but check out how hilariously dramatic the Le Bernardin website is. It’s like an underwater level from Mario 64.

After the jump, as Stevie Van Zandt would say, “IT’S ELIMINATTTTTTIONNNNNNNN TIIIIIIIIIMMMEEEE!!!!”

Jamie– My roommate predicted that Bravo would keep Leah around to prolong the Leah/Hosea drama, but I thought “no way, they already kept her on once because of that and they barely mentioned the tension this week, I think her time is up.” Wrong! No matter how badly Jamie screwed up, it couldn’t have been worse than Leah’s total not-caring through the entire episode that noticeably pissed Colicchio off.

— Regardless, Jamie is done, thus ending Team Rainbow (aka, Jamie and two dudes who got eliminated in the first episode’s opening credits). I do think she’s a better chef than both Fabio and Leah, but whatever, Bravo’s had an anti-gay bias since day one. I think they’re owned by Mormons.

— I loved Carla talking about all the “momentum” she had coming off last week’s win; Top Chef isn’t the frickin’ NHL playoffs, you’re not gonna win by like, sprinting into the kitchen and searing scallops really intensely. (Actually, Andrew confirmed this last year). Carla did end up in the top three, though, so maybe I am underestimating the role of momentum in food preparation.

Bernardin– The judges clearly tempered their praise when they were tasting the chefs’ food against the Le Bernardin plates; they didn’t want to just come out and go, “Wow, Stefan’s off-the-cuff dish is totally as good as your food, isn’t it, Eric Ripert? Eric? Isn’t the food Stefan eyeballed in two hours just as good as your time-tested restaurant recipe? Helloooo, you wanna answer me, Eric?”

— I didn’t mind the sort of technique-based ‘replicate our restaurant food’ challenge, but I’d be pissed if I were a chef and I got eliminated because I couldn’t cook someone else’s food properly. Ironic, too, that Jamie lost on a week where she didn’t attempt to mess up scallops.

Stefan again– Stefan’s prize for winning was to apprentice with Eric Ripert in three of his restaurants while staying in the Ritz Carlton then flying with him to the Food & Wine Festival in Colorado? Jeeeesus – that’s one Wave Runner short of a Price is Right Showcase.

— And finally…Pablo Escolar!!!! ZINGER FROM THE TOBE-MEISTER!!!! Remind me why Bravo keeps his mic on?


1) Stefan

Episode thoughts, Stefan or crazy non-Stefan predictions, and anything funny you noticed in the comments, as usual, please.

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