TOP CHEF FINALE RECAP: The Singapore Food-Slingers

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This is a Recap of Top Chef D.C. (Season 7), Episode 12, Part 1 of the Finale, originally airing September 8, 2010. D.C. now gives way to D-Cingapore. What? Just move on from this Italics part.

Welcome to Singapore! The culinary capital of the area right around Singapore! Your host for the Finale will be Seetoh, the Asian Cee-Lo, and owner of the lamest lower-third of the entire season:

“King of Street Food” — it’s like being the King of Pop, but homeless.

Cee-Lo takes the chefs around to different street food stands and introduces them to the many spices and styles of Singaporese (Singaporian? Singlish? Gotta be Singlish) cuisine, and in the middle of their little food jaunt, the chefs encounter Padma. Oh no, a twist! Bravo didn’t just send them to Singapore to chill and look at that modern-ass skyline building!

The chefs will be cooking in a street space “smaller than some solitary jail cells” (but no jail cells in Singapore because it is an awesome country that is awesomely sponsoring all of this) and using Singapore’s “most popular cooking tool,” the G.E. GE-inator. The ingredients are labeled in Cantonese, and the chefs quickly realize that this Finale is gonna involve a number of hurdles:

After the jump, the Quickfire gets underway, then the Elimination Challenge gets underway, then one of the chefs gets sent on-der-way. Ow. OWWWWW. The awful jokes are also having their Finale.

The chefs are doing their best to learn Singlish cuisine on the fly but they’re being slowed down because they have to taste every ingredient before using them. The labels on the foods aren’t helping:

Kelly knows the trick to Malaysian food, saying “You can definitely taste the different cultures… A dish that looks Chinese will have a Malaysian or an Indian twist to it. Also I have never eaten Kung Pao Chicken. Now disregard my first sentence.” Angelo picks up frog legs with only a minute forty-five to go, which was a really risky move by Bravo to edit that “running out of time” footage so implausibly — there’s no way he decided on a protein and cooked it in the final minute. Also, Kevin has never used a wok before and Padma bites his head off, and isn’t blown away by his head.

All this adds up to Ed winning the Quickfire for his Stir Fry Noodles with Black Pepper Sauce, Lobster and Gai Lan, and earning a direct route to the Finals, a Top Chef first. How high do you like THEM stakes?

We’ll get to the Elimination Challenge in a second, but first, some scenes from The Beach:

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs will be working as a team to cook Singapore-inspired food for a bunch of non-locals at a Food And Wine Magazine event. Step One – Shoppin’ where the locals shop:

The chefs decide to each make one dish, because any time anyone on Top Chef makes two dishes, the Judges tell them they should’ve just stuck with their one good dish, so this decision makes total sense. Tom then hears of this one-dish tomfoolery (which he calls “MEfoolery”) and his jaw drops:

The chefs scramble to add another dish to their menu, even though Immunity Ed ovah heah declares “I was planning for two dishes all along.” Wait, you’re the d*ck now (dawg)? I’m so confused. Ed proceeds to make a bunch of really catty comments to Angelo, which he believes is what a sarcastic personality is, then bumps him twice in the kitchen for bitchy measure:

Angelo is pumped up, declaring “The spark in the forest has been set and those plants are gonna be burning.” Is that a reference to napalming Southeast Asians during Vietnam? I hope not. Angelo’s just riled up because he’s in Asia and he wants to MARRY it.

While cooking, Kelly suffers another setback when she grossly cuts her hand:

The chefs then encounter yet another “having nothing to do with how good of a chef you are” hurdle and have to convey their serving instructions to a bunch of really confused waiters who don’t speak English:

The waiters eventually pull it together, and the chefs’ dishes are complimented by the judges across the board, virtually free of criticism, and the judges seem exceptionally wowed by Ed’s fried banana fritter. Tom later calls it the “Perfect stoner food.” Also the perfect stoner food? Anything.

Food And Wine’s Dana Corwin continues actually being a human this season, and proposes a toast to the Final Four:

At Judges’ Table, the judges admit they have to resort to nit-picking in order to come to a verdict, and nit-pick they do: Angelo’s soup is suddenly too salty and more of a sauce than a soup, Kelly’s soup didn’t really make use of the fish and her guava apple salad should’ve been incorporated into her dish more, and Kevin’s dishes are slightly underspiced and his main course could’ve used more texture.

REWIND TO EIGHT SECONDS AGO – Every Judge: “Wow this food is amazing I love it all!!!” BACK TO PRESENT.

Ed scores the win for his fritters and his Crispy Rice and Potato Cakes, Sweet and Sour Pork, and Kai Lan, and double-advances to the Finale. He actually overshoots the Finale and ends up in the first episode of Season 8. Dag nabbit!

Padma’s Finale Dress congratulates him:

The loser, not totally surprisingly, is Kelly. She takes it well though, forcing a really creepy smile:

Angelo does not take it well:

The Finale will be Ed, Angelo, and Kevin. Other than Angelo — who I predicted from the get-go would be the token “Seem Really Good But Won’t End Up Winning” guy and now I’m thinking he might actually be the underdog and win — I was way off on my calls, and wouldn’t have pegged Ed or Kevin as potential winners earlier in the season. I basically had no clue what was happening at any point this season, and I still don’t. I commend Bravo on a legitimately unpredictable season that wasn’t just unpredictable because good people got voted off. But I still have my money on Tiffany.

Are you excited for the finale? Angelo sure is:

Kelly elimination thoughts? Predictions for the winner? Thoughts on the Singapore Finale? Comment away in the comments. Only one more episode to go, then it’s a dark dark winter of… far more exciting NFL Football and all major network shows.

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