Top Chef
Season 2 Finale, Part I

Episode Report Card
Keckler: B- | Grade It Now!
The Poke's On You

In New York, Ted Ilan brings us to Café Mono, where he's continued to work and cook Spanish food. Hey, did you know Ted Ilan cooks Spanish food? I didn't know Ted Ilan cooked Spanish food! Imagine that. He must use a lot of paprika and SAFFRON when he cooks Spanish food. Whatever. Ted Ilan's boss appears to like and appreciate him, but the camera doesn't show us if he's crossing his fingers behind his back or not. Ted Ilan has done some studying up on Hawaiian food, "Not too much, though, because I don't wanna try to learn too many new things that I wouldn't be completely comfortable with." Yeah, it's much better to keep doing the same old saffron old. Ted Ilan packs his knives. He wants to win. He thinks he's deserves it. You know what he deserves? To be sent back to 1985 when wearing multiple watches up your arm was actually cool. Furthermore, retro '80s fashion is only cool if you were old enough to remember it.

Elsewhere in New York, Son of Sam -- head newly shorn but still slightly greasy and pubes-y -- takes baking and pastry lessons from a three-star pastry chef who used to work for Colicchio. Sam, would you please OPEN YOUR MOUTH when you SPEAK? Son of Sam is willing to clean the kitchen or wash dishes to learn pastry from Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez at Lassi. Carlucci-Rodriguez tells us that Son of Sam has no ego in the kitchen. I'd believe that. He certainly has never come across as egotistical. Just angry. And passive. And lock-jawed. Sam jaw-clenches out something about a wave and "to the top," but I don't really feel like deciphering it. Son of Sam fills his bag with Asian ingredients. I can see organic udon noodles, chili-garlic sauce from the makers of Sriracha, and wasabi. He also has packets of seaweed. Apparently, no one told Sam Hawaii was an island. Actually, more to the point, if he had done his research, he would have learned of the heavy Japanese influence in Hawaii. Ala Moana Shopping Center alone has shop upon shop of Japanese products. Of course, that's in Oahu not Big Island, but it's not like Oahu is the only island that has a Japanese influence. On the other hand, maybe they aren't going to allow the cheftestants to do any shopping while they're there? Why am I suddenly so worried about Sam's ingredients?

At LAX, the cheftestants board their Continental flight for Kona. Dammit, I miss Hawaii! Sam and Elia are the first to arrive and learn they are all seated in first class. They also seem to have boarded the plane way ahead of everyone else because the plane is entirely empty. However, I think it was pointed out that since having cameras aboard an in-flight plane is illegal, all of this was completely staged. Like everything else on this damn show. Ted Ilan arrives with a tiny Louis Vuitton attaché -- no, I'm sorry, attaché is too manly a term for that thing. I don't even know what it is -- it's tiny and Vuittoned and so weird. It looks like a suitcase for an American Girl doll. It's the "Meet Paris: a rabid socialite girl" model. She comes with fifteen credit cards, a home waxing kit, and an eating disorder.

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Top Chef




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