Top Chef
Season 2 Finale, Part I

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

Meanwhile in the Krapmore Kitchen, one of Ted Ilan's pots flares up. He yanks it off the burner and asks, "What's up with that?" while Marcel laughs at him. Ted Ilan puts the flaming pot on the flagstones, and Marcel suggests, "Ilan, you should have done that for the flambé challenge." Heh. Ted Ilan next asks if someone could stop turning a burner to low. "Yeah," Marcel responds. It's not clear if Marcel is just saying "yeah" because he was the one turning it to low or just to signal that he heard Ted Ilan's request, which, by the way is not any different than when Marcel asked people to keep the walk-ins closed in the last episode. Ted Ilan tells us that everyone is annoyed by Marcel attitude of superiority and adds, "When we all know -- and even he knows -- that he's not." Elia next bitches that someone moved her steamer. Marcel admits he moved it, that he told her he was going to move it, and that there wasn't any heat under it. Elia bitches to us, "I had my hand-crafted steamer going on, and Marcel moved it because he wanted to put his pot. There's a difference between not being polite and not respecting the dynamics in the kitchen." Hon, no dynamics in any professional kitchen would say that you can call dibs on a burner that isn't turned on or being used. Even Colicchio says as much in his blog. Elia adds, "I couldn't put up with it any more. Classic Marcel's behavior." Well, maybe you should just go home then. Oh, right, you do!

The tropical night darkens and guests arrive. Wearing pale green taffeta sheathes -- not grass skirts -- hula dancers undulate and sway like coconut saplings. As the cheftestants continue to cook, the guests are laid away and seated. Food flurry with ten minutes left. Elia had originally wanted to sear her poke fish cubes -- to put her own spin on the dish -- but is now realizing she's running out of time and can't do it. Well, good, because poke really should be raw. Weirdo. Food flurry accompanied by frantic Hawaiian drum beats. The judges arrive. Miss Hawaii looks around her. Time's up.

Chef Wong welcomes all his guests and explains the cheftestants' Elimination Challenge to them. Ted Ilan tells us that when it came time to serve, he didn't have everything ready. The judges come up to Son of Sam as he serves up his first course. He tells us he's freaking out and his nerves are shot. Son of Sam explains that his opakapaka poke -- I want to call it opokepoke -- has been prepared with yuzu, canola oil, sesame, ginger, onion, and garlic and is served with sea beans "to keep the saltiness of the ocean running throughout the dish." The judges take their opokepoke back to their table and eat. Chef Wong says, "This could pass in Hawaii, it's poke." Gail really likes the addition of sea beans. Elia tells us that she tasted Son of Sam's dish and found it good but not amazing. She likes her poke better. Too bad the judges won't agree. Colicchio seems to be having some reflux because he comments that he's still tasting the raw shallots. Take a Tums, dude, and shut up already. Son of Sam next brings over his dessert course. It's his take on the haupia Chef Wong served them the day before. We didn't get to see that dish, but I'm pretty sure Ted Ilan is doing one as well. Son of Sam's haupia is composed of a mascarpone (Sam pronounced it correctly!) mousse that he's attempted to quenelle -- except that the humidity is ruining the classic egg shape -- and Hawaiian salted coconut milk, garnished by a citrus tuile (thin and delicate cookie). The guests enjoy Sam's haupia so much, they ask for more. Son of Sam tells us he took a risk by salting the coconut milk and that Elia told him she overheard some guests saying it was too salty. However, Sam points out, other guests wanted seconds, so it's anybody's guess. Also, Son of Sam should take into consideration that Elia's a bitch.

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