Top Chef
Season 2 Finale, Part II

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So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

In the kitchen, more trouble. Marcel is plating his salad, and his isolinear teardrop thingies aren't working. They've gone completely hygroscopic and limp. It's a mess. All Marcel can present is a sad cucumber, Bibb lettuce, and radish salad with a yuzu and lime vinaigrette. The judges are perplexed. "I have to tell you this is delicious for someone in culinary school," Michelle Bernstein whines. Conant doesn't see what the point is in such a course. Colicchio reveals that Marcel was working on the isotope teardrop thingies, but "they're not here." Really? They're not?

In the kitchen, even more trouble. The fish course is up next, but there is no fish. Literally: no fish. Mike tells us, "He's looking at us -- 'Where's the FISH?!' Man, I'm not playing for a hunnerd grand, you are. You tell me where the fish is!" We get a shot of some hotel pans in the walk-in of the Hilton's main kitchen. Sam riffs the dish and tells Marcel how he can put out the dish without the fish. Shades of Crying Dave. Sam tells us that being in the kitchen with Marcel was "an absolute disaster," but he did the best he could to make sure Marcel would win. The fish dish ends up going out fishless. Marcel introduces the hearts of palm, maitake mushrooms, and sea beans with kaffir lime sauce, and explains that it's a substitution because he doesn't have his Kona-Kampachi. After he leaves, Conant says, "I gotta tell you, I wouldn't have said anything about this course because it's perfectly fine as it is." Damned if you do, damned if you don't. If Marcel hadn't explained, Colicchio would have tattled on him because he's already been briefed on all the dishes. All the judges agree that it's a good dish, and Roy jokes that Marcel should have told them he forgot the fish for the radish salad. "It's dancing on my tongue," Michelle Bernstein says, which makes me groan. Dufresne repeats that the salad doesn't need any kampachi at all.

Kitchen. Marcel says his team "seemed to fall apart a little bit" as we get a placed shot of the Krapmore Pro insignia. It sort of makes them look like they're to blame for all of this. The beef course comes out. It's North Shore Strip Loin with Spring Garlic Purée, Crispy Taro Ball, and Micro-Greens. Isn't that the same garlic purée we've seen two other times in this show? The judges really like the dish, except for Colicchio, who thinks it's only "okay" but with further development could be amazing. Gail thinks Marcel's dishes have been lighter than Ted Ilan's, "just a gentler profession."

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