Top Chef
Season 3 Finale, Part I

Episode Report Card
Keckler: B- | Grade It Now!
Rocky Mountain High

As time ticks down, Dale realizes that his goat cheese tart may not pan out, so he develops a fudge factor by boiling some potatoes and cauliflower in milk just in case he needs them. Once again, Hung finishes early, and he tells us, "I'm feeling only ninety percent confident in this dish. I know it lacks soul because I'm not totally into it. It's good -- very, very good, but I don't stand behind it one hundred percent." Casey comments that Hung finished early while the rest of them were still running around. She never explicitly suggests that Hung should have helped anyone, but if it was implied, I don't agree. Not when they're one step away from the finals. I think it's sort of funny how in past years, there have been questions of sabotage, but this year it's all about who didn't help whom. Brian admits, "I kept touching my shanks." Dude, what you do in your bedroom is your own business -- don't bring it into the kitchen. He goes on that he wished he had more time to braise his shanks, but he also wanted to make sure his mashed potatoes were hot when they brought them over to the ranch. Hung notes that Brian was really cutting it close and had they been in a restaurant, he would have helped out, but this is a competition, so he's on his own. Again, I don't disagree, but it was sort of annoying that Hung seemed to position himself next to Brian as he counted down the seconds out loud. I say "seemed" because we see Hung hanging out next to Brian's station, but we cut away before we can see if he's actually doing the countdown then or at some other time. The cheftestants pack up and move it out.

Once at the ranch, Casey drawls as she never has before on this show, "Mmmm, smawlls liiike fresh-cut haay!" Both Casey and Brian seem up for and excited about the challenge. Hung notes, "There is very little to zero room for mistakes in this challenge. We're all great cooks here, and I think everyone's going to do really, really well. I just hope I do better." It looks like the cheftestants are set up in horse stalls. Dale samples his goat cheese tart and decides it's nasty, so he bins it and starts to work with his cauliflower and potatoes. The cowboys and girls ride in, and the cheftestants finish up their elk. Brian admits that his meat could have braised longer but he's actually thrilled with the way his food is turning out. Dale tells the cameraman that his Plan B is working out for the best. The judges all arrive and strike their judgmental poses. Colicchio is doing that one-foot-forward thing, just as Padma taught him last year. Ripert is sort of doing it as well, but he's locked one of his knees, so he actually looks awkward and uncomfortable. Gail waves excitedly at the cheftestants. Padma bangs on a dinner triangle and yells behind her, "Come and get it!" The cowboys and girls pile into the stables to get their grub on. Casey continues to accentuate her drawl as she coaxes the diners over to her table.

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Top Chef




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