Top Chef
Season 3 Finale, Part I

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

Judges' Table. They do some precursory discussion about how much elk they ate, and Ripert says, "They were overall delicious." Colicchio reminds them that they have to send someone home. In the back, Dale comments, "My plate was a carnival -- there was so much shit on that plate." "Mine was a carnival, too," Brian admits. Dude, your plate was Carnivale. Casey comments that they're all ADD and she just doesn't understand how they manage all those ingredients, adding, "I just don't cook like that."

The judges discuss their favorite dishes. Ripert really liked Dale's: "The 'uckleberry sauce was excellent." Gail comments that she couldn't believe how many ingredients Dale used. In fact, she was "astounded." Gail lives her life in italics. Moving on to Hung, Colicchio weakly Bourdains, "The dish suffered from seasonal disorder. Because he had summery garnish with the tomatoes and the fennel and then he goes and does a boulangère of potatoes, which I find to be more fall." Ripert says that Hung's cooking is technically perfect; however, it's almost "too controlled." Padma really liked Brian's shank, an admission which, as Colicchio points out, has Ripert smirking. That's because Ripert has a dirty mind. Ripert abashedly scratches his head and said he found the meat to be "kind of dry." Colicchio brings up all the ingredients in Brian's dish along with how Brian offered a choice of cheeses. Padma says, "The cheese -- that put him over the edge for me." In what way? That it was amazing? Or awful? Colicchio and Ripert agree that Casey's elk was way too rare. Colicchio also didn't "get" the cauliflower purée, but Ripert loved her smoked tomato butter sauce.

The cheftestants are brought out. Padma tells them the quality of all the food was really excellent, and then asks Dale to explain his cooking process. Dale says he was very excited to do elk because his game dishes have always received positive reviews, and he's overall very proud of what he put out tonight. "What happened with the tart?" Gail asks instantly and provokingly. Dale explains how the tart sucked, so he vamped with potatoes and cauliflower and he thinks the dish turned out better. Ripert compliments his huckleberry-blackberry sauce and then asks why he used so many ingredients with the elk. Dale doesn't think it was too much, but he acknowledges the plate looked like a carnival. "But it was a controlled chaos," he finishes.

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