Top Chef

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Judges' Table. The cheftestants enter. They start talking to Carla first. Gail says she loved Carla's appetizer. The judges also loved the flavors in her first course, the bouillabaisse. The judges tell Carla that her sauces were excellent in her second course, but the texture of the meat was all wrong. Toby thought it was too refined and fussy, which is not what he expected from Carla. Tom asks her what Casey's influence was, and Carla admits that Casey suggested the sous-vide, which she doesn't normally do herself. Colicchio flinches, probably knowing it was the death blow for Carla. Padma brings up the cheese course, and Carla explains what happened with soufflé. Tom asks her why she tried to do a soufflé in the first place, and Carla says that Casey suggested it instead of the tart she had planned. Colicchio delivers the storyline for the editors: "It seems that you let your sous chef talk you out of cooking the food that got you to the finale, and I'm not quite sure I understand that." So that's Carla's storyline in a nutshell, and it probably is a simplified version of what actually happened, Casey and Carla's denials in post-finale interviews notwithstanding.

The judges move on to Hosea. Toby loved his appetizer. Hosea says he hasn't cooked red fish often, and he knows it's a strong flavor, but he wanted to cook bold flavors for the finale. He laughs that it was fun to get to pick the proteins for the appetizer and Colicchio asks if he's saying that it was fun to "stick it to Stefan." Hosea laughs and says Stefan would have done the same to him, which is true. The judges tell Hosea that his first course looked good, but lacked seasoning. The judges have nothing but praise for Hosea's second dish, and tell him it was his best dish of the night. They ask how he came up with venison for his final dish, and Hosea says it's one of his favorite meats to cook. Gail liked "all of the earthy components" but the blackberry didn't do it for her. Luckily, unlike Carla, Hosea didn't let his sous chef completely dictate his dish. Toby points out that, without a dessert, Hosea's meal didn't have a real ending. Hosea wanted to showcase his flavors and cooking through savory dishes. No one points out that you can make a savory dessert, although they're not typical.

And now on to Stefan. Gail asks if he's ever cooked with alligator before, and Stefan chuckles that he hasn't. Toby praises the alligator soup, as does Tom. Gail complains that the carpaccio was watered down. Tom doesn't understand why Stefan would freeze it, and Stefan asks about the flavor, which Tom found to be somewhat bland. So I guess Stefan was going to try to argue that any drawbacks of the technique were outweighed by the flavors, and then had his legs taken out. Gail says, "I really enjoyed Stefan's squab" and she's almost blushing, which makes me think there's a double entendre in there somewhere: "That's what she said!" Toby liked it as well, and Tom thought it was the strongest dish of the night. Stefan looks like he's still stewing over the frozen fish debacle. Stefan takes the opposite tack that Hosea did, and argues that you need to have a dessert to end a meal. Gail asks if that dessert is what he wants as his final dish, and Stefan just says yes, which leaves Gail nowhere to go, so she just nods.

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Top Chef

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