Top Chef

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Eat Like You Were Dying

Stefan serves next: salmon with spinach and roasted potatoes for Marcus Samuelsson. Stefan interviews that he thought every part of his dish was good, and he might win. Fabio echoes what Hosea said earlier: that Stefan's history doesn't matter, because it only takes one mistake to go home. Stefan serves his food and explains that he wasn't sure how Samuelsson prefers the spinach so he made it two ways. The judges taste the food and Samuelsson thinks Stefan nailed the dish's concept, but the salmon is overcooked. Wylie thinks the fish is terrible, and Lidia says that a diner would send it back. Pepin likes the dill sauce and the seasoning, but Susan says that she wouldn't have known there were two kinds of spinach if Stefan hadn't said so. I think the salmon got overcooked because he held it in the oven too long. Maybe he should have done the salmon as the very last thing, but timing is so hard.

Hosea has the third course: shrimp scampi with tomatoes Provencal for Susan Ungaro. Hosea complains that his hands are shaking, and they always do while plating. He interviews that this is high pressure because, in a restaurant, if you miss the mark, you'll get another chance. But this is one and done. Hosea serves his food and goes a bit over the top, in my opinion, in talking about how awed he is by the assembled chefs. Then again, if their egos are as huge as I've read about, they are probably eating it up, no pun intended. Samuelsson likes Hosea's spin on the dish, but Pepin thinks the tomatoes aren't good. Toby thought it was too out there, but Susan thought all the flavors were there. Colicchio says that you can judge Hosea for not going traditional, or you can judge him on the merits of the changes that he made to the original.

Poor Fabio and his broken finger are up next. He's having trouble butchering the whole chicken and he explains that he got the cleaver (which he pronounces "clever") and he's trying "to butcher the chicken with clever like Jason on Friday the 13th." See, Toby? That's a pop-culture reference I can get behind. Fabio brings out his dish for Lidia: roasted chicken with herb-roasted potatoes and caramelized cippolini onions. He added a leafy salad with carrots, heirloom tomatoes, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. The food plate looks amazing and is making me hungry. The salad, on the other hand, looks like the kind you buy in a bag. Wylie can't say enough good things about the chicken, but he thinks the salad looks like something you would get on an airplane. What airline is he flying? The most I've ever gotten is that terrible party mix or maybe a couple of peanuts. Samuelsson thinks the dish could go straight into a restaurant and Lidia says it's exactly what she was hoping for.

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Top Chef

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