Top Chef

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ger on the side. Oofah. Has he even had a hamburger before? In America? Antonia is pleased when she tries her beef tongue. She thinks it tastes great, and she's proud that she worked with it so well. She might think about mentioning Blais in that little congratulatory speech, but whatever.

The first round of food is served. Antonia explains that her dish is a play on a deli sandwich with beef tongue, pumpernickel rye, caramelized onions, and dill slaw. Fabio delivers his hamburger, with melted cheddar cheese sauce, and fries. Some of Jimmy's family members like the burger, although they admit that the texture is more like meatloaf. Gail doesn't think it's juicy enough, and Tom is also not a fan, and even less so of the cheese sauce. He calls it "pretty gross."

Jimmy tells the story about why he hates mayonnaise: as a kid, he got his head stuck between two bars, and his grandmother poured mayonnaise all over his head so they could slide him out. Wasn't that a Brady Bunch episode? Also, what a waste of mayonnaise. Anyway, that's where Jimmy's aversion to mayonnaise comes from, and I can't say that I blame him. That segues into a discussion of Antonia's beef tongue. Jimmy liked it, and he thinks it's a tricky dish. Gail admires the whole concept of the dish, and Jimmy's head writer says, "She licked the challenge." Jimmy has to give it up for a great line.

Tiffany and Blais are the next two to serve. Tiffany knows that she went untraditional on her chicken and dumplings, but she's hoping that the awesome flavors will make up for it. Blais is doing a very traditional take on ramen noodles, and he hopes that his flavors will make up for the fact that he didn't do any crazy Blais-ian techniques. He wants to prove that he doesn't need a helmet, dry ice, and a flamethrower to make good food. I don't think he does, but I also think that ramen is pretty bland, and he might have done SOMETHING to spice it up. But let's see if the judges agree.

Blais serves ramen noodles with seared pork belly, duck legs, and duck egg. He jokes that it's his first time making ramen without the flavor packet. Tiffany serves chicken, and dumplings with poblano chilies, red peppers, cilantro, and lime. I don't see any dumplings. All I see are what looks like tortilla strips. I mean, it seriously looks like the chicken tortilla soup that I sometimes get at Panera. It's almost exactly the same. How is this chicken and dumplings? I don't get it.

Everyone slurpily eats the ramen noodles. Jimmy admits that he's a big fan of Blais, and he was expecting to see smoke machines and laser beams, but instead, it's just a really safe dish. Some people enjoyed Tiffany's soup, but others point out that it's just chicken tortilla soup with dough noodles in it. Higgins and Jimmy go on a jag about his album titles. Girl, I've been using those jokes since 1999. Catch up. And I think I stole it from stee originally, so I should give him credit, not that he needs my help since he's a big television writer these days.

The next two to serve are Dale and Carla. Dale explains that Carla is acting crazy because she might not finish on time, and he's trying to keep her away from his food. Carla is screeching and running around. I enjoy watching her on TV, but I can see how it would be tough to cook next to her. Dale also thinks his sandwiches look great, and he actually wants to eat one. Maybe he should, based on what happens next. Carla actually finishes on time, and she is really proud of her dish, even though it was down to the wire.

Carla made chicken pot pie with carrots, celery, pea salt, and herbs and Dale made Philly cheesesteak on a pretzel roll, hot sauces, onions, and cheddar cheese sauce. There's something off about the proportions of Dale's sandwich. There's not enough filling, and it doesn't look like he toasted the rolls at all. Maybe that's not authentic, but I think it would have been a much better sandwich if he had toasted the roll and then scooped some of the bread out. I mean, no one eats a sandwich like that for the amazing bread, right?

They all take a bite of Dale's sandwich. Jimmy's mom says that the meat is very tender. Jimmy explains that he was really excited to try the sandwich, but then he did, and he was "attacked by the salt monster." Gail agrees that the flavors were great, but it was way too salty. They all try Carla's dish, and can't stop eating it long enough to talk about it, but suffice to say, it's good stuff. Higgins pulls out one of those novelty telescoping forks and pretends to steal some from Jimmy's plate. Oh, those crazy guys.

The final two to serve are Angelo and Mike. Angelo is really confident about his dish; he claims he hasn't been this confident throughout the competition. Of course, Mike gives Angelo a hard time while they are plating, knocking over his food just to fuck with him and suchlike.

Angelo presents his pulled pork with coffee, dill, allspice, and chipotle rub, and coleslaw. That sounds really good. Mike had made sausage, peppers, onions, garlic, fennel, and paprika. He did make his own sausage. Jimmy loves Angelo's sandwich, and Tom talks about how it's an unexpected combination of flavors, but it works. Then Higgins and Jimmy make a joke about pulling your own pork. Moving on to Mike's dish, Gail loves how the other ingredients soaked up a lot of the sausage flavor. Gloria Jr. thinks it's even better than her mom's sausage and peppers. Padma has to get in on the hilarity and make a comment about how Higgins loved Mike's sausage.

When the dinner ends, the cheftestants bring out a cake for Jimmy. It's an ice cream cake. They didn't make it though. Jimmy thanks everyone, and announces that the winner of this competition will get a cooking segment on his show. Angelo explains that it makes him want to win even more. And then the judges depart to do their judging.

Weird interstitial. Jimmy tells about how he was interviewed by Food & Wine and they asked him for a recipe from his mom to publish. She gave them a cheesecake recipe, and they loved it, but needed to know where she got it from. So she looked it up, and it turns out that she got it from...Food & Wine. Wah wah.

Stew Room. Carla is still freaking out and everyone else looks tired. Yeah, she would be tough to work with, I think. Anyway, Padma comes in and asks to see Carla, Angela, and Antonia. No one is sure if they are top or bottom, as usual. When they stand in front of the judges, Padma dispels the tension by telling them that they are on top. They start by telling Angelo that his dish didn't make sense on paper, but it tasted great, and came together well. Carla talks about how she decided to put some of the crust on the bottom of the dish, and Jimmy is just thrilled that she did that, because it made the dish for him. Jimmy and Carla are totally bonding over chicken pot pie. Antonia admits that she's never cooked or eaten beef tongue before, and she felt even worse about it when she saw that it was on Tom's menu at his restaurant. Tom tells her she did a great job, especially since it normally needs to cook so much longer.

And then the three of them bust into a random song they made up about beef tongue which is hilarious and awesome, and makes me like all three of them better. It's like the kind of song we used to make up in the back of the bus on the way home from away softball games. And man, we had to go to Wayland, and that is a HAUL. Anyway, Jimmy announces that the winner is Carla, and she wins a trip to Tokyo along with her spot on Jimmy's show. Carla FREAKS out, but then dials it back to head back into the Stew Room, since Marcel yelled at her for being happy a while back. She learned her lesson from that.

Carla quietly tells the others that she won, and then sends back Dale, Fabio, and Tiffany. Blais interviews that everyone was worked up about Carla winning for the third time. I don't see anyone all that worked up. Maybe Angelo. Anyway, Blais isn't intimidated or anything. Just ask him.

But what about the losers? Let's start with Tiffany. Tom tel

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Top Chef




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