Top Chef
Maui Wowie

Episode Report Card
Carla Sparks: B+ | 67 USERS: C-

Only three chefs are left and Top Chef has left New Orleans. Nothing is as it used to be. And yet, Bravo has done it again: our final three contestants this season fit the three final archetypes very nicely. Shirley is the fresh, eager dark horse; Nina is the pro we always knew would be here; and Nicholas is pretty much the villain. Nicholas isn't a saboteur, but he accused everyone else of being one enough times. Also, he has a big chef's ego and we almost always want to see a woman win.

A review as the chefs meet up in Hawaii shows that Shirley and Nina have consistently been on top, while Nicholas has consistently found excuses. The time off has given Nicholas an opportunity to step back and reassess why he's competing. Nina got a sweet haircut.

Ah, but while all of this was happening, Louis was dominating in Last Chance Kitchen. Carlos arrives from a final four elimination to give him one last run for it. I would be a little furious if Carlos took this away from Louis.

Anyway, back in Maui, the chefs head to a luau crafted just for them. Padma's wearing a stunning jumpsuit as blue as the Hawaiian sea and she's just so perfect it's not fair. Sam Choy, one of the fathers of regional Hawaiian cuisine, is here as a guest judge. Padma reminds them (but it's really for our benefit) that Tom has been putting the fallen competitors to the test weekly on Last Chance Kitchen and the top three got to taste and vote on the final dish. Louis and Carlos plated dishes for them and Sam Choy and everyone voted for the tuna. But whose was it? Louis! Thank god; he worked for it.

Louis rejoins the competition for a final Quickfire. Padma says Hawaii is the number one per capita consumer of this product "Hawaiian Steak," which is actually Spam, of course. God bless Spam. The QuickFire challenge is to craft something with Spam that they've never seen before. The winner will get $10,000. Shirley thinks she's got this, but Nina and Louis are strong competition. Nicholas is melting in the gentle heat.

The chefs run to their outdoor stations to prepare a Spam dish in 30 minutes. Nicholas admits he has only eaten it maybe once. Nicholas should have known better, coming to Hawaii. Louis, who has done so many goddamn QuickFires, is feeling confident doing a Spam torchon.

Nina is working on a Teriyaki Spam croquette. The Hawaiians appreciate her use of their local bread. Shirley is making Spam "infused" rice and a deconstructed sushi roll. The Hawaiians are asking a lot of questions. The heat is threatening to ruin everything, and Nicholas says Spam is already over his seasoning boundaries, which have been questioned throughout the competition.

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Top Chef




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