Top Chef
Season 2 Finale, Part II

Episode Report Card
Keckler: B | Grade It Now!
So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

Kitchen. Ted Ilan tells Elia it's "sorbet time." The desserts go out, and Betty licks a spoon, saying, "I think we have a winner in Ilan Hall." Shut up, Betty. Ted Ilan tells the judges he's not a pastry chef, so he kept it simple with balls of dragon fruit (that's the white-ish fruit with the black seeds that look like sesame seeds), avocado, papaya, and mango with a sorbet of Surinam cherry. There's also his Bay Leaf Fritter. He dipped the fresh bay leaves in a batter and deep-fried them. He tells them to leave the bay leaf and just pull off the batter around it. That sounds very interesting, I must admit. The "soup" surrounding all the fruit is made out of tangelos and vanilla bean. The judges are impressed, and Dufresne particularly likes the bay leaf fritter idea.

In the kitchen, Ted Ilan and his douchefs maul one another in celebration. Ted Ilan steps out to receive applause from the judges. Colicchio tells him he exceeded expectations, and Roy adds, "I think the menu was very, very bold; it shows who you are and I really salute you because at twenty-four, I think you're showing a lot of talent, so congratulations." Ted Ilan is pretty overcome by this accolade and gets all red in the face and choked up. It almost makes me like him. Almost, camera-boy. In the kitchen, Ted Ilan tells the cameras, "I think Marcel has no chance. He doesn't have the passion and the love that I do for food and for preparing food." Yep, don't like you. Ted Ilan and his douchefs slobber and toast him.

Marcel and his team grab the speed racks and head out. Marcel goes into a walk-in and grabs more stuff. He tells us that when he was taking one last look at his shelves, he saw stuff that should have been packed up the previous day. He mentions this to Sam, who doesn't really react. Or care. Hard to say which emotion is not playing across his face. Sam says to us, "In my opinion, a line cook is only as good as his chef. There was no leadership, there was no organization." At Imari, Team Marcel cooks. The judges arrive, and Marcel meets them. Of course, he's both thrilled and terrified to see Wylie Dufresne in attendance. Dufresne reminds me of Mr. Kidd from Diamonds Are Forever, and it's going to give me nightmares for the rest of the month.

Marcel tells the judges that his first course is inspired by a walk on the beach he took the other day. In the kitchen, Marcel asks where his orchids are. Sam says he didn't pull them. Mike hasn't seen them either, and doesn't seem to care. Sam tells Marcel he doesn't need them. Marcel examines a container and says, "I get the feeling this isn't one and three-quarters quarts of milk." "I thought you said cups, dude," Mike oopses. Colicchio comes in and can see that things are hectic, so he withdraws. At the table, Colicchio feels the need to tell the judges that the kitchen is tense. "We haven't felt any pressure yet here," Hubert Keller jokes. I love it when that man laughs -- he laughs with his whole face. Even his hair seems to chuckle. The first course comes out. It's a Sea Urchin and Vanilla-Meyer Lemon Gelée with Fennel Cream, Caviar, and Kalamata Olive Oil. Earlier in the episode, Marcel also said this dish had a consommé, which, considering that this dish was inspired by his walk on the beach, I found to be a little gross. I mean, consommé isn't colorless, it's sort of amber and -- PEE! It looks like pee! Marcel took a walk on the beach, he ate and then got stung by sea urchins, he peed on himself, and now he's serving that for dinner, okay? Luckily, the judges weren't put through the same trauma the viewing public was; they end up loving the dish.

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