Top Chef
Top Chef Holiday Special

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Keckler: B- | Grade It Now!
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It Came Upon A Sniff And Sneer

Tre cooks, Betty is loud, and Josie parrots Emeril with an "Oh, yeah, baby." The food is plated, and CJ says, "Go get your twenty grand, Tre." Tre tells us this is not about the money for him; it's about "pride and redemption." We then get Tiffani saying, "Yeah, it's be nice to walk out with twenty grand, for sure!" Tre and Tiffani arrive to Padma laughing, "Yum! Yum! Yum!" Do you think Gail ever wants to stab her with a fork when she gets all cutesy like that? Colicchio makes some comment about expecting open-faced turkey sandwiches. "I came this close, seriously," Tiffani tells them. See how they just think EXACTLY alike?

Tiffani then presents her dish by babbling about holiday leftovers, and says they baked off puff pastry and topped it with Stephen's veal. They then added truffle butter and a pancetta-cider-orange juice sauce. Tre says that he was "forced into" doing dessert and calls his offering "a chef's dessert," crêpes stuffed with raspberries and walnuts with a blackberry-balsamic reduction and white chocolate mascarpone. Colicchio and Tiffani are totally exchanging a laugh when Padma excuses the final cheftestants until Judges' Table.

In the back, Tiffani stares ahead and says, "I need a drink for real. I'm not playing." But she doesn't make a move to get anything. Is she expecting to be waited on? Stephen asks Tre how he did. Tre smiles that he could have used Stephen's help. Stephen is clearly bummed and says he got grabbed as soon as they came back in.

The judges eat and enjoy both dishes. Ripert and Falkner express a preference for Tiffani's dish, even though they both would have preferred that the pastry was cooked longer. Gail and Alan Wong like Tre's dish; Portale likes Tiffani's better. Padma thanks the guest judges and says she has to take the four actual judges off to Judges' Table. However, first we have to have more holiday pretense, as all the judges wish each other happy holidays and clink glasses to holiday-ish music.

Judges' Table. It's clear that while Colicchio respects Tre's attempt at a dessert, he's more for Tiffani, so I really don't feel that I need to record any of the other judges' opinions. All the cheftestants are brought to Judges' Table, and Colicchio thanks them all for coming and sharing their "holiday" spirit with them. He gives both Tre and Tiffani props, and Padma then congratulates Tiffani on winning the twenty grand! Tiffani's reaction? "Oh, FINALLY!" Seriously. Like, she's been waiting all this time to get the win that is owed to her? I hate her. Oh, but Tre's not going away empty-handed, oh no. He gets books from the guest judges! More books! Tre tells us he got what he wanted -- redemption in front of the Top Chef audience. The judges go to hug the cheftestants, and while Padma hugs Tiffani first, we get a close-up of the Colicchio-Tiffani cheek-kiss and embrace.

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