So, last night's episode of Top Chef was quite the doozy, wasn't it? With only six cheftestants remaining, both challenges incorporated legit cooking skills and were refreshingly free of product placement (well, mostly). Chefgod Eric Ripert proved once again that he could make a fortune by recording his voice on answering machines across the country, Jamie did not hop on the Le Bern bandwagon, Stefan kept dominating, and Toby Young even managed to slip in a few utterly painful eye-rollers (Pablo Escolar! Get it?!) despite increasingly-limited screen time.
All in all, it was a fun episode ... until the ending. Let's discuss.
1) Quickfire Challenge: The Ripper makes his regular appearance and holds a three-round fish filleting tournament. Unable to butterfly sardines, Carla and Jamie bow out in the first round. In the second round, with
Pinky and the Brain Carla and Jamie giggling at her in the background, Leah just plain quits on her arctic char. (See Gawker's video summary of this) The final comes down to Stefan and Hosea, who continues to remind everyone that he has a seafood restaurant and he hates Stefan. Bitter people never prosper: Stefan wins The Ripper's approval for his perfect eel filets, because putting a nail in an eel head is like riding a bike in Germany. Or something like that.
2) Requisite excerpt from Max Silvestri's recap at Eater NY: " Stefan wins another challenge. This guy is so great at winning challenges. Instead of the word 'challenges', they should call them 'Stefans', and also call the show Top Stefan, and say 'pack your Stefans and go to Stefan's home' at the end of each episode, and Padma should marry me. These are all just suggestions but take them to heart, everybody."
3) Elimination Challenge After a six-course lunch at Le Bern, the chefs are tasked to each recreate one of the dishes. Carla—who, it should be noted, came to play this episode, thereby establishing herself as more than comic relief this episode—compares the challenge to recreating the Garden of Eden. Meanwhile, JL gets stuck with black bass on braised celery.
4) Uh-Oh Alert #1: "To be honest, I'm bored with this kind of food. It's not something I'm inspired by' --Jamie on Ripert's food.
5) Ok, but Carla still shared some memorable quotes, like the time she said she aspires to BE one of Ripert's dishes.
6) Uh-Oh Alert #2 When Ripert goes around the kitchen to help out the chefs, Jamie is the only one who gets no feedback from him, because she wasn't ready.
7) Judgment: Stefan takes top honors, again, with Fabio and Carla also finishing on top. On the bottom are the following: seafood expert Hosea, who overcooked his monkfish and hates Euros; Leah, who quit in the quickfire, was totally stumped by her dish and should have been eliminated three weeks ago; and Jamie, who oversalted her braised celery (but cooked her fish perfectly).
8) Regarding Jamie's bass/celery dish, Tom says that "clearly something went very wrong." The other bald guy claims that it was remarkably poor, and Pads tells Jamie that she would've sent it back in a restaurant. So, despite being a power player throughout the season and a (seemingly) safe bet for the final three, Jamie gets sent home thanks to too much salt. And thus ends Team Rainbow.
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Did Jamie really deserve to go home (spoiler: no), or should Leah have been put down? Can anyone even come close to challenging Stefan? Should Eric Ripert have his own radio show? Your thoughts in the comments, please.