Top Chef, Season 4: Finale Part 1 AND Special Giveaways!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! No! Please, no! Please tell me it was all a cruel joke and Lisa is NOT really in the final three! She was in the bottom three almost every single week! Nobody ever liked her food and certainly, nobody ever liked her! OMG, I actually feel a little queasy! How could this happen? Let me start at the beginning……
Last night’s episode opened with our four remaining Cheftestants’ arrival in sunny Puerto Rico for the Finale. As they each deplaned and hooked up with each other at the airport, the little voices inside their heads explained that six months had passed since the TC episode we saw last week. Antonia, Richard and Lisa have been cooking their a$$es off all this time to prepare. Stephanie has been on an extended vacation, traveling through Asia and soaking up some inspiration. (Lucky b*tch!)

They arrive at the Finale location and are greeted by Padma and Guest Judge Wilo Benet. For the Quickfire Challenge, the chefs have to create two “frituras” or little fried fritters somehow using plantains in each. Stephanie and Lisa create the most successful frituras, while Richard and Antonia’s offerings are deemed a little “slimy” by Chef Benet. Stephanie wins her first Quickfire Challenge of the competition. Her reward for this is to select which of the eliminated chefs she wants as her sous chef in the Elimination Challenge, as well as choose the sous chefs for her opponents. In true Stephanie style, she decides to match up pairs that work well together so that everybody has a chance to put their best feet forward. Now, what do you suppose Spike would have done?
Stephanie chooses Dale as her sous chef. Then, she pairs Antonia with Nikki, Richard with Spike and Lisa with Andrew. Everyone looks happy with this arrangement except Andrew. He is still smarting from the “Lisa throwing him under the bus” incident. Lisa is just happy that she doesn’t have to work with Dale again.

For the Elimination Challenge, the finalists are each given their own whole pig, which they then have to butcher and use to cook their dishes. They are to create three dishes using different parts of said pigs for a fancy garden party at the home of a Puerto Rican official. After a thirty minute planning session, the sous chefs are sent to shop for ingredients, while the Cheftestants begin butchering their pigs.



If I hadn’t been so grossed out, I probably would have enjoyed this part. I definitely enjoy my meat, but I don’t feel quite so guilty about my carnivorous inclinations when I can pretend that it all just comes from an innocuous plastic package. Still, it was entertaining to watch the Cheftestants battle it out with mallets, cleavers and assorted other tools.

Of the four, Lisa and Antonia decided to stick with traditional Puerto Rican fare. Antonia makes a dish using pigeon peas and a homemade pork sausage, a honeyed pork belly salad with papaya and chayote and a curried pork with yucca and pumpkin. Lisa has a tostones dish stuffed with adobo roasted pork butt, a citrus braised pork belly with sweet plantain mash and a pork and yucca relleno.

Stephanie puts a bit of an Asian twist on her dishes serving up a pork satay on a sugar cane skewer with a miso-marcano almond butter, a coconut braised pork on a black plantain pancake and a tropical fruit and prosciutto salad with crispy chicharones (fried pork skins). There were some pretty tense moments when Stephanie and Dale realize that Dale accidentally left one of Steph’s pork dishes out overnight. In that tropical climate, there was no way that Steph could safely use that meat, so they had to toss it and come up with something else. Dale was horrified when he learned of the mistake and Steph was disappointed, but gracious. They moved on to create that fabulous salad instead. Teamwork, people!

Richard just does his own thing, as only Richard can. His menu included a fresh Pernil “ham” with local beans, ribs glazed with Malta, a popular Latin beverage, pressure-cooked pork belly with pickled watermelon and a BBQ pork shoulder with braised greens, coffee and mango.

Later on, at the Judges’ Table, Stephanie and Richard were the top two. The judges loved both of their presentations. Ultimately, Richard was chosen as the winner and they gave him a CAR!!! Yes, you read it right. Richard was awarded a brand new adorable 2009 Toyota Corolla for his win. He was totally gobsmacked (as was I). It was very sweet.

Unfortunately, Antonia’s and Lisa’s strategies to cook classic Puerto Rican food backfired on them and they were in the bottom two. Antonia’s beans were undercooked and the judges didn’t like the fact that she plated all of her dishes on one dish. Lisa’s sauces were too sweet and her tostones were too soggy. In a very nerve-wracking (for me) deliberation, the judges totally screwed up (according to me) and sent Antonia packing.



Antonia was shocked and devastated (as was everybody else). After hugs and sad goodbyes, Antonia took her leave. And then came the biggest WTF moment of the entire season. As Steph and Richard quietly sat bumming out over the loss of Antonia, Super Bitch Lisa leans over and chastises them for not congratulating HER on making the cut.

Huh!?!?

..

I kid you not. She actually did that. I don’t know what alternate version of the universe she rolls in, but in my world, that was one of the the tackiest, rudest and sh*ttiest things I’ve ever seen someone do. I don’t think that evil, back-stabbing Spike would even stoop so low.

And so here we are – a finale with Stephanie, Richard and “She Who Shall Remain Nameless” because I am so totally pissed off!

**********************************************************************************

Moving on to happier things, I’d like to announce this week’s Giveaway winner. The lucky recipient of a Top Chef cookbook is Heather of Gild the Voodoolily. Congratulations, Heather! Thanks for participating! Please email me at stickygooeycreamychewy AT gmail DOT com with your mailing address so that I can mail out your prize.
It’s hard to believe that next week will be the last Top Chef episode of the season. I wanted to do something extra nice for the big finale, so I will be doing two really special Giveaways to celebrate.

The first item I will be giving away is this uber chic Top Chef apron designed by none other than Laura Bennett from Project Runway. Laura is one of my all time favorite PR designers and when I saw this cute apron, I just had to have it for one of my Giveaways. The designer’s signature is featured above the Top Chef logo.



The second Giveaway item, and the piece de resistance, is this first edition/first printing Top Chef cookbook autographed by Dave Martin from Season 1, Betty Fraser from Season 2 and C.J. Jacobsen from Season 3. I have verified that the signatures are authentic, so this is sure to be a real collector’s item.
I am very excited about these prizes and I hope you are too. Remember, all you have to do in order to be eligible to win one of these great Giveaways is leave a comment on this post before next Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. As always, I will use the random number generator at random.org to pick the winners.
Good luck and let’s dish!

47 responses to Top Chef, Season 4: Finale Part 1 AND Special Giveaways!

  1. On June 05, 2008 at 10:11pm, Emiline said...

    I can’t believe Lisa is in the finals! Who would have thought? If she wins, it’ll be the biggest shock of all seasons of Top Chef.

    I want Stephanie to win, and I think she will. But I don’t know…Richard is so clever. Throughout this whole season, I’ve felt like he was the best.

    I DON’T KNOW WHO’S GOING TO WIN!!

    Great prizes, btw.

  2. On June 05, 2008 at 10:47pm, Manggy said...

    Well, all the dishes at least sound very good! I think I would’ve been extremely rattled if a whole pig were dumped in front of me. (it’s the trotters, heh heh :)
    That is the cutest apron ever! (If a bit too sassy, lol :)

  3. On June 06, 2008 at 12:40am, noble pig said...

    Oh my, I missed the butchering of the pig…I don’t think I could watch!

    Love the apron.

  4. On June 06, 2008 at 3:00am, joanne at frutto della passione said...

    I can’t watch the episodes on Youtube anymore – they’ve all be removed and not being posted so reading this today comes as a HUGE shock. Antonia was my absolute favourite. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t this the first time she was in the bottom 2? Doesn’t seem fair to me. Oh and I love Laura Bennet too!!!

  5. On June 06, 2008 at 5:00am, Grace said...

    i can’t decide if i’m more disappointed that my favorite is gone or more disgusted that frowny-face is still there. it’s a toss-up, much like who will actually win this thing!

  6. On June 06, 2008 at 6:20am, Elly said...

    Ugh, Lisa skates by again. For…what? the 7th or 8th time now? Ridiculous. I hope Stephanie wins. She’s been my favorite from the start, and I have to cheer for my hometown girl! ;)

  7. On June 06, 2008 at 6:25am, Joanna Schmidt said...

    ooh me oh me me me MEEEEEE! (Do I sound like Lisa?) ;D

  8. On June 06, 2008 at 6:33am, Heather said...

    I was in shock when they sent Antonia home. I couldn’t say what was on the tip of my tongue since I was on the phone with my grandmother at that moment. Wtf were they thinking?!!!! And Lisa’s little bitch moment…did she actually think they would say congrats?! Geez. If she wins, I may have to swear off Top Chef forever. I don’t care if its Richard or Stephanie who wins… as long as its not Lisa.

  9. On June 06, 2008 at 6:38am, marrwilliams@gmail.com said...

    I was very surprised to see Lisa make the final 4 and totally gobsmacked when she didn’t leave this week. She’s been on the block way more often than Antonia has and way more often than Dale for that matter. AND she rarely wins Quickfire challenges. Not sure what the judges criteria is here. I hope it not a “ratings” thing. Ugh. Go Steph!

  10. On June 06, 2008 at 6:49am, Marc @ NoRecipes said...

    I’m not much of a TV watcher but I have to say I’ve been a bit curious about this show. Harold Dieterle’s (from one of the top chef seasons I’m told) Perilla is one of my favourite restaurants here in NYC.

  11. On June 06, 2008 at 6:58am, BMK said...

    I don’t get why Lisa hasn’t been eliminated yet. It seems like each week, nobody likes her food. Her winning personality definitely isn’t a plus either.

  12. On June 06, 2008 at 7:19am, Tiff said...

    That pig picture makes me sad. I don’t think I could have watched.

  13. On June 06, 2008 at 7:43am, Proud Italian Cook said...

    Stepanie’s gotta win, she’s our Chicago girl!! But more than that, she’s good and has a great attitude. I like how she didn’t freak out when she realized Dale left the pork belly out all night and she knew she couldn’t use it. She just focused and changed things up, and ended up with the judges really loving what she made.
    I could only imagine what Lisa would have done if Dale did that to her!

  14. On June 06, 2008 at 8:33am, Mary said...

    I LOVE that you give a synopsis of the show! I don’t watch it, but I read your overviews faithfully. :)

  15. On June 06, 2008 at 10:24am, The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

    Lisa in the top 3? NOOOOOOO!!! I really am beginning to wonder if they’re doing this for ratings now. The judges have to give the person everyone hates a pass every round to make sure people keep hanging in there to watch her lose.

    I love pig roasts and I’ve been to a couple, but I’m glad I’m not the one roasting the whole pig. Kinda gross – but our food does have to come from somewhere.

  16. On June 06, 2008 at 10:54am, Amy said...

    Do they ever even congratulate the “final two” person who doesn’t get voted out? No, so just hush your mouth.

  17. On June 06, 2008 at 11:17am, Patsyk said...

    Ok, I haven’t watched this episode yet (I’m a sucker for spoilers so I love that your write-up gives me an idea of what to expect!), but I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT “she who shall remain nameless” made it to the final 3! Oh no no no no!!!!! I am happy that Richard and Stephanie made it, and I do believe those two deserve to be there based on how they have performed throughout.

    She just has no class… so, it would really suck if she got to the final 2!

  18. On June 06, 2008 at 11:44am, lemontartlet said...

    Is Lisa bribing the judges with crack cookies or something? That snarky little hack needed to go home about a thousand episodes ago, and she pisses me off every time I watch her whine her way out of the bottom two. If she wins, the show may get boycotted. Go Stephanie!

  19. On June 06, 2008 at 11:53am, Erin said...

    Just found your blog, and it looks like fun! I totally agree that it’s CRAZY that Lisa’s still in the running, but her little moment at the end w/ Steph and Richard was hilarious! I don’t believe how rediculous she is… I think they kept her around to keep audience members engaged and outraged!

    I’d love to win one of the prizes, too :)

  20. On June 06, 2008 at 12:08pm, David Dust said...

    The Producers of Top Chef are cruel, cruel, people for making us have to see Lisa in the Finale!

    CLICK HERE for DavidDust’s Top Chef Chicago Recap: “Episode 13 – Lisa Is A Stank Bitch”

    :)

  21. On June 06, 2008 at 12:55pm, Dolores said...

    I think it’s telling that 91% of the audience thought it was time for Lisa to go. She’s been in the bottom on 6 out of 13 elimination challenges. And now she’s in the finals. Go figure.

  22. On June 06, 2008 at 1:37pm, Michelle in Colorado Springs said...

    Lisa Congrats, you get a bronze metal.

    If only Antonia had cooked the beans.

  23. On June 06, 2008 at 3:42pm, chinamomxtwo said...

    I think it’s disgusting that Lisa in the final. SHe does NOT deserve it whatSOever!!! Bleh bleh! like a bad taste in your mouth!
    I’d be happy to see Richard or Stephanie win–they are both talented.

  24. On June 06, 2008 at 5:11pm, jmisgro said...

    I think that Steph will end up being the winner this year. It is time they gave it to a woman!

  25. On June 06, 2008 at 8:27pm, Diana said...

    I love to come and drool over your wonderful dishes and comments. Thanks for the inspiration.

  26. On June 06, 2008 at 10:47pm, Jenny said...

    I just stumbled upon your blog and am loving your Top Chef discussion. One of my favorite shows. I was hoping Lisa wouldn’t go on to the finals, but I’ll be rooting for Stephanie anyway!

  27. On June 07, 2008 at 12:18am, Heather said...

    I can’t believe I actually won something.

    I also can’t believe that future mullet Lisa is in the final three. I just puked a little in my mouth.

    Thanks for the awesome prize, Susan (and Bravotv.com?)! I am emailing you right now.

  28. On June 07, 2008 at 8:34am, ann marie said...

    im wearing black till this thing is over….sour puss lisa just cant be in the top 3…..antonia had soul….what was she thinking….i actually had pidgeon peas last night cooked by my lesbian puerto rican girlfriends….they were yummy….im scared now cause every once in a while lisa pulls out something good that she has cooked 1000 times before….and both richard and stephanie do something totally new and kind of mess it up a little….please if the food gods care about us at all let it be steph or richard…or better yet a tie….with all the product endorsements bravo should be able to afford 2 grand prizes.

  29. On June 07, 2008 at 8:49am, Mike of Mike's Table said...

    I was really bummed to see Antonia go–I had hopes that she would win. And rofl at Lisa’s ending moment about the congratulations. Absolutely unbelievable! I guess they have to keep her on the show for the sake of conflict since it sure as hell isn’t for her charming personality or food.

  30. On June 07, 2008 at 7:12pm, Daisy said...

    I love that apron! And those brownies look fabulous…

  31. On June 07, 2008 at 9:59pm, Jules Someone said...

    I’m hoping for Stephanie. Yes, I’m a Chicago girl, but I also just think she has “it”. Richard would be ok too.

  32. On June 08, 2008 at 5:52am, Brilynn said...

    I think I like your colour commentary better than Top CHef itself…

  33. On June 08, 2008 at 7:48am, Simply...Gluten-free said...

    Oh tell me its not true! I missed this episode – Lisa in the final three!?! Creul joke indeed!

  34. On June 08, 2008 at 9:28am, WendyA said...

    Love the apron! Just discovered your blog and I’m loving it. Thanks!

  35. On June 08, 2008 at 10:54pm, Nanc Twop said...

    Ah well, Antonia should’ve just told the judges that it was sabotage – that the pigeon in the kitchen was a spy!

    I can’t see Lisa winning it… but there are some alarming stats about previous finale winners that give me pause.

    my Top Chef posts

  36. On June 09, 2008 at 7:32am, Tempered Woman said...

    I realize that at this point what they have done in the past doesn’t matter. It’s a clean slate every time. With that said tho~ I can’t help but feel like they were trying REALLY hard to make a big deal out of Antonia’s mistakes over Lisa’s. I can’t help but think in my gut the producers are keeping her around as long as possible to keep the “controversy” ratings alive.
    Stephanie cracked me up with her “uhm, congrats” at the end. You could totally read it on her face~ “Could you possibly have any less class you skank?!?” I thought Richard’s face at the Corolla was more like, “really? A Toyota Corolla? isn’t that the car you pawn off on your HS student?” heh

  37. On June 09, 2008 at 8:16pm, Maggie said...

    We can only hope, futility I think, that the producers will edit most of the Lisa nonesense in the final episode. I just want to see what Richard and Stephanie come up.

  38. On June 10, 2008 at 6:39am, JZ @ Tasty treats said...

    I hadnt seen the previous episode of Top Chef…no worries!! all i had to do was to come over here to your lovely post!! Thanks Susan!! :-) loved reading ur post!

  39. On June 10, 2008 at 8:15am, Jeanine said...

    Sounds like I should be watching Top Chef! Can’t believe I’ve been missing it!

  40. On June 10, 2008 at 11:14am, Carmen said...

    nice prizes! thanks

  41. On June 10, 2008 at 2:41pm, Brad said...

    I just discovered Top Chef a few weeks ago and got addicted immediately. Watched the entire previous season in 2 sittings after DVR’ing it (actually wrote a fairly long post about discovering it and why it rocks on my blog – link in my name I’d think).

    My wife Joanna pointed me in the direction of your blog (knowing my obsession with the show) and I’m glad she did – great stuff even without the possibility of winning the signed Top Chef cookbook!

    And FWIW I’m with you on the whole Lisa=Eww thing.

  42. On June 10, 2008 at 2:57pm, I Cook4Fun said...

    I was so dissapointed that Lisa is in the final 3. I think Antonia deserve to be there rather than Lisa. Can’t stand that woman. I love Richard and Stef so whoever get the Top Chef title is fine with me :)

  43. On June 10, 2008 at 6:32pm, Bay Area Foodie said...

    Lisa will NEVER live down that comment…

  44. On June 10, 2008 at 8:43pm, Tracy said...

    I’m with you about Lisa. Every now and then she seems almost human and she does something like the comment about congratulating her.

    I LOVE that apron! Can’t wait for Project Runway to start! It must be soon, right?

  45. On June 11, 2008 at 9:37pm, Nanc Twop said...

    To quote Richard ‘Holy Smokes!’

    Just finished watching pt.2, and I’m amazed at who took the gold, silver and bronze medals…

    (Those TC stats almost came true!)

    my Top Chef posts

  46. On June 12, 2008 at 2:32am, Mochachocolata Rita said...

    go richard, go steph! lisa, go home!

  47. On June 12, 2008 at 9:31am, Pammiedoodle said...

    I miss the show periodically but I do I come to your blog for an update. I love it!

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kiss the cook!

Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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