Welcome everyone…Tonight’s show should be a good one, we will get to see if good will conquer evil. Last week Dave was sent home to get his emotions under control leaving Tiffani and Harold to duke it out. Will Harold’s laid-back demeanor bring him success or will Tiffani’s straight up bitchiness be her ultimate downfall. Fire up the grill it’s time to see who finally wins this thing. Please let it be Harold.
Oh no, not another guest judge.
It’s time to get right to the Elimination Challenge, no messing around tonight, it is going to be a mad, angry cook off YO! Tiffani and Harold arrive at Craftsteak in the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas. Tom and Katie greet them and give them the rules of the competition. They will each need to prepare a 5-course meal for eight people. There is going to be no gimmicks with the cooking, just a straight-up challenge. With all this talk I almost feel like I am at a rap battle on 8th Mile, except there really are no rappers and the chance of this challenge ending in violence seems slime to none. Unless Tiffani wins, I may be violent towards my TV, and an angry email will be sent to Bravo.
The people they will be cooking for are some of the most prestigious people in the culinary world. The special guest judge will be Lorraine Bracco from the Sopranos. She is a well-known foodie and big wine connoisseur. She has hand picked wine from her own personal Bracco wines to serve with the meal. I have no idea who this lady is probably because I don’t watch the Sopranos. Her judging qualifications seem a little thin, I am a foodie, I love good wine, and I could throw them for a loop by providing them with some of the finest wine in a box around.
Tiffani and Harold are being provided with two top class restaurants in the MGM to do their work, Craftsteak and Nob Hill. They will need to draw knives to determine who will cook where. Harold draws first and pulls out knife number 1 so he will be cooking at Nob Hill. Tiffani by default gets to cook at Craftsteak.
Dredging Up the Past
Even thought the challenge said no gimmicks they still need to throw in a little twist to trip up the chefs a little, they will be given two sous chefs…or eliminated contestants. Into the room walks Dave, Lee Anne, Stephen, and Miguel. Chefs get asked whom they would like to cook for and they all except Stephen say Harold. Stephen decides to ride on the wild side and go with Tiffani. Harold drops a few choice words and then picks Lee Anne right away to be his first sous chef and tells Dave and Miguel he likes them both but they will need to draw knives to see who is on his team. Miguel draws knife number one and is with Harold, Dave gets the short knife or Tiffani’s team.
Each team gets the afternoon to do all their prep work and Tiffani and Harold each meet with a hotel rep to order supplies. Dave finds it very ironic that he is on Tiffani’s team and Lee Anne is happy to be on Harold’s team.
Harold and Tiffani need to plan their menus for the challenge. Harold brainstorms with Lee Anne and Miguel to get their input. Tiffani does like normal and does not want any input. She wants her menu to focus on duality because her life has had two sides lately. I guess one side is the bitch, and the other is the dirty whore. She is going to take ingredients and make two separate dishes with each. She is counting on Stephen to help with the wine and Dave volunteers to make the dessert. When he thought he would be in the finale he memorized some dessert recipes and he is willing to let Tiffani use them. I really hope his “recipes” are something to screw her over like red, white, and blue popsicles.
The teams go the supply closet and are able to choose all of their ingredients for the challenge. They get to the kitchen to start all their prep work for the next day. Chef Tom visits to see what is happening. He is surprised that Tiffani is making 2 menus and is happy to see beef two ways on Harold’s side. He thinks that Harold is playing it a little safe and that Tiffani is taking a big chance with her menus.
It’s time to go home for the evening and Harold feels really confident going into the next day. He is happy to have Lee Anne and Miguel working with him on his team. Tiffani also feels ready for the next day. Dave does not want America to be mad at him for helping Tiffani to win. I never liked Dave so he is living a cloud of illusion in my book.
Call me Harold
Harold’s team is up first for the challenge. They are hard at work preparing the meal for the day. Lee Anne and Miguel keep calling Harold “chef” and it is tripping him up a bit. They are all friends and he wants to be called Harold. He decides that for the service later he will write a menu so he doesn’t have to explain all the courses. He meets with the wait staff and goes over how he wants the service to run.
Before the meal starts Harold goes out to meet all the judges. The worst host in the history of reality TV greets him in an uncomfortable way as she reads off the teleprompter. Gail and Tom of course are there and ready to judge. Lorraine Bracco from the Sopranos is present and ready to judge. Next we have Dana Cowim, editor in chief from Food & Wine Magazine. Hubert Keller, chef and owner of Fleur de Lys. Michael Mina, chef and owner of Nob Hill. Drew Nieporent, owner of the Myriad Restaurant group and Yardgnome, writer for Fans of Reality TV website. Harold is impressed with the caliber of the judges, especially Yardgnome because he senses her undying devotion.
Meeting all the judges has made him a little nervous so to take the edge off a bit he goes back to the kitchen and slams back a few shots from a tiny liquor bottle. He is ready for his service to begin.
HOTdishes are Hot!
The first dish to come out of the kitchen is a seared diver scallop with blood orange and fennel salad. The dish looks good. One time when I was in Maine I actually held a scallop in my hand, they are interesting creatures, starfish are one of their natural predators and man can those things motor. The diners like the presentation and the wine pairing. They liked the salad but think it was dressed too early.
The second course is going to be an olive oil poached bass. Bass are not my favorite fish to eat but awfully fun to catch. Katie gets mostly the fish’s bloodline and the rest of the judge’s think the seasoning and wine pairing is off.
Third dish out is pan-roasted quail with herb spaetzle and cherries with fois gras. Personally I think fois gras is nasty so my critique would not be good. I do enjoy quail, mainly because they are so tiny, and who would not want to eat that tiny bird? Some of the other judge’s think the quail is a little overcooked. Everyone thinks the wine pairing for it is excellent.
Harold is back in the kitchen tipping back a few more shots.
The fourth dish is the duo of beef with Kobe beef and braised short ribs served in a small hog trough. Harold feels really good about this plate and thinks it turned out great. The judges love it with the wine pairing. They think he hit a home run with this one and I also think this one looks divine.
The last course to be served is a fig tart with an assortment of cheeses. I want that little fig tart more than you can imagine, it just looks decadent. I am imagining it tasting like a giant fig Newton. The diners love the presentation and the cheese choices.
Harold comes out from the kitchen to face the judges and get his final critique. Each judge gives their opinion on the meals and one asks him if he cooks for himself or the customer. He tells him them both, he tries to please customer and self while cooking. Harold comes up to me and tells me he is willing to come back to Michigan and be my personal chef…I wake up from the little nap I fell into while watching the show.
Working Under a Hostile Regime
Tiffani is up next and arrives at the kitchen to prepare for her day of cooking. Dave and Stephen are not there on time and Tiffani is a little upset. Dave and Stephen were out drinking and partying the night before and they show up to cook a little hung-over. They immediately want to get to sampling the wine selection. Tiffani is happy to have them working even though they are hung-over. She is so happy that she repeats directions to Stephen about 3 times.
Tiffani goes out to meet all the judges and explains her duality menu. She makes eye contact with judge Yardgnome who promptly gives her the evil eye. She goes back to the kitchen to get her first plate ready.
I just can’t get over Tiffani’s Bitchiness
Her first course the dishes are seared diver scallop on squid ink and scallop crudo with citrus. For some reason I am obsessed with squid. They are amazing creatures. The giant squid has the largest eye of any animal in the world. The judges sample the plates and they like the first one better.
Tiffani goes back into the kitchen and is being extremely bossy and yells at Dave to get his drink off the line.
Second course she presents artichoke risotto with porketta and crispy artichokes with dipping sauce. I really like artichokes, my problem is I am just not good at preparing them so I rarely ever purchase them raw. The judges like the risotto much better.
The next course is steamed branzino with ratatouille and crispy branzino with black olive pappardelle. I already know I would not like the second one because of the olives but the first one looks good. I am not sure what all the food is but it looks and sounds Italian and I love Italian food. Before each course starts Tiffani explains each meal and just talks too long making all the food get cold.
The final course is presented and it’s bread pudding with a rum cocktail and vanilla panna cotta with Amaretto cocktail. Both of these look decadent and I think I would like them both. The judges love the bread pudding.
Tiffani comes out from the kitchen and goes for her final judgment. The judges think she was ballsy with her dishes. She gets asked if she cooks for the client or herself. She cooks the way she wants to eat, cooking to please others falls short. Remind me to never eat in her restaurant, I want food to be prepared to please me, not the bitch chef in charge.
Grilling the sous chefs
The show is finally starting to wrap up and I am nervous that Harold may not win. Chef Tom thinks that both chefs shined but Harold played it safe. Gail thinks that Tiffani was much more ambitious with her menus. They loved Tiffani’s desserts and cocktails, and Tom wants to know who made them.
They bring the four sous chefs in for questioning. Tom wants to know what role Stephen played in the challenge. He tells Tom that he helped with some of the wine pairings. Miguel tells the group Harold did an awesome job. Lee Anne thinks Harold is great to work with, he knew he needed their support to get to this place. Dave tells the judges he put his best foot forward with this challenge. Stephen pipes in and tells the judges that Tiffani was not very nice to them, she yelled when she should have been kissing their butts.
Chef Tom asks Dave who made the desserts for his team. Dave tells Tom that he made the desserts. Stephen pipes in and tells about Dave giving Tiffani recipes that he was planning to use if he made it to the finale. Dave then tells Tom that he made the desserts from start to finish. I keep waiting for Dave to start crying but he is really holding it together nicely.
The sous chef’s then get asked who they think should be Top Chef. They all answer that they think that Harold deserves it. He not only is a great chef but he has been very consistent through all the challenges. Plus he is the best looking contestant left.
One last round of questions
Harold and Tiffani come to the judge’s table for their last round of questions. They want to know why Harold played it safe. He tells them that he did not want to hose himself. He made simple food because he likes simple food. He’s sorry they didn’t feel the menu was extravagant enough.
The judges then tell Tiffani that she talked too much during her presentation, Harold wrote a menu and that was nice. They then tell Harold that he served a bad piece of bass to Katie and that Tiffani paired wine poorly with her bass.
The judges ask Tiffani what her favorite dish was. She liked the panna cotta desert. The judges ask her whose idea it was, she says that she came up with it. Tom tells her that Dave said he came up with it. Tiffani backpedals and says they worked together on it.
Tom then asks each one why they want to be Top Chef. Tiffani goes first says that she has taken risks throughout the competition. Harold says that his food has been good during the whole competition plus you need people to go to bat for you and he had that.
The judges excuse Tiffani and Harold and talk a little more. They think Harold’s beef dish was so good it could have been served in any restaurant or in my living room. They loved Tiffani’s boldness to do 10 plates and the artichoke risotto and desserts.
Tiffani and Harold are in the kitchen waiting to find out who won. During the questioning it came out that all the sous chefs chose Harold to be the Top Chef. Tiffani tells Harold that when she heard that she could feel his knife going into her back. This confuses me because Harold did not stab her in the back, Dave and Stephen did. Harold being the nice guy apologizes.
93% of the Voting Public Can’t be Wrong
It’s decision time and I am so worried that Harold is going to lose this thing. If he loses I don’t know if I will ever recover and get this recap posted. I may cry and pull a Dave and lock myself in the walk-in freezer at work to ease my pain.
Tiffani and Harold come back into the judge’s table to find out the results. Tom tells them they are both worthy of the title Top Chef. They are happy that Tiffani went for 10 dishes although some sang and some didn’t. They think that Harold took the safe route but his food has been consistently good.
The winner is HAROLD! He is shocked and has no idea what to say. Everyone comes out to congratulate him on his win. Tiffani looks stunned and then is dealt one final blow when Katie tells her to pack her knives and leave.
Tiffani is sad that she lost because she wanted to pay off her debts and travel. Everyone is happy that Harold has won. He is planning to take his money and put it towards the restaurant he is opening in New York.
Well, that is it for Top Chef this season. I had such a fun time recapping this show and I want to give big thanks to SueEllen for the excellent job she has done. I will see everyone in the fall when Top Chef comes back for round two and we hopefully will see more attitudes, more cooking, and less of host Katie.
If your name is Harold and you hold the title Top Chef email me at Yardgnome77@fansofrealitytv.co m.