Posts Tagged ‘tv’

Well, Lost is Over.

Monday, May 24th, 2010

I’m pretty happy, actually, with the finale. I enjoyed it, and I thought they wrapped things up pretty well.

My friend Cara (who has her own fashion blog, if you’re so inclined) came over to celebrate The End. We undertook the massive re-watch together last summer and have made watching Lost a weekly event pretty much ever since, so it was only fitting that we finish it together.

She did an awesome job with the Dharma-tizing of our snacks. You can check out her handiwork below.

that's Dharma wine, beers, and sodas, Dharma Initiative tortilla chips with Dharma salsa, guacamole dip, and salsa con queso dip.

She also printed us boarding passes for Oceanic 815, along with all those awesome poster-prints. We couldn’t resist playing the numbers in the lottery. But more about the food.

I contributed some Dharma Initiative-iced cookies, the “Fish Biscuit” goldfish crackers, and “Black & White Rocks” (i.e. chocolate/yogurt covered raisins). And of course, John Locke orange-slice-smile props.

You’d think that was more than enough food for two people, even though it’s mostly snacks, but no. I also made Donkey Wheel Pasta Salad, which is pretty much just this Pepperoni Parmesan Pasta Salad, which you’ve seen before. I used mini wagon wheel noodles to give it that extra Lost-y touch, but otherwise, it was the same.

Then, in honor of Mr. Smoke Monster himself, I made Lil’ Smokey’s in a blanket, with Smokey cheddar cheese. Yum! (Super-Quick Recipe: Cut crescent roll dough pieces into quarters. Wrap each sliver around a Lil’ Smokey and a small slice of cheese. Bake according to the crescent roll package directions. Enjoy!)

So that was our Lost menu. We had a blast celebrating the series, but I’m not going to lie: I’m going to miss it. What in the world am I going to watch all summer?

Checking In

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

How’s everyone doing out there?

I have been slacking in the blogging department, I know. We’re getting ready to move in a little over two weeks, which has made things very hectic. Lots of apartment hunting, not as much cooking. And certainly not as much noteworthy-recipe-testing cooking. I expect to get back into blogging in a big way come June, once this move is behind us. I’ll be focused more on recipes for 2, since our Test Subject Leah moved out on her own. There’ll be more healthy recipes as well. Plus I’ve got a whole slew of cookbooks that I haven’t had the chance to dive into, including Jamie Oliver’s “Cook with Jamie,” which is one of the most gorgeous books I’ve seen in a long time, and “Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes 1 & 2,” which capture my imagination every time I turn the page.

Tonight, my friend Cara and I are having a LOST finale party, complete with Dharma treats. I’ll check in tomorrow with my favorites and photos, if I can set aside my mourning long enough to post.

All good things have to come to an end, right?

Top Chef Masters: Season 1

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Though I haven’t been blogging about it every week like I did with the last season of Top Chef, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Top Chef Masters this summer. For one, the skill of these proven, seasoned chefs can’t be denied. There’s no question of “Who Deserves to Be Here.” They all most certainly do. It’s been fascinating to see how well current superstar chefs complete classic Top Chef challenges.

I’ve also really enjoyed the sense of camaraderie among the chefs. While the Top Chef contestants are usually a cutthroat bunch, the Top Chef Masters competition has been full of teamwork and mutual respect, which is refreshing after years of bickering and backstabbing on Top Chef.

That’s not to say everyone has behaved perfectly: Michael Chiarello came off as a complete jerk last week. I hope it was a trick of editing–I know that happens sometimes on Top Chef–but if not, he needs a serious attitude adjustment.

Onto the finale. Going in, I was rooting for Rick Bayless. He seemed to have the greatest combination of attitude and skills. His food always looks amazing. I kind of can’t believe we haven’t made it to Frontera Grill yet–I hear those Tongue Tacos from his qualifying round are on the menu now, and that they sell-out nightly. (Not promising that I’d order tongue tacos, but I’d be tempted, just to say I’d had them). So going in, I was really hoping he’d win the full title.

Top-Chef-Masters-Season-110-13

Of course, that means I was pretty pleased with the Finale last night, as Rick was crowned (the first?) “Top Chef Master.” I thought that the finale was excellent, actually, all around. The challenge was such a perfect tool for judging these chefs: They were asked to prepare a four course meal, the first to show their first food memory, the second to show their inspiration for becoming a chef, the third to be inspired by their first restaurant opening, and the final to be a vision of where they are headed as a chef. I loved the memories and photos of the chefs throughout their life. I loved seeing what each chef created. The food looked absolutely fantastic, but was clearly a representation of each chef and who they truly are. Like every Top Chef finale before it, the producers set aside all the drama, all the last minute crises, all the extra difficulties and said to the chefs: Cook us the best meal you possibly can. And like every Top Chef finale, it was refreshing to watch them do it.

Rick Bayless was absolutely a joy to watch cook, and I’m glad he won.  His passion for food is inspiring, and he managed to cook with poise and respect for his peers throughout the entire season. It was great to see how much this title meant to him–not because of the fame, or even the money for his charity, but as a way to validate true Mexican cooking. I hadn’t thought about it going into the finale, but certainly the culinary world is biased towards French and Italian cuisines, as two of the greatest cuisines out there. Rick proved that his Mexican food can stand with the best of them, and even come out on top. That seemed to be the real victory for Rick Bayless.

tom-chef-masters-season-1-110-winner-bayless

The Next Food Network Star: Season 5

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

tnfns

A few years ago, back when David and I were still dating, we were hanging out at his mom’s house on a summer night, watching TV. We were channel surfing with his sister Terese, who liked the Food Network. As it turns out the Food Network was showing a marathon re-airing of its recent show, “The Next Food Network Star,” an American Idol-type reality show where finalists compete for their own cooking show on Food Network.

This should not have been interesting.

BUT IT WAS!

We watched for about 5 hours, before it was done. We saw almost the entire series. Neither of us liked reality shows, typically, (Thought I’ve since learned to like the cooking ones, at least!) and so we were shocked at how interested we were in this strange show. It was cool though. They put the finalists through all kinds of weird tests and challenges, like Mario Batali came out and made them all make a weird pizza, and then demo (show it like they would on a cooking show) it for the judges. Then, after each challenge, they’d eliminate somebody.

We were way to into it, though we felt much stronger about who we hated more than who we liked. After hours of watching, we got to the final episode. The two finalists recorded a pilot for their show idea, and then there was a party to announce the winner. Just as Emeril (the “ultimate Food Network Star”) was about to announce the winner…literally the SECOND he was about to announce the winner: *BONG* the patented TiVo “show’s over!” noise. Something was off on the timing, and because we’d gotten behind on the show and had to tape part of it, the stupid episode was cut off, just at the moment we cared most. Ugh!

Of course, we looked up the winner(s) online (in this case Dan and Steve–The Hearty Boys) and that was that. As frustrating as it was, we got over the ruined “reveal” and moved on with our lives. Except that while David remains indifferent to almost all reality shows, I continue to watch The Next Food Network Star season after season. (I also love Top Chef, as you may have noticed).

Top Chef continues to delight, but I have to admit, The Next Food Network Star may be growing a little stale for me. For one, the show seems to be a springboard to nothing. Other than Guy, who admittedly has become the Next Food Network SUPERStar, most of the contestants on the show don’t go anywhere. If The Hardy Boys are still on TV, I haven’t seen them. Of course, Guy’s everywhere, but in the seasons following Guy, the winners have been Amy Finley (who?) and Aaron McCargo, Jr. (okay, but hardly a STAR). That makes The Next Food Network Star only 1 for 4.

This season, I think the producers are trying to improve the show by stepping up the challenges a little bit, at least.  I don’t think it’s an accident that most episodes are now following a format much closer to the Top Chef layout of a quick challenge that somehow leads to an advantage in the main challenge. I’ll also say that this group of contestants don’t seem quite as clueless, on the whole, as last year’s crew–but I’m still not seeing very many people whose show I’d want to watch on a regular basis. For the most part, the best cooks (Michael, Jeffery) don’t have the kind of personality I’d tune in for, at all. Others have personality, but no food chops. It’s hard for me to even pick a front-runner at this point. I just hope that whoever gets the chance to be The Next Food Network Star, they actually make it happen. More like Guy, and less like those other guys.

Top Chef Masters begins June 10th

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Top Chef is coming back this summer–with a twist!

The first season of Top Chef Masters begins June 10th (just in time for my birthday!) From BravoTV.com:

Top Chef Masters will pit 24 world-renowned chefs against each other and see how well they fare in the tried and true format of Top Chef. In each episode, money will be at stake for the chefs, with the winners of eliminations being awarded cash donations for their charities. The first six episodes will consist of four chefs competing against each other to name one winner.  The six winners of each episode will then meet up for the final four weeks when one person will get eliminated each episode until the finale where one winner is crowned Top Chef Master. The winning chef will receive $100,000 for the charity of their choice.

This looks to be a pretty great spin on the Top Chef formula, and it’s kind of fun to see several previous guest judges on the list of competitors. There are some pretty big names there. I love to see what the culinary world’s newbies can come up with on Top Chef, so I think watching these proven, fantastic, respected chefs compete should be very interesting. And after last season’s uninspired bunch of cheftestants, I think it will be good for the Top Chef franchise to showcase some truly amazing food for a change.

Cookbook Review: Top Chef the Cookbook

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

top-chef-cookbook

I’ve had my eye on Top Chef the Cookbook ever since I first glimpsed it in Padma’s hands during season 4. And I wasn’t even sure why. At the time, the food being served on Top Chef was far, far out of my league, and even if I had been inspired to try a dish, Bravo has been kind enough to post the chef’s recipes on their website all along.

Luckily, Top Chef the Cookbook is more than just recipes. It’s also behind the scenes features about the chefs, food, and judges that make the show what it is. It’s also recaps of Seasons 1-3. Like Top Chef itself, it’s food AND entertainment.

Though I haven’t cooked a lot from Top Chef the Cookbook, I still enjoy reading the book. And the one dish that I did try ( Dave Martin’s Cognac Cream Macaroni & Cheese) was as amazing as I remembered from Season 1.

I’m looking forward to the sequel to this book, which I expect we’ll see once Season 6 is over. Top Chef the Cookbook is so much more than just a cookbook, and I think that any fan of the show would do themselves a favor to pick up a copy.

Here’s a rundown of what you’ll find in the book:

  1. Introduction from Tom Collichio
  2. Cooking up Top Chef (behind the scenes info on organizing Top Chef)
  3. Judges Table (with bios on each of the Top Chef Judges)
  4. Breakfast
    • Elia’s Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Waffle with Ham, Cheese & Fried Egg
    • C.J.’s Crepes filled with Almond Whipped Cream & Strawberries
    • Hung’s Steak & Eggs with Papaya, Banana, & Grand Marnier Shake
    • Sara M’s Eggs in a Hole
    • Lisa’s Fruit Kabobs with Honeyed Red & Blue Yogurt
    • Ilan’s Spanish Tortilla with Chipotle Aioli
    • Betty’s Black Forest Ham & Egg Bundle with Cor and Leek Ragout on Rustic Toast
    • Mia’s Crabcakes Benedict with Mango Cream Sauce
  5. Season 1: San Francisco (with Chef Bios, Episode Guide and Elimination Bracket)
  6. Quickfire Madness Feature
  7. Appetizers and Small Plates
    • Casey’s Beef Carpaccio with Watercress, Fried Capers, and Shitake Broth
    • Dale’s Seared Scallops with Purslane and Marinated Grapes
    • Hung’s Tuna Tartare with Nicoise Olvies, White Asparagus, and Egg Vinagarette
    • Marchel’s Watermelon & Tomato Trio – Watermelon Steak, Tomato Salad, and Watermelon Refresher
    • Frank’s Ham and Cheese Mini Quiches with Pesto
    • Sam, Ilan, Marcel, and Betty’s Braised Pork Shoulder with Tomato Marmalade
    • Stephen’s Poached Baby Manila Clams over Grilled Sea Beans
    • Ilan’s Baked Escargot in Their Shells
    • Ilan’s Morcilla and Squid Lau Lau
    • Marchel’s Hammachi Boke with Pineapple Poi and Taro Chips
    • Lee Anne’s Deep-Fried Oysters with Lemon Cream
    • Cliff’s Hama Hama Oysters with Mango and Split Prawns, Hamachi, and Daikon
    • Lia’s Olive Oil-Poached Shrimp  with Avacado and Cucumber, Lime, and Grilled Pepper Salad
  8. Entrees: Meat
    • Dale’s Colorado Rack of Lamb
    • Ilan’s Spinach & Cannellini Bean Salad
    • Tre’s Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with Cheese Grits and Chipotle-Tomato Butter Sauce
    • Dave’s Salami & Gouda Panini
    • Sam’s Sweetbread and Scallion Beignets
    • Howie’s Brraised Pork Shoulder
    • Harold’s Duo of Beef with Jobe Strip Loin and Braised Kobe Short Ribs with White Polenta
    • Frank’s Prosciutto and Cheese Pizza
    • Howie’s Black Truffle Burger
    • Lee Anne and Stephen’s Corn Sopes with Char Siu Pork and Pickled Asian Slaw
    • Dale’s Seared Elk Loin
    • Dave and Tiffani’s Moroccan Cubanos
    • Harold’s Prime New  York Strip Steaks with Foie Gras and Parsnip Puree
    • Team Korea’s Spicy Braised korean Pork
    • Stephen’s  Threesome of Colorado Lamb
    • Howie’s Fennel-Crusted Pork Chops
    • Casey’s Veal Medallions
    • Marcel’s Curried Lamb Kabobs
  9. Beware! Bourdain Feature
  10. Season 2: Los Angeles(with Chef Bios, Episode Guide and Elimination Bracket)
  11. Entrees: Poultry
    • Casey’s Coq au Vin
    • Harold’s Pan-Roasted Quail
    • Brian’s Spring Harvest Pheasant’s Pie
    • C.J. & Tre’s Black Truffle and Parmesan Lingune
    • Hung’s Sous-Vide Duck with Truffle-Scented Broth
    • Lee Anne’s Chicken in Red Curry Sauce
    • Casey and Dale’s Turkey and Pork Meatballs with Orecchiette Pasta and Spinach-Almond Pesto
    • Tre’s Seared Ostrich Fillet
    • Brian and Sara N.’s Chicken  Rigatoni
    • Hung’s Poached Black Chicken and Raw Geoduck
    • Elia’s Roasted Chicken with Vegetables
  12. Top Coif Feature
  13. Entrees: Fish
    • Harold’s Steamed Red Snapper
    • Ilan’s Macadamia Nut Gazpacho with Pan-Roasted Moi
    • Sara M.’s Halibut with Grapes and Fried Leeks
    • Ilan’s Fideos with Clams and Saffron
    • C.J.’s Scallop Mousse and Shrimp Burger
    • Sam’s Espresso Shrimp Flambeed with Sambuca
    • Michael’s Trout and Salmon
    • Elia’s Ahi Tuna and Shrimp Tacos
    • Hung’s Sauteed Shrimp with Corn Puddnig, Bacon & Corn Salad, and Shrimp Foam
    • Brian’s Sea Bass, Scallop, and Shrimp Sausage
    • Harold’s Ecuadorian Ceviche with Popcorn Cakes
    • Betty’s Spicy Coconut Curry Steamed Mussels
    • Tiffani’s Read Wine-Braised Angel Hair Pasta
    • Tiffani’s Mirin-Glazed Sea Bass
  14. Knives Out! Top Feuds Feature
  15. Entrees: Vegetarian
    • Dave’s Truffle and Cognac Cream Macaroni & Cheese
    • Marcel’s Tempura Vegetables and Mozzarella
    • Sam’s Summer Fruit Salad
    • Sara M.’s Chiles Rellenos
    • Miguel’s Deconstructed Falafel
    • Carlos’s Sunflower Seed and Carrot Loaf with Cilantro, Sesame Oil, and Squirt
    • Elia’s Portobello and Button Mushroom Creme with Walnuts
    • Betty’s Grilled Cheese with Portobello Musrhooms and Roasted Red Pepper Soup
    • Dave’s Lasagna with Two Saucess
    • Andrea’s Quinoa Pilaf with Curried Sweet Potato Mash
  16. They Oughta Know By Now Feature
  17. Season 3: Miami
  18. Top Chef Finales Feature
  19. Dessert
    • Joey’s Trio of Tarts, Berry Cream, Roasted Mango Puree & Warm Apple Compote
    • Marcel’s Potato Cannoli
    • Marcel’s Blini with Kona Coffee “Caviar”
    • Hung’s Molten Chocolate Cakes
    • Harold’s Fig Tart with Cheeses
    • Cliff’s Marshmallow and Cookie Ice Cream
    • Richard’s Banana Scallops, Banana Guacamole
    • Brian H.’s Strawberry Apple Crisp with Hazelnut Whipped Cream
    • Miguel’s The Total Orgasm Lemon Pastry Puffs, Tapioca Pillows, and Cold Hot-Chocolate Shots
    • Elia’s Low-Fat Berry Cheesecake
  20. Blogging Top Chef Feature
  21. Reunions Feature
  22. “It Is What It Is”: A Top Chef Glossary
  23. Index
  24. Credits

Top Chef Rundown: February 25, 2009 (FINALE!)

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Honestly, it’s so sad how little I have to say about this season’s finale. It speaks a little bit to how disappointing this season has been overall.

While David and I were watching the finale last night, he kept asking me who I wanted to win, and I just couldn’t seem to make up my mind. Thinking back to previous years when I clearly had my favorites (I <3 Stephanie!), it was kind of disappointing. I just wasn’t that concerned with what each of these three chefs would do.

That being said, Carla was probably, gun to my head, my choice going into the finale. She really found a way to step it up and had been getting consistently better all season long. Her finale dishes were good, too, when she let herself cook the food she wanted to cook. Unfortunately, she let nerves get the best of her.

It was a decent enough twist to have Marcel, Casey, and Richard back to help the chefs out. Because the losers popped up to help as sous chefs, I halfway expected Hung, Stephanie, and Ilan to be there as judges. In any case, I liked what they were doing here, and I think it made sense.

Unfortunately for Carla, part of letting her nerves get the best of her meant letting Casey push her way into her menu. She definitely had some highs, but she chose to sous-vide the beef, instead of making it her own way, AND she let Casey talk her into blue cheese souffles for the dessert. Casey was someone that I liked a lot, and a lot like Carla, she scraped her way into her own season’s finale. I don’t blame Casey, because Carla should’ve stepped up and made her own decisions.

Side note: Casey’s saying it wasn’t her fault, and the editors made her look much worse than the situation really called for. Not very classy to whine about it, Casey, but I have no problems believing that’s what happened.

Carla made some big mistakes that pulled her out of the running, which nearly everyone seemed disappointed about. That leaves us with Hosea and Stefan.

They both made good food. I could have seen either one winning. I was impressed by Stefan’s alligator soup, because he really pulled off something difficult there, with a tough ingredient he’d never used before. Hosea made the right call to skip dessert, I think, even though Toby criticized it. Yes, he should be able to make a dessert, and if pressed, I’m sure he could’ve come up with SOMETHING. Instead of pulling something together and trying to skate by with a so-so dessert, he chose to make three strong dishes, and it clearly worked in his favor.

Ultimately, Hosea won. And I am indifferent.

top-chef-finale

Truthfully, every season I’ve had my favorites and my least favorites, but this year most of the cheftestants landed right in the middle for me. Here’s to hoping for a better crop of cheftestants next time around!

Big Kitchen with Food

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

I have found the cutest thing in the world. Well, the cutest food thing, anyway. It’s “Big Kitchen with Food,” a cooking show that airs in Portland, Oregon. The star of the show is “Chef Julian,” an adorable five year old boy who really seems to know his stuff. The video below shows Julian baking one of his original recipes, Yummy Yummy Citrus Boys. Take the time to watch it, you won’t be disappointed.

Other episodes, available here, show Chef Julian’s take on spaghetti sauce, chocolate chip zucchini bread, and robot cake, among other things. Check it out!

Top Chef Rundown: February 18, 2009

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

First of all, I think New Orleans is a great backdrop for the finale, if for no other reason than it’s a locale that’s really known for its food.

Second of all, I think it was a great idea to let Jamie, Leah, and Jeff try to break into the finale during the quickfire challenge, and an even better idea to require that Jeff get first place in order to make it to the end. I was a little bit proud of Jeff, actually. Though he’s still convinced that he didn’t do anything to deserve elimination in the first place (and he’s wrong), he did find his focus and reign in all of his whims to create simple dishes. He did a good job on the quickfire, and I was happy to see him join the Final Five.

Third of all, the cheftestants should not have been surprised to see Emeril Lagasse–I think he was a great fit for guest judge.

top-chef-emeril

Fourth of all, everyone did pretty well in the elimination challenge as far as I can tell. Stephan’s bad attitude was back, but for the most part, he’s able to back up his swagger with actual skills, so what’s the harm?

Fifth of all, my feelings could be changing about Carla. She’s been pretty frickin’ good for the past few weeks, and it’s nice to see her enjoying herself, even if she is a bit of a weirdo. Jeff got burned by the “deal with the devil” that he made, and because he wasn’t the best, he went home.  I felt bad for him, a little, but ultimately, I think that was a fair price to pay to get back in the game.

Sixth of all, I was not heartbroken to see Fabio go home. He was good all season, but he really didn’t have his best night here, and small mistakes are enough when everything is good overall.

Seventh of all, I’m looking forward to next week, when we see Carla, Hosea, and Stephan cook the best meal of their lives. No restrictions, no games, no price limits, time limits, or broken freezers–just great cooking. I can’t wait. I will admit, I don’t have a clear favorite right now, but I’m excited to see how this all plays out.

Top Chef Rundown: February 12, 2009

Friday, February 13th, 2009

This week’s episode of Top Chef had our cheftestants star-struck once again. Famous chefs were everywhere you looked. Everywhere.

The quickfire challenge, to make breakfast for a breakfast loving molecular gastronomist, turned out pretty much as I expected. I thought that Stefan’s dish was actually pretty clever, and it was odd that Fabio’s similar dish didn’t quite make the cut. I do think it’s a shame when the top chef’s try to out-wit the science guys. I don’t know why they think the molecular gastronomists are going to be impressed with the little bit of molecular gastronomy they can pull of. Richard Blaise had this problem–even Marcel made this mistake. The guys who invented the tricks aren’t all that impressed wth your take on them.

The surprise in the quickfire was that Carla won, by keeping it simple and clean, if a little bit whimsical. Her green eggs and ham looked kind of cool and was one of the few dishes that you could actually imagine eating for breakfast. I think she read the guest judge well and gave him exactly what he was looking for. All in all, a very smart move.

top-chef-last-supper

The elimination challenge, to cook “last suppers” for famous chefs, wasn’t really all that difficult. Like Hosea said, your death-bed meal isn’t really the fanciest meal, or the ultimate meal of your life. Even the most famous chefs asked for classic comfort foods that everyone should have been able to make. Maybe even with one hand tied behind their back…

Speaking of Fabio…I was impressed with his ability to get everything done with a broken hand. He really just put his head down and plowed through, and didn’t let the food suffer. I worried a bit about his chopping skills (and his other hand!), but he managed to finish the roasted chicken, and finish well.

Once again, Carla kept things basic, and it worked for her. I don’t know how peas could be something so amazing, but she sure did win over the entire panel of guest judges with them.

Leah…should have been able to make eggs benedict. She’s shown some strength at egg dishes this season, and I really thought she’d be able to pull that off. I think I could probably pull that off, though I have no interest in eating eggs benedict, so I don’t see me making it anytime soon. I’ve tried it, and it’s not for me. Her eggs weren’t cooked properly, and she messed up the sauce, which was a pretty terrible mistake.

Hosea’s shrimp scampi was uninspired and forgettable. And apparently, not quite correct. The tomatoes looked like they were thrown together, and scampi can never have too much garlic, so clearly he went wrong. Like just about everything on the menu this week, shrimp scampi is a basic dish, one he should’ve been able to pull off. Especially the seafood guy. Maybe they don’t serve eel in his restaurant, but I’m certain they serve shrimp!

Finally, we come to Stefan. His salmon was overcooked. I could see it from my couch. It looked like “dead” food baked under restaurant heat lamps. I don’t know what the deal was with the spinach two ways, but ugh. Of course, I’d never choose spinach as part of my last meal. Or really much of any meal. If the judges couldn’t tell that the spinach was cooked two ways, I think it’s safe to say that Stefan missed the mark.

Judge’s Table, then, was a bit of a surprise for me. As much as it pains me to say it, as much as I hated Leah…I really think Stefan deserved to go home last night. Nothing about his dish was good, and the judges at least seemed to be split on Leah’s dish. I think overall, Stefan is a better chef, and on those merits deserves to be in the final four, but that’s not how this game is played. If they’re going to judge on that night’s performance and only that night’s performance, then that’s what they should do. Maybe it was just editing, but it sure didn’t look like Stefan deserve to make it through based on that night’s performance.

Fabio deserved his win, though, no contest. At least all his pain and suffering paid off. And look, he can do it with one hand tied behind his back!

New Orleans should be a fun finale location, so I’m looking forward to next week’s show. I think Carla and Hosea are wildcards, and the top two chefs here are clearly Stefan and Fabio (Team Europe). Stefan is more of a technician, and Fabio’s got all the heart, so if it comes down to those two, I don’t know which one will win. I guess we’ll find out.