Top Chef 11/18 *open spoilers*

I don’t think anyone saw this final four coming. :rolleyes:

Kevin is officially the man. He now has the record for the most elimination challenge wins. And I’d put good money on him winning fan favorite too, so he’s gonna walk out of here with at least $50 grand.

And Michael has now dropped to number 4. What a sore loser. I was actually rooting for him to go home before Eli. Bryan is still cool though, especially for helping out Kevin.

Also, I was reading about Gavin, the guest judge, and I found this:

That’s gotta suck.

This is the most surprising final four in the series history. Yeah.

I like that they gave the victory to the guy who cooked his food the best, as opposed to those who had the prettiest and fanciest plates. Although I am a medium-rare guy, I am happy that the chefs criticized the underdoneness of many of the dishes. It seems that applying heat to a protein has become a sacrelidge for modern chefs, and I am glad they were called out about it.

My prediction, in order:

Young Voltaggio
Old Voltaggio

Michael said some pretty nasty things about Kevin. “He cooks things I cook on my days off.”
Kevin has consistently made dishes that people have loved eating. The only thing the judges had to say against him this week was that it seemed to simple for the time he had. Also the one judge thought the catfish was a little dry. Actually, from their comments, Kevin’s dish was the only one that they liked eating at all.

Also, from the comments we saw, Michael had the dish least liked. The bone in the fish, the lack of cohesiveness and what they thought of as simplistic, under-conceived garnishes (cucumber tartare?) as compared to Eli’s undercooked lamb seemed to scream out for Michael to be the one to go home.

I don’t know about you guys, but I thought that this elimination challenge was super hard. That competition (what was the name of it again?) they were emulating looked extremely pressure inducing and a bit on the snobby side. Don’t know how Kevin will stand up to all that.

Anyway, you go, Kevin. Love ya.

As soon as I heard the challenge, I knew that it was curtains for Eli. He doesn’t have the experience or the maturity to create a dish suitable for the challenge, and that’s exactly what it came down to. On the Top Chef blog, Tom said that Eli had tried a technique he wasn’t familiar with, and unlike Kevin, failed. Tom also said that Eli’s lamb was completely inedible. Michael really messed up with the bone and his lack of cohesion, but everybody got a chance to eat his fish. Nobody could eat Eli’s lamb, so it’s pretty obvious why he went home.

I love the fact that Bryan’s default is to not be a prick, even if he is in the middle of a competition. Michael would have thrown Kevin under a bus. Or at least acted like he was doing Kevin a huge favor by even talking to him about it.

Bryan has been consistently close. Everybody saw a glimmer of how brilliant he is with this challenge. The final challenge is all about giving the chefs a chance to really shine and show who they are. Michael and Kevin will both be stiff competition, but I don’t think that they’re unbeatable. Of course, if Jen is back on her game by then, they might all be in trouble.

Ultimately I’m glad Robin went home last week. She only would have failed embarrassingly at that level of competition and Eli got to make an ass out of himself instead.

Maybe I’m not enough of a foodie, but that Bocuse d’Or competition looked terrible. It probably didn’t help that it was apparently filmed on a camcorder from 1986, but it reminded me of nothing more than a food version of the Eurovision song contest. Plus, it seemed to emphasize the looks of the dishes, which to me is the least important part.

Michael gets snippier and snippier as it becomes apparent that this is Kevin’s competition to lose. I was glad to see that Jen seemed to get her groove back a bit. Maybe the time off will let her recharge (and get another awful hairstyle!).

Speaking of new hairstyles, did you get a load of Kevin in the preview for next week? He looked like Jerry in that episode of Seinfeld where he gets his hair cut by Enzo. Really bad.

The judges must have known what challenge was around the corner, so there’s no way they would’ve allowed her to even take on such an enterprise against the other 4. It would’ve been beyond pathetic.

When I heard Michael’s ‘sides’ I was confused. It was like Mike I’s “leek scallops” again - listen chefs, it’s all very clever to make one food look like another, but the taste is what is important.

Agreed on the issue with cooking meat properly. I’m glad that American cuisine is away from the “cook it until it’s gray” end of the spectrum, but there’s a reason that we started cooking meat in the first place - often it’s too damned hard to chew without at least some cooking!

The pick of Eli was right. He failed on many levels here.

Hearing Bryan’s “I don’t know if my brother would do that” comment, it was hard to tell if that was sincere, or a deadpan joke. Funny.

When Michael said that “Kevin cooks stuff that I cook on my day off,” was that a repeat of his previous statement to that effect, or did he say the same thing again? Either way, the dude needs to get a life.

It seemed that Kevin and Jen were genuinely sad to see Eli go (Kevin had said that he and Eli were friends during the show.) Jen also said that all of the remaining contestants were really tight. I’m having some trouble remembering how the Voltaggio brothers reacted to Eli’s departure. I wonder whether whether the Voltaggios are closest to one another, and have not bonded as much as the other contestants.

I thought the “cooks stuff that I cook on my day off” had come up before. Maybe it was in last week’s previews of this week’s? Certainly, they showed it twice (once in a “stay tuned for” and once for real a few minutes later.) Seems like a nasty comment to make at this level.

Seems like lamb is one of those kiss-of-death foods that no one can cook “right.” I think every lamb dish we’ve seen has been under or over cooked? I wonder if that’s probably because different people/judges like their lamb different degrees of done-ness (more so than beef.)

Lamb is very unforgiving, with a relatively small range between underdone and overdone. Kevin was wise to cook it sous vide since that’s the best way to get it to a precise temperature. It still took huge balls to do sous vide for the first time for Thomas Keller, since he literally wrote the book on it.

When Michael said “Kevin cooks stuff I cook on my day off”, I said to my boyfriend, “You mean, stuff you want to eat?”

This may have been the first time he said “cooks stuff that I cook on my day off”, but there was definitely a recent week where Michael described Kevin’s winning dish as “something I could have made in my second year of culinary school”.

Kevin was pretty gracious about that comment in an interview, basically saying [paraphrased] “You know, we all felt a lot of pressure to win, and I’m sure that lead to people saying things they otherwise wouldn’t have.”

Couldn’t agree more. Even if she hadn’t deserved it, they would have been justified in given her a mercy killing knowing this was the next challenge.

I do think that the editors do a good job this season because even though I know these 4 should be the final four, I wasn’t sure that was what was going to happen. I couldn’t imagine they’d let Eli go forward and let a V go home, but reality shows are about drama. It was nice knowing, but not knowing for absolute sure.

I think if Mike I or Robin were still around it would have been a laugh a minute trying to watch either of them do this challenge.

“I could that on my day off” is such elitist snobbery. I’m quite sure Kevin is able to do technically advanced, daring things. His skill set is very high. I feel he chooses to focus instead on flavor and proper preparation. Yes, the V brother should (and do) get respect for their creativity, but in the end, the food itself counts. Fancy little foams and the like that aren’t done perfectly will lose to perfectly done, simple foods.

I don’t know why everyone is always so surprised by that.

Maybe the V brothers should have tried something simple and seen how hard it is to win with one.

Jen seemed like a completely different person in the elimination challenge. She was cool and confident, and under extreme pressure she acted comfortable. It was quite a contrast to her nervous, self-loathing demeanor over the past few episodes. Winning the quickfire really boosted her confidence. She seems like a sensitive person - I hope she comes into the finals with a lot of support and confidence because I want to see her do well.

I’m fine with any of the chefs except Michael winning. One of the reasons I hope Jen does well is to see Michael get eliminated at the beginning of the finals. Surely Kevin will win fan favorite.

To be fair, when I put something in the dishwasher, that’s typically a sign that I’m done with it. Maybe it’s different in France.

Judges like Thomas Keller really give this show tremendous credibility.

I’m happy for Kevin and all, but he’s going to get his ass kicked at the Bocuse d’Or.

He’s going to compete for the opportunity to go to the Bocuse d’Or. He didn’t actually win the slot last night.