May 18, 2006

The "Top Chef" finale -- Part I.

Tiffani, Harold, and Dave, the final 3, find out there's a first round that will cut the competition down to the 2. It's an extremely high pressure threefold task, which seems designed to eliminate Dave, whose frazzling under pressure has been highlighted for our amusement all season. And that's exactly what happens.

The chefs must cook for room service at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas and have only 30 minutes to do each of the three tasks.

Task #1. They have to make a hot and a cold dish for "high rollers," who -- unbeknownst to them -- turn out to be their most recently eliminated competitors -- Leann, Stephen, and Miguel. Since we know them so well, they're much more fun to watch than the usual judges. They like Harold's food best. (They don't know it's Harold's.) They complain about the lack of caviar. The chefs had access to an endless supply of luxury ingredients, yet no one picked up the caviar.

Task #2. They need to make 4 snacks for the high stakes poker players. Tiffani lets her snootiness get the better of her (again) and sees this as a opportunity to push poker players to new levels of sophistication. But when one of the players says "I need a fork," she's doomed. Dave wins this one -- mainly through spring rolls.

Task #3. The Cirque du Soleil acrobats have to fortify themselves with protein and carbs and not fat, the contestants are told: make 3 dishes for them. That big slab of Kobe beef is high fat, but the acrobats love it. That's Dave's contribution, and he could have won Task #3 with it, but he makes the monumental blunder of only providing 2 dishes, so Harold wins again (with something I can't even remember now). Dave lamely explains that he got confused from all the pressure: "I heard 'two.'"

Obviously, Harold is the best of the finalists, so the question is whether Tiffani or Dave has to go. Tiffani didn't win any of the tasks, but Dave's blunder cannot be ignored. It was an elaborate and well-designed competition that we just watched, but in the end, what mattered was that one mistake. Dave should have just dumped a can of caviar in a bowl to have a third dish.

So now, the drama that is Dave is over, and Part 2 of the finale, next week, will be all about the super-competent, steely cool Tiffani and Harold. We've been edited into love for Harold. But let Tiffani come out next week, with her red hair flaming, and fight like mad for the title.


Too Many Jims said...
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Too Many Jims said...

I have to wonder if the producers of the show didn't get in the ear of the judges so that Tiffani could go on and that Dave's blunder was just the opening they needed to justify sending him packing. The final two with Tiffani will be much more entertaining than a Dave/Harold match up. Just picking which of the past contestants will assist which chef will get me to tune in.

Ann Althouse said...

Excellent point. Next week will be fabulous when the old contestants have to work with either the guy they love or the woman they hate. It's hardly fair! But it's fabulous.

Meanwhile, Dave came off bad constantly expressing his hostility to Tiffani on last night's show. I know it's in the edit, but I was running out of love for him.

dick said...

Seems like if she is to hostile and such a beeyotch that he is totally justified in being hostile. Just how much hostility do you have to bottle. She gets a free pass for being a beeyotch and he gets cut? Bet there was some backstage manipulation and that is hardly fair to the contestant. What you are excusing is bad behavior on the part of Tiffani.

Elizabeth said...

When has being bad-tempered every disqualified anyone from being a chef? Do we want warm and fuzzy divas now? Please.

Dave is a fine cook. He'd be a great sous chef. But if you can't keep your head together under high pressure and control your timing, you can't run a kitchen. It's like being backstage in a play. The technical cues can't be dropped out of confusion. You may do lighting beautifully with lots of time and no pressure, but you can't work a live production.

It's editing, sure, but when they saw two dishes go up, go up one of the judges commented that you can't do that, you can't omit a room-service order. Three people ordered, and two meals went out! Dave's out of there!

If Tiffani loses, it will be because of her insistance on spinning the challenge to fit her worldview. If Harold loses, it will be because his food is good, but boring. Harold has the temperment I'd prefer to work with, but I think Tiffini would do just fine running a restaurant kitchen.

Jim Hu said...

The best moment in the show was at the beginning when Dave guesses what the next challenge will be - go out into the mountains with a bow and arrow and prepare what you can kill into a gourmet meal.

After what they've been put through, though, that might be too dangerous for Katie and Tom.