“Top Chef” Recaps: Episode 4.14 “Finale”

Richard says there are fewer than a dozen chefs in the
nation who cook with the cold stuff. He says a lot can be done with it, and he
is thinking about making Tabasco sauce ice cream. Oh, I get it, fire and ice.
But then he says he is not sure if that is what he will make. Instead he is
just testing the idea. Again, you’ve had six months to test. Now you only have
seven hours to cook.

His test turns into a demonstration for the super sous. Someone
is about to show off his toys. What is it about boys and their toys? If it’s
not a shiny new car, it’s a shiny new canister of liquid nitrogen.

Lisa: Richard
definitely is a brilliant chef, but Richard and I are very different. I am not
into the molecular at all. I cook simple food and I keep minimal ingredients
instead of, you know, over-thinking things.

Eric and April, however, are suitably impressed.

Eric: I’ve never
seen such a technique. As a chef, the day you don’t learn anymore, it means you’re
so egomaniac that you’re blind.

With the chemistry experiment over, the chefs get back to business.
But Stephanie is distracted by the friendly chitchat coming from April and Lisa’s

Stephanie: Lisa
and April are definitely getting along and chitchatting, which is a little
weird. You know, just ’cause Lisa doesn’t really get along with everybody, as some
people might remember.

Lisa couldn’t be happier with her sous chef.

Lisa: The fact
that I get along really, really well with Chef April gives me an advantage. You
know, if you are happy, your food is going to taste better. If you are stressed
out and freaking out, you know, I don’t cook well like that.

The three hours of prep tick down to zero, and the chefs
huddle with their super sous to go over what needs to be done the next day.
Richard says he will use the night to conceptualize, since he has no completed
dishes and a lot of work left. Lisa gets a hug from her new BFF, April.

No show, no call, no
job —
The day of the final challenge arrives, and so do the chefs — at an
empty kitchen. Their super sous are nowhere to be seen. They unpack their
knives and get started solo as Tom walks in with what we can only assume is the
inevitable curveball.

And what a big, looping curveball it is. He tells them their
super sous won’t be coming in today.

Tom: From this
point on you are completely on your own. The judges wanted to make sure that
you live and die by your own hand.

The chefs joke, a bit, about it being like their sous chefs
at work calling in sick. They say it happens every day at restaurants. But they
all say they’ll miss that extra pair of hands. Richard seems the most worried because
his food is so intricate.

Each fleshes out his/her menu a bit more.

Lisa: My menu is
going to really reflect my personality. Very big, bold, spicy, sweet, salty, sour.
Those bright, kind of in-your-face flavors is really kind of my personality.

Lisa’s menu:
First course, grilled prawns. Second course, tom kha gai soup and
dumplings. Third course, Wagyu
. Fourth course, Thai rice pudding.

Oh, dear God, rice.

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