“Top Chef” Recaps: Episode 4.14 “Finale”

Richard wants to tell a story with his menu. He wants to
tell the judges he can cook with liquid nitrogen or just butter in a pan.

Richard’s menu:
First course, scallops. Second course, guinea hen, foie gras and eggs. Third
course, pork belly. Fourth course, banana scallops with bacon ice cream.

Banana scallops, again?
Seriously, again?

Stephanie’s menu has no such repeats, or in Richard’s case,

Stephanie’s menu:
First course, red snapper. Second course, quail with lobster ravioli and quail
egg. Third course, lamb medallions. Fourth course, ricotta pound cake.

Stirring the pot —
Tom arrives to check on their progress. When he asks Richard what his menu is,
Richard says “it’s a little abstract.” Tom gives him his patented
blinking stare. And then Richard tells him he is “in the s— right now.”
That gets my patented blinking stare. Also, what an unpleasant mental image to
use while discussing food.

Stephanie tells Tom she has five minutes until she finds out
if her pound cake is a boom or a bust. Tom asks her if she has made it before,
and she says she’s done it once. More blinking, more staring.

That just leaves Lisa. Calm, relaxed, whistling-a-happy-tune
Lisa. OK, she isn’t whistling. But she is amazingly calm and relaxed.

Lisa: I’m good. I’m
not nervous about it. I’m not concerned with the timing.

She is duly rewarded with a blink-and-stare–free reaction from

Afterward, Tom handicaps the field.

Tom: It was
surprising to see the reactions. Richard — he has been usually calm, but he
seems very excited. I think partly because he has so many ideas running around
in his head and he can’t keep them quiet … Lisa is very calm. We know she is a tough
competitor … I think part of being a chef is having somewhat of an attitude and
swagger. It helps. Stephanie is a little nervous about her dessert right now … It
could all come down to that dish for her.

Cut to Stephanie fretting about her dessert. She decides to
finally sample her ricotta pound cake.

And suddenly, it’s Stephanie who probably feels like she is “in
the s—.”

Lisa: What’s
My s— sucks.
No it doesn’t. Every time you f—ing say that it’s always awesome,
No, not this time, yo.
Yeah, you said that like three times to me and then you won.
Not this time.
I don’t want to hear it from you. Have some confidence in yourself.

I think that was Lisa’s version of a pep talk. But I’m not
sure it worked, since Stephanie is still all furrowed brow. In fact, Stephanie
and Richard are both balls of tension. And then there is calm, relaxed,
whistling-a-happy-tune Lisa.

Lisa: I’m not
tense. I was just thinking to myself I wonder why nobody is talking.

Richard, who must have a terrible
poker face
, doesn’t seem to take kindly to Lisa’s chitchatty mood.

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