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Top Chef Season 5, Episode 12 — The Last Meal
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Feb/12/Picture_1.pngI think maybe if this whole writing thing doesn't work out, I should pack up the car and head for Hollywood and try my luck at being a reality show producer. Not that it's anything I think I'd love more than writing — hard to beat that — but more that it's either that or be a psychic.Yes, I totally CALLED what was going to happen in this episode, did I not? Poor sacrificed chef Jamie probably knew it too after she was cut last week when either one of the lovebirds — Hosea or Leah — should have been sent home. Instead, to keep the drama in the Top Chef kitchen, those rascally producers decided to keep the lovebirds around.Turns out they didn't need to do that at all — there was plenty of drama in this episode that couldn't have been done through manipulation. In fact, the story line was so compelling that they didn't even feel the need to point out that Leah and Hosea were going against each other for a spot in next week's semifinal episode. Or that Hosea was also competing to stay in it against his arch enemy, Stefan.Nope, all that had to happen to add some drama was, well, reality.Funny thing how that might happen on a reality show.In reality, rushing around the kitchen is dangerous business. There are knives, open flames and slick spots on the ground. Sounds almost like a layer of Hell if it weren't so commonplace. Anyway, Top Chef is now in it's fifth season and by now there was bound to be a major accident. Unfortunately, it had to happen to my Fabio.In an incident that wasn't caught on tape, which is probably a good thing, Fabio's pinkie finger bent backward and snapped — broken! — just hours before the meal that would decide who was going to Top Chef's semifinal in New Orleans.Luckily, it wasn't on his dominate hand, so Fabio, already fired up to serve Italian food maven Lidia Bastianich (she of Lidia's in Kansas City and other restaurants), wrapped it up and went about his business. Of course, in that much pain and under that much stress, half of his words about his pre-meal preparation were bleeped out. The man's been in the U.S. for just 2.5 years, but he sure has spent a lot of time hanging out with sailors.So, here was the challenge: make a dish requested by one of the greats of the culinary world, something that person would like as a last meal. The meals were all over the map, from eggs Benedict to squab to roasted chicken.The squab (or more precisely, the peas on the side) and the roasted chicken were the best of the best and Fabio, single-handedly, took home the prize: a giant bottle of wine and a trip for two to Napa Valley, along with momentum going into the semifinals. Carla came in a close second with those amazing peas and squab that got mixed reviews.With two spots left in the semifinals, it came down to the lovebirds — Hosea and Leah — and the man that the other chefs love to hate, Stefan. Leah's eggs Benedict, Stefan's salmon and Hosea's shrimp scampi were all great, but also second-rate. Leah undercooked her eggs and thinned her Hollandaise a bit too much, Hosea took his creativity a bit too far and Stefan overcooked his salmon.Of course, my eyes would have dropped out of my head if the judges had sent Stefan home, what with him winning challenge after challenge. But as far as Leah and Hosea ... well you can guess how I feel. Send 'em both home! But, in the end, there can be only one and it was the one who should have gone home WEEKS ago: Leah.Some random thoughts:— Hosea just needs to get that chip off his shoulder for Stefan, it's annoying. There's room enough for two bald chefs on Top Chef. Duh.— Carla says she's a dark horse and it's totally true — the sweetest dark horse ever! I'm rooting for you, my friend. Even if everyone else thinks you can only make peas and pies.— I am so happy to see more of Fabio, even if the previews did show him with a mohawk.— Every time Stefan wears his green recycling logo shirt it makes me think he's been in our house and raided my husband's closet: he has the same one and wears it often.— Tell me again why Leah couldn't have gone home earlier?— Also tell me that Hosea will be the first to go home next week. Please! If all is right in the world, it will happen.— What would be your last meal, if you had to have it prepared by a reality show contestant? At this point, I'm leaning toward anything with Carla's peas involved...