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Top Chef 3.13 - Finale Part 1 Recap

It was down to the final four on last night's episode of "Top Chef," and I think it was definitely a fun — Yeeha! — episode. So far, this year's finale is proving to be exciting, if not somewhat surprising. The Bravo editors didn't give away the result until the end, and neither will I. To find out who made it to the next round,

At the beginning of the episode, the cheftestants arrive in Aspen/Snowmass and are whisked away to an awaiting hot air balloon. They get an amazing aerial tour and pop open a bottle of champagne, only to arrive at the quickfire challenge. On the banks of the Frying Pan River, Padma and guest judge Eric Ripert present them with fresh trout, a frying pan, a camping stove, and basic pantry ingredients. They then have 20 minutes to scale, gut, and cook a tasty fish. Brian struggles with — and even drops — one of his fishes, while Hung finishes seven minutes early but manages to forget an ingredient. In the end Casey is declared the winner and will be able to use her own personal supplies/ingredients during the elimination round.

After the quickfire, they're told that they each must create entrees for 45 cowboys and cowgirls at the Snowmass Rodeo Riders annual shindig. They have three hours to cook, and the main ingredient, elk, has already been determined for them. Dale and Casey are thrilled to use the gamey meat, while Brian and Hung seem less enthused. Oh and did I mention that during prep, Chef Tom tells them that there will be three finalists and only one of them will be going home?

When it comes time to serve up their meals, Dale is victorious with his Seared Elk Loin with Cauliflower and Fingerling Potatoes. It is Eric Ripert's favorite meal and, even though Gail thinks it has too many components, it is declared the winner.

Dale's victory — which really elevated Dale in my book — leaves Casey, Hung, and Brian shaking in their cowboy boots. All the meals were considered fantastic, but someone has to go home. In the end it is Brian who is asked to pack his knives — and his cowboy hat — and go.

Things to ponder:

  • Can you believe this product placement in this photo?!?
  • Didn't they know there would be a quickfire at the end of the balloon ride? Didn't they learn that this is how "Top Chef " works?
  • Were you surprised that three folks moved on to the finale?
  • Was Casey's drawl suddenly more prominent?
  • Was it funnier when Hung said, "What the hell do cowboys and cowgirls eat? Baked beans and baked beans and baked beans?" or when Dale said, "I really don't know that much about cowboys. I mean I've slept with a few, but that's about it" ?
  • Were you as impressed by Dale as I was? His reason was quite touching and I almost think he could win the entire thing!
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lula29 lula29 9 years
So now being proud of your family history means you think you're entitled? He has excellent skills and should be proud. He came to compete and he works well with others. I have no issues with him. The baked bean comment was hilarious. Dale got lucky. Mostly he's underwhelming.
Leilanic1 Leilanic1 9 years
I too was so irritated with Hungs speech in judges panel! I rolled my eyes and called him a liar...sorry couldn't help it. I'd love for Dale or Casey to win. Hung is a good chef with artistry and presentation but Dale and Casey really think about who is eating the food and why they are making it. I loved how Dale totally opened up and revealed that this competition has helped him find his passion in food again. Plus he's funny! :)
JessNess JessNess 9 years
Not I have two serious chef crushes- Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert. They were both eating together on an epi of No Reservations- too good. Hung's baked bean comment just cemented is position as a jerk to me.
sumnboutme sumnboutme 9 years
Lol at Dale's comments re: cowboys...i love Dale's speech and bravo to the Bravo editors for not hinting at it all season....not sure who's gonna win at this point and I'm still not sure who I'm going to root for. I thought it was going to be Casey and Hung in the final two but now that it's final three, I'm not so sure...
silverpenny013 silverpenny013 9 years
I think Hung somehow thinks that his family's history of cooking entitles him to win or something. I definitely knew that his speech was complete BS and a direct response (a fake one and an easy cop out) to what the judges said. Ugh. Can't he just be humble and honest, for once?! I hope that either Casey or Dale wins. I like both of them. And Dale cracks me up! Slept with a few... ha! That's great.
lula29 lula29 9 years
Hung has maintained from the beginning that cooking is in his blood. He talks about his family all the time. Also, he's actually a team player. He knows how to work with people. He's never had one issue with another contestant and worked with whoever he was paired with, without stepping on their toes. He might be cocky, but he's definitely not so arrogant he can't work with others. That's humility, not playing nice nice all the time, when you should be competing. I think he is just proud of his skill because he is an immigrant in this country and probably has to be so proud because people look down on immigrants. I liked him more and more as the show progressed, which is surprising because I didn't think I would.
SugarCat SugarCat 9 years
Dale, ftw! ;)
Rhiannon Rhiannon 9 years
I am so glad someone else noticed how full of BS Hung was on this episode. I know that there is a month gap before they show up in Aspen, do the cheftestants see the show in that time? I think Hung has figured out that even though he have the best technical skills the rap on him is that he is impersonal and he violates so many basic kitchen rules that he needs to go on a campaign to change his image to get through to the final. His speech about soul and his family rang hollow with me, and I hope the judges saw through it too.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
yeah, whats with the product placement - so casually just sitting there.
fishlady fishlady 9 years
yeah, padma had been increasingly overly-goofy this season (e.g. when she was ringing the dinner bell for the elk meal), and i don't think it comes across well. however, they'll never get rid of her. i'm very pleased with this final three. dale was always my favorite personality wise, casey won me over with her consistency and thoughtfulness throughout, and i actually like hung, he's not really that much of a jerk as reality tv competition jerks go. i'll be more excited for the other two if one of them wins, but i'm betting hung is going to shine and win next week.
mayatime mayatime 9 years
I am pulling for Casey. I think she has been consistently the best. Also, I hope they find a replacement for Padma next season. She really annoys.
lexichloe lexichloe 9 years
Yeah, looneychyq, I really enjoyed Dale this episode. It's like the editing has not allowed us to see his true self until now. I am rooting for Casey and Dale all the way...
looneychyq looneychyq 9 years
I loved Dale's comment about sleeping with cowboys. I was so proud of him in this episode. I've been a Casey fan for a while... and yes! Her drawl was definitely more prominent in this episode. lol I was a little sad to see Brian go, but not surprised. I just can't stand how cocky Hung is. I know he's good enough to win the whole thing, but his attitude pisses me off. He talks about how much he loves his family and how badly he wants to make them proud (which is sweet and noble) but does he have to be so damn arrogant about it? Blech!!
mamaseacat mamaseacat 9 years
Dale is gay and Hung is bi. That's what I got from the show. I like all 3 of them. I don't care who wins. I'll be happy. Dale is a cutie, and so warm-hearted. Casey is excellent without the formal training, so she's a natural. Hung is arrogant but has reasons to be arrogant. They're all good and deserve to be the TOP 3. Can't wait to see who wins.
lexichloe lexichloe 9 years
Yes, susanec, he hasn't been trying to keep a secret, he's openly gay.
susanec susanec 9 years
I've only watched the show once (yay Aspen) but doesn't Dale refer to himself as the big queer chef?
missjaime missjaime 9 years
Team Casey! As much as I love Dale, I believe Casey is the more talented chef. As for Hung, he's got no soul, no heart and just told Ripert what he wanted to hear.
lexichloe lexichloe 9 years
Watts, Dale is gay.
vndlfan vndlfan 9 years
Was anybody else screaming at their tv when Hung went off on his "food is my soul" rant. I mean come on we all know he only said that because of what Chef Ripert said in the quickfire. I just wanted to hit him, he could care less about his dishes all he cares about are his technical skills, at least he didn't try to sous vie his elk right?!?! Go Casey and Dale!!!!!
veside veside 9 years
Bless Dale-- he has the best comments and reminds me a little of Dave of Top Chef Season 1. I was sorry to see Brian go (although no one else was, seemingly) but it was obvious chef Collicchio was never that impressed by him. Dale has gotten stronger with every challenge, as has Casey, whereas Brian seemed to fall apart bit by bit... I agree that it is now very possible that Dale might win it all, in a weird parallel with Alternative Bad Boy Jeffery S's win on Project Runway last season. At any rate, 3 good cooks made it to the final, which is more than we could say about last Season! I don't miss the silliness & immaturity shown by Ilan and Marcel. Ilan was an extremely undeserving winner, in my op.
watts watts 9 years
So I thought there was a thing brewing between Dale and casey. However when he said he's slept with some cowboys...does that mean he plays for the other team?
lula29 lula29 9 years
I'm Team Hung too. Watching the show more and more I realize he kind of got a bad rap. Honestly, it's a competition and everyone wants it to be summer camp or something. Compete dammit! I like that Hung has that attitude. No wonder most of their food IMO has been underwhelming, they're too busy trying to play nice instead of bringing their A game. Hung is cocky, but talented. And I found it really insulting to insinuate his food has no soul and he should be cooking like a Vietnamese. I couldn't even believe Colicchio said that. Amazing.
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 9 years
I'm secretly rooting for Hung...but I hope Casey wins. I love Top Chef.
RiceGirlReese RiceGirlReese 9 years
Dale is great, but I'm rooting for Casey.
PJ-PJ-PJ PJ-PJ-PJ 9 years
I think I want Dale to win. I like Casey too. I started the show liking Hung, but he needs a little lesson in humility. He does have great skills, though.
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