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Top Chef 3.12 - Manhattan Project Recap

Last night's Top Chef was the last episode before the finals in Aspen. The cheftestants are allowed to hang out in the streets of New York before being whisked away to the famous Le Cirque restaurant. At Le Cirque they are treated to a beautiful VIP dish called Paupiette of Sea Bass. Once they're wined and dined, they find out they have 25 minutes to recreate the dish in the working kitchen. I thought this was an interesting twist on the quickfire, it was nice to see a quickfire that didn't have a weird branding attached to it. So who was the master re-creator and who had the gall to serve raw fish? Find out when you

The cheftestants work in Le Cirque's kitchen indiviually preparing what I'm calling, "My goodness I have got to eat this" meal. Hung is up first and wows owner Sirio Maccioni, as does Casey. The other three didn't fare so well. Dale's was unseasoned, Brian's wasn't wrapped properly and Sara's was actually raw. Needless to say the top two are Hung and Casey, and Maccioni awkwardly jokingly says he'd call Casey the winner because she is attractive, but gives it to Hung as his dish was the most accurate.

Next they're told to get ready for tomorrow's elimination challenge. They get three staples — chicken, russet potato and yellow onion — and $200 to spend at the farmer's market. Their challenge is to create a dish for the culinary legends and professors of the French Culinary Institute in two hours.

Hung — who had an extra 30 minutes to prep thanks to his quickfire win — creates a sous vide Butter Poached Chicken with a crispy chicken skin chip. Sara has some odd fricassee chicken with a Jamaican influence. Dale does a duet of chicken, but forgets his honey sauce. Brian creates a spring peasant's pie — which the judges loved, even though it looked unique. Casey created a "coq a vin" with potatoes and ramps.

In the end Hung is declared the winner and Casey and Brian are right up there with him. This left Sara and Dale in the bottom two. However part of Sara's chicken was raw and her "failure to execute" was deemed worse than Dale's "poor concept." Translation: It was time for her to pack her knives and go.

So now that we're in the home stretch, I have some talking points before the finals.

  1. Did you see the surly line cook's expression when the cheftestants walked in?
  2. I loved Dale's quote, "I'm a big gay chef and I'm going to out-cook your a$$," did you?
  3. If you were Hung, would you have shared your technique with everyone else?
  4. Was it cute or offensive when Maccioni makes the joke about Casey being attractive? Wouldn't it have been really weird and creepy if he was a lot younger?
  5. Is Casey finally proving herself as a chef?
  6. Who do you think the final two will be? Final one? I'm rooting for Hung and Casey, but secretly hope Dale blows them all away.

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geohiker geohiker 9 years
Now that Tre and CJ are gone, I guess I'm rooting for Casey. I agree that Hung should not have shared his hints; if they were all cooking together as a team that is one thing, but this is a competition - and coming down to the end, so he was right not to share his ideas! (And, he does come across as cocky, but he sure seems to be able to deliver good cooking, so his confidence is not misplaced.)
GraceKelly GraceKelly 9 years
Was anyone else secretly hoping CJ and Casey would hook up? Bring CJ back! Anyway, I hate Hung ... cocky. Dale or Casey should win.
wingedkiare wingedkiare 9 years
I think that ultimately it will come down to Casey and Hung - and I'll be rooting for Casey. Hung's a little too manic for me - while he does handle himself well in most of the challenges, when he hasn't been on? It's been downright frightening.
veside veside 9 years
If you have read any of Bourdain's books, you *know* that the line cooks at Le Cirque were ready to kick some Top Chef a$$! LOL. It's an unlikely final 4 isn't it? Everyone thought Tre would be there, and maybe, CJ (altough after reading Bourdain's review of Snacks on a Plane, you are led to believe CJ can't cook at all!). But I think that Casey is the one who has learned the most along the way.. there is an adaptation with each passing round and she has coped well with it...Dale, on the other hand, while extremely intelligent and interesting, seems to be forgetting portions, sauces...He probably gets flustered under pressure. Hung has all the technique and some of the creativity to be in the final, but he is nowhere the abrasive personality that Marcel was...Bravo is trying hard to make him the villain but he is too goofy for that! No calculating backstabber would have created a "Smurf Village" for a quickfire..And he was right not to share his technique at Le Cirque--what would have then been the point of the Qfire? The technique WAS the challenge! Last-- I don't know why no one is impressed by Brian any more--didn't he win a scad of Qfires and major challenges overall? Reading Bourdain, and seeing Tom's face on the show when he is talking to him, you know Brian is a marked man--- but WHY?
sumnboutme sumnboutme 9 years
#4. I don't *think*
sumnboutme sumnboutme 9 years
1.) Those cooks were so NOT happy that their kitchen had been invaded. Lol. I thought it was kinda funny but I bet the cheftestants felt the "animosity" towards them. They were there in the middle of service. That's gotta be incovenient for the lne cooks. 2.) I always love Dale's one-liners but he never seems to deliver. Remember his line about the Queer Eye guys? 3.) If I were Hung, I wouldn't have told them either. It's a competition people! 4.) I don't this Maccione was being offensive. I thought it was a little cute. If you've been to Italy, you'd understand why he made that comment. Italians are know for that. 5.) Casey seems to be getting better. Maybe now she's finally found her footing in the competition. I still think she's not that great and she's been really lucky in this competition. 6.) With that said about Casey (#5), I think she and Hung will duke it out in the final. I like Dale and I, too, am secretly rooting for him but he really needs to think things through before execution. Brian is a little hit or miss with me so I don't think he'll make it. For some reason Brian reminds me of Ilan from Season 2.
jennaboa jennaboa 9 years
1. The looks on those line-cook's face reminded me of Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, the description of the crew in one of his first kitchens\, the one where he says "We loved blood in our kitchen" in such a way that you had to wonde ... 2. Loved it! Dale cracks me up. 3. It is a competition, but by not sharing his time or his technique and expecting, say, Casey, to help him in return was a bit silly. But I don't blame him, like I said, competition. 4. If it hadn't come from a cute little old Frenchman, it might have been offensive. But cute little old Frenchmen flirt. Ugly little old Frenchmen flirt too. Must be in the genes. It may be creepy to some, but I think its cultural. Besides, if she didn't take offense, then no one else should care. He liked her dish a lot, liked the flavors better than Hung's. That's a huge compliment, really, as Hung's dish was supposedly the most like Le Cirque's. 5. Yes. I like her the most. I hope she wins now that Tre is gone. 6. Hoping for Dale and Casey, Casey to win, but I bet it's Hung and Casey. Unless one of them really blows it. Hung's just so annoyingly arrogant and he way smirks too much.
cassedy04 cassedy04 9 years
it'll def. be hung and casey in the final two... and i really hope casey wins bc hung irritates me. also, i thought it was kind of ridiculous that hung won this challenge... it really seemed that all of the judges liked casey's the best (i mean, like vndlfan said, they called it the best yet), but then hung won. maybe it's the feminist in me, but i feel like the old guy didn't like the fact that a woman made the best dish.
lexichloe lexichloe 9 years
Lula29, that's funny, my mom and I were talking about how much Casey looked like Jennifer Aniston today. She really does have a resemblance!
lexichloe lexichloe 9 years
Hung and Casey...all the way! Hung's recreation of that Le Cirque dish was identical to the original. I always judge the contestants on what I would eat. I trust Hung's perfectionism, while I trust Casey's taste. They will be the final two, and hope Casey takes it.
verily verily 9 years
Hung and Casey are the standouts. I think that Casey will take it as long as she doesn't screw up the final showdown. Hung has skills, but he's too cocky and will probably sabotage himself. Dale and Brian are alright, but they're horribly inconsistent. I'm still pissed that Tre is gone. I hope he gets the 10,000 check.
karisaamy karisaamy 9 years
I love Dale - I just wish he was as good of a Chef as Hung who I hate.
imjulietour imjulietour 9 years
Check out Gail's blog at for some interesting insight about the chefs at Le Cirque. Her and A. Bourdain's blogs are great reads! I am really rooting for Casey! She is a underdog, but unlike some underdog tales, she would deserve to win. She has really stepped it up these past three to four episodes. I also can't help but hope for a female winner!
lula29 lula29 9 years
I'm impressed by Hung honestly. I agree that he shouldn't have shown his technique, it's a competition for goodness sake. All the "niceness" is too much, it's like this group is scared to compete, no wonder so many of them have been underwhelming. I like Casey too. She looks like Jennifer Aniston to me. I think these two will go to finals.
LuciLu LuciLu 9 years
dale is hilarious, but im rooting for casey and hung. i think it will come down to those 2.
sumbum sumbum 9 years
In the begining of this series, if someone would've told me that they thought Casey would be in the final 4, I would've asked what they're smoking. She's really come along way and I totally think she deserves to be in the top 2. What no love for Brian? =)
vndlfan vndlfan 9 years
I just wish CJ could come back and win it all, but alas, I think it will be Hung and Casey *secretly wishing Dale and Casey* in the end. Did anyone else notice in the quick fire when the judge said Casey's was the best yet, but still Hung won, what's with that? I smell something fishy... I also agree with Mrs. Piven, Hung will definately get the bad boy free pass to the final two... YUCK
laurelm laurelm 9 years
I dont think Hung is a bad guy, I think they tried to make it that way, but i do not think he came across that bad. And I dont think he should share his technique, it is a competition. Figuring out how to do the dish was part of the challenge. I also really like Dale, but I think it is Casey and Hung in the final.
athenac athenac 9 years
Casey has really stepped it up and has wowed me for the last few episodes. I'm gunning for her, because like Dale said she has heart and that's a big part in her food. I really thought she wouldn't make it this far.
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
I think Hung has all the right stuff to make it 'till the end. But you may think you know who will win, but you have no idea until you watch it unfold.
meijan415 meijan415 9 years
love to see casey as the top chef!
mrspiven mrspiven 9 years
you know that hung and casey will be the final two, because casey will win because a girl hasn't won yet, and they need hung because he's the 'bad guy' and that's just how this show works. harold vs tiffany? ilan vs marcel? were tiffany and marcel the best chefs? i'd wager no. they have to have the bad guy in the finale or else no one cares. so congrats, hung, you make it to the final two.
Lindsb Lindsb 9 years
Haha.. I thought the attractive quote was funny, too. I think it was okay because he was an older man. They can get away with it.. mark it up to his charm. I agree with Yum! I think it will come down to Casey and Hung - secretly I would love :love: love for Dale to make it though. I'll be rooting for Casey. :)
SugarCat SugarCat 9 years
I'm with you, Yum, I want to see Dale pull the rug out from under all of them.
partysugar partysugar 9 years
I love Dale, all of his comments were making me crack up.
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