And they're off to Singapore for the first part of the first international Top Chef Finale! Pre-competition, it sounds like Kevin's wife was about ready to have a baby when the finale was being filmed.
Tom shows up with the Singaporean King of Street Food, and Seito (sp?) takes them around the huge market and they try a noodle dish made by the same cook for the past 40 years, the "national dish" (according to Seito) of slices of poached chicken with rice, chilli crab, and a cuttlefish and noodle dish.
They then go to try one last dish, and who meets them? Padma! They all look stricken - something's up! The final street food dish Padma and Seito will be trying will be made by the cheftestants...they'll have to cook their street food using the most popular cooking utensil - the wok. And that's their only cooking utensil. And HUGE - for the first time this late in the competition, the winner of this Quickfire will receive immunity - effectively putting that person into the Finale!
All of the foods they are using are local, but the labels on the foods are in Malay or Chinese, so they have to taste test to find the ingredients they want and don't immediately recognize. It's a blazingly hot and humid night and cooking in the marketplace makes it even hotter for the cheftestants. Angelo switches gears with only about 5 minutes to go and deciding not to do chilli crab - what's he DOING? Frogs' legs?
Whoa - preview for the tasting by Padma and Seito shows Padma saying "What's wrong with you?" - to Kevin? Harsh!
1. Angelo - makes a chilli frogs' legs dish
2. Kelly made a noodle dish with lobster and cockles
3. Kevin made a seafood stew with cuttlefish, lobster, and he says he's never used a wok before - THAT'S why she said "What's wrong with you?" LOL
4. Ed made stir-fried noodles with lobster sauce and gai lan (Chinese broccoli)
Seito gives compliments to all four of their dishes....and the winner is Ed! He gets immunity going into the next challenge. Immunity plays a huge role in the Elimination Challenge, Padma says, because it's a team challenge!
The are charged with creating a menu for an event hosted by Dana Cowin, Editor of Food & Wine. The four of them will work as a team to create a cohesive menu representing the different cultures of Singapore. There will be 80 guests, and they will order from the menu created by the chefs, and they will be firing the orders a la minute. Wow.
Off to the Hilton they go to get their menu together. They agree to only do one dish each. But previews show Tom Colicchio saying "I just looked at the menu - you guys only have four dishes?" Hmmm....
Ed's rivalry with Angelo comes to the fore the next morning, and they're off to a spice market to get their dry spices for their dishes - and Ed decides he wants to make two dishes - interesting! And he notices that the shopkeepers use abacuses for adding up the total purchases.
And when Tom Colicchio says "I just looked at the menu - you guys only have four dishes?", we then see him say he thinks that all of them should do two dishes. So they all do it - and Kevin and Angelo are both pissed that Ed already thought and planned to do two dishes. Ed's right - they all should have really thought to pull out all the stops for the finale!
For their initial dishes:
Angelo's making a lamb tartar with Rambutan
Ed's making a sweet and sour pork bolognese over gai lan
Kevin's making a Southeastern Clam Chowder with cockles
Kelly's making seared praws with fiery coconut curry - AND she cuts herself pretty bad - can't find a bandage so she puts on a thin clear plastic glove...which doesn't make it easy to cut/chop/wrap anything.
For their second dishes, I caught Angelo's - a Shrimp Broth with Spicy Prawns - and Kelly's - a Cold Cucumber and Yogurt Soup. Didn't catch Ed's or Kevin's second dish (later noted - Ed makes Banana Fritters with Red Chilli, and Kevin makes Crispy Rice).
FUNNY in the "in-between" - they go "prawn fishing" - and while Kevin catches one, it's Kelly who actually baited his hook and THEN removed the prawn from the hook. Big baby. :-)
They head into Tanjong Beach Club, where the party is going to happen. Kelly notes in a voiceover that they HAVE to work as a team, yet they have no idea how they're going to expedite their dishes. The staff comes in and since they know the table numbers, Ed asks one of them be an expediter and someone volunteers. Ed asks that all dishes go out at the same time, and that the chefs are told which table is the judges' table. Ed seems to have taken the lead, which Angelo is happy about, since Ed has immunity.
Kevin's having problems with his cockles not opening; but they finally open up. Looks like banana fritter and crispy rice are the other two dishes I missed earlier. Ed goes out to see who the judges are - Dana, Seito, Tom, Padma, and Gail.
Angelo's noticing that the waitstaff seems confused as to what dishes to take and when to serve them. He finally directs a group of them to take certain dishes and to go out and serve them so the dishes aren't served cold...and yet they then wander around like they don't know what they're doing. Also, a few of them end up writing up tickets in Chinese, which then need to be translated by their expediter. That can only cause more confusion in the kitchen!
Tom orders for the table - the soups are all well received, but Angelo's seems to get the most praise.
Also, his lamb tartare gets high praise from Seito, as does Ed's sweet and sour pork dish from the entire table. Kevin's egg with tapioca balls also gets good praise - and Kelly's seared prawns are enjoyed as well. Boy, for as confusing as the kitchen seems, they seem to be hitting the dishes out of the park!
Ed's Banana Fritters with Red Chilli is LOVED by Tom and Dana Cowin! Seito says a dollop of coconut ice cream would be perfect with it. Looks like his dishes were great, even with immunity.
So - I think Angelo's IN the finale, and not really sure about who between Kelly and Kevin are going home. I think I'd prefer Kelly being there over Kevin.
Padma comes into the Stew Room and asks to see all of them at Judges' Table. Tom notes that he thinks this was the best food they'd had all season, and it'll be very minor points in various dishes that will separate winners from losers.
Angelo's soup is called a sauce vs. a soup - too much body, and Padma thinks it was slightly too salty. Kelly's fish dish was a little "rough" in its cut, and Seito says her guava apple salad was superb (and he's going to copy it).
Tom pretty much tells Ed he could put those fritters in a truck, park it in the East Village, and he'd have SO many stoners surrounding the truck he wouldn't know what to do! LOL I guess those fritters were GOOD!
Kevin's dishes *seemed* to not get as high praise as the others did - so perhaps he's the one going home? But both of Kelly's dishes had issues per the judges. And now Angelo's soup isn't as well favored as it seemed at the table when they were eating it? Even Angelo back in the Stew Room thinks he's going home. Wow.
So they're back in front of the judges...and Seito announces the overall winner - and it's Ed yet again! Another double win! Angelo's very teary-eyed in front of the judges...so who else is staying? CUT to commercial.....
And we're back...Angelo is VERY nervous....but Whoa! Kelly's GONE! Kevin's really staying in the finale? Wow. Well, I think he's a third placer...it's between Ed and Angelo, IMO, based on past history.
WAIT! Padma calls those three back to Judges Table! Yet another twist prior to next week's episode - and we won't see that twist until next week, of course. And in previews, Angelo is SICK - sick enough not to be able to cook? And it looks like Hung, TC3 winner - is back to help them in the finale - didn't see anyone else from previous seasons though - my back was to the computer...did anyone else see?