Top Chef Recap: If I Tried I Could Definitely Throw Up

I pray to you, stove gods, that I beat Mike.
I pray to you, stove gods, that I beat Mike. Photo: Virginia Sherwood/Bravo

Were you expecting the Top Chef finale last night? Guess again! Only two people are going to the final episode, so it was Quickfire time! Wolfgang Puck greeted the chefs in the kitchen, and As for Padma, let’s say: Padma pointed out seven Quickfires from previous seasons, and then explained that the chefs would be assigning them to one another. See, this is more like what we thought All-Stars would be about! Glad we’re just getting into this now.

Mike gave Antonia canned foods, Antonia gave Richard hot dogs, and Richard gave Mike cooking in one pot. This being Top Chef, Padma stopped in in the middle of cooking to deliver a twist, and this being Top Chef, the twist had a twist. She had the chefs assign three classic twists to one another in reverse order. Richard gave Mike no more utensils, Antonia forced Richard to cook with one hand, and Antonia was tied into an apron with, yay, Carla. What, no one has to swap dishes with anyone else? As Mike cooked most of his dish in a pressure cooker, he had lots of time to walk around laughing like a fool. Unfortunately, laughing like a fool while cooking pork shoulder with black beans, chili paste, and a salad will get you the win and $5,000. Ugh … we mean, congrats! (Nope.)

The chefs then headed out to meet Padma and some special guests, whom Richard speculated could be aliens but were actually the aforementioned Wolfgang Puck, Michelle Bernstein, and Morimoto. Everyone got to make someone’s last supper (oddly, the title of this episode was not “Seeing How Many Past Challenges We Can Reuse in One Episode”). Mike got to pick, and gave himself Michelle, Morimoto to Antonia, and Wolfgang to Richard. Way to stick it to your family, Mike. Oh, and there was a secret envelope to be opened later with … wait for it … yet another twist.

All the guest chefs wanted a dish that reminded them of childhood: miso soup, rice, and sashimi for Morimoto; apple strudel, goulash, and spaetzle for Wolfgang; and fried chicken with biscuits and gravy for Michelle. Mike tried to claim that he picked Michelle because he knew she’d be the hardest, a lie so blatant even our grandmother who doesn’t have cable could smell it a mile away — and one that obviously didn’t fool the other cheftestants or Tom.

The guests arrived while Richard struggled to open his pressure cooker and Antonia discovered that the hamachi they provided for her was almost rancid, which is always nice when you’re on an island surrounded by fish. She went with tuna instead, and served it in her bento box with rice, miso soup, and picked daikon, mushrooms, and eggplant. Mike went quite a ways out of the box, and served his sous-vide-then-fried chicken with mustard gravy, an egg-yolk empanada, and, yup, pea purée. So glad that’s making a comeback. But neither dish could stand up to Richard’s beef goulash, spaetzle with sour cream, and apple strudel with tarragon cream. Finally a win we can get behind. But of course, before a loser could be determined, it was time for that pesky envelope.

Except, of course, in our living room, where our DVR froze just before Padma revealed the contents, and despite being on just a ten-minute delay, pressing live and rewinding didn’t work either. Apparently this happened to all our friends, too, but because we are such dedicated journalists we, for once, took advantage of Bravo’s immediate repeat showing and bravely fought to stay awake stayed up writing this recap and eating Trader Joe’s bagel bites to find out the special challenge, which, of course, we guessed right the first time anyway. Mike and Antonia were tasked with creating one last bite in 45 minutes, and whoever created the perfect bite would be the one to move on. So, no pressure.

Mike announced that he would take the time to be super creative and made tempura lobster over beef tartare with red chili potatoes and olive caramel. Antonia strived to create a dish she connected with and made seared grouper in coconut lobster broth with yam, apple, and dill pollen. It came down to Wolfgang Puck to break the tie between the two, which unfortunately meant that Antonia went home. She sadly interviewed that the show reminded her how much she loves cooking. Richard, you better kick Mike’s ass all the way back to Vegas next week!

Next week: finale time! The chefs must create the restaurant of their dreams! So the finale is actually Super Restaurant Wars! All the old chefs come back! Mike is in the weeds! And he quit his job for this? But the food is good!

Last Supper