Richard Blais

The Season 4 finalist handicaps the new cheftestants.

on Nov 12, 2008

Jean Georges walks in, which is like Michael Jordan walking onto a basketball court. Well, maybe Tony Parker is a better example because of the accent.

The chefs explain their dishes. Fabio reads his like he's just won the Oscar for cinematography. A few say they have never used their ingredients, which they purchased themselves? None of the food gets me excited. There's a sous vide here, a foam there, here a risotto, there a risotto, everywhere's a faux-risotto.

Risotto makes me want to take a nap.

You can tell by the judges' smiles that some of the chefs have earned a little respect.

Besides Tom's approval of Stefan's hairstyle, he seems very happy with him. I think Padma wants to put Lil' Eugene in her purse for nailing the Indian theme. Gail's indifferent. Jean Georges is thinking about his next concept.

On to the stew room where the chefs are surprised about what's happening. "Really, they haven't decided yet?"

In a new twist, at least for the opening round, the winners and losers come out. Stefan wins. He feels like he can take it all. I know it's a good feeling. Eugene and Leah get props. They now have validated confidence.

Patrick and Nikki, sorry again, Ariane, are left. Ariane wears a commis' cap and she cooked like one. Patrick is a culinary student and he cooked like one.

For a moment we hear what we will hear throughout the season. What's worse - technical error or a lack of point of view?

A long pause and a stunning look from Padma - it's too early in the game for her to feel bad or show emotion.

Patrick is filleted. Culinary students all over the country just crumbled their applications. It's not going to happen, ever. Nor will a career caterer, a middle-aged career changer, a sommelier, a food stylist, or a nutritionist ever win Top Chef.

Now to the standings: In my honest opinion, the few who looked like they may be in it for a while: Stefan, Fabio, Hosea, Lea, and Jamie (not sure why on Jamie, just a feeling).

The few who could be in trouble: Ariane, Jeff, Richard, Danny, and Alex.

See you next week! Check in on me at