Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

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Three Stages

Gail Has No Problem With Blood

Make George's Cravable Breakfast Sausage

Gail Simmons Won't Be Pushed Around

Make Doug's Winning Mussels

Tom Colicchio Answers Your Restaurant Wars Qs

Gail: It Wasn't Keriann's Day

Make Doug's Winning Braised Pork!

Gail: We Had a Tough Job This Week

Make Katsuji's Authentically Delicious Stuffing

Hugh: The Demise of Cornwallis and Aaron

Make Gregory's Winning Dumplings

Richard: Chefs Please Follow Instructions

Richard Tries Money Ball Soup

Make a Home Run-Worthy Popcorn Crème Brule

Hugh: Where There's a Will There's a Fenway

Gail: Keriann and Aaron Were Being ---holes

Make the Winning Surf and Turf

Gail: We're Taking No Prisoners

Richard Goes From Player to Announcer

Tom Talks Boston

Gail: There Was No Season 11 Underdog

Hugh Wants Nick to Be Kind to Himself

Gail: It Was Difficult to Let Go of Shirley

Big Easy to Ocean Breezy

Gail: The Final Four Are Like Our Children

Emeril Is Proud to Serve Shirley's Dish

Hugh: Enough With the Mexican Food Hate

Gail on Favreau, Choi, and Finding Yourself

Hugh on Poor Boys, Swingers and Food Trucks

Emeril: Nick's Choice Is Part of the Game

Nick's License to Immune

Hugh's Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

Hugh Decides Eight Is Enough

Gail Talks OvenGate

Dookie Chase Makes Everybody Cry

Fin, Found, Floundering

What Danny Meyer Taught Gail Simmons

'Top Chef' Goes to Hog Heaven

Gris Gris Boucherie Ya Ya

Brian and Travis' Dud Spuds

Three Stages

Carlos reminds eliminated Tre that no chef is Superman.

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Queen of Denial I

enjoyed watching the chefs relaxing around the fabulous penthouse when the reviews came in. The reactions to the critical comments were what I would expect -- chefs are very sensitive. As the negative reviews were read, I noticed three distinct stages. First, there was anger: "That reviewer was so wrong. She just didn't understand what we were trying to do." The second stage was denial: "Those oysters were perfect!" And then finally came the acceptance. (Sara and Hung seemed to really get this.) Regardless of how they felt about the criticism, their answer was "Let's review what the judges said and fix the problems."
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Quickfire Challenge

Poor, poor Casey. When I saw her grab the knuckle buster knife I yelled, "Nooo!" She needed a chef's knife, one that will cut through the onion without your knuckles hitting the table with each downward chop. I know from experience that in the heat of the moment it can be difficult to think straight, but I don't know why none of her teammates didn't point that out to her. I know it would have helped her speed as well. It almost seemed as though she was holding back. Maybe she just forgot that this wasn't about accuracy, but speed. However, watching Sara go to town, I knew Casey wouldn't have a chance. And let's face it, we all knew that Hung was going to be Speedy Gonzales -- and he didn't let me down! After Dale informed us that he has no knife skills and cannot shuck oysters, I'm thinking "As if you weren't destined to whip those whites into stiff peaks -- this is so perfect for you!" And he didn't disappoint. I was happy for the newly named Quatre team. They needed the ego boost and as we saw later, it obviously paid off.

Elimination Challenge

After much speculation, it is finally revealed that the identity of Hung's monkey is none other than Christopher Ciccone -- Madonna's brother no less! While this was an interesting twist getting him to help with each team's decor, the judges never mentioned it again. Not that it mattered, but they had made such a big deal about it the last episode. Very cute having Stephen from Season One make a cameo as the sommelier for the Quatre team. I loved that Dale actually brought him down to earth a bit.

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I was very impressed with Sara. She really came into her own on this episode. She had a terrific grip on the kitchen and when push came to shove, she pushed. This obviously upset Howie when she had him cook the lamb chops more, but did he have to take it out on the GE oven?! Sara was also able to focus Hung's energies to a positive effect for the entire team. When informed that there was a VIP table, Sara insisted that each table was equally important. This moved her up many notches in my book -- I am constantly telling my kitchen staff to take pride in every plate they put out and telling my servers to treat every table as if they were the most important people in the room. That's how you run a successful restaurant! Sara deserved this win. Congrats!
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Tre, Tre, Tre. I'm sorry to see you go. You are obviously very talented. It seems as though you just took on too much and didn't delegate enough. No chef is Superman, and it is important to have others taste your food and get feedback. No one's palate is perfect. You did go for it and that is impressive Just remember, it isn't how the show ended, it's how you move forward now. I know you will do well. This week's Miami Spice recipe is Fire & Ice. It's hot, hot, hot, and you are gonna love it! As always, stay tuned and Break an Egg!