Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

I'm Here! I'm Here!

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

I'm Here! I'm Here!

Bravotv.com's Editor returns to share her take on the finale.

Hi all! Sorry for the totally inexcusable tardiness on this post -- I was, well, physically exhausted after the A-List Awards, which are airing next Thursday at 10/9c after the Season 4 premiere of Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. (OK -- I plugged everything I needed to there).

I'll be sure to include some behind-the-scenes info on them soon, but let's just say, I love our chefs more now than ever!

So, let's dive right in to Finale: Pt. 1: The chefs came back from a hiatus to compete in Puerto Rico. Gotta love the shot of Lisa descending the escalator so viewers can get an extra-long shot of her new haircut. Honestly, I actually think it's flattering. But maybe I'm just envious of the fact that I can't cut my hair that short because of my curls.

The chefs are greeted by Padma and told they're going to have a drink. The first thing that popped into my head was "No one in the office told me this episode was sponsored by Bombay Sapphire again." Whoops! I was wrong.

Padma was joined by Puerto Rico chef Wilo Benet. Inspired by the tostone and using plantains, they had to create two tostones for the chef. Lisa went straight for the protein, which was smart. But in the end, Stephanie's tostones were the most impressive. Stephanie's advantage? Choosing the sous-chefs for her competitors, and rather than effing them all over, she chose wisely so that the kitchen wouldn't be insane. Smart.

The teams: Stephanie and Dale; Richard and Spike; Antonia and Nikki; and Lisa and Andrew. The chefs had to create dishes for a garden party held for Puerto Rican officials of all ranks. They all seemed to do a pretty fair job, but Richard topped them all. His dishes seemed beyond inspired, and I think the minute he decided to use the malt beverage he was golden. I'm going to have to get my hands on that stuff because all I could think of was Zima. Blech!

Besides the use of local favorites, Richard seemed to put a lot of his own life into the dishes and it apparently showed. (And may I just say his wife was about ready to pop when this was shot!) Stephanie also passed with flying colors. But, she almost didn't. When Dale said, "I f***ed up," I was nervous for Stephanie's chances, but also kinda proud. He didn't give any BS, he just took responsibility for his mistake and then offered innovative ideas to fix it! Yes, readers, I miss Dale too. (Sidenote: I laughed out loud when Dale used the words "up in this piece.")


And then there were two ... Lisa and Antonia. I've found myself rooting against Lisa, not simply for how she is portrayed on the show, but for you guys! As I have said before, I can hear the viewer comments in my head during the show, and I knew we'd be getting more "Top Chef has jumped the shark -- I'm never watching this show again!" sentiment than usual.

Well, we have, and although I can't change the viewers' minds about her personality -- or really anything for that matter -- you had to know the minute Antonia undercooked her beans she was doomed. And the minute the words "fatal flaw" were used, she was going home unless Lisa did something equally as egregious.

She didn't. The end.

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Although I think Lisa's point about Stephanie and Richard not congratulating her was actually a fair one, I was so uncomfortable just watching the confrontation that I can't even imagine how Stephanie and Richard must have felt.

I have to say Richard's responses are becoming my favorites. His "bronze medal" quote was absolutely hilarious, and I don't know if it's actually what he says or the way he says it, but I've been quoting him more and more around the office. So that's just a fun fact for you as well as an apology to my office-mates. (His "Here Comes the Bride" rendition from "Wedding Wars" is still my favorite.) I can't give away anything from next week's conclusion except for the fact that it. is. good.


Anyway, on to the mailbag: A few commenters asked whether I actually snicker at the "I'm never going to watch this show again" comments. Well, half of me does in that I know it's usually not true. Like me, even when a show disappoints me, I always come back. I'm talking to you, Real World. (P.S. Is anyone else loving Real World: Hollywood?)

The comments do sometimes make me sad because contrary to popular belief, we'd actually rather get positive comments than negative ones.

Next: Linda wrote: You mentioned Dave Martin's macaroni and cheese. He was always one of my favorites. Does he have a restaurant open now, and if so, can you tell us where to find it? Thank you. posted on June 4, 2008 at 8:23 AM.

Why yes, Linda, he does. Dave Martin opened Crave on 42nd in NYC this past year. I've heard nothing but good things, and you can try the famous "Dave's Black Truffle Mac 'n' Cheese" there. Let me know if you go!

Finally, I was actually shocked at the anti-red-meat-eating sentiments towards my fellow diners at Tramonto's. While all of my friends had different diet restrictions, I asked them which restaurant they all wanted to go to, and they all agreed on Tramonto's because of the fish options. They all went home happy!

Again, I want to apologize for my lateness on this as I know I am counted on sometimes as having my blog up quickly after the show or the next morning, so I do appreciate your patience. Hopefully I can divulge some A-List behind-the-scenes info next week!

Until then,

"Superfan"