Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

The Love Episode: Tis The Season Of Love!

Make Melissa's Seared Duck Breast Dish

Gail on Innovation (and George's Failure to Push It)

Make Melissa's Mom's Egg Custard

Hugh Worries About Scurvy and Foie Gras

Make Mei's Inspired Duck a l'Orange

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

The Love Episode: Tis The Season Of Love!

Brian Malarkey challenges his readers to pick the final four.

Gail found LOVE! Stefan wants some lesbian LOVE, Leah and Hosea are dabbling in friendly LOVE! We are starting to LOVE Ariane but Tom and the judges had no LOVE lost for Daniel who LOVES crazy eyes and silly faces. Oh yes one more: It seems after your responses last week that nobody loves Kathie Lee!

I challenge you as readers to pick the final four right now. Let's go -- send in your picks and let's see who's got game. To make it a little more interesting let's get some friendly online bets to see who Martha Stewart is going to ship off to solitary confinement next week. (OK -- no bets.)

My choices to make the finals:

Fabio: The Charmer!

Stefan: The Ice Man!

Jamie: The Pot o' Gold at the end of the Rainbow!

Hosea: The Palate! Gone next week: Melissa: The Hat!

Now on to the Malarkey Power Ranking:

Fabio: Obviously I'm not changing my picks by weekly performances. I believe he has all the skills to go all the way. This week we saw him get stuck in the blue with a few fatal errors: Chilean Sea bass in this country is a "no should do" and being on a team without a lot of input didn't help. We saw him on the bottom for the first time and obviously he was none to happy. I look for a huge step back to the top for him in the coming episodes.

Stefan: I have to admit I'm starting to enjoy the confidence that he is bathed in. This guy is so sure of himself he is trying to talk Jamie into switching teams, and he went eight ingredients deep on the Palate Challenge. The terrine looked great and the balsamic should have given it plenty of flavors. The tougher the challenge the more he likes it! Jamie: A constant at the top and very competitive. She's got to figure out that the protein gets the judges' attention rather then the accompaniments.

Hosea: When you got a dome to match the head judge's, life ain't so bad. He stands up to Stefan and has a great palate -- what's not to like?

Jeff: Has a great week with his sorbet that Stefan told him could not be done. I really thought he had the win and by the disappointment on his face so did he. I'm still confused by the dueling watches; that's very Ilan Hall.

Ariane: A huge step up this week with her second win in a row. I thought last week she did great and was in her element with the TV challenge but this week proves once again she is ready and willing to be a major player by taking the main focus of her team's dish -- "the lamb." She is so sweet she apologizes for winning; my, we have some great contrast in our chefs.

Radhika: She showed her native dishes with great pride and helped bring Ariane the win. From the seafood guy to the Indian girl: "Watch out -- they are going to come after you."

Leah: She really took a dive in my ranking this week because she showed so little on the Blue team. Had some great early success and needs to get back in the game. Carla: HOODY HOO! So cute, kind of weird, but very cute! I loved her comment when Daniel tried telling her he wanted to do pickles "Pickles are new?" She didn't stand up to her team as they crashed all around her. Sweet lady but not made to last much longer. Eugene: Sometimes when people get rattled there is no coming back and our Aloha boy is a mess. He was the one that came up with the "Surf and Turf, fully-cooked sushi" and crashed it with overcooked rice. It just as easily could have been him going home.

Melissa: I'm not being a hater on the "love episode" but she looks like she wants to go home; she doesn't seem to be contributing to the dishes or the conversations and the green hat looks just as confused. Daniel provided some good entertainment for us this season but looked like he was kind of losing it this whole episode. Was it just me or did he look slightly crazy-eyed and giddy with confusion? Until next week with Martha ...

Make Melissa's Mom's Egg Custard

Melissa entrusted her mom to remake one of her childhood favorites -- and came up with a win. Make your own version at home.

Egg Custard With Shitake Mushrooms, Clams, and Lobster Ingredients


3 cups water
1 bag of bonito
1 small piece of dashi
10 shitake mushrooms (additional to dice for garnish)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Mirin
3 eggs
Scallions (for garnish)
Salmon roe (for garnish)
Lobster knuckle meat (for garnish)

Directions for Clams
1. Steam clams, remove meat, and chop.
2. Reserve residual liquid for broth.

Directions for Broth
1. Boil to a simmer for 1 hour.
2. Strain.
3. Adjust seasoning with soy sauce, salt, and mirin.
4. Cool liquid in ice broth.
5. Mix 2 cups of chilled broth with 3 eggs.
6. Whisk well.
7. Strain to create the egg custard.

To Garnish
1. Put knuckle meat, clams, and mushrooms into small bowls
2. Top with chilled egg custard (about 4 oz.)
3. Cover with plastic wrap and steam for 10 minutes.
4. Top with scallions, salmon roe.

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