US National Whitewater Center and my personal Labor Day weekend.]
Why are we watching two episodes several days before we'd be 3 eps back? Because we just don't find this season that exciting. I wouldn't wait this long to watch Mad Men, that's for sure. Below is the low-down in case you want to just skip 'em and clear out the DVR.
So. Only 5 chefs are left at the start of Ep 12. Kelly is crying because she misses her husband--never a good sign!
The Quickfire: Dana Cowin is in the house. Create an amazing dish to pair with one of the wines in front of you. Prize is a trip to London. All you need to know is that Padma's weird tuxedo jacket/skinny tie situation was unattractive and Angelo took the trip to London with his sauteed foie gras with fennel salad and blacksalt something or other.
The finale is in...SINGAPORE! Which I knew from my Twitter feed for the past week and a half. And it's my own fault, I waited this long to watch--can't whine about spoilers on this one.
Elimination Challenge: NASA. The chefs head to the Goddard Space Center to meet with the head of dining. Obligatory video of weightless people. The winning spaceworthy dish must be freeze-dry-able, and it'll go to the training center in Houston. Big pieces don't freeze-dry well, and the astronauts lika the spiiiicy. Table of 8 will include the judges, astronauts, and scientists.
Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert, and Buzz Aldrin are among the guests. Ed's Middle Eastern lamb dish and Kelly's halibut are both well-received, but there are questions about the freeze-drying process. Kevin's NY strip had the same result. Tiffany was bummed about her mussels being absent from the plate, and the guests didn't love it (except Bourdain, who said the fish sauce "sung to [him]." Angelo's short ribs may have been too sweet, and the pickled mushrooms were too acidic for The Ripper.
So nobody bombed. But somebody has to go home. It's not Angelo--he wins! Double-winner! His food is going to outer space and he gets a brand new Toyota Avalon. This is fitting, because I'm pretty sure he's an alien. The judges barely have anything negative to say about anybody. Tom is being particularly complementary, and then Tiffany has to pack her knives and go.
"I'm shocked by Ripert's dark, cynical, snarky, negative worldview." Anthony Bourdain.
"Have you been to Provence?" Perhaps the best compliment ever, from Ripert to Kelly. He loved her artichokes.
Welcome to Singapore! Ed already has sunburn 5 minutes in. We're in an open market checking out chefs cooking in tiny stalls. Seetoh (see here, here, and here). Ed is wearing v-neck, which is probably a mistake.
The Quickfire: Padma in ANOTHER bib necklace and navy dress. Enough. Obviously the next street food she'll taste will be from the chefs, using a wok and only a wok. Winner gets immunity, which is huge this late in the game. Obviously Angelo is pumped to use a wok. He decides to make frog legs. They are all sweating profusely. Padma is mad at Kevin for never using a wok despite his knowledge that he was heading to Singapore (I gather they were home for a bit). Ed wins with his elevated street food flavors, and he secures his spot in the finals.
Elimination Challenge: A team challenge to create a cohesive menu for 80 guests of Dana Cowin, made a la minute, made to order.
Tom questions their plans to do one dish apiece, and that's when Ed drops the bombshell that he was always planning on doing two (despite that the chefs agreed to each do one because of a time issue). Damn, Ed! Jerk. He acts like a dick the entire episode, basically taunting everybody--especially Angelo--by gloating about immunity and being super sarcastic. Not classy.
The judges really like everything. They honestly say something positive about every single dish. Nobody bombed. Service did have its issues though--the chefs had no time to train the waitstaff, and their lack of training + language barrier = confusion. Ed wins, a double. Of course, see above, Angelo won the Quickfire and Elimination in Ep 12. Kelly heads back to Vail, and it's an all-male final.
"Everybody's heart's on the line. This could be the last beat." Deep, Angelo. DEEP!