I have finally come to the end of this strange live-blogging enterprise, started a few months ago. An interesting, fascinating enterprise, starting halfway through Top Chef 4. Again, I can make no predictions. but according to the latest, totally unscientific poll I've had on this site all week, most visitors to this site think that Lisa is the most likely winner tonight. I kind of think so too, so I make a prediction (that could be totally wrong): Lisa takes it all tonight. She's had some control issues, but she's not afraid of anything camera-shaped (Aaron), nor do the judges doubt her passion (Adam). And they don't hate her either.
10:00 Oh my. Do we really need the retrospective?
10:02 Still with the recap!?!?
10:03 Okay, okay. Lisa Garza, Adam Gertler, Aaron McCargo, they're all passionate and proud, yadda yadda yadda, rubber baby buggy bumpers. We get it...
10:04 So far, almost as boring as the finale of Make Me A Supermodel!
10:05 Okay, down to the nitty gritty: the final challenge!
They will be creating their own, fully-produced demo pilot of their show, doing it on Rachael Ray's set.
And their producer? Gordon Elliot, the fey, the only, the English gentleman extraordinaire!
10:06 They need to put together a pitch. How about pouring boiling pitch over them instead? Oooh, mean of me. Sorry, could not help myself.
Lisa's pitch: Beautiful Basics and Plain & Simple. Well, she did say she wasn't a one-trick pony. Pretty damn all over the place. Seems more like a herd of ponies.
Gordonizing it: Greening it up!
10:07 Aaron's pitch: Uh, I forget. Something about accessibility.
Gordonizing it: Big Daddy's Kitchen!
10:08 Not a Sunny in Philadephia reference! He talks to people live on the web about food. Aren't they debuting a show like that this week?
10:10 And we start Lisa's pilot. Black cod with zabaglione and leeks, but accessible!
Ouch! It doesn't look easy at all. She's already cursing herself for not being perfect. Dude, only Maaahtha is perfect. Don't sweat it.
10:11 Third try was the charm.
10:12 Coming up: CAMERASAAAAAAAACKOHMYGODHELPMEIT'SACAMERAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!
10:13 Poll just closed. Here are the results:
Who cares? I hate 'em all. Just get the damn show over with alright already!
Yep, Lisa has it, though she certainly doesn't have a clear majority on this. It's Leese by a C!
10;15 This Hillshire Farm ad is amusing, no? Straight men should not be allowed to dress themselves. Sorry guys, you're just not very good at it.
10:16 And Adam does his pilot next.
Wait: They don't film it in Rachael's real home? Aw, come on!
So this is like a Danny Boome-meets-live cam thing. Beer chicken and garlicky green beans.
10:17 His name is now Hungry in Philadelpia now?
10:18 This has a strange Red Dwarf sort of feel. Hello, Hilly! Now all we need is Gordon to have a big shiny H implanted on his forehead.
10:19 Terrorist fist bump!
10:20 And now we have Aaron's promo. Ooooh, watch out, man. It's a camera!
And he's making steak and honey-glazed plantains and sautéed collard greens. Yum-o! Aaaaaaaaaugh! Aaron, don't do what I just did and lapse into Ray-ness.
10:21 Aaron is 105% certain that he messed up. I probably would be too. As for Gordon? Doesn't think he did so bad. Hasn't he been doing this for a few weeks now?
10:23 More Hillshire Farminess:
Okay, most straight guys don't know how to dress themselves, not all. Heterophobic comment - I'm sorry.
10:27 Ta-daaaaa! We knew Flay would be back! But wait - what the f*ck happened to Alton Brown? Wasn't he on this show at some point?
10:28 Lisa looks dazzling!
Aaron looks like he's ready to teach some math!
Adam: I love your shirt. Are you sure you're not gay, dude? Nah, probably not.
10:29 OooooOOOOoooh, all the rejects are back!
Wait, who's Kevin again?
Kevin, Corey, Jeffrey, Nipa, Jennifer, Shane, Kelsey - it's like the season finale of Doctor Who.
10:31 Lisa's demo:
She seems to be going smoothly so far. Although this isn't important, the col,or of the dress actually works in that kitchen. Loud, fun! She's doing a good job at multitasking. Damn, it looking easy. Woooooow...
How did she prepare those leeks again? Didn't catch. too busy typing.
Lisa looks pleased.
10:33: Line of the night "Accessorize the fish!" DRINK!
Take home message: screw you, Ray. I'm doin' fifteen-minute meals!
She gives all the credit to Gordon. Tuschie, Suze and Bobby, however, are impressed by La Garza.
10:37 And we're back with our finalists! So far, I still think Lisa will win, but we'll see...
Adam's pilot: Hungry in Philadelpia - that's his online name, ladies. Look for him!
And that patented Adam Gertler charm and smarm are comin' out full force. Crispy skinned beercan BBQ chicken. Sounds good. Not so impressed with Adam's outfit, but again he might need something to ground him and work to balance out his off-the-wall personality.
BTW: I can totally vouch for him on that smoked paprika. It is all I use paprika-wise anymore.
Silly dancing chicken dance. Oh, Adam, you so crazy!
10:41 I hate to admit this, but I actually laughed at that last part where he ate the chicken. oh my.
Oh, and Tuschie says that he has an ease in front of the camera. The judges finally see what they were looking for from Adam.
10:42 One more commercial break...before the next two.
10:45 And finally, Aaron's pilot. Hopefully he gets over his fear of the camera. It's Big Daddy's Kitchen...
10:46 Okay, now I got it - jerk ribeye steak with plantains. missed that before. I think the shirt is a little dull but hey, it grounds him, too. I love how excited he is about this food. Damn, man, if you're ill at east in front of the camera it sure as hell doesn't seem like it. Beautiful presentation. And I like that sarcasm in front of the camera.
He's finally overcome his fear of all things camera-shaped. Does he realize that? Maybe now!
10:49 The judges are impressed with Aaron - everything they've ever loved about him are back.
So final judgment: no disasters at all. In fact, these three have made it ridiculously difficult to declare a winner.
10:50 NOT THE CIRCLEBACK!!!
MID-GAME ANALYSIS - Fifteen minutes ago I was ready to call it for Lisa hands down. Now I am just befuddled. I cannot think of any negatives from any of these people. Feel free to snark if y'all do, but I was honestly pleased with Lisa, Adam and Aaron.
- Lisa seemed very engaged, maybe less engaged than the other two, but hers is the most professional and slick, in a good way.
- I love Adam's funniness and the idea of literally engaging viewers. Very witty, though maybe it could come off smarmy.
- Aaron? He's just come back and owned it. He is excited about his food. Too excited maybe?
10:55 The judges' assessment:
Adam: easy to watch, much changed from episode 1's "Chaos in the Kitchen"
Aaron: so much confidence! Food credibility shows, as does the passion. flay roots for him.
Lisa: so accessible it's amazing. Intriguing, knowledgeable, Flay looks forward to watching her.
So Tuschie brings it back to the first question: who is ready to start tomorrow?
10:56 FN Prez Brooke Johnson gives congrats to all three of them. But who will it be?
I have no fucking clue. Stephanie?
10:57 If anyone cries, someone's goin' doooooowwwnnn...
10:58 And the winner is... Aaron McCargo!
Now see, Aaron's wife and sister are dazzling us with their outfits. Aaron? You should've dressed a bit more festively for this big moment, dude. Dude!
10:59 Wow, they weren't kidding when they said "Can (s)he start next week?" were they? Aaron's show premieres next week!
11:00 And Ted Allen tackles subject matter that he seems to have forgotten was already covered on MythBusters and Good Eats. Will Top Chef let him come back? Ooooh, spicy food advice. Folks, use a base like bread or milk to counter the acid of the heat! At least it's as funny as those shows.
POST-GAME ANALYSIS - As I was watching this last hour, I was feeling kind of sorry for the two inevitable losers - whose identities I did not at the time know - because I really would have enjoyed watching each person's show. Hopefully we'll see Lisa and Adam again, somewhere. Though sadly, we've never seen any also-rans from this show before, have we? It's not like this is Project Runway, whose also-rans pop up on a regular basis (Did you see Austin Scarlett as guest host for the first episode this season? He didn't even make it to the finale of that show.) Even Top Chef brings its first, second and third runners up back on a regular basis.
Anyway, good luck to Aaron! I'll be looking forward to seeing Big Daddy's Kitchen. But I'm not live-blogging it. I'm not doing anything like that til the next season of Top Chef.