The final three as summed up by Rob and I:
Dale, “I’m crazy high-end cooking–your hot dog will be be plated after being carved into a pig sniffing a truffle”
Connie, “I’m sausages and home-cooking, your hot-dog will be made from a pig I’ve slaughtered, butchered and shoved into the casing myself.”
Rob, “I do a bit of everything, I think I’ll make snarky comments about Connie and Dale while I whip up a homemade sausage served with ballpark mustard and yes, you’ll love it.”
Its going to be a tough call hot-doggers. I’m stuck between Connie and Rob.
The chefs are taken somewhere in the beaches on one of those “bikini-model” days where you want it to look warm and steamy outside but actually there’s a brutal wind and it’s bloody cold. Connie looks miserable with a red nose and the sniffles.
They each have two hours to prep/cook/plate a BBQ meal for 20 volleyball players using Rickard’s red/white and dark beer and brand new Weber BBQs.
Rob is the only one appearing to have fun as he knocks back a few Rickard’s white and checks out the female volleyball players.
Dale is getting snarky-er, “Clearly the judges love Rob’s comfort food. So whatever. He could put shit on the grill and they would love it” This while Rob merrily kisses ass , clinking beer bottles with the judges.
Connie is shocked that Dale has lowered himself to making plain ol’ chicken wings which still turn out kind of “fancy pants.” She’s working on ribs which usually slow-cook for hours but she’s going for it.
Rob makes a flatiron steak and citrus-spiked corn on the cob. Dale serves ribs and chicken wings with veggies on the side and Connie takes the win with white-ale chorizo burgers and dark ale ribs, served with white-ale coleslaw.
Connie you rock. And you need some serious soft Kleenex.
Then from out-of-the-blue (or whatever hotel room all the eliminated chefs were locked in) come Todd, Andrea and Dustin. Since Connie won the Quickfire she gets to choose who will be on her team for the final Elimination. Not surprisingly she picks Andrea (I would totally have gone for Dustin). Andrea looks a little too excited to be back.
In a Connie-esque unstrategic move Connie the assigns Dustin to Dale and Todd to Rob’s team. They are all way too happy. But Connie–that’s just the sweet gal she is.
Each Chef will be serving a three-course meal of their choice at Peller Estates. The meal should “showcase who they are as Chefs”. Finally a challenge everyone is excited about. Chef David Hawksworth and John Peller (owner of Estates) join.
Dale is already complaining that three courses is not enough to show of his greatness and plans to serve two dishes for the second course. You sly dog Dale.
The twist is thrown in by Jason Parsons the Chef at Peller Estates. He informs the three chefs they will have to serve an amuse as part of their dinner which includes the use of a Cabernet-Franc Ice Wine.
Connie, in a move previously perfected by Todd, pulls out a large Himalayan brick of salt that she’s been hiding under her pillow “just for an occasion like this”. She uses it to cure albacore crudo and the presentation is impressive. Dale goes with a “Quebec Brie” (why can’t they ever say the name of the cheese–for God’ s sake!!!!) paired with some foraged greens and frozen grapes. But it’s Rob who takes the Amuse round with his goat cheese (from Salt Spring Island), frisee and a Cab France Ice Wine reduction.
Connie goes with charcuterie making a smoked pork hock terrine with late-season rhubarb compote (pulling out the seasonal card–Jason Parsons loved it)–which everyone enjoys even though Chef MM thought it was a bit large.
Dale presents a plate of raw fish which was so beautiful I wanted to shellac it and put it on my mantel. “Others” thought it was too “precious” (Chef McEwan) and looked at it with disdain. Everyone else looked pretty damn impressed.
Rob makes everyone say “mmmm” in delicious satisfaction with his foie gras boudin blanc with cauliflower purée and snap peas.
1st course goes to Dale but it’s close.
Rob keeps the fatty richness coming with his oxtail and bone marrow which everyone agrees is scrumpalicious but the progression is a bit heavy. Connie comes out serving lamb two ways–the winning way being the lamb neck croquette which is the most memorable part of the meal. But here’s where Dale pulls ahead, way ahead…by cheating…no, wait, by “taking a big risk” according to the judges. I mean, really no one said each course had to have only one dish, right? (perhaps ask Connie and Rob what they think of that.)
He pulls out black cod with barbecue pork consommé (poured at the table) and roast lamb with onions done four ways. Chef MM says the fish dish is the best thing Dale’s done all season and overall no one gives a crap what the rules were. They’re eating this up.
Dale kills the second course. At some point Dale says, “90% of people, 90% of chefs couldn’t replicate my meal. That’s not arrogant, that’s just reality.” Then he high-fives himself.
Rob makes beignets just to round out the fatty meal. Despite being downers on how much rich food Rob’s putting out, the judges are all sad little kids when they realize the doughnuts have no fruit filling.
Connie brings out a perfect plate of the cutest desserts ever….chocolate pot de crème with salted peanut brittle (which the judges all agreed could be crèmier), a divine salted-peanut caramel ice cream and a peanut butter- chocolate cupcake. Everyone is dying over the ice cream.
Dale goes so simple it’s actually “complex simplicity” according to consensus. It’s strawberries melted down and re-birthed to create a new, improved strawberry over a lemon custard (with basil custard and rosé sauce). Ok, it sounds kind of awesome.
No one seems to be a clear winner in this category (except Connie’s ice cream perhaps).
Too close to call. I am still thinking Rob or Connie. All the chefs are receiving praise such as ” technically skilled” “bold and bright flavours” and “great abs”.
The chefs are called in for the final assessment.
Connie’s food is declared, “robust and honest”
Rob “technically great”
Dale”thinks of the meal as an experience”.
Thea looks at Connie and says, “Connie” loooong pause..”you are NOT Canada’s Top Chef”.
Connie leaves and falls into big hugs in the arms or her mom and husband already waiting in the loser area (back room).
Then, Thea looks between Rob and Dale. “Dale” PAAAUUUUSE. “You are Canada’s Top Chef!”
What! Really. I actually am kind of happy that Dale (rather than Rob) won. And when he turned around was surprised by his son, well, not a dry eye in the house!
Well, that’s it. First season of Top Chef Canada over. (I’m sure the Food Network’s Top Chef Canada web page will be updated by the Fall for further detail of this last episode. Man, they work slower than the post office.) And maybe the Loblaws people can come up with a better angle on their chef-o-mercials than that terrible side shot they cut to all season. Film school bad.
And please, please, no more of those paper towel ads. I’ll talk! I’ll say anything you want to hear just to not see that orange juice being knocked over in slow motion ever again.