Finale. New Orleans. Schmemeril. FABIO!! sporting a troubling fauxhawk, and I say that as one who has had a TOTALLY KICKIN’ one and knows her way around a fauxhaux. Also, the fauxhauk activates my vituperative Ilan hatred.

The site did not crash during last week’s ep, but this knowledge does not subdue my agita in any way. Fingers crossed, please.

For once, I will not chastise you for arriving ahead of time. Instead, I ask you: who’s it coming down to? I gotta go with Stefan and Carla, although Carla and FABIO!! would be my dream team.

DISCLAIMER: I am very tired and very drugged up, and I’ve rotted my brain by watching American Idol. American Idol is like pre-dinner bread and butter for me: I know I should leave it alone, but I just can’t.

Anyway, this could end up being great, like some kind of fever dream, or both.

10:00: Last week: Carla and Jacques are pea buddies. Stefan finally fucked something up, for a fellow Scandinavian, no less: Salmon disgraced. FABIO!! worked through the pain and prevented a Lidia Bastianich mind massacre and won. Leah, the horse with the broken leg, was finally and mercilessly shot.

10:03: Okay, that’s not a fauxhawk. That’s a flat-top. Carla: hootie-hoo dances through the airport, and somehow it’s not irritating.

Is it just me, or has Stefan…packed on a few? Was his neck always that big?

10:04: Emeril Lagasse. Hooray. I am so very excited.

FABIO!! needs to win this for his sick mamma. Read: He’s a goner. Dammit.

10:06: Quickfire: Jamie, Leah and Dildo Jeff are back. And one of them has a chance to get back in it, with a chance to make it to the finale. And I love twists like this almost as much as I love Emeril.

10:09: Leah is still bitter. May she could channel that bitterness into her food, so that she is not chosen. She’s making gumbo, which she’s never made before. That seems smart.

Jeff is making a single dish! Wonders never cease.

10:10: The “gumbo” has turned into “crawfish soup.” Interesting. I’m sure Emeril will be fooled.

Jeff made shrimp and grits. I think we all know how I feel about shrimp and grits. Note also the chives on top. What did I tell you?

See! Even a professional chef’s shrimp and grits look like dog hork! There’s nothing to be done other than chives!

I missed all the components of Jamie’s dish, but I saw it and it looked damn good. Also, no scallops. I call Jamie, although I do kinda have to root for shrimp and grits.

10:13: Who will win? Emeril has a chef in mind, and “there can be only one.” Because this particular chef is like the Highlander.

10:17: The Highlander: JEFF! Maybe that’s why his face is so devoid of laugh lines or crow’s feet or any kind of expression – he is the eternal, everlasting chef. Unfortunately for him, he has to win the next challenge to actually make it to the finale.

10:20: Hosea entered to WIN. As opposed to just beating Stefan, which it seems like his ultimate goal is. Either that, or he has a secret man crush on him. I find both explanations equally plausible.

Giant warehouse full of Mardi Gras floats = terrifying.

10:21: ELIMINATION: Catering a Masquerade Ball at an art museum. One dish has to be creole. If Jeff wins, 2 people are out. Also, someone wins a car, which FABIO!! really needs because his car is “poop.” It took him at least 5 seconds to come up with that, because you could see he really didn’t want to say “shit.”

So now, in the second to last episode, he decides to self-edit. He’s so gentlemanly.

10:26: Interlude. FABIO!! always dresses like a woman for Halloween. Because he is secure in his masculinity. Behold the pink scarf: he’s rocking that shit.

10:31: Emeril’s kitchen. Shockingly, everything in the kitchen is not branded. (Conflict of Interest Disclosure: I own a set of the Emeril pans made by All-Clad. Save your money for the All-Clad.) The creole dishes are:

Hosea: Gumbo

Carla: Beignets (LOVE)

Stefan: Gumbo AND beignets. Creative.

Jeff: Fried oysters and crawfish pots de creme

FABIO!!: Maque Choux. Muffaletta! No gumbo! My boy has a chance! He made the fucking bread for the muffaletta.

10:34: FABIO!! studied the flavor profiles of N’awlines, because my boy is smart.

Hosea is taking his roux very seriously, as he should – that roux is important for good gumbo. Stefan, meanwhile is on a smoke break, which is an unorthodox method for tending to one’s roux. Tom senses a cockiness in him, because he has a special gift for judging character.

Carla is having oyster shucking issues. I’m getting worried about my Hootie-Hoo.

10:38: Carla is a teatotaler, because she has enough bizarro personal idioms to get her through. FABIO!! is mixing his own drinks, because he TRUSTS NO ONE. This will be a very good decision, or a very, very bad one.

Carla! Attitude! May her rage help her pry the hell out of those oysters.

10:40: Commercials: It’s a good thing one of the prizes isn’t getting your own show, a la Next Food Network Star. Because I love Stephanie Izard, but I think the Stephanie Izard show would make me itchy and a little uncomfortable.

10:44: The Masquerade Ball. Everyone is wearing masks. They remind FABIO!! of porno movies, which does beg the question, what the hell is Italian porn like?

The masked people are HUNGRY.

Can someone explain the crawfish pots de creme to me? Because that looked like no pots de creme I’ve ever seen.

10:46: Stefan does not think there is anyway he can go home. Except that he didn’t let his roux get dark enough, what with all the smoke breaks. And the cockiness. It impedes browning.

FABIO!! does the fist pump of confidence. AND I LOVE IT.

10:48: The crowd is hootie-hooing back at Carla. I’m not sure if that scares me. Either way, she’s putting out the love and everyone loves the food. And I want that beignet in my mouth RIGHT NOW.

Hosea is trying to ride the wave of his gumbo. Not literally.

10:52: We’re going to 75 minutes, aren’t we?

I’m calling this for Carla. I predict that Jeff’s second chance is short-lived, and I’m a little scared for my boy.

FABIO!!’s prediction: If someone has to go home, it’s because the judges are picky. As judges are wont to be. Stefan and Hosea are locked in some kind of gumbo war, that I can only hope ends up in wrestling in a kiddie pool full of gumbo to determine the winner.

10:55: Judge’s Table. Jeff’s cocktail was the favorite. The pots de creme, however the hell it was made, also earns more praise, as does his house-made sausage, STEFAN.

I’m getting scared for my boy.

10:58: Emeril has never seen gumbo over grits, but the ROUX WAS NOT DARK ENOUGH, MOTHERFUCKER.

Stefan doesn’t stress, because he’s 36. Apparently, that’s the age at which we get to stop worrying about things. Five years to go!

11:00: Carla is universally praised. Hosea nailed his dark roux, STEFAN.

Apparently he also did a fish dish? I missed that entirely, except for the beurre blanc with tabasco, which I totally want to pour all over some scrambled eggs and biscuits.

I’m still calling it for Carla.

11:03: My boy’s in the bottom with Stefan, and I’m not totally sure FABIO!! can beat him, cumulatively, although I think he should based on tonight. Although I gotta say, compared to past finales that have sucked major ass, I’m impressed.


Sorry Jeff. So close, and yet so very far.

11:11: Hosea makes it through, so it’s Euro v. Euro. Seriously, the tension is killing me. It’s like Ryan Fucking Seacrest sending Idol to commercial break before revealing who gets the boot.

FABIOOOO! Okay, I never thought he would make it, but I’m still bummed and am calling Shenanigans. Hosea didn’t deserve this.

He deserves his own show. Let’s boot Giada and her giant scary square smile and put him on TV.

NEXT WEEK: Madness. Three courses. Did I see DiSpirito out of the corner of my eye? I’m not pleased.