The best lines from the last two episodes of Top Chef:

Episode 6: “You’re a snake… Ssssssssss.” –Miguel to Tiffani

Episode 7: “I’m not your bitch, bitch.” –Dave to Tiffani

These two lines, as funny as they were, represent the factor that tied these two episodes together: Tiffani.  Tiffani is making the power play, but not in a manner that is either within reason or respect, surely.  Not having been a Tiffani fan from the beginning of the show, her true colors are really starting to burst through her diamond-hard shell.  She is as cutthroat as they come and is beginning to not fear the display of it.  Perhaps this is what is needed, though, to win.  But then, let’s not forget the skill weighed and stressed over and over by Tom Colicchio.  Tiffani has emerged in the last two episodes of Top Chef to be the one to beat, not because she is the best, but because she is ruthless.  I still can’t stand her.

The eliminated chefs were not surprising in either episode, either.  Andrea finally got escorted out, which was given considering the skilled and poop-unconscious company she was keeping.  However, I never expected the quick descent that Miguel took between episodes 6 and 7.  He, apparently, just lost his shit completely; just lost it.  It was unreal how the high-flier from an earlier episode just crumbled under the pressure of the mounting difficulty inherent in the new challenges.  Episode 6’s challenge in which the chefs designed a meal for Queer Eye culinary expert Ted Allen (and his dinner party of stuffy foodies…) changed speed when they were asked to draw knives to take over someone else’s dish.  It was excruciatingly fun to watch the chefs squirm at the thought of getting Stephen’s dessert course (after winning immunity), because not a one of them is a pastry chef of any means.  Miguel, as he so pronounced with ardent frustration, was “…in the weeds.” His goof was an amateurish mix of salt for sugar in a sorbet he was making – not good.  This only continued in varied amounts throughout the rest of episode 6 (such as having continued brainfarts over the name of his fourme d’ambert) and became even worse in episode 7, when he fudged the price of snapper (saying it was 7.99/lb as opposed to $17.99/lb…a gross error in a challenge fitted with a tight budget), not getting the fish scaled by the monger, amongst a few more skill-related and technical foibles.  Miguel was certainly on his way out, and out he went last night.

The challenges in the last two episodes emphasized certain facets of stressfulness.  As Tom Colicchio says in his blog:

A big part of being a chef is handling pressure. Whether it’s the pressure of coordinating meals perfectly for hundreds of diners each evening, pulling off an intimate dinner-party, or designing and opening a new restaurant. At the end of the day, the pressure is really about exceeding people’s expectations. Always. Some cooks thrive on this, drawing fuel from a dynamic, high-stakes environment. Others fold like a beaten egg white. Or crack like a….ok, I’ll stop.

This is extremely important.  Sometimes I even stress out cooking for my own family, wanting to make sure that everything is good for my toddler to my wife and everywhere in between.  I can’t even imagine a professional kitchen setting!  Last night’s episode pitted the teams of Stephen, Lee Anne, and Miguel in their Spanish inspired café against Dave, Tiffani, and Harold in their rustic American bistro.  They each designed their own half of a “restaurant” with a budget of $1000 to cover food and place settings/decorations.  Both looked nice enough, but Tiffani’s idea named American Workshop looked best thanks to Dave and his artistic and simple color schemes and presentations.  Dave won this challenge for them (and this is not only my opinion….).  The other teams Spanish café, Sabor, was a little too sterile, thanks to Stephen who, admittedly, deemed that American Workshop was a “…little too warm and inviting.” What in God’s name is wrong with Stephen?  Warm and inviting is bad to him?  Well, this attitude is part of what did Sabor’s team in along with Stephen’s mouth, which couldn’t (as opposed to wouldn’t…) stop moving.  This jackass thinks he needs to explain every goddamned thing to every goddamned body like they’re little children.  This is what is going to take him down before the final battle for sure.

So, Sabor dove and took Miguel right with it….and American Workshop won and sent Dave on a future trip to Cannes, France.  Bravo, Dave…you finally did it and you barely shed a tear!

So, who’s on top and who’s on the block?  Harold is on top.  Tiffani is on the block.  Mark my words.