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November 25, 2014

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The Jet Stream: The great Jennifer debate

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After departing to their respective restaurants for a break, Kevin, Bryan, Jennifer and Michael reunited in Napa for the finale of "Top Chef: Las Vegas."

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The "Top Chef: Las Vegas" final four: Jennifer, Kevin, Bryan, Michael

I think Jennifer going home is total bull! The judge’s final table comments totally confused me. Kevin’s beef was tough; Mike’s egg wasn’t prepared and plated well; and Jennifer didn’t have an eye on the grill. What? They sent her home because she said she was going grill the duck but didn’t? That is totally messed up! OK, her goat cheese to some was over-seasoned, but seriously? I don’t know, man.

I would have kicked Kevin to the curb, if I was a judge. He purposely served tough stringy beef and he still goes to the final? Jennifer changes her cooking method because the grill wasn’t where she needed it to be. That is a choice that we chefs make every day. If you are minutes from serving a plate, and one piece of equipment is down, you fire it anyway you can to cook it well. What did the judges expect her to do? Try to grill it anyway, even though the wood was not as hot as it needed it be? When Tom asked her why she didn’t grill the duck, she should have lied and said she chose another method instead of saying she let the coals burn down too far and they were out of temp.

Did you catch Padma’s quivering lip as she told Jen to pack her knives? She was right on the verge of tears. I think that was the most emotion I’ve ever seen from her. Was it the hormones from being a mom-to-be or was she rooting for Jen and sad to see the last girl standing go home? To see Padma emote was groundbreaking. My issues with Padma as a host and judge are that she has zero emotion, seems more concerned with her appearance than the food and still after four years at this is so stiff. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks that of her, but c’est la vie.

Admittedly and unapologetically, I am very earth friendly. I’ve been driving my Prius for a long time; I carry my own earth bags and try to eliminate plastic one; I gather up all recyclables and drive them 20 miles because my neighborhood is terrible at recycling; and I’ve also converted part of my menu to sustainable fish (and hope to do more). A lot of my colleagues call me a hippy and a tree hugger, but that is totally cool with me! I think if you were Joe America, you wouldn’t even get that Top Chef also seems to believe in the green movement. In a single hour, the show featured both a hybrid and an "eat local" challenge! Kudos!

Mike is really in full-on dick mode! It’s completely obvious that he couldn't care less that Bryan is his brother. This is a guy that would eat his own young to win. Let’s break this down a little: At the end of the day, though a great show and competition, IT’S A DAMN TV SHOW! This guy wants to crush his own brother to win a cooking show. I got no love for a dude like that, 'cause if this guy would Cain his Abel what would he do to colleagues, partners and “friends”? In my book, Mike is a straight hater! All through this show you see Bryan trying to bond with, be happy for and enjoy his time with his bro. So in my heart, I’d like Bryan to walk away with the title. It’s been fun to watch these two dysfunctional siblings and it will only get more dramatic between these two in the final episode.

I think America is voting for the Kevin, but not me. Kevin is the dude you want to hang and cook with. He’s the Grizzly Adams, gentle giant chef that wants to save the world, and I admire that. But this is Top Chef, not Top Nice Guy or Top Red Beard. A lot of us in the chef grind every day know it takes a lot more than just cooking well, meaning well and being friendly. If I had to pick one of the remaining three guys to run my restaurant, it would have to be Bryan. I know it’s my view and a lot of you are going to disagree, but some of you might see my point. The chef is the chief, the leader, the guy that everyone needs to run the show. It requires a delicate balance of cook, captain, politician, actor, priest and assassin. I see Kevin capable of some of those tasks, but not the whole package. We all know Mike is just cook and assassin (maybe add crybaby, brat and hater to that). Bryan, to me, is the one that should win this.

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