Two chefs will enter. One will leave crowned Top Chef Masters and win $100K for their charity.
Our finalists? New York's Kerry Heffernan, playing for City Harvest, and San Francisco's Chris Costantino, playing for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Both chefs have remarkable resumes.
In tonight's intro, Kerry is dubbed the "classically trained maestro of modern American cuisine," while Chris is the "spirited savant of hoof-to-snout gastronomy."
Classic vs. Modern. East Coast vs. West Coast. Long sleeved vs. Short sleeved. Politician hair vs. hipster goatee. It's a battle for the ages!
Let's get it on. Er, going.
This is the finale -- thus there is only one challenge. Curtis explains that each chef is to truly "bare their soul" for this meal. They will each write four letters, and translate each letter to create a four course meal. Both wince in pain.
Quote #1, from Kerry: "I am not much of a letter writer. Um ... does texting count?" LOL, Kerry. LMFAO.
First course: a love letter. Second course: an apology. Third course: a thank you note. Fourth course: a letter to yourself.
[Insert SCREAMS OF JOY from every English major everywhere here, including myself. This is so hot.]
Quote #2 (only two minutes in!) from Chris: "There's a lot of emotion involved -- I think that's what food's about. We put everything we have on the plate, our heart and our soul, to showcase who we are."
The dishes will be enjoyed by 10 of the world's most well-known culinary critics. Tomorrow. To help out, Curtis introduces two guests to help them. In walks Mumford and Sons. No wait. In walks Manfred, Chris' Chef de Cuisine at Incanto, and Nick, Kerry's former colleague and old friend. Each will serve as sous chef to the competitors.
The chefs commence planning with their assistants. Chris acknowledges this challenge is "really personal" and that the only way he going to beat Kerry is to "put his heart on a plate."
Kerry says he has "an idea" for each dish and is going to figure out which letter will go with each course, that he will "create each emotion around the dish." Kind of putting the cart before the horse, or following the letter of the challenge but not the spirit of it. Hrrrm.
Kerry and Nick head to Whole Foods. Kerry explains his "love letter" will be an homage to he and his wife's first date, when he prepared her jjigae, a Korean kimchi soup. On the way to the store he notes that "two lobsters would f---ing save my ass." I'll let you guess whether Whole Foods had any lobster. Hint: No.
Chris and Manfred have an aggressive shopping schedule, planning to hit Whole Foods, 99 Ranch, and a butcher's shop. This is going to suck a lot more time up than Kerry, who is only going to Whole Foods, but Chris feels it's worth it to get the speciality ingredients he needs.
Back to Kerry, who tells us his thank you letter will be to his Mom, who took him clamming in Cape Cod as a kid, afterwards they would make chowder. Gosh that sounds like it would make a terrific Robert McCloskey book. Oh wait! It already is. Thankfully Whole Foods does have clams.
At the butcher's, Chris picks up beef hearts. His love letter is to his wife, and he will be putting his heart on a plate. Rim shot! Such a clever little sass. He paints a really sweet picture of he and his wife's relationship and says he wants to thank her for allowing him to live his dream. Their family photos are adorable. Color me more smitten by the minute.
Kerry is done and heading back in his Lexus RX (we're back to some very heavy-handed sponsor shout outs for the finale).
Chris is in 99 Ranch, picking up pork blood and tripe. He explains his great grandmother used to cook tripe soup, and while he hated it as a kid, he knows it left an impression. As he's now known as the "hoof-to-snout" guy, he wants to acknowledge her with his thank you letter course.
Meanwhile, Kerry has commenced prep while Chris is sitting in Vegas traffic on his way to Whole Foods. He finally makes his way back to the kitchen with 3 1/2 hours left to cook.