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The Top Chef Finale, Part 2: And the Top Chef is…

Kevin, forced to choose knives for two sous chefs, is about to get some Preeti bad news.

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As you know, the final three contestants in this season’s Top Chef were the soulful Kevin, the tightly-wound Bryan, and arrogant (albeit creative) Michael. If there had been someone to bet against, I would’ve put money on these three from the very first episode. And with this much talent, the final challenge could have gone any which way…

Except that, in my opinion, the producers threw a few more curveballs at the boys than they have in season’s past.  Don’t you think? This time around, Kevin and the Voltaggio brothers had to prepare a three-course meal.  No big deal, right? Except that their first course was to come from a market basket of ingredients that absolutely made me cringe: Pacific rockfish, dungeness crab, meyer lemons, anise hyssop, matsutake mushrooms, and kabocha squash. Really?  How on earth do those things go together, I ask you? I would have just packed my knives at that point and gone.

But the contestants persevered… even after they had to choose knives to select their sous chefs (the hardest curveball of all, if you ask me… why couldn’t they have taken turns picking their sous chefs, like kids in gym class picking dodge ball teams? At least then they would have had SOME control over who they worked with.) and had an extra course thrown at them by judge Tom the morning of the challenge. Just leave those poor men alone and let them cook, I say!

In the end, Kevin was sabotaged by his sous chef, Preeti, whose knife skills rivaled that of a ten-year-old. Even after a surprise visit from their moms (a hokey gimmick if I’ve ever seen one) lifted Kevin’s spirits, he still couldn’t pull it together–his final meal was a let-down with under-done pork belly and an improperly cooked matsutake mushroom that the judges couldn’t get over.

Bryan, who I was convinced would be the winner until the very last second, underseasoned his first two courses, but his venison with sunchokes and orange-juniper sauce seemed to be the dish of the night, and his dessert was “elegant and refined”, at least according to Gail. 

Michael’s chocolate caramel cake was far too dry, and Donatella called his molded mushroom mousse “gimmicky”, but still he took home the title. It’s a classic case of creativity (Michael) trumping consistency (Bryan), if you ask me. 

What do you think?  Did the right Voltaggio brother win the Top Chef crown?  And is there fratricide in the Voltaggio’s future?


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  • SophyB | 12/16/2009

    Michael Voltaggio was my favorite! I think he deserved to win although I would eat at Bryan's restaurant any day as well. I think this was one of the best seasons yet.

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