Back of the House

‘Top Chef’ Is Over, and Adam Platt Can Rest

Richard, Lisa, Stephanie: from frustration to anger to earnest effort.
Richard, Lisa, Stephanie: from frustration to anger to earnest effort. Photo: Courtesy of Bravo

Last night’s Top Chef finale involved a simple challenge: Take a platter of top-end proteins, a star chef as your assistant, and make a four-course meal to state your case for victory. Richard worked with Blue Hill’s Dan Barber, Stephanie with Le Bernardin’s Eric Ripert, and Lisa “the Gorgon” Fernandes with the Spotted Pig’s April Bloomfield to make their big meal. There were no major catastrophes — no burned rice, no spoiled pork bellies — and in the end, as you might have predicted, Richard overreached, Lisa’s food just wasn’t good enough, and Stephanie won Top Chef. Afterward, profoundly relieved that the unthinkable didn’t occur, we sat down for our last IM chat with Adam Platt.

Platt: Yikes. For a moment there I thought the Gorgon would triumph and a riot would break out.

Ozersky: I was quivering with anxiety. But it all came out okay. Our Stephanie won, and the world is a rational place.

Platt: I didn’t think any of the food looked very inspired, even though they attempted to gussy it up with a lavish setting, lots of random judges prattle, and many flutes of no doubt oversweet Champagne.

Ozersky: I know! It was like something you would see served in Virgin airlines. Or Diddy’s wedding.

Platt: I can’t believe the Gorgon’s napalm shrimp tasted good, even though Gail (whose dress looked lovely this evening!) claimed it did.

Ozersky: They are clearly on a mission to redeem the Gorgon. The scenes of her bonding with April Bloomfield were about as believable as those TV features about what a new man Kobe Bryant is, or how Robert Downey Jr. has bested his coke habit.
Ozersky: She’s still the Gorgon, and her food still looks horrible. That dessert looked like something left on a table six hours after a Super Bowl party.

Platt: It pains me to say, Cutty, but after months horror and degradation, she acquitted herself well. She was the most relaxed, while the others were gagging around her.

Ozersky: So you’re on her side now, too!

Platt: The editors tantalized us. They showed her in a good light. Which was maybe why I found myself dozing off. The whole show was a little slack, and in the end, they just picked the nicest person. But there’s one problem with happy endings, Cutty. They’re a little tedious.

Ozersky: It’s too bad you couldn’t have been there to drop your scorn bombs on all three hapless chefs.

Platt: I wouldn’t have been scornful. I would have been kind. In the end, the Gorgon and all her glorious hatefulness were why were watched the show.

Ozersky: Well, it’s all over now, Platty. Are you happy?

Platt: The forces of good triumphed, I suppose. Stephanie will wear the crown well, the Gorgon won’t haunt our dreams, and I won’t have to think about this show for another ten months.

Ozersky: I’m not ashamed to admit that I enjoyed this season a lot. But we can now expect that all the cheftestants will haunt the earth as b-list food celebrities, showing up at parties, and never fulfilling their threat to open their own restaurants.

Ozersky: The real top chefs are the ones like April and the Ripper that work every night and are judged by mean-spirited anonymous civilians.

Platt: Whatever, Cutty! I’m just glad it’s over.

Read more interviews, recaps, comments, and lists in Grub Street’s complete coverage of Top Chef.