Top Chef

Top Chef Finale Recap: It’s Just So Subjective

Photo: Courtesy of Bravo

Last night’s Top Chef finale began where the last episode left off, with our top three chefs — Angelo, Kevin, and Ed — called back to the judges’ table to receive their final challenge, which was to cook the most amazing meal they’ve ever made in their lives (no pressure). Unlike previous finale challenges, the chefs were not given free range. The first course had to be a vegetable dish, the second a fish, the third a meat, and the fourth a dessert, with Tom and Silver Fox Ripert choosing the proteins. However, as always the chefs got some assistance, with this season’s batch of sous-chefs being made up of previous winners: Ilan, Hung, and Michael Voltaggio.

Lo and behold, Angelo wanted Hung BECAUSE HE IS ASIAN AND THEY ARE COOKING IN ASIA ZOMG!!!1! He got his wish, while Kevin got his wish for Mike V., leaving Ilan for Ed. Back at the suite, the old chefs gave our cheftestants advice as they reflected. Ed remarked that his dad would be stoked if he won Top Chef. Really, Ed? That’s so weird! Our dad would definitely be really upset with us if we won a huge, awesome competition! Kevin, needing to one-up Ed, explained that he’s doing this for every single one of his family members.

The next morning, Kevin and Ed enjoyed a romantic breakfast while Angelo died in bed of an Asia-love hangover. Dr. Gary Chee stopped by to tell Angelo he had a 20 percent chance of being able to cook the next day, which meant that Hung had to do all the shopping and prep work solo while Angelo gave orders over the phone. Ed’s advice was that Angelo tell his body “fuck you,” since $125,000 was on the line. The chefs then shopped at a Western-looking supermarket called Vivomart, which looked like it was in a mall. Given, we have shopped at a supermarket in a mall in a foreign country before, but that was only because we were looking for Kellogg’s Extra (which is the best granola ever and is not sold here, annoyingly) and that was the only place that had it. Also, we aren’t professional chefs.

In the kitchen, Ed proceeded to boss Ilan around constantly, showing himself to be more egotistical in one episode than Angelo showed all season. He also made some weird comment about Jesus serving duck necks that we missed. Is that true? We don’t remember seeing any paintings of duck necks in the Uffizi. Hung got a ton of prep done solo, with just a handful of instructions from Angelo, who was too busy getting a needle, which they inexplicably insisted on showing many times, in his butt. Lucky for Angelo, the shot worked, because the next morning he was cleared to cook. “It’s time to jump into my cape!” he announced, insisting on being weird up until the last second.

Despite the same proteins, the chefs served very different menus. Kevin’s first course was an eggplant, zucchini, and roasted pepper terrine that needed more spice. His pan-seared rouget with cuttlefish “noodles” and braised pork bell was a good pairing, and his roasted duck with duck dumplings was cooked perfectly. Plus, the judges couldn’t get enough of his “Singapore sling 2010” with coconut panna cotta and tropical fruits.

The judges loved Ed’s Asian take on chilled corn soup with crispy black cockles and duo of duck with greens, but were polarized over his sweet-and-salty dessert. They also noted that he didn’t feature the rouget in his fish course, as was requested. The panel found that Angelo’s extreme first course of royale mushrooms with noodles, pork belly, and watermelon tea needed work, but they loved his Asian-style bouillabaisse and dessert. Overall, the judges seemed to love everyone’s meal, but could only pick one winner, and they picked Kevin. We are going to take the high road here and listen to our mother’s advice that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. You, however, should definitely give your full opinions in the comments!

Until next season, kids!

Top Chef Finale Recap: It’s Just So Subjective