Sunday, December 13, 2009

Top Chef 6: Las Vegas - Finalé

I decided to wait to post this since the finalé was in 2 parts.

Part 1 last week saw the Final Four cheftestants getting back together after being away from the show for a couple of months. The Final Four are Jen, Kevin and the Voltaggio brothers, Bryan & Michael. Amazingly, these 4 were the ONLY chefs to win an Elimination Round the entire season. Eliminated Chefs won Quickfires, but NONE won an Elimination Round. Chef Tom wrote that it showed that these 4 were truly the best of the best. By now the show had aired, and they had a chance to see what other people had said about them. Kevin noted how Michael put down his cooking but hadn't really had any chance to actually taste it. Kevin also noted that there is a Facebook fan page for his beard! How fun!

They met at a train station in Napa Valley in longer in Vegas. They had a Quickfire on the train where they were to make use of the grape and the guest judge was Michael Chiarello who used to have some shows on Food Network but competed on Top Chef Masters this Summer. He owns a restaurant in Napa and is a longtime resident there. The winner of the Quickfire would get a new Toyota Prius. Jen said that she really needed a new car. It seemed to come down to Jen and Michael with Michael winning as he not only used grapes throughout, but also used a grapevine as a skewer.

The Elimination allowed them to make whatever they wanted using ONLY local ingredients found at a local Farmer's Market. Well, salt & pepper were allowed, but otherwise, all local. Everyone had to make 2 dishes, one Vegetarian. I noticed that 3 of the 4 used cheese (not all are lacto-vegetarians,) while Michael used an egg (not all are ovo-vegetarians.) Jen made a duck dish and an over salted vegetarian dish, while Bryan made 2 amazing dishes. Kevin made an incredible looking vegetarian dish, but his meat dish was just so so. Michael's meat dish was very good, but his egg wasn't presented correctly. While not undercooked, he failed to remove the clear liquid that emerges and it looked unappealing. The editing made it look like Michael was going, but Chef Tom said in his blog that they knew from the start that it would be Jen. Her vegetarian dish was SO over salted that it was inedible. Bryan won the challenge.

This week the Top Three had to make a 3 course dinner with one course of their choosing, one course using ingredients from a "mystery box," and a dessert course. All of the other former cheftestants returned and the Top Three had to draw knives out of a knife block to see which 2 each would get as a sous chef. One would help them prep the first day, and one would help them finish the next. Bryan was the luckiest as he got Jen & Ashley. Michael was pretty lucky in getting Eli & Jesse while poor Kevin ended up with Preeti & Ash. Ashley, Jesse and Preeti helped the first day, while Jen, Eli and Ash helped the next. Kevin complained that of the 12 or 13 things he needed done, Preeti was only able to do 2 of them.

They were given a 4th dish, the first one, that would have to be inspired by a childhood memory. Oh, and their mothers arrived to cheer them on. Kinda awkward for Bryan & Michael's mom, huh? The mystery box was the same for all, and it contained fish and some ingredients I've never heard of, including some kind of mushroom. Kevin ended up being cut first, so it came down to the 2 brothers. Both he and Chef Tom later said that Preeti wasn't the problem, Kevin just ended up in a funk.

In the end, despite the way it was edited, Michael won. LOTS of fans complained, but Chef Tom explained it was the editing, and he wasn't thrilled with it. It's one thing to edit the show to throw people off so they don't know who will win, it's quite another to edit it to be misleading. Chef Tom felt that it was misleading, it even had him questioning his own memory. It LOOKED like the courses went this way; Childhood: Kevin, Mystery Box: Michael, Chef's Choice: Bryan, Dessert: Bryan. In actuality, Michael won the "Chef's Choice" course so he won 2 of the 4 to win Top Chef. In total, including the final win, Kevin won 5 Eliminations and 3 Quickfires, Michael won 4 Eliminations and 2 QFs, and Bryan won 4 Elims and No QFs. While the fans wanted Kevin, and if not him then Bryan, they can't complain as Kevin won $45,000 amongst his wins. Michael consistently made artistic, bold, tasty, and complicated food. Kevin's was more simple, yet flavorful, while Bryan's was yummy and classic while somewhat "safe." Michael may not be a fan favorite, but it's hard to argue his win.

No comments:

Post a Comment