This is it! The finale, the moment of truth when the next Top Chef is crowned after slaying his challengers for the amusement of the judges! Who cares if the winner got spoiled last week, it is on like a prawn at dawn!
There is no Quickfire, instead there’s just the final challenge: cook the best four course meal you can. But to do that, the chefs would need sous chefs and for the final time, the Knife Block of Destiny was brought out.
Each knife had the name of a past champion: Ilan Hall, Hung Huynh and Michael Voltaggio. Angelo really wanted Hung since he was Asian and he likes making Asian food for Asian judges in Asia. Kevin wanted Mike since they had a history, but so did Ed – instead Ed drew Ilan’s name.
The final challenge had one simple catch: Tom and Ripert would be buying the proteins for the fish and meat courses, but they chefs had free range on the first vegetable course and final, and mandatory, dessert course. Armed with $300, the chefs went back to their apartment when disaster struck – Angelo came down with a horrible plague!
Bedridden and unable to roll a saving throw to save his life, Angelo sent Hung out in his place to do the shopping while incoherently mumbling instructions to him on the phone. And then the doctor tells Angelo there’s only a 20% he’d be able to cook tomorrow! OH THE SUSPENSE! Turns out, he gets better.
So the next day, Tom and Ripert show off what they brought: red mullet, cuttlefish, cockles and slipper lobster for seafood – all of which must be used and the red mullet is the second dish. For non-seafood, there’s a whole duck and pork belly, and the duck is the third course!
In a fury of power, Hung does all of Angelo’s prep and in my opinion, won Top Chef DC on merit alone. That guy is amazing. With Hung rolling criticals all the way, Kevin and Mike play off each others’ strengths while Ed Ilan butt heads the whole way. But everyone is worried about Angelo and wants him to get better.
To get Ilan out of his hair, Ed lets him have free rein on the dessert while Angelo takes a shot of antibiotics in the ass which gives him the 3% nudge he needed to pull off a recovery! The judges and guests for this event are amazing. Dana Cowin is back, along with David Cheng, Iggy Chan, Sun-Lyu Tam, Susan Feniger, Vincent Bourdain, Paul Bartolotta, Willin Low, Seetoh and Andre Chiang!
Dishes were served with various levels of insight and skill. Kevin was creative in turning his cuttlefish into a “pasta” while Ed fell back on deep frying for his cockles. Fish was good, the duck was good and dessert is worth talking about. But Angelo’s cherry shooter “coated every corner of [Padma’s] mouth.” Oh Padma, we love all your sexual innuendos.
Angelo did a play on a Thai Jewel that bordered on savory, while Kevin went local and reimagined the Singapore Sling that was “more than meets the eye.” But Ed, by letting Ilan take over for the dessert threw out a salty, toffee bar that was called “hilarious, like a big fuck you!” Amazingly, Tom liked it.
The judging was bland, something needed more spice while another dish didn’t focus on the vegetables as much as it should have. Angelo’s duck got labeled as bizarre but the judges could see somewhere in it, there was a great dish. And then they said there was a clear winner.
And it was Kevin.
Which is really weird, because everyone in the blogosphere had been saying Ed was going to win – I’ve got to hand it to Bravo, no one saw that coming. But no one thought Kevin was going to win. It’s kind of like Hosea all over again, the big thing was Angelo (and Kenny) lost, not who won.
So another campaign ended, but it’s not the end for Top Chef because a new quest approaches: and it’s Just Desserts.