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Top Chef: New York, Finale Recap – The Final Battle of the Bald Men and Their Hairy Sous Chef


Hosea is second. Toby thought the appetizer was excellent. Hosea admits to having only cooked red fish once before. He says his plan for the meal was to provide big flavors and that he definitely had an advantage when he got to pick the red fish and that it was fun to dole out the others. Tom jokes that it was probably fun to stick it to Finn. Hosea laughs and says that Finn would have done the same to him.

Regarding the first course, Hosea says that raw fish is something that he does and that he likes to make acid and heat. Toby found it to be light and fresh but lacking citrus. Tom thought the second course was nicely done and that the apple was a perfect center. Gail thought it was the best of the night. Hosea says he wanted to finish the meal big and robust. Tom thinks the venison was nicely cooked. Gail said something but my notes look like hieroglyphs. Toby calls him out on having a beginning and two middles to his meal as opposed to a beginning, middle and end. Hosea didn’t think dessert was necessary and wanted to showcase his talents with savory dishes.

Finn is up last. He has never cooked with alligator before and Toby said it was well executed. Tom thought it was well seasoned and the flavors went well together. Gail says the Carpaccio was watered down. Tom didn’t understand the choice. Finn asked if it tasted good. Tom said it was somewhat bland. Gail really enjoyed the squab. Toby said it was his strong suit and Tom thought it was the strongest dish of the night. Gail asks why he wanted that dessert to be the last thing they tasted. Finn thought it was good.

Final words – Finn says that he deserves to win because he did the best overall during the season. Not a good point as we have already established on this show that it is “what have you done for me lately.” Hosea thought his food looked and tasted the best. Carla’s comments are heartbreaking. She feels that when she “cooks my food it is really delicious.” Is she worthy of Top Chef? Yes. Her food is good, “when I make it, yes.” She is now crying and then something awesome happens. Finn. The arguable villain of the season goes over to her and gives her a hug. I have given Finn a lot of crap this year – but I think the dude is ok.

Judges confer. They immediately agree that Carla is not going to win, so it is between Finn and Hosea – basically the way this season needed to end. Tom says the two men come from very different places – Finn is classically trained, but as Padma says, Hosea has thoughtfulness to his food. I think Padma sounds drunk – and a drunk Padma is hysterical.

Toby thinks Finn’s menu was structurally sound. Tom thinks both made very smart appetizers but questions Finn’s frozen fish. Toby says that Finn undoubtedly won with his squab and Tom agrees that is was the best of the night and Gail repeats that it told her a lot about Finn. Tom cannot get past the dessert and Padma thinks it was “pedestrian at best.”

Tom likes Hosea’s meal’s arc and how it blended well. The appetizer had a spicy little bit; the fish was bland but blended well, the scallop and then the heavier meat. Toby agrees that the venison was the best of the three third course meals, but again questions the lack of dessert. Gail would be satisfied with Hosea’s meal and felt the light to heavy progression world and was balanced. She says that Finn was all over the map – High, then low, then very high, then very low.

Padma didn’t see much soul out there with Finn and Toby counters that if they are giving the win according to soulfulness, then Carla should win. Back in the lounge, Hosea says he did his food and that Richard hauled ass. It’s a tad rude to bring up doing your own food in front of Carla – but I am willing to blame that on out-of-context editing.

Commercials – The Fans overwhelming vote that Carla should be Top Chef – clearly making me believe that Bravo viewer are either stupid or just as drunk as Padma.

Tom sums up that they came from “Broadway to Bourbon.” He says that Carla was really strong and when she did her food, they liked what they saw. Hosea was really nice and steady across the board. Finn had some amazing highs and lows. I would like to disagree with Tom for a moment – while he may have lost his edge in the Finals, Finn never really had lows this season.

Tom says that the decision was based on how well the meal tasted from start to finish. Padma congratulates Season Five Champ Hosea. He gives a grunt and fist pump. He gets hugs from both Carla and Finn. Hosea smiles in his confessional – “Who just won Top Chef? Um. Hosea just won Top Chef.” Finn…ok, it’s the last episode…Stefan thinks that with a different dessert he would have won. He may be right about that. Hosea tells him that he was the guy to beat and Stefan says that he’s “happy for you, buddy.” Carla weeps in her confessional that she should have done her food and won’t make that mistake again. She proved that you could compete with love.

The stage is filled up with the judges, Richard, Marcel, and Casey. Also there are Fabio, Jeff and Leah. Bravo gives us a gratuitous shot of Leah congratulating Hosea. Hosea says that all year he was neck and neck with Stefan and this made it most satisfying to win. He thinks things will be changing in his life. I think there is a seafood restaurant in Boulder that just put out a Help Wanted ad!
So that is Season Five – like the critique of Stefan it had its highs and lows, but overall I liked this season. I really didn’t dislike anyone, even if I never really had a favorite like I had the last couple of seasons.

I hope that you all enjoyed my recaps. I may have to do a shorter commentary for Season Six as the long version is much more difficult to write and my work schedule has gotten harder and harder to work within. Please read my work on Survivor and we will back here for Top Chef Season Six – I hope it will be in Washington, but I won’t be holding my breath.


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