home Archive Top Chef: Las Vegas, Napa Valley Finale – Emotion You’ve Been Looking For, Padma

Top Chef: Las Vegas, Napa Valley Finale – Emotion You’ve Been Looking For, Padma

BryanBot – Sardine, German Butterball Potato, Heirloom Tomato and Panko breadcrumbs.  It’s his version of mac & cheese, something made by his mom, the “Queen of the One-Pot Meal.”  Toby was all for sardines, as he is British, and English food is incredibly gross (as we have mentioned before).  The others (not them) found it to be poorly seasoned and lacking acid.  Mom said it wasn’t fishy.  Not high praise.

  Hawk reveals that he was given a sarcastic Champion Eater trophy as a child and that broccoli was his own El Guapo.  Here he made it taste like popcorn, and I don’t believe him.  Most of the judges agree, although Donatella Arapia found it to be beautifully done.  Mom says that as a kid “Michael hated everything.”  HA!
Padma cruelly tried to get Mama V to pick her favorite, and Kevin’s mom came to her rescue.  This was a win for Kevin – but as Tom later points out, it wasn’t a huge win because it was more of an amuse bouclé and not an appetizer.
Second Course

Kevin – Pacific Rockfish, Roasted Squash, Crab Broth, Roasted Matsutake Mushrooms.  Donatella dug the broth, and the dude with the beard liked the seasoning, but Kevin gets seriously dinged for making bad shrooms.

BryanBot – Rockfish Sous Vide, Kabocha Squash with curry, and Meyer Lemon.  Again, The Bot has seasoning problems, and Sam Nazarian calls it ”safe” and that ”it’s like a blind date you just don’t want to go on.”  Yikes.

Hawk – Dashi-glazed rockfish, sweet and sour crab salad with squash and Meyer Lemon.  Tom gushes about it, and the others follow.

Clearly, Hawk is far ahead on this one, more so than Kevin was on the first.
Third Course

Kevin – Slow-roasted pork belly with Brussels sprouts, broccoli and caramelized ham us.  The pork was too hard, despite the richness of the sauce.

BryanBot – Venison saddle with puree of sunchokes and orange juniper sauce.  Padma says, “You can’t say this doesn’t have seasoning!”  It seems BryanBot put all his seasoning into this one, and did it well.

Hawk – Fennel-scented squab breast, pistachio cassoulet and textures of mushrooms.  The squab is universally praised.  Donatella didn’t get the mushrooms – Hawk took mushrooms, made a puree (I think) and reshaped it into mushroom form. 
Here is where Kevin lost the competition.  For someone who has a pig tattoo and loves to cook pork, by choosing to do his favorite protein, he needed to hit a home run.  He didn’t.  Also, because Kevin doesn’t do the sophistication and the innovation that Hawk can do, he has to win on flavor and texture.  This pork failed him. 
Also, the show’s editing made Bryan’s venison appear to be more popular than Hawk’s squab.  However, Tom once again explains that it was much closer than that. In fact, most of the judges found Hawk’s to be better. So while we saw a slight edge to big bro, in reality, little bro had taken the round.