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


Fourth course

Kevin – Roasted banana, toasted peanut with chocolate bacon mousse, and bacon brittle. Tom explains on his blog that Kevin was doing an ode to Elvis here, and now I like it even more. I said it back when Blais did it, but there is nothing wrong with bacon-related desserts in my mind. One of the judges said they don’t want pork in their dessert, I say, it is friggin’ bacon! It’s not like he stuck a pork chop in bunt cake and said, “Enjoy!” Gail backs up Kevin here; however, Tom thinks there should have been more variety in the bananas.

BryanBot – “Dulce de leche” – Cheesecake with fig sorbet, poached pear and basil. Ok, that looked like a giant turd. But it must have tasted pretty good, because they all gushed over it. Gail marveled at Bryan’s technique. Oh, and when I come to Volt, no giant turds.

Hawk – Chocolate caramel coulat, butternut squash brulee, and butternut ice cream, with candy pumpkin seeds. This sounded gross to me, but I am not a big fan of butternut squash or pumpkin. The cake was overdone and that hurt Hawk here, and provided an opening for editors to give Bryan a chance. But even with the mistake, Toby commented on how it was almost a very good dessert.

After Judges Table, Kevin knew he was done. You can almost see the moment it happened, when Toby and Tom criticized the pork belly. He knew it was over. I wonder why it was necessary for Padma to do her pregnant (sorry, I had to) pause and say “Kevin … you are not Top Chef.” That seemed a bit cruel.

So the Volt boys managed to have it come down to them – thus the crazy amount of “sibling rivalry” references throughout the season. However, at its climax, what we got instead were two grown men who love each other very much and were sad that one of them had to lose.

I must admit; that final scene with them touched me. Bryan’s pride in his brother, and Michael’s raw emotion when he went from his brother’s to his mother’s embrace. That’s right, no nicknames, they get their names back. I have said it before that reality shows too often fail to show reality, and that the best moments are the ones featuring pure emotion. This was one of them – ironically coming from two of the most stoic people to ever appear on a reality show.

So, I am satisfied with the season, as much as it pains me to say it, the best chef won. And he felt every emotion at the same time. Nuff said

Quickfire hits

• Funniest line of the night goes to Michael, as they each had to say why they deserved to win – “I just don’t want Bryan to win.” HA!

• A close second, Kevin, upon leaving without his knives – “I’m just gonna karate chop everything.”

• I didn’t talk about the eliminated chefs coming back to serve as sous chefs because it really didn’t factor in much. Kevin did get the big screw by randomly selecting Ash and Preeti. They were not help, but I don’t believe it was too much of a hindrance, at worst; it may have thrown him off their game. Meanwhile, Brian gets the dream team of Jen and Ashley, and Michael gets a good and bad one, Eli and Jesse. Nothing really happened here except Preeti’s incompetence, Bryan’s team’s efficiency and Eli’s overcooking of the dessert almost hurting Michael.

• Kevin also seemed a bit nervous, but how cute was it to see his mom give him a pep talk?

• Kevin’s graduation photo, classic.

• I liked Michael’s plan of taking a bad childhood food memory and twisting it into something he likes. As Kevin said, this dude is really, really creative.

• Toby’s comment on Michael’s third course tomato – it was a flavor bomb. Sadly, not a wasabi bomb.

• Lastly, I must reiterate that, to me, Padma represents the most unattainable woman on the planet. I am still not sure if she is actually FROM this planet. This episode showed that pregnant Padma is just as attractive as thin Padma.

So, another season in the books – Congrats to Michael. Hopefully we will see the Top Four of Season Six in a future Top Chef: All Stars season.

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