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Top Chef Masters 3 – Finale –Steph Continues To Stand Alone


Note to Top Chef and other reality show editors – it is time for some new tricks because we’re starting to get wise to you. Or at least I am. Or at least I think I am. I said in recent columns that I suspected we were being set up with a (SPOILER ALERT – although not much of a spoiler at this point because I am about two years late with this column) Floyd victory. It was the heavy handed way they kept harping on how he had not won a challenge, and how he kept losing to Mary Sue that made it clear to me – this guy was going to win. Of course, I said last week that Traci was the one to beat, so maybe I am just full of it. That would not be a new theory for some, and not totally inaccurate.

Meanwhile, Floyd’s victory. Congrats to him, I liked Floyd this season and think he is a fine addition to the list of Top Chef winners – and it means that it is now 11-1 for the men in the Top Chef franchise. It is hard to rank the three shows’ winners according to talent – I mean, these are the Masters after all – so, instead I am going to do it anyway. I am going to use skills, assumed taste of the food, on screen persona, and whether or not I would ever want to eat in their restaurant. And a little bit of my own opinion as a fan of the show, of course. This way the Masters and candy guy can be ranked along with the eight regular Top Chef winners.

1 – Richard – Top Chef All-Stars – I actually DID eat in his restaurant. The man made me like raw meat. Nuff said.
2 – Michael – Top Chef Las Vegas – I would pay good money for a Blais vs. Voltaggio battle.
3 – Rick – Masters 1 – I still fantasize about eating Bayless created Mexican food.
4 – Hung – Top Chef Miami – I don’t think anyone has his skills, no one, not even the Masters.
5 – Harold – Top Chef San Francisco – The original deserves some respect.
6 – Marcus – Masters 2 – Incredibly talented, fascinating back-story, but not excited about the food.
7 – Stephanie – Top Chef Chicago – The one lady in the bunch. My next trip to Chicago will include her restaurant.
8 – Floyd – Masters 3 – I think a taste of his Indian cuisine would be divine, but he showed a wide array of skills over the season.
9 – Kevin – Top Chef Washington – I still think his win was a tad accidental, but he had a solid season.
10 – Hosea – Top Chef New York – I still say Blais helped him win that title.
11 – Yigit – Desserts 1 – No one denies his talent, but he I’m still irritated by him and that season’s been off the air for a year.
12 – Ilan – Top Chef LA – Take away the saffron and he’s doomed. Still no idea how he beat Marcel, Sam and Elia.

But, this needs to be about Floyd and his win. Floyd cooked the hell out of this episode, especially thanks to Bert’s request of an incredibly complicated Indonesian dish as part of the final challenge. In the challenge, they got the traditional “three course meal of your life” task, with two of the three dishes coming from first food memory and why you became a chef thoughts. The third dish was an assignment to recreate a food memory for the judges that prompted their love of food. Mary Sue got Ruth’s lemon soufflé and Traci got Gael’s fried duck. Simple tasks for these chefs.

Floyd got Bert’s request of rendang which seems to have a rather complicated preparation procedure. It was so complicated I think Professor Snape created it. I half expected Floyd to need to stir it counter-clockwise one time to make it work. Man, that was an obscure Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince reference. Nerd alert!!! Throw in that it took him four months to shop for this wide range of random ingredients and actually had almost an hour and a half less time to cook than Mary Sue. And he still rocked it.

No question about it, Floyd snuck up this season to win this. He was in it for most challenges, but could never win. However, he really brought it when it counted. He had the highest level of difficulty, and made it happen.

Here are the meals, complete with the inspiration attached to each one. The Elimination Challenge is judged by Bert, Ruth, Stone and Gael. It is attended by a wide array of past Masters – Susan, Waxman (Obi-Wan), Suser (Ninja), Moonen – and the return of Bert’s protégé, Dany, and good ol’ Tom.


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