We’re not going to lie: this has been a long season of Top Chef. But it’s over, and King Colicchio and Queen Padma (and also Emeril Lagasse) have bestowed the esteemed title of Top Chef upon yet another ambitious young chef.
It all came down to Spiaggia Executive Chef Sarah Grueneberg and Uchiko Executive Chef Paul Qui in the finale. In a way, it’s almost poetic that the two finalists of Top Chef: Texas ended up being from Texas (even if the final episodes did take the remaining contestants north to Vancouver). Their final challenge was one of those open-ended assignments with which a great chef can excel and a lesser chef can hang himself: a four-course tasting menu for your dream restaurant. Do what you want and make it awesome. No limits.
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Well, some limits. Sarah got saddled with Tyler Stone, everybody’s favorite also-ran who made mincemeat of tenderloin and was promptly ejected in Episode 1. But in the end, both finalists excelled. Sarah turned out tantalizing dishes like pasta with spot prawn and coconut. Meanwhile, Paul hit back with strong Japanese-inspired courses like chawanmushi (again with spot prawns!) and a congee that looked both comforting and elegant.
So who got the honor of being named Top Chef: Texas? On Tom Colicchio’s blog, he points out that it was an incredibly difficult decision:
“I know you heard us say more than once in the episode that this was The Best Food We’ve Ever Been Served in a Finale. I want to reiterate right off the bat that it was. For all of you haters out there who kept posting all season long that you didn’t think Sarah was good enough and that you couldn’t understand why she was advancing… and then why she made the finale…and the final two… I trust that this episode made it completely clear to you that she’s a very, very good chef. This finale was as close to a tie as you’re ever going to get.”
But, much like a Highlander, there can be only one (per season). So congratulations, Paul Qui! You ARE the Top Chef. Nicely done.
[PHOTO SOURCE: Bravo]