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Top Chef Las Vegas Recap: We Have a Winner

Picture 3 Warning: If you just DVRed Top Chef and you plan on watching it you might not want to read beyond the break. There will be spoilers. There will also be wailing and gnashing of teeth. So don't say I didn't try to warn you.

...and then there were three.

Our contestants (dammit, I refuse to say chef'testants which is what they are calling them on Bravo) meet Tom and Padma where they sit casually in the middle of a vineyard.

Picture 6

Tom tells that for their final challenge they will be cooking a three course meal.

For the first course each chef will receive a box filled with identical ingredients. They have to use some of each ingredient in the box to create the first course.

The second course will be a free skate. They can cook whatever they want using whatever is available.

The third course has to be a dessert.


They will be cooking at Cyrus (I ate there in October and it was one of the three best meals of my entire life) and the judges will be some of the most "preeminent restaurateurs in the United States".

But wait! There is more!

From between the rows come the eliminated chefs from Season 6. All of them.

And Jennifer is carrying a block of knives.

Clearly (I say clearly because some version of this happens every season and we aren't stupid) these will be their sous chefs, but this time they don't get to pick and choose. This time they draw the knives to see who will cook with them.

Bryan scores. He draws Jennifer and Ashley.

Michael gets Eli and a shockingly blond Jessie.

Picture 10

And poor poor Kevin...

Picture 9

Dude Don't act like you don't know what I mean.

Everyone goes off to Cyrus but the real question is what's in the box?


Fortunately, in this case it wasn't Gwyneth Paltrow's head. It was just Pacific rock fish, kobacha squash, meyer lemon, matsutake mushroom, anise hyssop and a dungeness crab.

Okey dokey. Gross. But whatever, because there is another surprise.


No. Not Avril Incandenza. Kevin's mom and the mother Voltaggio show up.

Isn't that adorable?

And clever Bravo saves money by only flying in two mothers for three chefs. If they had chosen significant others they would have had to pay for three plane tickets.

But our chefs go back to Cyrus and Tom stops them and adds another little twist. In honor of the mothers they are going to add a course to the menu. Now there are four courses and the first course should be inspired by their mother and my their favorite childhood dish.

If I were cooking my dish would have to revolve around Velveeta. (Hi Mom!)

Okay, I don't mean to be dark, but did they plan this last minute or was this the plan all along? And if so, what if somebody's mother was dead or estranged or institutionalized? Was there a plan B or did they cast the entire season based on the availability of the mothers of the chefs? 

Don't answer that. Too creepy.

Then there is much cooking.

Aside: Did that commercial just say "Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Squeakquel?" God I want to beat the crap out of whoever came up with that.

When the chefs bring out the first course they are faced with the following judges:

Tom, Padma, Gail, Toby, Douglas Keane, Bill Terlato, Stephen Starr, Drew Nieporent, Sam Nazarian, that one chick that is always a judge on Iron Chef America,  and the two mothers.

Kevin based his first course on southern fried chicken, Bryan was inspired by tuna casserole and Michael did something with broccoli. They asked mother Voltaggio which dish was her favorite, which I thought was awful but she was classy enough to not answer them.

After the first course the mothers were excused.

I'm not going to go over every single dish because I would bore you to death, but while there were missteps I think all of the chefs made pretty amazing looking food.

Picture 11

You know what drives me crazy about Top Chef? Except for the first season, the obvious front runner never wins. Sam, Richard, Stefan, Hubert Keller and...



*gnashes teeth*

*curses loudly and shakes fist*

*kicks stuff*

...and Kevin.

Kevin had an off night. Not even a bad night, but a not quite as awesome night. He was the first to pack his knives and go.


I know, Mattin. We were all sad.

So we are left with the Voltaggii. Bravo gets its wish. Brother drama.

Picture 12

Who will be the next Top Chef? Will it be the older, more handsome, confident brother? Or will it be the young renegade who needs this win for his self esteem?

Listen, I give the Voltaggio brother a hard time on here but I think they are both pretty great chefs.

That being said, with Kevin gone, I am rooting for Bryan.

And the judges shove one right up my pooper.

Michael is Top Chef.

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I think Michael probably made the best meal, and his dishes are certainly innovative but once all was said and done I actually felt pleased for the Voltaggio brothers. Was it just me or did Bryan look relieved that Michael won? Listen, I have a little brother, I would want him to win too.

Congratulations Michael. You are Top Chef. Maybe now you can calm down.

*kicks more stuff*

[Most pictures via Bravotv.com]

. . . . .
Goon Squad Sarah really needs to get a life.

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Sarah - thanks for the great recapping this season! I was rooting for Kevin the whole season and was sad to see him take third. Was disappointed a second time when it was Michael over Bryan. Way to pull another Hosea Bravo!

I know Padma is pregnant, but boy is that picture of her up there unflattering.


Think now that he's won, he can stop making that kissy face thing with his lips. I want to punch him in the mouth.

It's complete bullshit that Kevin didn't win and I even think Michael should maybe have gone home the week before instead of Jen. But that's just me.

Kevin really did get the short end of the sous chef stick. Preeti? You suck, darling. Get it together.

Suzy Q

Pregnant or not, I still loathe Padma.

MV was my third choice of the remaining three, mostly because of his shitty attitude towards others, including his brother. He needs to grow up. Maybe this'll help him.

Good lord, what am I gonna watch now? Project Runway, Amazing Race and Top Chef are all finis!

Thanks for the recaps, Sarah!


Not. Talking. About. It. SO ANGRY. Kevin got HOSED by his sous chefs, he felt off...if we were going off of who consistently delivered the number one dish throughout the whole competition instead of the one finale dinner, Kevin would have won HANDS DOWN. Sulky Banshee is sulky.


The way they did the sous chef thing really bothered me. If you're going to bring all the contestants back, and you want the remaining 3 to cook the best meal of their lives, why wouldn't you let THEM pick the people they feel most comfortable working with? Having shitty backup unfairly handicapped Kevin. I'm not saying I wouldn't have enjoyed it if Michael had drawn Robin or something, but in real life they get to fire people that suck (I'm looking at you, Preeti). I don't know that someone else would have meant Kevin winning, but he was definitely down in the dumps going into the final day after how little help he got on prep.

And yes, I am incredibly, irrationally worked up by a television show.


I don't know why I was surprised. Hope truly does spring eternal, I guess. I just hope that Bravo wises up and changes the name of the show to Top Douche so that next season I'm not disappointed yet again.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

I love all of you guys!

*cries more and kicks more stuff*


Miss Banshee, last night I turned the darned TV off as soon as they said Michael's name and then held my hand up to my husband's face and told him to SHUT THE HECK UP DO NOT SAY I TOLD YOU SO DO NOT SAY A FLIPPING WORD. And he listened because, darn it, he knows when I mean business. Still don't want to talk about it. Freaking Michael.

Au revoir, saucy photo of Mattin. It's been lovely.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah



*kicks stuff*

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

I love you people so much right now.


Hahaha - I agree with the above commenter, the first thing that I thought was, what? They did this to me with Hosea!

I am so making a road trip to Atlanta to hit Kevin's restaurant, you betcha. And I'll be shocked if we're not back here next week talking about how Kevin is the viewer favorite. Can't wait for the rehash ep!


The order I wanted the finalists to be winners: Kevin, Bryan, Michael. And honestly, it's based pretty much purely on personality, because all three of them are damn good chefs. Didn't Colicchio say they won 12 out of the 13 elimination challenges? That's insane.

I'm not too upset over Michael winning though. He did seem to be kind of a jerk (I think from a strange mix of super-ego + feeling inferior to his older brother), but he was really good and more on his game than the other two in the finale. And Top Chef has always (well, in the four seasons I've seen) based the winner solely on performance in the finale, not all season long.

I think how they picked prep and sous chefs was pretty shitty though... drawing knives? Really? It definitely screwed Kevin over. Thank GOD none of them got Robin. (Although I guess she could have cut up vegetables as well as Preeti, she supposedly makes a good salad.)


oh kevin was so hosed by freaking preeti. woman made pasta salad in a challenge!!! eff that.

it was totally inappropriate to ask the mom to choose between her sons. damn you padma!

i do feel like the sibling thing--well if the older one had won the younger would not have taken it so well and been much more bitter. i think it is something with older siblings that we can actually be happy for success of our younger sibs. no?


@stephanie i think robin was a much better chef than preeti.


So, I was stuck at the ER last night with a concussed bf, and was itching to watch the episode. Then, some jerk on twitter ruined it for me (I was trying not to look, and she was the only person who mentioned it). And I was CRUSHED. I haven't even watched the episode, but from everything I've read and talked about, it seemed stupid to pull sous chefs like that, and yes, they should look at their body of work and not one night. (I mean, at least Tyra reviews the whole portfolio and not just the final runway.)

Yeah, am NOT happy. Yet again, Atlanta chefs don't get the love they deserve.

I can't wait for my next meal at Woodfire. I feel the need to tell Kevin in person that he got screwed.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

I am DYING to eat there. I have a feeling it is going to be hard to get a table there after this season.


You mean my screams from across the country didn't wake you from a dead sleep? Kevin was robbed. He had a crappy night and even crappier sous chefs. I hope the producers rethink that assbag move next season.


Alex and I picked this year's winner from Episode One. But we also maintained, all season long, that if we could bring one contestant home with us to be our personal chef? Kevin, hands down. No contest, not even close. The man understands real food, honest and simple food, and respects ingredients enough to not tart them up like cheap...um, food-based prostitutes. I'm glad he at least won that big prize last episode. Go Kevin!

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

You guys are like "Top Chef" savants.


I was also crushed, crushed, crushed. I mean, come on! BACON JAM!
Husband pointed out the disclaimers that say the producers 'help' with the final decisions. I am thinking that Wonderful Magical Kevin didn't fit their poster boy idea.
Erg. I don't know if I want to watch next year.


I am weeping softly on the inside. I knew from the way Kevin was so mopey though that it was being edited for him to loose. I felt Michael was all flash no substance though I'm sure his food is still tasty. I thought the sardine idea of Brian's was kind of ick.


Apparently there's a good chance Kevin's personal life really made an impact on his performance--he and his wife broke up RIGHT BEFORE FINALE. (All over the blogosphere esp Atlanta.)

That was just so sad to read. He still did a pretty good job, though.


still moping. can't talk about it.


i don't want to talk about it...*sulks off*

okay fine! kevin was robbed! R O B B E D!!!


I had to wait until today to read this...I'd DVR'd it the other night.

Out of the three, Michael deserved to win that night. For that meal. For the overall season...eh. Kevin got screwed on the sous chefs. That was just wrong. Then again, if they'd gone backwards in order and picked six, one of them would have had Robin.

Either way, this season was so much better than last season. What are you going to do with Mattin's picture now?

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

I don't know!



I made a Twitter error.

A picture of Michael as the winner hit People magazine the day before, apparently, and gawker.com ran it. I didn't see it, but then I make the mistake of opening up the #topchef stream in the first ten minutes of the show (which I NEVER do. I was caught up in the finale excitement.)


I am embarrassed to say how angry I was. AN.GRY. I have never argued with someone I didn't know on Twitter before, but I did. She told me that if I was such a FAN, I'd have known right AWAY he was going to lose, because "he who chooses the worst sous, loses." Sous? Loses? SOUSES?

I'm still embarrassed about the arguing part, but more pissed off.

I had to share that somewhere. It may as well be here.

Dude, really, the most important point is that I enjoyed your recaps more than this season of this show I can't quit, and I'd say that even if you were a stranger to me who I'd then find and make be my blog friend. ;) Well fucking done.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.


From the 'Fans of Kevin Gillepe's Beard' group on facebook (OH YOU KNOW I JOINED THAT SHIT, SHUT UP):

Thank you for journeying with us abeard the KGB Fan Express. Even though the beard didn't win Top Chef, it forever won a place in our hearts. Its luster will shine like a beacon upon our children and our children's children, and it scratchy red rustle will echo down across the years and crinkle the smiles on our own faces. O beard! Kevin's beard! Our fearful trip is done.

Couldn't have said it better myself. I will get to Woodfire one of these days, and I will witness the greatness of the beard. Until then, fan favorite, betches!

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

@JennC I too, am a facebook fan of Kevin's beard.


(How do you even say beard in Spanish - or Italian - or whatever, you know what I mean.)


Waaaaaaaaah! I talked to my television an unhealthy amount while that episode was on.

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