Let it Rain

Best of the Best

Francis Lam: What's on the Menu?

Curtis Stone's Lemon Creams with Poached Cherries

Bryan Voltaggio: "I Thought I Won. I Know I Won."

Jennifer Jasinski Was a "Great Miracle"

Lesley Suter's 'Ratatouille' Moment

What it Takes to Be Top Chef Master

The Finale Countdown

Doug and Sang: Bad Romance?

Sang is Back!

David Burke Has Titanium Balls

See Ya, Suckers!

Why Jennifer Jasinski Didn't Go Home

James Oseland's Teacher Tribute

Gail: "I Still Can't Believe Sang was Eliminated"

The Strangest Episode of 'Top Chef Masters' Yet?

Lesley Suter: On Tongue, Flautadillas, and Birthday Cake

What Has Curtis Stone "Spewing"?

A Series of Unfortunate Culinary Events Leaves Blood on the Mat

Gail: "We Couldn't Excuse Neal"

Lesley Suter: Hey, Chefs, Why So Raw?

Pull it Together, Sang!

Francis Lam: I liked Sang's Fish

Curtis Stone in Nacho Libre

Gail Simmons: "Neil Went for Our Bellies"

The Evolution of Sue Zemanick

Curtis Stone: Throwing Curveballs

Ruth Reichl: "I'd Rather Be Training a Nation of Food Warriors"

When Plex Met Toodee

'Top Chef Masters' ' Toughest Critics Yet

Gail Simmons: No "Chef" in Lynn's Dish

Restaurant Wars: 'Getting' Busy

Francis: A New Kind of Locavorism

What Being a Chef Really Means

Ruth Reichl's Perfect Los Angeles Restaurant

Restaurant Wars' Controlled Chaos

Franklin Just Did Too Much

Curtis and Lindsay: A Perfect Pairing

Curtis Stone: This Episode Sends Hearts Racing

Franklin, Can You Hear Me?

Let it Rain

Ruth Reichl expounds on how the weather affected the competition.

Leaving Las Vegas, you drive through raucous neon lights to end up in strange empty ghost towns, whole developments of giant houses inhabited by no one. But you keep driving, ending up in the wild, gorgeous wideness of the Grand Canyon, which stuns you with its grandeur. Anyone would be humbled.

And yet those of us who drove were completely unprepared. We went expecting blistering heat. For days before the shoot, we all stocked up on pocket fans, brimmed hats and extra water. But this is what we found: cold rain.  

The weather dominated this elimination. Not just for the chefs, who had to deal with rain that doused their grills and watered their recipes. But for all of us, who sat, utterly unprepared, teeth chattering, shivering in the cold, hoping the rain would stop before we sat down at that table on the edge of the canyon. 

And yet, somehow it didn’t matter. The Hualapai Tribe are such an enormously dignified group that I think we would have been happy eating in the rain. They were gracious about allowing us to invade their space, and gracious about the food. I love the moment when Charlie says, “We live by the chase, and we don’t sit around discussing the exquisiteness of the food.”But let me be frank: for the most part, this food was not exquisite. The chefs were challenged, and looking back what stands out is how beautifully the winning teams collaborated under extremely trying conditions. So it’s no surprise that Thierry and Takashi won; given the most difficult ingredient they worked together smoothly and produced a dish worthy of great chefs. How Thierry pulled off that banana yucca I will never know. Clark and Kerry, with their far easier ingredients, were unable to collaborate, and you could taste their conflict on the plate.

But the most memorable moment was not the food.  It was not the dance. And it was, I’m sorry to say, not even in the show. It was the spectacular sunset that happened after the cameras stopped rolling. The rain stopped, the colors swirled and we stood there, at the edge of the chasm, stunned by the beauty of the moment. Here it is.