Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain's thoughts on Hung being named winner.

on Oct 8, 2007

I gather that Hung won.

Of course, you saw the Olympian struggle, the final, mountain-top face-off before I did. Security was so sphincter-tight in Bravo-land that even a man of known virtue and impeccable reputation such as myself was not allowed an advance peek at the previously taped combat. And where I am, I couldn't catch the live bits. I'm writing this, days later, from my favorite pub in London, The Festering Ferret, where, in between pints -- and bites of meat pie, I finally laid eyes on this historic clash of the titans -- via bootleg download.

Hung won. Not a big surprise for me -- but for many viewers, apparently, a kick in the stomach. I think the right contestant won. And as importantly, I think that Hung's well deserved victory is a nice, stiff middle finger to all those boneheads who've been predicting that "The producers are setting it up so Casey will win," as well as the poor, deluded souls who feel they can somehow taste food through the television screen and who've been hanging on to a few heavily edited comments about "flavor" as "evidence" that Casey was the "better" competitor. What we saw in the finale did not support that hypothesis.

That viewer polls and public opinion seemed to lean very heavily against Hung speaks well, I think, of the integrity of the judging. In fact, there's no more illustrative example of how things really work: Had the judges really cared about appealing to the majority or pleasing their cruel, corporate masters, they would have given the win to Casey, providing the producers with not just a satisfying, crowd pleasing, Lifetime Channel story arc but a heartwarming resolution -- and a moral lesson to boot:

"Heart Wins Out Over Clinical, Soul-less Technical Skill!"

"Arrogance, Overconfidence and Hubris Punished in The Rockies"

"All-American Girl Next Door (Underdog From Texas) Wins Out In Battle With Overqualified Loudmouth Asian Guy"

But they didn't do that, did they? They did what they were supposed to do and gave the win to the Top Chef of the bunch.