Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain's thoughts on Hung being named winner.

on Oct 8, 2007

Dale, too, possesses extraordinary talents. And he's shown us again and again that he's capable of stepping up and making shockingly good food. He's got balls the size of casaba melons. But he's also prone towards inexplicable lapses in judgment . In short, he's terribly inconsistent, careening from the sublime to the awful in a heartbeat. His foie gras was too rich and too much. His summer "ragu" of lobster was a terrible idea and was received with the same enthusiasm as unexpected seepage. It was interesting that at one point, Dale is seen yanking off the (tougher) tails and giving away the heads and claws. (Should have done the opposite). He went overboard (as he is dangerously prone to do) with the spices again. And he made gnocchi -- at high altitude -- not once, but TWICE, resulting in leaden little bundles of evil which would have dragged even the best dish down. But Dale should take consolation in the fact that just as typically, he came up with one truly bold and wonderful dish; his lamb chop with "ratatouille". If the story arc around Dale's rise to the finals is a redemption tale -- of a man lost in the wilderness, looking to return and prove himself, he has more than done that.

Hate To Say I Told You So. Hung, Hung, Hung. Was there any question? Was there any doubt? Not in Hung's mind. That is one confident, driven young man. And it ain't just "technique" and knife skills that got Hung all the way. It was subtle, sophisticated flavors, consistency, knowledge of culinary history, the ability to work under pressure, imagination, and the ability to think on his feet. Sure, he smelled which way the wind was blowing with the whole "Heart and Soul" vs. "Skill" discussion and pandered shamelessly to the judges and the audience in recent weeks. So what? I call that adjusting your game to get the win. I call that smart.