Burning Questions

Toby Young explains how the judges finally came to a consensus.

Dec 9, 20090

Bravotv.com: What was the general reaction at the table about all the dishes?
Interestingly, opinion at the table quickly converged, identifying one winner for each course

Bravotv.com: Do you have a one-line response for the first dishes that came out?
I'm not a big broccoli fan so I liked the fact that Michael turned it into popcorn.

Bravotv.com: What was it like at Judges' Table?
Being at Judges' Table in the finale is like being a trial lawyer: You're job is to defend the person you think should win.

Bravotv.com: How much disagreement went on?
We didn't converge on a winner until very late in the process

Bravotv.com: How did you finally come to a consensus?
Basically, Tom threatened to kill us if we didn't shut up.

Bravotv.com: What do you think of the other two chefs?
I'm a big fan of Kevin and Bryan's. I think they have big careers ahead of them.


I agree with K Stroup, the announcement of Michael as Top Chef was surprising and insulting to the viewers after seeing Bryan and Kevin win so often this season without showing is how they justified this blindside. I have a hard time believing that fried broccoli was tasty enough to secure the win. Totally surprised by this selection, and while I really liked Kevin the most I thought bryan was the superior chef. I think everyone else knows this too.


I was among the millions of viewers who were surprised that Michael won... That is a great thing. I thank your show for being unpredictable. Recognizing new talent is a part of the show. Never have I seen a season where the decision could have gone either way. This has been the strongest of competition of talent…. Bravo to Bravo for not being the ordinary reality show. I would like to see your quick fires include more desserts dishes. I have noticed that many of the contestants struggle in making desserts. It should be included as part of all final episodes as it was with this one. On a more personal note, I am an older sibling, it’s great that the young ones win occasionally. I can’t wait until the new season. Here is a great idea!!! For an elimination challenge, pair a top chef with a local young restaurateur in the host city and select the least popular dish from their menu to improve upon. …. Thanks Again…


I usually don't write on these posts for Top Chef because I trust that the judges generally get it right and have a better idea of what should be judged, and, of course, what the food actually tastes like. However, I strongly protest Michael Voltaggio winning Top Chef! And it's partially the judges' faults. They consistently voted Kevin's food best over and over in challenges throughout the season, just to get to the end and go for someone who is no nonsense, cocky and self-consumed at the end?! Give me a break! Kevin should have won, despite the fact that I know Top Chef ultimately awards the "best" chef... who just so also happens to the be the chef no one expects to win and who doesn't have his/ her own restaurant already. Brian and Kevin both have their own restaurants so of course Michael was given the title because that is how it normally works. But the show really needed someone like Kevin who could lead a revolution in a new style of popular cooking (i.e., Southern cooking taken to a new level of art and appreciation). Plus, you all said it yourselves - he had the best flavors! I think Top Chef should factor in the idea of a person's entire journey through the course of the competition, as well as what they were able to show in the last challenge.

K Stroup
K Stroup

I know that the show is severely edited, the viewers do not get to see the entire competition and we certainly don't get to taste the food, havingto rely on the judges comments, but to declare Michael V. Top Chef is an insult to your viewers intelligence. While I was rooting for Kevin, a win by Bryan was not out of the realm of possibility. Michael should have gone home earlier and his retention on the show was perceived by many viewers that I talked to as manipulation by the producers of the show to create tension and suspense. In my opinion, the outcome of this season has struck a severe blow to the integrity and believeability of the Top Chef program. The show has dropped off my "must see" list.