Oh maaan. So, Stephanie wins! I would never take the win away from our first female winner, but I'm sure most people are simply saying "Thank G-d Lisa didn't win!" We had mixed reviews of the finale around my office -- while I actually thought it was kind of a nail-biter, some of my colleagues disagreed. I really thought Lisa might have taken it, especially when the judges asked each other whose meal they'd want to eat again because many of the guest diners commented on wanting to eat more of Lisa's food.
Let's start back at the beginning (a very good place to start). Based on who had the most Elimination wins, Richard and Stephanie had to draw knives to see who chose their sous-chef first. The options: Eric Ripert, Dan Barber, and April Bloomfield. Ummm, doesn't look like anyone would be at a disadvantage with this bunch, but I got the chills when they introduced them. I love love love the guest judges we're able to get for this show, and the introduction of ridiculously accomplished chefs as the contestants' sous-chefs last season was probably my favorite addition to the finale format. Stephanie chose the uber-sexy Chef Ripert, while Richard stuck with Dan Barber. That left Lisa with April Bloomfield, who might I add is a 2008 Food & Wine Best New Chef. Can you believe I haven't been to the Spotted Pig yet? What am I waiting for? Good question! I have to make plans with foodie blogger Andrea Strong soon, so what better place to go than NYC's premier gastro-pub. Anyway, the chefs got to work quickly. Stephanie was kind of hysterical micromanaging Chef Ripert's fileting, considering Le Bernardin is a world-renowned seafood restaurant. April and Lisa got along swimmingly, and Dan Barber was just along for Richard's wild liquid nitrogen ride.
Now, over the years (mostly post-Marcel), many of our chefs have given their opinion on the use of molecular gastronomy, but I think Richard was right when he swapped out some other ideas and only used his tricks for the ice cream, using science as a way to enhance the culinary experience. And according to the judges, he was successful -- and definitely more successful than Marcel was on the beach that fateful day with his bacon ice cream.