Tom Colicchio

A Top Chef is named! Tom explains Harold Dieterle's win.

on Dec 15, 20080

Which brings us to tonight.

Watching the finale and reflecting back on that night in Las Vegas weeks ago, I was struck at how up until the last moment, the winner was really anyone's guess. The final competition was not a slam dunk, by any stretch.

Right off the bat, Tiffani impressed the judges with the sheer scope and ambition of her undertaking. I guess Tiffani realized that she needed to hit this one out of the park in order to win, and by choosing to prepare not one, but two distinct tasting menus, she threw all notions of safety out the window.

Love her or hate her, that took courage.

At times the strategy paid off. The judges really sat up and took notice. Tiffani's Artichoke 'Risotto' (actually a creamy, flavorful micro-dice of artichoke hearts) with Porchetta was fantastic -- one of the most memorable dishes of the entire competition to date. Her desserts (arguably Dave's recipes, but more on that later) were great. Both of her scallop courses beat out Harold's handily. And yet, by creating ten courses, Tiffani subjected herself to twice as much criticism. It was a risky choice, and ultimately it may have been her undoing. You see, if we had opted to compare only Tiffani's five best dishes against each of Harold's, she may have won. But that would have been unfair -- Tiffani made ten dishes, so she was judged on them all. Roughly it broke down like this:

4 comments
PaleGirl
PaleGirl

amen, tom!!! dave acted like a spoiled brat through the entire episode...frankly, i was shocked at how nonprofessional he was. i wish the reunion had been after the finale so you all could have reamed him out.

Jeff DiMaria
Jeff DiMaria

didn't read all of the rest that folks have written, to many words..but I want to say, I am front of house, was a line cook once, but wanted more money..I do very well, have had the pleasure of working with wolf gang, jamie shannon, and now with john besh, I amke my money because i can serve something that they dont send back...it is what it is..and guests love it...Harlod made solid food, with real down to earth flavors..at least by description..he deserved to win..

Jenny Brake
Jenny Brake

This is September 2009 - do you ever see Harold Dieterle when you are in NY? It would be great to see him again on one of your special shows when you invite past chefs to compete. i know he has a restuarant so he may be able to compete. jenny

Dorothy Coker
Dorothy Coker

Hi I just had the opportunity of watching Top Chef and this is for the second time,but it only season one and two.It has really course me to be motivated and brought me to the realization that i need to know more.I really liked Lee Ann, Harold,Dave,Miguel And even Steven even though at time he can be a pain in all the wrong places.These guys are really great and i really think if there is any possibility I'll like to be like them or even like Chef Tom or more.I have only very little knowledge about Culinary art and i want to learn if the opportunity is given me. I'll like to know what these guys from season one are now doing,As for season two they were too self fish and cause a lot problems forget that even though they were there for $100,000 they were also there to make friends and contact which is very important in the industry. Please I'll be grateful if am contact with help to realize my dream as am from Sierra Leone,West Africa were there is not much done about this wonderful art.you can even Check to make sure am saying the truth.To be plain am soliciting a scholarship to study this art and come back to be a blessing in this sector to my country. thanks and god bless you richly. Dorothy A.L.k. Coker