Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

Poor Richard

Gail Has No Problem With Blood

Make George's Cravable Breakfast Sausage

Gail Simmons Won't Be Pushed Around

Make Doug's Winning Mussels

Tom Colicchio Answers Your Restaurant Wars Qs

Gail: It Wasn't Keriann's Day

Make Doug's Winning Braised Pork!

Gail: We Had a Tough Job This Week

Make Katsuji's Authentically Delicious Stuffing

Hugh: The Demise of Cornwallis and Aaron

Make Gregory's Winning Dumplings

Richard: Chefs Please Follow Instructions

Richard Tries Money Ball Soup

Make a Home Run-Worthy Popcorn Crème Brule

Hugh: Where There's a Will There's a Fenway

Gail: Keriann and Aaron Were Being ---holes

Make the Winning Surf and Turf

Gail: We're Taking No Prisoners

Richard Goes From Player to Announcer

Tom Talks Boston

Gail: There Was No Season 11 Underdog

Hugh Wants Nick to Be Kind to Himself

Gail: It Was Difficult to Let Go of Shirley

Big Easy to Ocean Breezy

Gail: The Final Four Are Like Our Children

Emeril Is Proud to Serve Shirley's Dish

Hugh: Enough With the Mexican Food Hate

Gail on Favreau, Choi, and Finding Yourself

Hugh on Poor Boys, Swingers and Food Trucks

Emeril: Nick's Choice Is Part of the Game

Nick's License to Immune

Hugh's Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

Hugh Decides Eight Is Enough

Gail Talks OvenGate

Dookie Chase Makes Everybody Cry

Fin, Found, Floundering

What Danny Meyer Taught Gail Simmons

'Top Chef' Goes to Hog Heaven

Gris Gris Boucherie Ya Ya

Brian and Travis' Dud Spuds

Poor Richard

Bravotv.com's Editor admires Richard's pure class.

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.


I don't want to focus all my time on Richard, but OK, I'm kind of going to. The moment when he commented on teaching Eric Ripert something new, my heart almost jumped because as a viewer I'd like to believe that that's what being a chef is all about, and that all of our chefs are as classy as Richard Blais. I unfortunately haven't had the opportunity to meet him in person yet, but he has been nothing but a pleasure in all of my correspondences with him -- even being super-busy with two babies -- Riley Maddox and his restaurant!

My affection for him grew even more in maybe the saddest moment ever when Richard admitted that he choked. And although I doubt that his idea of choking would be, well, my idea of choking, he did. He knew it. And he admitted it. At first I thought he really shouldn't have said anything -- always stand behind your dish -- but you could tell he was broken, and I felt for him. You can tell that Tom really respects him -- or maybe I'm just reading too much into body language at Judges' Table.

So, Richard was basically out of contention. In the stew room, Lisa said that she and Stephanie had split the four courses. Although Richard had already given himself up, I felt Lisa's comment was a little, for lack a better word, yucky. Lisa and Stephanie may have done better, but not once was the word "Michelin" thrown around. (Where's Todd English when you need him?)


In the end, Stephanie did win. (Braised pistachios? Who knew?) And I simply will not accept comments about her only winning because shes' a woman because that's just not fair. She has been outstanding all season and deserved it. Read our Q+A with Stephanie HERE.

Another season is over, and so with it goes my personal winning streak -- I predicted that Richard would win. Oh well. It's not so bad being wrong.

This may be the finale, but this certainly isn't my last blog -- not only do we have a reunion next week, but I will continue to write about my amateur foodie experiences and continue to answer your questions and try to get what you want on our site.

Until next week,

"Superfan"

Make George's Cravable Breakfast Sausage

George decided the best way to satisfy New England Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski  was with a hearty breakfast. Make it for yourself at home.

Pork and Veal Sausage Patty With Sunny-Side Up Egg and Potato Hash

 

Ingredients
3 lbs pork butt
1 lbs veal
4 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp coriander
2 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 bunch chives
1 bunch parsley
1 Tbsp fennel seed
Pepper (to taste)

 

Directions
1. Grind prok and veal using medium dye, reserve and keep cold

2. Toast cumin, coriander, and fennel seed in a sauté pan until aroma is released. Grind in spice grinder, reserve

3. Chop parsley and chives fine, reserved

4. Chop garlic super fine, reserve

5. Mix meat with spices, smoked paprika, herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper

6. Test a small batch in fryer. Taste and adjust seasoning

7. Form into patties, place on grill, then finish in oven