The District of Columbia has been a great host city for Top Chef this season. It’s been eye-opening to spend a block of time in the seat of our nation’s governance, to be surrounded by and have our brief intersections with makers of domestic and foreign policy. Even reading the Washington Post was a treat – they cover the goings-on on the Hill in far greater depth on a daily basis than other newspapers do. It’s also been very interesting to be in a stand-alone city that is not under the larger jurisdiction of a state. So it made good sense to me that the finale for such a season would “go international”…and that it would be held, of all places, in a City-State.
Singapore was the perfect choice for a Top Chef season finale. It is a well-known axiom that eating is Singapore’s national pastime. To the last of them, Singaporeans are passionate about food. And knowledgeable, though none more so than our guest judge K. F. Seetoh, author of Makansutra, the definitive guide to everything from street food to fine dining in Singapore. He explained that there was a time when people prepared food in their homes, brought a hibachi to the streets, and cooked and sold what they’d prepared, but that about twenty years ago, the government recognized that this could be a health hazard and organized the hawker market, assigning spaces, rigging running water, inspecting regularly…and the hawker market of today was born. Seetoh was a lot of fun to work with and very knowledgeable. On our second day there, he took us around to all of the markets, where I stumbled upon a very interesting preparation of pork: It had been compressed into sheets and grilled. I brought some back to the States with me. I have said before that a chef can’t help but be inspired by the foods s/he tastes while traveling. My time in Singapore – especially that day in the hawker markets with Seeto – made its way into a dish I made for a dinner party in my home shortly after I returned. I made a cuttlefish dish in which I grilled the cuttlefish, cut it into pieces, and mixed it with that pork, along with cilantro, chilies, sugar and vinegar (It was a hit!).
Tom, for the past 2 years you have been consistently horrid in judging top chef. You ate truly a bad judge and need to give it up because the contestants are suffering because of your poor judgment and inturn me, the viewer, is suffering the most. So get off your high horse and jusdge fairly or Get Out Of the Top Chef Kitchen.
i concur with the suggestion on 'blinding' the judges on who create the dishes they sample. it improves the objectivity factor in the judging process. any biases top chef judges may have for or against particular cheftestants are either counteracted in full or in part by including the 'blind' factor. just assign random numbers to cheftestants in every episode. i have worked as an associate producer-writer on two culinary shows here in the philippines, so i have some understanding of the production aspects of top chef. top chef has had more hits than misses and has really improved a lot through the seasons it has been on. congratulations!
Wow I realized that I have been calling Tiffany, Stephanie. Sorry. I was surprised all those that have been complaining about her losing when actually the girl made $20,000 and a trip so what's up? I also believe that the message boards and her popularity is why she is doing the next Top Chef, and I like Tiffany, as it's impossible to not like her, but really many talented chefs went further and didn't get anything. I was upset that she lost her gratitude quite quickly. She made a bad dish, or not as good as the others and was sent home, that is the way top chef works, and for those that say the judges are biased I guess I would ask you then why you were not upset when another qualified chef left? As far as Michael helping Kevin, it's a crap shoot. There are parts of Top Chef that come down to luck and that part is the knife block. Are we all going to be upset that die didn't roll the way you wanted them too?
I would love the chance to chat with Tom in regards to anything that he thought was a "mistake" throughout the competition. What I am hearing is that Tiffany was done some huge disservice when I do not see it that way. I didn't see everyone upset when Kelly went home, who was a very talented chef. There was a lot of cooking to be done after Tiffany went home, so it's crazy to say she would have won. Honestly I really liked Tiffany (as she is very hard not to like) and thought she was talented too. I however was surprised at the way she left the show feeling like a loser, when besides Kevin she was the most "rewarded" chef on the show. She won $20,000 and at least one trip that I remember and quite quickly lost her gratitude. Tiffany made a bad dish, or one that was at least not as good as the others and was sent home. That is how all the chefs left Top Chef and yet no one is complaining that anyone else got sent home this way. Interesting. Many chefs just as talented worked just as hard and most got further in the competetion and they received nothing. Also I hoped Kelly would be on the next show, but all the messages that SCREAMED for Tiffany to get something due her, was the reason I believe that she was picked. Just bringing this to the attention of anyone that I don't think the judges are partial, I am amazed that they, despite the personalities, for the most part do a tough, and great job. I wanted Ed to win as I loved his personality, but more than happy that Kevin did, as he too was talented. Why wasn't Ed picked for the next show? Why Angelo? Why Tiffany? I hear everyone saying Kevin won because of Michael, so what if he did. It is a competition and compartively a game. So the roll of the dice gave Kevin Michael. It's like playing a game and getting made cause you were dealt a bad hand. It is a game, and drawing of the knives is nothing more than mere chance. How anyone could take anything away from Kevin cause he was "lucky" is beyond me. It played out exactly as it should have.
It's amazing how quick people forget that they had to pull knives to see who there sous chef was. Kevin went second behind Ed and I guess it was his fault he got Mike V. Kevin would have done well even if he had anyone of the sous chef. What everyone don't know is once they found out the protein they had to write there menu and give them to the judges and this is before they know who are there sous chef. How do you think Angelo was able to tell hungh what to get from the market and what to prep while he was sick. He already had his menu and prep list written. Kevin is a very talented chef he deserved to when his duck was not over cooked which he sous vide and then deep fried it to crisp the skin. It's a technique that he has been doing for years. He had the better dessert and I guess his sous chef played a big part in that to. I guess Kevin isn't suppose to know how to make a nice dessert. People wake up his wife is a pastry chef. Ed didn't deserve to win his duck was over cooked and his dessert was horrible. Every chef should know how to make at least 3 dessert ex. Creme brulee, soufflé and some form of a cake and that's basic. Congrats chef Kevin let your haters be your motivator
Honestly I am okay with Kevin winning, but surprised at the number of people, like yourself, that is saying Stephanie should be the winner. Honestly why are not more people saying things about Kelly, as I believe she was a talented chef. I loved Stephanie and she cooked great food. I disagree that the judges were waiting to send her home. I also do not think it was discrimination. Sometimes I am amazed at how the judges can differ the personalites to the food, as that would be a job inself. I think the reason that I'm not seeing a lot of people questioning Kelly being eliminated (as they actually didn't have much bad to say about her dish, compared to Stephanie's dish)is because Stephanie had a bigger, bolder, more pleasant personality. I too was a huge fan of Stephanie's (she's hard to not like) but when dismissed from the show she acted like she had lost and instead of that attitude I would have preferred her to say that she took home $20,000 not to mention a huge trip, and not sure if there was something else or not. There were many chef's very talented like Kelly who took home nothing. In no way did she lose anything, and had I heard any humility it might have made a difference for me. I also was rooting for Ed to win as I liked Ed. Basically I wanted him to win because I liked his personality. I also liked Angelo, and although Kevin's personality wasn't in your face I believe he was talented. I was also disappointed that Kelly didn't make the Chefs that will compete in the All Stars competition but believe that Stephanie was chosen because of her popularity. So as much as you think she should have been Top Chef this season, I think she has been treated more than fairly this season, and other than Kevin himself, there is no one that took home the amount of money and frills that Stephanie did. As a matter of fact I think her personality took her further than admitted.
You know until I read the message boards I didn't think of checking the receipts, until I read your post. On the reunion show though, I do remember Kelly saying that she knew he had bought peas, and to me she is crediable so I believe that he bought them, but I also believe that they were bad. I am surprised more people are upset that Stephanie went home and very few say anything about Kelly going home, when she, as well as Stephanie, was very accomplished as a chef. Honestly this is an area where I think personality did come in to play, as Stephanie had a more pleasant, outgoing personality, but I found Kelly to be the most helpful to the other chefs and provided great food. That's just my take, I wanted Ed to win but the bottom line there was I was just drawn to his personality more. I guess while we ask the judges why they decide as they do, we should ask ourselves about our choices as well.
Tiffany not Kevin should have been voted the new Top Chef. Throughout the competition Tiffany consistently had winning di shes. Kevin on the other hand sometimes was on the bottom and almost got voted off the show a few times. Tiffany had ONE bad dish through out the entire competition and she immediately got voted off. I feel as though it was a set up and the Top Chef judges were waiting for her to make a mistake. Maybe the Top Chef judges are not ready for a true African American Top Chef. I'm probably am not the only viewer that is outraged by this form of discrimination.
I was really shocked by the results of Top Chef. After watching the reunion, I thought about the entire season, and I was even more disappointed with Kevin's win. He was in the bottom more than any of the other chefs that made it to the later rounds( 5 times). What chocked me the most was that Tiffany was never in the bottom once the entire run and actually have more times in the top than any other chefs. I think this is the first season where I absolutely don't think the right person won.
Total agree about the blind judging. There have been credible studies done about the unconscious pre-conceptions we all bring to a judging "table", race and gender being the two biggest. I think this would make for an interesting twist for a show that claims not to be biased (seven seasons with one female and one AA winner?) and may not think of themselves that way, in all fairness. Personalilty issues creep into the judging as well. Let's really see an even playing field with blind judging.
I agree, this year was the worst of all Top Chefs. The contestants were boring and the challenges were also boring. I hope it gets better because it was my favorite show.
I don't understand why people keep putting race into this. Kevin is a chef, no need to keep placing him in a certain category. Saying that African-Americans shouldn't be ashamed of him, I don't understand that. Why does his race make him different from everyone else?
I agree the sous chefs were not good choices. On the reunion show, Tom said Ilan was a good chef, attempting to defend their choices. I believe he is a good chef, but his personality obviously got in the way of him helping Ed. Bring in contestants from that season who had already been sent home. You need to get along with your sous chef, and Kevin was friends with his. What really impressed me with Kevin before they cooked their finale meals was his attitude towards Angelo being sick. He was rather upset, sincerely hoping that he would be well enough to cook so that the competition would be fair. If he was to win, he wanted to compete against Ed AND Angelo. Ed, on the other hand, almost seemed to hope Angelo would not be able to cook so that his chances of winning would be greater. At the very least, he did not care whether or not Angelo would be well enough to cook. I liked Ed before this personality difference struck me. I agree Ed, Angelo, and Tiffany won numerous challenges throughout the competition and there should be some sort of cumulative judging system. I thought the pea puree t-shirt was cute. When will people stop posting comments asking Tom to look at Alex's receipts??!! He said the night before, at the table in front of other people that he had bought peas but didn't know what to do with them!! Strange there was no footage whatsoever though, and I assume Ed's puree was never found.
I'm not going to lie...I was shocked that Kevin won, and even more shocked that Tiffany didn't make the finale, but saying that Kevin won only because of Michael V. was his sous chef is crap. Kevin trained and worked with Michael V. and Hung and they are THE best Top Chefs. It would stand to reason that he has the exact same training as both, but he obviously focused on Latin flavors and had to learn about Asian flavors. As far as him having an unfair advantage knowing Mike V., I can see it...but it's the like me having my sister in my kitchen she is only as good as I can direct her.
I agree with some of the others. For Kevin to win based on one meal is soo not fair. He did ok throughout the contest but Angelo Tiffany and Ed were the ones to beat. I wanted Angelo to win but when Ed's name was announced I was so shocked. Even Ed himself was shocked.............
I really don't get the comments about questioning Kevin's win because Voltaggio was his sous chef. I think its basicallly people being bitter that Kevin won. If any sous chef had a role in their contestant's meal, it was Ed's sous chef- who yes I know he hated him, but he made the dessert- it appeared as though ed really played no role in the dessert.
Anyways i watched the reunion last night and with the whole pea puree thing- how is there not footage of Alex either taking it or making it.... If there's no footage of either one, I am thinking that he probably did take it because he could have snuck back to the kitchen or some how grabbed it the next day and somehow pulled it off as it was something else. I think it would be much harder for him to make it and it now show up on camera. I think Amanda's story is a load of crap- why wouldn't she have said anything on the show... She's the only one who ever claimed to liking Alex- she's just standing up for him. I mean they were basically both luycky to have lasted as long as they did.
I do a food blog under the title Cheap Bastid. It's all about eating well on a severely constrained budget. What I would love to see in a season of Top Chef, Top Chef All Stars or Top Chef Masters is to have a challenge where the "cheftestants" have to feed the judges and a family of 4 on a total budget of $20 (I would say $10 for a family of 4, but the food needs to stretch to the judges too). "Proteins" such as bottom round, chicken pieces, pork butt, chuck, could be provided at a "price" of $2 per lb. and the remainder of the budget spent at 99Cents only. Cheftestants would be driven there without their knowledge and sent inside to complete their shopping. The "pantry" would consist of things found in a "normal" family's pantry--i.e. basics. This is what I work to do constantly with meals and my own budget. I can feed my wife and myself a total of 3 meals each starting with 1 3.5-4 lb cut of meat and going on from there for a total of about $8 or $9 for the 6 meals--and it's good home/southern/country food. Far too many millions of families have to do this same thing. Can the cheftestants emulate and elevate that bringing technique and creativity to this much more modest food?
Hey Ed I am such an avid fan of Top Chef and saw the reunion; I was wondering how I could get my very own where's the pea puree shirt that you wore on the reunion show?
Walter N.Y., N.Y.
I agree that there should be some sort of cumulative scoring total that goes into choosing who will be the Top Chef beyond how the prepared a meal that particular day. On Top Chef Masters they are given star rankings for the quick-fire and then again for the final challenge. Why could this scoring system not also be implemented into the original Top Chef? And then as each week progresses, continue to update the star total. It could determine who gets into the final episode, then let those 3 battle it out one last time; just like Top Chef Masters. It would evidence a true "Top Chef".
Tom I think it is insulting to Hawaiians and Puerto Ricans to call this the first "international" Top Chef. Hawaii was illegally annexed and the Queen overthrown by the US government in 1893. This was acknowledged by the Clinton administration. Hawaii is geographically the most isolated island chain in the world and culturally much more Pacific Islander and Asian than "American" in spite of the system of government. You can see that in Chef Wong's food and the fact that he is hapa (mixed) Hawaiian-Chinese. Also Chef Roy Yamaguchi was a judge. These chefs' fusion cuisine and their own heritage is due to the legacy of sugar plantation workers who emigrated from Asia to fill in the labor shortage after so many native Hawaiians died of introduced diseases. So not to distinguish the culinary and cultural richness of Hawaii by dismissing at as just another US state is a huge mistake. (I have never lived in Puerto Rico, but even though it is a US territory how on earth can you not call such a distinctive culture an international destination?? I'm sure Puerto Rican people would agree. Oh, and there are Puerto Ricans in Hawaii too.
Congradulations to Kevin for winning. I just read it on this week blog. I stopped watching when Kenny left. And I'm not coming back. Good luck for next season participating chefs.
This was a very enjoyable season to watch despite the drama with the pea puree. I was so happy for Kevin because I know what this means for his family. I do believe he earned it even with Michael as he Sous Chef he set the tone and did it his way. His attitude and his skill level and passion for what he does really impressed me. Congratulations Kevin.
Blind judging of the food would enhance the judging immenesly & eliminate all the ridiulous accusations .
mine is Elan, still bugs me, Sam for sure should have won, Elan never! Still disappointed about Tiffany this season, can't understand the judging. Can't say I won't ever watch again though, still love the show. Still think Kevin should have gone home long before the finale.
Throughout the first half of the season, I pined for the superstars of season six, and like many other viewers, was incredibly sorry to see Tiffany go. But you know, the best part of the final two episodes was that I was pretty neutral about the final four candidates and could see that they were all producing excellent plates. So by the finale, I was totally open to see who would create the finest mean, without any preconceived ideas. And it was obvious that Kevin was on top of his game. Ironically, it turned out to be one of my favorite episodes. Congratulations on another great season.
Enough already...you didn't get to watch the entire season?!!! Well, I did. Kevin had ups and downs and so did all the others. He did win a challenge and an elimination and was in the top several times. It was obvious to me that he had real talent and could win it all. Even Kelly (who some thought should have been in the finale), said that Kevin was her main competition cause they cooked similar food and when Kevin was "on" he was "ON" (something to that effect). Angelo (or was it Ed) called him the "Salvador Dali" of cooking cause his plating was like a painting. Even the judges said he could be a painter, his plates were beautiful. There were lots of good comments made about Kevin's food. As for Kevin being selfish, not true. He became angry about Alex not following rules during restaurant wars but was really speaking up for his team cause Kevins' dish had already been given a good review and he was probably safe from elimination. That is when Kenny went home.
The African American people have nothing to be ashamed of---Kevin is a wonderful chef and he was in charge of his finale meal. He and Michael had enjoyed working together before but, on this day, Michael was the SOUS CHEF and it was KEVIN'S meal from beginning to end. Kevin was "on" the day of the finale and the chefs and judges thought he was the best. Thank goodness there are some who can keep open minds regardless of who their favorites are. He is very deserving of Top Chef and we are all proud of him. Congratulations Kevin.
Housewife Fan, I will second your opinion of our Chef Tom..can you say grrrrlllllllllllllllll...i just want to cuttle his fish
I keep saying I will not watch another seaon of Top Chef cause I cant get over some decisions I felt were unfair but I must say , Coliccio, you are one sexy man.When you walk into the kitchen in uniform, you do it for me and I must continue to watch just to see you and your cool self comment on the chefs.
Yes, I feel the same too. They need to change the way they judge at the finale. Kevin should have gone home. Tiffani is a better chef and she has the wins to prove it. Before the finale, they should eliminate the chefs with the lowest wins. A Top Chef should have the most wins and the finale win under his/her belt. I don't know what that mess they call Kevin.
Viewer are smarter than that! Tom I didn't see things clearly until now. I have been posting comments about Kevin winning because Micheal's creativeness came shining through and Kevin took the credit. It's like throwing the rock and hiding the hand.Or like Mumbo, from 'Happy Feet'' who wanted to sing for Gloria but couldn't, so he had Ramon stand behind him and sing to fool Gloria into beleiving the it was him(Mumbo) who was singing to her. Gloria was smart enough to move Mumbo aside and discover the truth, because she knew Mumbo did not know how to sing. We, the American people can see right through this LIE. Kevin only won 1 challenge the entire season. Then along comes Micheal V. who stands behind Kevin and does all the hard work. He took the roll of chef while Kevin toke the roll of sous chef to try and fool us. It worked, you judges gave the title to Kevin, but the American people saw right throw it. Micheal V. and his brother Brian V. are in a class all by themselves. They are the best your show has ever produced. If the Producers wanted an African American winner, it should have gone to Tiffani. She won more chaallenges than Kevin. When you sent her home, that was the time you should had sent Kevin home. Ya'll should have gave Micheal to her, he would have truely been a sous chef cause she would have taken control of her menu.
I totally agree with this viewer. Tom and the others need to takle a long look at the way they are judging and change things. Kevin did not deserve to be Top Chef. I didn't get to watch the entire season, but from what I saw Kevin should have been eliminated a long time ago. Not from just his cooking but from the way he had been treating the other chefs the entire time he was on the show. Cussing like a sailor, selfish, he only cared about himself, just getting his food out, not a team player. Tiffani was 10 times a better chef that Kevin. She is the African American that I'm proud to call my sister. If it wasn't for Micheal, Kevin wouldn't know what victory smelled like. If anything, Kevin has brought shame to the African American people buy letting Micheal do the dessert for him and taking the credit for it. If you're going to Black and Proud, do it yourself, Tiffani did her work alone.
I have to laugh at some of these comments where the viewers are threatening to pull their eyes from watching this show because it chose the person they were not rooting for...are you kidding me? They are hooked...Bravo is brilliant to put challenge shows on the air and then allow for us to come on here and comment...it's like everyone gets to air their opinion and it can be addictive....these viewers are hooked on this show and they might as well say they are never going to buy food at the supermarket than to say they are not going to watch this show again....it reminds me of when you go to a fast food place and they don't put pickles on your burger and then when you complain, they allow a high school student to stand there and look at you as if you have two heads...you say "I'll never come back", knowing full well you will be back....you will be back tomorrow and the next day and the next.....I don't know about them, but my remote control has a mind of it's own, and for some reason it is hard wired for Bravo....America is in love with reality shows, they might as well relent and stop making threats that they can't possibly keep....Nice season Chef Tom....one question though....what does cuttlefish taste like?
Congratulations to Kevin!
I'm glad he won. He is obviously talented.
And I'm glad that making a dessert was a requirement for the finale. FINALLY!
I'm also glad that the judges didn't catch Angelo's sickness after he kept sticking the tasting spoon back into what he was cooking after having it in his mouth. Nice way to spread the germs, pal.
I'm assuming that nothing has been said, because it was probably contracted while he was in Singapore. Bravo fans will not be eager to flock to the Hilton Singapore when there's news that the most vivacious contestant suddenly got deathly ill with some sort of foreign "bug," be it food poisoning or the avian flu.
Disappointing season. I think most of the chefs that were originally chosen didn't seem interesting or very good chefs. I think a few of them had rotten personalities and did not cook very well...or the editors did very big injustices to them. Not allowing the finalists to pick their own sous chefs is a real turn-off. It would interest me to see just who they would have picked. I am tired of these little jealousy remarks that are added in... out of context,probably. Both last season and this season did not get the TOP CHEF as winners. This used to be an exciting show from beginning to end...what happened?
I love DC, but this was a pretty dull season, particularly once Tiffany left. The show is turning into another goofy "reality" show, and that leaves me cold. I want to see rising chefs cooking great food, not a lot of snarky "drama."
And the judging on CHOPPED is the better way. The TOP CHEF should be one who has conisistently proven him/herself.
Completely agree with everything you said! Angelo has lousy cooking "etiquette," in addition to being a snake in the grass. And Tiffany could outcook them all. I hope she enjoyed the money and trips that she won!
Completely agree with all you said, Penina! And I would smack my cooking-kids' hands if they cooked the way Angelo did.
A very satisfying ending to a very uneven season. As the show has shown season after season, some days and some contests are better suited to one contestant or another. I was glad Kevin won because he seemed to improve with every challenge, rather than get freaked out or lose his momentum by a setback. Very even-tempered.
Overall, Tiffany was the most talented chef, and should have been there over any of the three contestants! I hope the new surprise for the next season is that they will be using a point system in addition to current challenge judging, because then some of the mediocre chefs who get to fly under the wire while a consistently excellent chef who has one not so fabulous day doesn't get thrown under the bus by Tom, Padme et al.
Tom is the man!!! I think that if Tom did appear on other shows or in a competition it would undermine his authority. His cooking skills are not in question. Remember he is a judge, a critic and counseler on Top Chef. If you want to see his ability, eat at one of his restaurants. Tom, I have so much respect for the way you carry yourself on this wonderful show. On a recent trip to Las Vegas (I'm an Australian who lives in Mexico) my wife and I had the pleasure of eating at Craftsteak, it was amazing in every way and its success is all the proof you need that you are a "Top Chef".
I agree. Wouldn't it be nice to see a TOP CHEF show with chefs who showed significant winnings in every season go head to head? I believe Tiffany would lead that show!! Tiff I'm packing my bags and heading your way!!
I'm so happy that Kevin won. Easily, he is the most genuine of the 3 finalists. And, his finale meal seemed like the best by a long shot.
Tom, why insult your viewers? (1) It's so insulting for you to say we "gripe" about Michael Voltaggio's being a "sous-chef" for Kevin. There are legitimate questions about how much influence Michael had choosing the menu, how much actual cooking he did, and how many ideas he had on the over-all cooking execution. How much in all this was actually due to Kevin's talent as a chef? Michael's known for his creative menu ideas which was a big factor in his being chosen Top Chef last season. And who came up with the name Singapore Sling? Obviously there was collaboration because you and your producers had the sous-chefs shopping with the 3 contestants. How is it fair to bring in one of the best, if not the best, Top Chefs to be a "sous-chef" and leave it up to chance on which contestant gets this huge advantage? (2) Why don't you finally address the question of whether or not you checked the receipts to see if Alex actually bought peas? You steadfastly have been refusing to accept this task which would put an end to the controversy. And to those of you out there who think you're so clever when you say "get over it", actually you're not so clever after all because you've completely missed the point.