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First of all, I want to thank everyone for their well wishes throughout the past week. Mateo is home, he and his beautiful mom are doing great, and we're all adjusting happily and well. Thank you all.
I wish you all could have been there to dine at our two finalists' restaurants for the finale. If anyone had any doubts whatsoever that Michael belonged in the finale, I certainly hope this put those doubts to bed, because his food was really incredibly good. I mean noteworthily outstandingly good. As was Richard’s. The food that was served by both of these contestants in this finale was so good that the guest chefs all remarked that they were shocked at how well these guys were cooking. And the finalists' fellow contestants –- the ones who had not been selected to serve as sous-chefs for the challenge –- were dining with the judges, as you saw in the episode, and while one might have expected them to be a bit snarky and judgmental, they were not. They were simply impressed and excited, because they were just blown away by what they were served that night.
As a result of how successful both contestants' efforts were, I was at first on the fence about it… until I'd had a chance to parse it for myself and really figure it out. I've said before that it's like in the Olympics, when a skier wins a race by a tiny fraction of a second… except that here there was no timer to instantly assess who had won the race by that hair. I was on the fence at first, Gail felt that Michael should win, and the other two thought that the day went to Richard. Here's ultimately how I think it broke down:
I'm not even counting Richard's amuse in the equation, by the way, because it was not part of the challenge. The challenge, as far as the food was concerned, was to create four courses. If anything, Richard's amuse could have harmed him, because it could have taken his time and focus away from the four dishes we were going to judge him on. Luckily it didn't, but he was not going to score extra food points for having made it. It lent to the overall restaurant experience, and it set the tone for the evening by establishing Richard's "tongue-in-cheek" theme, but that was all it did for him. And before anyone jumps all over Richard for copying Thomas Keller's Oyster and Pearl dish… no, he didn't. Richard's dish was an altogether different dish, and was in no way a knock-off of Keller's.
Thanks Tom to another season of exciting and great viewing! You are fabulous and I love how you spend time thinking and analyzing each dish. So glad Richard won!
Wow! What a great season - A new Top Chef and a few new villains (or villainesses) and some redemption (Jamie may be in both categories!).
I hope this format is done again, but not too often.
Thanks for a fun season.
BRAVO! I really enjoyed Top Chef finale. CONGRATULATIONS RICHARD!!! And a big hootie- hoo to fan favorite MS CARLA HALL. Both of you are favorites of mine and I wish you all the success in the world.
I was rooting for Richard all the way, but I'm glad both of them put up good food. First time in four years the contestant I was pulling for one. Go Blais!
Thanks for the comments - added a lot to this feel-good episode. Felt like we were watching something special, and this validated that. Can't wait to see what their futures hold!
Greatest season yet; challenges, chefs, Bourdain! Blais is the best.
But please keep Bethenny Frankel as far away from the show as possible, zero credibility.
It is disappointing to see Richard win. Richard treats foie gras like corn or soy; he sticks it in everything regardless of whether or not it should be there. Any chef using foie gras clearly does not care where their food comes from. Stick a fork in me, I am done with Richard, his debbie-downer attitude, and his finicky cuisine.
Dear Tom First off: congrats on your new addition. Next: Thanks for your in depth comments here. Finally: I hadn't looked forward to this finale because the loutish Mike was on board. It's nice that he came through with a strong showing. It's much better that King Richard WON! Right up through the end, Richard remained humble; while Mike was the same gloating blow hard. (Mike's not cackling now.) That says it all. Finally, there was a finale that satisfied. I watched this ep over and over.
Too bad Bravo gave away the outcome during last week's preview, when Padma looked to her right while saying "you are Top Chef", and then cutting to a shot showing where the contestents were standing in relation to the judges' table. Richard was on the far right. It was pretty obvious.
I did not watch the final as I knew that Richard would win. He was not the best chef of the season but the powers to be wanted him to win on his season and since he messed up they could not award him the title so they brought him back and finally gave him the title the powers thought he deserved. I disagree but who am I?
Congrats to all who participated in this great finale but especially to BLAISE! Great job! And a special Hootie Hoo to the wonderful Carla! This series was such fun to watch each week and I hope you bring it back some day.
Congratulations, Richard. The right chef was chosen. Wanted you to win your original season also! I am a Top Chef fanatic. Richard and Harold Dieterle both seem to be the chefs who are not only great at cooking but true competitors. Didn't detect too big of an ego in either one. Also, thanks to the judges. This was the best season in my opinion. Since all the contestants had gone through the process previously, the different challenges and strains were appropriate for "veterans." This show is so much better than really any other competition show on the air. Thanks!
Hi Chef, Would you ever consider a season where the dishes are judged without the judges knowing which chef prepared it until after the winning dish was chosen? I know you did a single challenge that way one time. The viewers could be let in on who's who, but the judges would be kept in the dark. Just a thought. Love your show! Congrats on baby Mateo :)
As a Richard supporter I was so excited when he won that I wanted to post it on my fb page. Here is what I (accidentally) typed: "Richard, you ate the Top Chef!"
Thank you Tom for your insight here into the judging. I might question Gail's ability to judge since she was the only one who thought Mike won. Both were excellent but Richard reaches for a higher level of sophistication that when executed well is just a little bit, but clearly better than Mike, and just about all chefs out there for that matter. His oyster dish is the perfect example of what makes a top chef, he didn't stay within the confines of a gameshow's rules, he did it to impress with his creativity and please the diners even if it meant going the extra mile. He didn't have to be helping people throughout the season which hurt his own chances to win in the gameshow but that's what a truly great chef does. Great call Chef Colicchio.
This was probably the best finale ever, especially the part where Richard and Michael had to select sous chefs based just on a blind tasting. Both chefs made the most of the finale, but as most people expected Richard did prevail, although I am curious about Mike's pepperoni sauce.
Thanks for being patient with the cranky fans and explaining your POV. Congratulations on your new one also.
The best Finale ever!!! For once, someone I was rooting for actually won. Saw the Watch What Happens Live, and I loved the part where Mike called out Tiffany for staying in the competion alot longer than she deserved. I mean come on, we were all thinking it. Congrats to Carla for fan favorite, love her.
I'm so happy for Richard that he won and also that he got a shot to redeem himself. On the finale of his season I just knew he was going to win. I was totally blown away by how much Mike had changed from his season to now. He really seems like he has come into his own. Maybe a few more years down the line you can bring all the winners back for a best of the best showdown season?
Loved Top Chef All Stars! It was great. And loved that Richard won! By the way I love Carla, she is great.:)
Hmmm.....so Spike's spying is what really gave Richard the win, because his improvements to his dessert is what put it on an even keel with Mike's. Not sure how I feel about that being the deciding factor....but maybe I say that because I find Spike to be a shady poser.
I have no idea how you're going to top this season. While I'm sure there will be another season of Top Chef, it will not come close to how great this year was.
As for Richard, I am so glad he won. I was rooting for him the whole season to redeem himself. Micheal put up a great fight, but in the end I feel the correct chef won.
Now on to Top Chef Masters.....!
It was a great season but I really think Mike pulled it off in the end. I was disappointed that Richard won. I'm not saying he didn't deserve it but I think Mike did a better job all the way around.
Thank you for a great season. Congratulations on the newest addition to your family. Hope you get another emmy for this season...............you deserve it !
I LOVE RICHARD! He definitely deserved to win! The passion and creativity he puts into each of his meals is truly inspiring. Congratulations to Richard - another great season of Top Chef!
I was so glad to see Richard win. Although, as much as I hate to admit it, Mike definately did the one thing I never see a chef do going into a challenge. He studied up and worked on refining his skills. It showed. My only complaint is I felt Gail had a bee in her bonnet about something. It came across as though she was unhappy or angry for different bits of the show. It felt that way throughout the season. I like Gail so whatever is troubling her, I hope she gets over it. Thank you chef for a great season! I look forward to the next one!
Yet another great season. So glad Richard won (he should have won his season, but that's another story)... Mike surprised me all along and at first I didn't think he deserved to be in the finals, but he proved me wrong... He was a great competitor... As Chef Tom put it best, both of these guys will have long great careers..
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Bravo, keep that no talent media freak (there are harsher words to use here) Bethenny Frankel away from Top Chef, it's bad enough you put her commercials on every five minutes... But PLEASE keep her off a GREAT show like Top Chef!!!
Was anyone surprised Richard won? After all that's why the All Stars was created. Sorry to the other chefs, you didn't think you really had a chance did you?
What happened to Anthony Bourdain? I thought he was supposed to be one of the regular judges this season.
I concur about Bethany- Top Chef and Actors Studio are the only good shows that Bravo offers anymore.
When looking at the video of The Top Chef announcement...it looked like Mike's cousin...reacted with pure joy...that the winner was Richard and NOT her cousin. Somehow I can understand her emotions...Although Blood may be Thicker than Water...I am happy that both of these cousins can appreciate that they are both winners in their own right!
Finally you got it right Tom, After last season with a terrible choice for Top Chef I almost wrote you off. But, I think Tom should go, he is not a good judge. There other more credible Chefs out there to lead the Judging. Can't wait to see what Elia has to say to you, Tom.
Oh no tell me it isn't true that Bethany is even being considered for being on Top Chef ! Please don't let that happen. WTG Richard you deserved to win , Better cooking next time Michael.
I didn't watch because it's another man winning. I'll come back after I learned a female finally won.
I have a tendency to agree with you. While I enjoyed watching I can't help but feel like this whole season was nothing more then a setup to allow Richard to redeem himself. That's not to say he's not an incredibly talented chef - it just leaves me with the feeling that the other chefs were cheated in that they really didn't stand much of a chance of winning.
Congratulations on your new baby, AND on a terrific season! This is one of the few food shows where I feel I actually learn something--setting personalities and the production quirks aside, these are talented, driven cooks and the judges are serious people who know their stuff. The results last night were satisfying in every way and, although I couldn't taste the food personally, the experience was related well enough on the show, and through your blog, that I 'get' it. Pretty brilliant when you think about it: all the people who this morning are saying that Mike cooked better food, when none of them ate it! You're doing SOMETHING right when people get passionately opinionated about food they can't even taste!
I was so happy to see that the sous chefs were chosen by a blind tasting. I would love to see more challenges handled this way in the future. This way it's clearly about the food and not the personalities.
Actually the way things were looking the person that I thought was going to win was Antonio or Mike I. Not Richard. GLAD THAT RICHARD won.
Hello Chef. I enjoyed watching this season tremendously! Everyone on my staff has been watching and we discuss the show the next afternoon while prepping. It's great fun! I don't know if you read these comments but I just wanted to say that I was in New York over this past weekend and went to Craft Bar. Fried oysters!!!!! blew my mind. Everything was awesome. We tried all the small plates a lot of different wines. Great list! Wonderful experience, start to finish. SO, Thanks!
Really enjoyed the season, and I felt the challenges showed a lot of ingenuity and cleverness. Unlike the DC season, where gameplay felt more important than cooking, this felt like cooks getting together to cook.
One quick suggestion: I don't know how other people feel about this, but I would like to see a one-shot special featuring a competition between all of the chefs who were eliminated first in their season (except for Ken). I have to believe that a couple of them must have some ability to cook (or else how would they have gotten there), and it'd be nice to have a reminder of just how many people have come and gone through the Top Chef kitchens.
So happy for Richard Blais! He deserved to win. It was hard enough to get into his Flip Burger Boutique here in Atlanta, and now it will be impossible! But if you get a chance, try it - the liquid nitrogen milkshakes (did you expect anything else?) are worth the wait!
Congratulations on your new baby!
Great season!!! I looooooove Richard! I tried to stop watching after he lost his season but that was impossible (I love the show) but I am so happy that he won! Truly deserved it!