Bravo's Top Chef Season 16 ended with a finale featuring not two but three final Cheftestants ready to cook the four-course meal of their lives in Macau. But only two chefs would make it to cook in the actual finale meal that would ultimately determine who would be crowned this season's Top Chef.
Eric Adjepong, Sara Bradley, and Kelsey Barnard Clark all cooked their way to the top in the hopes of taking home the Top Chef title this season. However, only one chef could reign supreme. (There are MAJOR SPOILERS ahead!)
It was Kelsey who took home the top prize in Top Chef Season 16. The Alabama native wowed the judges with exquisite dishes featuring cornbread and buttermilk, French oysters, soft-shell crab, and peach cobbler. "Kelsey, your meal from start to finish was just fantastic," head judge Tom Colicchio told her after she was named the winner of Top Chef Season 16. "You told your story, you told it on a plate. Thank you."
But it took a second for Kelsey's victory to really sink in. "I mean, it was pretty shocking, I guess, at first. I was kind of like, 'OK, so what are we doing tomorrow?' Like, it took me a while to realize what had happened, I guess," Kelsey told The Daily Dish during an interview in New York City. "It felt great. It felt like my hard work had paid off, that the sacrifices were worth it, the struggles were worth it, and I was proud of the way it all ended. I was just proud that I won."
Even though Eric was eliminated right before the finale meal took place, he said that he couldn't have been happier that Kelsey and Sara were chosen as the final two. "You can't be mad. I think I mentioned this probably all week, the resiliency between these two has been amazing all season. It's one thing to be up when you're winning, it's one thing to be down when you're losing, but to have an even keel, like do it all, and I think they exemplified that perfectly," he told The Daily Dish during the same interview with Kelsey. "So to see them make it that far, it was truly something that I — and I'll tell you guys straight up — I truly admired from the both of you, so well deserved. This was really a talented group of 15 chefs. So I was not surprised whatsoever to see these two at the end. They deserved it, for sure."
In fact, all of the Top Chef Season 16 contestants should be commended for how they handled themselves during the competition, according to Kelsey. "Besides the fact that I won, I was just proud that we ended it the way that it ended. I was happy with who was on top. And we played the game that we all said we would. There was no nastiness, We were all very nice to each other, and that mattered more to me than anything, honestly," she shared. "So it was a good moment. Everyone was genuinely happy for each other."
Check out more from the Top Chef Season 16 finale, below.