Hugh Acheson

The judge explains why we shouldn't dwell on the finalists' gender.

on Feb 27, 20130

 

I ain’t gonna lie and say this was easy… for anyone. It was a slog. Kristen battled through umpteen Last Chance Kitchen’s slaying dragons and giants (literally), and Brooke had to endure hours of ukulele and having to make up songs with Sheldon. To Sheldon, making up songs is easy as long as they rhyme with "munchies." Brooke also flew in helis, mushed dogs, voyaged on large boats not named Triumph, and generally had to endure her own customized version of Dante’s purgatory. Down to the wire it went, and on the semi-finale they both poured their hearts and souls into dishes and came to the finale. Sheldon poured the heart and soul of some guy named Henri into his food and disappeared into his own “Where’s Sheldon” line of postcards. He’ll be laughing first when he owns his own Relais Chateaux hotel on the North Shore with the finest medicinal pot shop in the island world. Chez Menehune, a chill resort. 

So this live finale thing was completely different and wild when we first stepped into it. Wacky. It felt like a culinary Olympiad, which actually just happened about a month ago and the USA did a pretty darned fine job. Proud of Chef Rosendale and all he accomplished. Plus it was the most fun I had ever had live tweeting from a L.A. hotel room as the sun came up. I was beat for days… tweeting culinary commentary that is humorous in 12 languages is exhausting. 

Kristen has a potty mouth. Swearing like a sailor. They have picked teams and Brooke has CJ, Kuniko, and Stefan. Kristen picks Josh, Sheldon, and Lizzie. They have to use scallops in the second round and snapper in the third. Some sadist was called for advice on both, and that guy suggested scallops be live and in their shells. He has been described as a youthful Canadian with one eyebrow. If you see him, give him a hug, but one of those hugs where you don’t actually touch the other person. Air hug?  

23 comments
Luashtal
Luashtal

I totally disagree with not dwelling on the gender. Although we know that they are as good as any man, we are proud that a woman has made it. In a perfect word people may not want to see color or gender, but the reality is that's what makes us who we are. It makes us different and special. Just like if Sheldon won or a Latino won, it would be a proud moment for their people, as I'm sure it was when the Asians have won. That doesn't mean we think they are good for an Asian or for a female, it jut a sense of family.

fsutrill
fsutrill

when it first came on I thought it looked A LOT like the Bocuse d'Or! We were there covering it, and during the platter presentations, your tweets helped alleviate the boredom (as did the commentary by Gavin Kaysen's dad, a super-nice guy we were fortunate to stand next to for the afternoon).

FlutterBy
FlutterBy

Mr Hugh......Last night Brooke was clearly about to panic when she saw the live arena....Kristen was calm and seemed to be such a good sport....the looks on Brookes face, not so much.....she threw shadey looks at Kristen several times....as usual, the food looked yuck....pig ears?? And bone marrow....whatever happened to diner food?? Show us something we can relate...a rueben sandwich, hand tossed pizza, you know the food...the stuff you eat...

delusional
delusional

My favorite thing about TC is your blogs.  So sad to see them end. I am totally going to read your tweets on Olympaid....  

 

 I loved both finalists and their cooking  and thought each deserved to be where they were.  So happy not ALOT of female chef talk because as you say, it is about the food....Gender, race, or smoking pot or not, should not come in.

 

I would love to have Kristin's Citrus & Lavender Cured Scallops dish and on an importance level of 9,  in 1-10 (10 being VERY IMPORTANT) was KRISTIAN FLIRTING WITH GAIL ON WWHL?????

 

Please help!

LaChile
LaChile

Wonderfully written comments.  So happy Kristen is Top Chef.  Great season Hugh!!

 

Sephigirl
Sephigirl

Agree Agree Agree! - with the format! Please don't do that again! Also, I know she's the host and she's a foodie, but Padma was a tad irritating/condescending this season.  However, that said, she complained Kristen's dish was cold yet voted for her!  When does cold food win out if both dishes were good? Maybe if the judges had voted all before Tom, I might accept their decisions . . .  But once Tom shows a preference, that's it. Why bring the previous winners back if they weren't part of any process? Either let them also vote, or be the sous chefs, or . . . something!  Kristen was talented, but she lost way back when she didn't take control of her team.  It's a horrible thing to see a talented chef go early, but leave it at that. Move on. Let the well-rounded or better-game-player chefs move on to the finale and endure each challenge. Here's to the next season and hopefully NO live format! Thanks always Hugh for your witty, sharp, insightful comments.

 

safirebebe
safirebebe

Loved your recap every episode! I respect both chefs who made it to the finale but I have to say, I'm happy Kristen won! I would love to eat at either chefs restaurant though :)

 

The lack of time for deliberation wasn't my favorite choice for the finale. Not presenting a full menu wasn't my favorite either. Knowing who won each round of dishes adds added (unnecessary)  pressure for the next round.

PaulainVA
PaulainVA

I'm not sure Brooke could have recovered from the fatal error of presenting fried chicken wings, but I thought they sounded awesome.  Wish she had done them for the KFC challenge.  I have to agree with the viewer about the time constraints.  With only 4 minutes to go on course #4, it was transparent that there would be no 5th course, and Kristen would win.  Why not make the finale 1-1/2 hours?  Too many elements of the challenge were cut short or missing altogether:  choosing sous chefs, menu development, in depth judge deliberations (one of my favorite things) missing altogether.  I've never had pig ears, so I'm hard pressed to really understand this dish.  I did watch Ludo Lefebvre make them on his show for a crowd in North Carolina, and the first batch were unfavorable reviewed for not crunchy enough.

Holycrap
Holycrap

The grand finale was too over the top....too much added pressure, and for someone like Brooks, who seems to rattle easy, it gave Kristin an unfair advantage.  That being said, love Kristen, and think the right chef won.  Chicken wings, though one of my favorite foods, does not a TOP CHEF make....

Either way, both of them have very bright futures, no doubt!

lovethefood
lovethefood

Both Kristen and Brooke are awesome chefs and great people!  

 

Great finale and the last 5 or so episodes because it was about the food and the chef and not a bashing feast.   There will always be nasty people, but I'd like to see the fans show a little more class.  This is a food competition not BAD GIRLS.  The judges and guest judges are all well respected, extremely talented chefs, as were all of the contestants, they wouldn't have made it on the show if they weren't.  How about giving Top Chef the respect they deserve!

 

Hysterical comments from the previous winners!!  LMAO!!!

TomM
TomM

Hugh, thank you for your Cliffs Notes. Much appreciated! I do think Kristen deserved the win. That said, I really did NOT care for the "Iron Chef" format. Also I would have liked a camera on the previous winners table. Would very much have liked to hear their running comments on each dish. Perhaps part of the solution to my comments & Tom's, is to make the finales longer. 1:20 or even 1:30 — Andy can wait. It was pointless to have only a few minutes of broadcast time left at the 4th course, making the end obvious & anti climactic. If TC's going to stay with the 1 hour format, then you can't do more than 3 dishes. (Obviously 4 is out of the question—can't have a tie.) Since neither of those choices is really any good, then expanding broadcast time is the only way to go.

Vickis
Vickis

Hated the format.  Some judges wait for Tom's decision to vote because he is always the final say.  Why do they sometimes deliberate ro 10 to 12 hours and tonight it was real time.  Because Kristen HAD to win.  No chance for an agreement.  Judges had to agree on camera, real time, and of course they went with Tom's favorite, Kristen.  Not fair.  All previous seasong got to present a full menu.  Brooke's dessert could have won the competion, but she didnt' get a change due to the new judging format. 

PixieDust2257
PixieDust2257

Brooke would not have been the automatic winner if Kristin were not there.  Any of the final five could have won depending on their menu and execution.  I like Brooke, want to eat at her restaurants; but the break was not good for her.  I think she was the long shot on the return because her nerves kicked in.

Vic2012
Vic2012

I guess I will just come right and say I was disappointed in the Iron Chef layout for the finale. Congrats to Kristen, a worthy winner, but this was a lame finale. The worst thing was no there was no drama. It was 2-1 and they were voting at 5 till the hour. So its like, ok the show is about to end, they are obviously voting for Kristen. To make it so obvious is a shame. Cut out all the fluff in the middle of the episode, and let them cook a full 5 course meal. Then vote.

mcoffee4@yahoo.com
mcoffee4@yahoo.com

Hugh, the wrong person won! That is why LCK shouldn't exist - it is not fair for the ones who never got booted off or for the last 2 chefs left standing before the LCK winner enters the scene because they don't get a LCK chance at all! There are even tweets from other TV chefs that called TC Finale 2 a scam!! Just because Tom had a few comments about being on Brooke's side, he seemed to go the extreme other way to prove that wasn't right and in doing so took the rightful title away from Brooke!

motherhubbard
motherhubbard

 @FlutterBy You need to watch Triple D on Food Network. High-end cookery is evidently not your speed.

cheriefran
cheriefran

 @Holycrap competition is competition - when you run a restaurant you can't afford to get rattled.  Love them both - but glad Kristen won.

ntrinsik
ntrinsik

 @Vic2012 Agreed with the format of the show. When they went into the break of showing what the previous 9 winners had done, I knew Kristen was the winner. There wouldn't be enough time to finish round 4 and 5 in 15 minutes.

cbj
cbj

@Vic2012 I felt the very same way. They went to commercial after round 4 and I looked at the clock and knew who the winner was. I didn't like the format for the finale at all. And after rooting for Kristin all season, I was actually sad that Brooke lost. Maybe because I got to see her more throughout the remaining episodes.

brentwolgamott
brentwolgamott

 @mcoffee4@yahoo.com would you PLEASE stop posting the same thing verbatim in every blog?  You make no sense -- "the wrong person won"?  Says who?  YOU???  LOL.  The judges voted -- and Kristin blew Brooke out of the water.  Brooke burned the pig ears, and served fried chicken wings for one dish that's supposed to be her "BEST DISH". Your comments are hogwash .  LCK was in the rules -- it's not like it surprised ANYONE. The more you keep posting, the more you sound like like a crazy person.

Taras27
Taras27

 @mcoffee4@yahoo.com Why do people copy/paste the same thing on every blog?  I think they read each others' blogs. 

cjbomb
cjbomb

 @cheriefran  @Holycrap When you run a restaurant- no one keeps you in a back room unaware of what's about to happen or going on for FOUR hours as the producers did.