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Emeril: They Challenged Themselves and the Results Paid off

Chef Emeril Lagasse weighs in on the Top Chef finale, his favorite dishes, and the final two cheftestants.

By Emeril Lagasse
The Final Top Chef Challenge! Were you surprised that Amar Santana and Jeremy Ford were the two chefs battling it out for the Top Chef title?

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Not at all. Jeremy has been one of the front runners all season and I would have been surprised not to see him in the top two. Amar has also been a good competitor this season. I was happy to see that he fought his way back into the competition. What was it like having Charlie Palmer and Jean-Georges Vongerichten assisting Amar and Jeremy with their food prep?

It was great having Charlie and Jean-Georges on this challenge. Seeing them back in the kitchen working as sous chefs was fun for me and Tom. I also liked seeing the chefs with their mentors. It's important to have a mentor and it was really great to see this come full circle on the show. When it comes to a restaurant kitchen, it is a team effort. You all have to work together. I am sure that it was stressful for the chefs to have their mentors there, but hey, that's Top Chef for you. After the walk through did you think one chef was in a better position than the other chef?

Both chefs seemed very comfortable and confident during the walk through so it was hard to tell if one was in a better position than the other. Nothing stood out in terms of their dishes that felt too challenging or like a mistake – I was excited to try their dishes and see what they had to offer. What was your favorite dish of the challenge?

I can't choose just one favorite, but my top choices would probably have to be Jeremy's foie gras course and Amar's risotto. Both of these dishes are tough to execute and we have seen chefs fail at them before. These guys really showed us what they were about and what they could do with these dishes. They challenged themselves and the results paid off. What are your thoughts on Jeremy winning the Top Chef title?

It was a tough choice, but in the end I thought that Jeremy had an overall better meal with some really delicious and well-executed dishes. Jeremy was strong all season and he didn't disappoint with his final meal. I was impressed. Amar also did a nice job, but overall he just fell a little short. It was close and they were neck and neck for a while, but Jeremy had it in the end with his final course.

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