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Finally, the Finale

Brian Malarkey explains how Kevin's simple cooking embodies the spirit of "Get Fresh."

By Brian Malarkey

What a great episode of Top Chef in the picturesque fall setting of Napa Valley. All of our finalist look well rested and they have all gone through the transformation of great local chefs to national celebrity chefs. I remember when we were sent home for the break before the finals and its this time when the show is unfolding and you begin to realize the amazing popularity of Top Chef. You are recognized on the street, in the markets and just about everywhere else.   This was and is a life-altering experience, and I think it’s obvious that these four will handle it and blossom into some of the greatest chefs of our time. 

From the very first episode it was obvious these were going to be the four that were going to be competing for all the prizes and the glory! Watching them all get rocked around on the train and get back into the flow of the show was great. They all have such refined and defined styles that are completely different, and so representative of the popular trends in the culinary world today. 

Here at “Healthy Remix”, I’ve have been talking, laughing, and carrying on about how to live a bit better, healthier, and more fulfilled without giving up to much of the bold flavors of life and this episode was filled with everything we have been working toward. 

Fresh local products cooked with integrity to the individual ingredients. To judge this episode would have been thrilling and troubling at the same time. To enjoy these crafted dishes and pick them apart for flaws looked like such a burden and a task. I usually love to rip one or more of the contestants but on this episode I wanted them all to win. Well, not all of them. Michael and his cocky attitude really appear jagged compared with Kevin and Jen's easygoing ways, but I love his cooking, especially when he has to leave his gimmicks behind and use the more approachable techniques.

As far as being healthy and taking something home from this episode, I believe we can learn the most from Kevin’s vegetarian dish and its simplicity. Cooking beets and carrots that are perfectly seasoned is something we can all do. It's approachable, easy, and tastes great. All of the chefs were ecstatic to be using great produce and proteins that were available from the fertile soil of Napa Valley. You, as home chefs, also have the ability to find out what is grown locally and seasonally, and I believe if you seek these farmers or markets out and try the difference you to will be ecstatic. Yes, it's hard to do all the time and often you don’t have the time, energy, or resources, but don’t let this be an excuse not to pretend that the products you have available to you cannot be appreciated and cooked properly. Most important is to use your produce or protein in a timely manner, don’t overcook your vegetables and proteins, use good olive oil, and season properly. You can be a Top Chef in your own home. Don't be scared to get out there and try something new or do something old, but more importantly, have fun!
Side Notes:

I didn’t think Padma could get more beautiful, but motherhood has her glowing even brighter.

Michael Chiarello is a good guy and it's great that he gets the opportunity to show it without having to deal with Dale’s “asshole” scene-stealing maneuvers from Masters.

If you haven’t been to Napa, now you know what all the hype is about. Time to take a trip!

Doctors say drinking a glass of red wine a day is good for your heart, and I say it's good for your soul! Drink up, my friends. It's all part of “Getting Fresh at Healthy Remix!”



How to Watch

Watch Top Chef Season 21 Wednesdays at 9/8c on Bravo and next day on Peacock.

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