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What Would Top Chef's Runner Up Do Differently If Given the Chance?

Bravo's Top Chef just wrapped up competition, crowning a Season 16 winner.

Top Chef Eric Adjepong, Sara Bradley, Kelsey Barnard Clark

It's a wrap! Bravo's Top Chef Season 16 has concluded after its Kentucky run — and just one Cheftestant could be crowned Top Chef by Padma Lakshmi. If you don't yet know, definitely don't click here for the spoiler. But if you're all caught up, keep reading for the runner up's insight into what might have changed the outcome of the competition.

The Feast sat down with the three finalists — Eric AdjepongSara Bradley, and Kelsey Barnard Clark — and asked what they might have done differently if given the chance to do Top Chef all over again.

Right off the bat, Sara addressed the elephant in the room: "Well I'm obviously not going to get waffle mix," she told us. "I mean, that’s the most obvious one!" (Here's what Padma thought of that ill-fated decision, by the way.)

But then she took a turn to ponder a more serious matter the question triggered. "I know that I cried on the show, but I wouldn’t change that," she said. "Because I think people need to see that it’s OK."

Parroting feedback from vocal haters, she said, "the female cry, it saves you every time." But she wholeheartedly disagrees that crying is a feminine device — and in fact, that fallacy is dangerous to kitchen culture. 

"There’s no reason that people should be ashamed and embarrassed for having emotions," she said. "The really cool part about this season is that we were able to discuss something that’s not discussed [adequately]: mental health."

Indeed, Anthony Bourdain died during Top Chef filming, triggering broadly an overdue dialogue about mental health — in particular amid chef and restaurant culture.

—Reporting by Laura Rosenfeld

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