Top Chef Masters Finale

Posted on August 20, 2009. Filed under: Attempts at Cooking, Personal Reviews, TV Shows | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Spoiler Alert!! This will mention the winner for all of those who have Tivo’d this but haven’t watched yet!

What a season! I’d love to know how many people who initially started out hating Top Chef Masters have been converted to liking it. I was skeptical at first but I think it’s impossible to not enjoy amazing Chefs be challenged on a very different level. A few friends and I started a Top Chef Masters ‘Fantasy League’. There we picked our selections for winners of the Quick Fire and the Elimination Challenge. As the season wore on we all developed our favorites, so that when it was time for the best of the 23 to compete against each other for the final we almost knew who to pick weekly.

 The overall favorite  from the group was Rick Bayless. I was not as big of a fan of Rick, but they were. My favorites were Hubert Keller and Anita Lo. I was really disappointed when Anita went home but I felt it was time. The espisode before she left showed her having a really tough time and barely scraping by. The episode when she did leave was just not her day; nothing went her way that day of the competition and it was really time for her to leave. I felt terrible because having the ‘surprise’ of an outdoor venue for their buffet was sudden and affected her raw seafood bar more than any of the other chefs, which was a shame. The final episode was comprised of the 3 chefs who really did the best throughout the entire competition: Hubert Keller (my favorite), Rick Bayless (the world’s favorite) and Michael Chiarello (just a good chef).

I liked how during the final episode last night Bravo posted that Michael Chiarello had only 15% of the fan text message votes to win, while Hubert had 42% and Rick had 43%. Michael acted like a real jerk when he had the sous ‘Top Chefs’ to work with in the previous episode which left a sour taste in my mouth at the time but he proved in the finale that he was still a great chef with a good attitude. Michael proved to be a master storyteller that can cook really well. The judges really seemed to be thoroughly impressed with every dish he brought out and the stories. While his food looked good and seemed to taste perfect, I think the stories helped him earn extra points. I was still thoroughly pleased that he didn’t win James Oseland over, because in the end I feel like that will bother Michael more than not winning.

The dishes looked great and I loved seeing pictures of the Masters from their youth and early Chef days. It was magical to hear Hubert talk about his childhood and the laundry days. It was personally disappointing to me that Hubert didn’t win because I felt like the entire competition he was really the one to beat, and it seemed like the one big knock they had against his meal was a clove of garlic, which is silly to loose over. I was disappointed week after week in the competition by the fact that Rick always cooked his normal Spanish/Mexican cuisine. I know that he is good at that, and that is what he is truly a master of, but I felt like out of all the chefs he was the one who always always cooked the same type of cuisine. He never seemed to branch out or try new things, and I understand that it’s a competition and you always want to give it your best and do your best and you make what you know you’re good at but since he is now The Top Chef Master I would’ve hoped to see a wider range proving how masterful he is.

Rick had a great attitude through the entire thing. He seems like a genuinely nice guy who means no one harm. It was nice to see him win because he’s a nice guy with a great laugh. I enjoyed watching him cook, just wished to see more of a variety and have him wow us with something he went out on a limb to create. Michael was ok when he didn’t boss others around. I’m in awe of his Italian cooking but it did seem at times like he had a bit of problem with his ego. Hubert is just amazing. He has a great personality, he’s fun, he seems light-hearted and the man can cook, anything! He started the season with pasta in a dorm shower and ended with a 4 course meal of memories. All of them did a great job, it was a great great season!

Yes, I’m bitter that Hubert didn’t win, you can all hear it and read it. But…I find solace in the fact that Rick Bayless did NOT make guacamole in his final challenge, and I am OK with him winning since guac wasn’t involved. I hope they do another season of this and have Wolfgang Puck there – he was priceless in last night’s season premiere of Top Chef.



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