The final “Top Chef” challenge begins right after the previous challenge ended, and the cheftestants have to create four courses of their best dishes. The first course is vegetable, the second is fish, the third is meat (with proteins chosen by Colicchio and Ripert) and the final course is dessert. And as usual, they get a sous chef from former winners; Ed gets Elan, Kevin gets Michael Voltaggio (a friend before the competition), and Angelo gets Hung.
The next morning, Angelo realizes that he’s really, really sick. The judges determine that he will work via phone with Hung to do the shopping and the first day of prep. So Hung is running around like an animal in the kitchen, working; meanwhile, Ed and Elan are butting heads a little bit. On the second day, Angelo gets cleared to cook. And here are the dishes:
Angelo: pickled royale mushrooms, char siu bao pork belly, noodles and watermelon tea, and while the judges admire his flavors, they think that the dish needs work.
Kevin: terrine of eggplant, zucchini and peppers, pickled tomatoes, jalapenos, and black garlic puree, which is kind of boring but technically good.
Ed: chilled summer corn velout� with fried black cockles, which pretty much everyone agrees is the best of the vegetable courses.
Angelo: saut�ed rouget and poached cuttlefish with Asian style bouillabaisse, which the judges think is a dish to remember.
Kevin: pan-seared rouget with cuttlefish “noodles,” pork belly, cockles, slipper lobster and cigala, which gets decent marks from the judges.
Ed: stuffed rouget, glazed slipper lobster and cuttlefish with zucchini pesto, which the judges think is complicated.
Angelo: saut�ed duck breast and foie gras with marshmallow and tart cherry shooter. While the judges like his dish, they don’t see the point of the shooter.
Kevin: roasted duck breast with duck dumpling, caramelized bok choy and coriander sauce. The judges say that his duck was cooked the best of the three.
Ed: duck two ways: roasted breast and braised stuffed neck with baby spinach, and the judges like the layers of flavors.
Angelo: “Thai jewel,” which is coconut-vanilla cream and crushed ice with exotic fruits, which the judges find comforting and tasty.
Kevin: frozen “Singapore Sling” with tropical fruits, which the judges call the new national Singapore dessert.
Ed: sticky toffee date pudding with fleur de sel cr�me Chantilly, which the judges differ on.
And the winner is the chef that the judges feel took the most risks and succeeded, and that is… Kevin! Damn, the guy I thought wouldn’t even make it halfway through the competition ends up winning it all.
Photo credit: Bravo