'Top Chef: DC' winner's Singapore sling packs a punch

kevin-top-chef-dc-320.jpg"Top Chef: DC" comes to a suspenseful close with one of its competitors taken to his sickbed, but in the end Kevin Sbraga triumphs and takes home the title.

Upon hearing that he's "Top Chef" in the Wednesday (Sept. 15) finale, he responds in disbelief, "I am?"

"Best reaction ever," observes judge Tom Colicchio.

For their final challenge, Sbraga, Angelo Sosa and Ed Cotton have to cook the best four-course meal of their lives, using all the same proteins. There's a vegetable course, a fish course (rouget, cuttlefish, cockles, slipper lobster), a meat course (pork belly, whole duck) and dessert (oh noes!).

As we already surmised, they pair up with past winners. Kevin and Angelo get the champs they want, Michael Voltaggio and Hung Huynh, respectively. Ed wants Michael also, but he gets Ilan Hall, whom he constantly reminds is supposed to be his sous chef.

The big hiccup of course that creates feelings of dread among Angelo fans is that he gets incredibly sick, to the point that a doctor drops by and isn't too sanguine about Angelo's chances of competing.

Nevertheless, Hung soldiers on, calling Angelo from the market and kitchen to plan and prep a menu. Hung is a speed demon and is one reason why Angelo has a fighting chance. Shoot, the dude even grabs all the foie gras in the kitchen, so he's got your back. Eventually, Angelo gets antibiotics shot in his buttocks, which causes him to heal and rally the day of the finale. Whew!

Their offerings:

top-chef-dc-finale-320.jpgEd

Vegetable - Chilled summer corn veloute with crispy fried cockles
Fish - Stuffed rouget with zucchini pesto, glazed bacon-wrapped slipper lobster and char-grilled cuttlefish
Meat - Duo of duck - roast breast and stuffed neck with baby green spinach
Dessert - Sticky toffee date cake with fleur de sel creme chantilly

Kevin

Vegetable - Terrine of eggplant zucchini & roasted pepper terrine
Fish - Pan-seared rouget w/ cuttlefish "noodles" and braised pork belly and squid ink
Meat - Roasted duck breast with duck dumplings, caramelized bok choy and orange coriander sauce
Dessert - Singapore Sling 2010 w/ coconut panna cotta and tropical fruits

Angelo


Vegetable - Grilled royale mushroom with fresh noodles, char siu bao and watermelon tea
Fish - Asian-style bouillabaisse over sauteed rouget and confit cuttlefish
Meat - Sauteed duck breast and foie gras on cinnamon marshmallow and tart cherry shooter
Dessert - "Thai Jewel" shaved ice with a coconut milk infusion of vanilla bean, kaffir lime, water chestnuts with saffron and saffron syrup

Overall, everything is good, but the judges say that Kevin has taken the most risks and delivers the best overall meal. Ed's dessert offering is kind of an insult partly because of its uninspired simplicity and partly because he pretty much made Ilan do the whole thing, and then criticizes him for it. Uh, Ed, this is YOUR four course meal. Angelo's downfall is the odd cherry "palate cleanser" and sort of ho-hum vegetable plate.

So, congratulations are in order for Kevin, but can we just say we want more Michael Voltaggio? The dude is constantly cracking us up. Best line of the night: "That's the second-best food I've had on 'Top Chef.'"

Happy with the results? Oh, and the reunion announcement they're going to make has to be "Top Chef: All-Stars" right?

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Photo credits: Bravo

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