And the Top Chef Winner is...

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An epic eighth season of Top Chef drew to a close this week.

Despite some unexpected eliminations, we never had doubts about Richard, did we?  Mike Isabella? Yes. But not Richard. The contestants here got a chance to open up their dream restaurant, if only for the finale. Let’s break it down!

Richard or Michael?

The Final Challenge
No Quickfire, there’s just too much to do! The finale seemed a bit rushed to me, but at least Mike and Richard got to open up the restaurant of their dreams, with eliminated foes as their sous chefs. In an interesting twist, the chefs could not directly pick the latter; instead, the sous chefs “auditioned” for Mike and Richard.

While it’s a fun twist, I wonder how happy the eliminated chefs must be to cook for the finalists. The fact that chefs who aren’t chosen seem rather excited to enjoy their time in the Bahamas probably makes Richard and Mike more nervous.

The chefs are apprehensive, of course, because in addition to gems like Angelo and Antonia, there is also Jamie and Marcel. Richard gets Antonia, Spike, and Angelo, a fairly strong team, while Mike picks Jaime (ouch!), Carla, and Tiffany.

Richard’s Restaurant: A surf and turf restaurant named Tongue & Cheek. So Richard!

Amuse Bouche: Raw Oyster with Lemon Horseradish Ice Cream and Salsa Verde.
Raw Hamachi with Fried Veal Sweetbreads, Asian Pear, Pickled Radish, and Garlic Mayonnaise
Pork Belly with a Black Cod Cutlet, Bone Marrow, Beets, Brussels Sprouts, and Kumquat
Beef Short Rib with Mushrooms, Red Cabbage Marmalade, and Celery Root Horseradish Puree
Cornbread with Foie Gras Ice Cream and Whipped Mango

The food is generally well-received by the judges, although they seem a bit confused by the foie gras ice cream. I’m awfully curious to know what that tastes like.

Mike’s Restaurant: An Italian-themed restaurant named Iz, as his mother called him Izzie while growing up.

Spiced beets with Mozzarella, Chocolate, and Truffle Vinaigrette
Halibut with Kumquats Marmalade, Cauliflower Puree, and Pancetta Crumbs
Braised Pork Shoulder with Pepperoni Sauce, Roasted Cabbage, and Turnips
Rosemary Caramel Custard with Pine Nuts, Citrus, Cherry and Apple

Mike’s restaurant gets rave reviews, as well, although his dessert isn’t as well-received.

Judges Table
The judges seem really pleased with the food; and they’re certainly more complimentary than usual, with Tom telling them it’s the best food ever during the finale, in a heartfelt manner. Both Mike and Richard look like they’re about to faint when the judges praise the other chef’s food. They seem to like Mike’s food the best, but perhaps that’s a product of the editing.

Finally, Padma announces the winner. It's... RICHARD BlAIS! YES!! Top Chef did not fail us after all; I will give props to Mike for a great hustle but Richard deserved it more than anyone else, and it took three seasons for the man to redeem himself!

I have no qualms admitting that Richard is one of the most talented and creative chefs ever on Top Chef, even if his attitude did suffer a bit during the latter half of the competition. Do you agree? 


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (15 Votes)

Agree with you completely on the fact that it was Richard's to lose. His talent and creativity is second to none. But yes, I noticed a complete deterioration in his attitude on the latter half of the competition. He looked like he hadn't slept in a month, and the cut-throat competitive streak was a bit..jarring. Mike gave it a fabulous run, and as someone who always roots for the underdog, I was behind Antonia all the way. But yes, the best chef won.


I am so thrilled for Richard, I wasn't sure it I could watch the finale.
Richard has been my hero from the first time he was on Top Chef. Totally robbed, but what a way to redeem himself.
Richard had some stiff competeion with certain suprises along the way with the other chef's. Not a fan of Mike his arrogance got in his way.
Congratulations Richard!!!


Did Richard give Mike the Money he said he would if he won?


We all know the prize was Richard's to lose. Not having been there, I will say that Mike reaped what he sowed. He stole one of Blais' concepts and used it during a quickfire in which he won cash. Now Blais tells him he will give him some prize money by investing in his restaurant! I would not have done that. However, it is possible that Mike's food is so good that it is worth the investment. Blais' endorsement is as good as gold, at least to people who actually view this show. Mike said Tiffany & someone else (he did not say who) should have been eliminated sooner than they were. I wonder why no one said Jamie? That is the obvious choice & no one would fault them. Mike can't help himself. If this is how he conducts business, his restaurant will fail regardless of how great the food is. As far as Colicchio, I agree with @Giselle. Colicchio has a nasty attitude & I am glad Elia stood up to him. You can also ssee it in Padma's face, so Colicchio cannot blame the show editors. Not only that, there are rumors that Bravo does not like to have "too many" minorities on their programs & one show in particular had a policy of having only a "token" amount minorities. Rumor has it that the show in question is either "Top Chef" or "Project Runway" (which now airs on Lifetime). My money is on "Project Runway" pertaining to that rumor. I want to point out that this information is rumor on the internet, so it may or may not be true.


I was very surprised that Richard the weird looking guy won.
I think that Mike Isabella was the best choice...but Colicchio is sleeping these days...he's not a good judge anymore.Shame on you Colicchio.

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