top chef finale (spoiler alert) …

last night’s top chef season 6 finale was a real nail-biter for me!

i would have been happy if any of the remaining chefs won, but i was really rooting for bryan voltaggio – i usually like chefs like marcel (although his spit-like foams did get on my nerves), hung, stefan or (especially) richard blais – chefs who are technically superior, but still make inspiring, and sometimes thought-provoking dishes.

i wonder sometimes why top chef makes the chefs go through challenges like the bocuse d’or (culinary olympics); the le cirque & le bernardin challenges (recreate dishes); the “vivre las vegas” challenge (create a dish with a traditional french sauce or protein) and the french culinary institute challenge (making a dish from the “hardest” ingredients in french cuisine: potato, onion and chicken)  – challenges designed to test a cook’s classical training skills and palate – but then end up giving the top prize to chefs like elan or hosea? but i digress…

they called bryan’s dishes “safe” – i would call them elegant, restrained and beautiful. i can’t feel too bad for kevin when i think back on all the prizes he won: lots of money, a frozen dinner version of one of his meals, a recipe in their cookbook, a chance to compete in the bocuse d’or, a fully equipped kitchen, a slot in the “pigs & pinot” fundraiser…

i would definitely eat at both their restaurants:  VOLT and woodfire grill. closer to home, it looks like michael voltaggio has taken over as head chef de cuisine of the dining room at the langham huntington hotel and spa in pasadena – do i see a birthday dinner on the horizon next year?

so french, so dreamy…

and most important – hopefully, next season no one will work for eric ripert, i really missed him being a judge (although charlie palmer was able to come?)…this season was an amazing one and a high bar has been set for the caliber of chefs that will be on future shows…can’t wait!

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