Top Chef Masters Finale!

So the time has come to see who will take it all. Not only the $100,000 for their charity but a prize package worth over $250,000 (like how that was glossed over;).

So we start with the chefs being whisked away to an unknown location for an unknown challenge (final, quickfire?). They arrive at the Getty Villa. They have to create a meal that is based on their food history. Their first food memory, the experience that made them decide to become chefs, the opening of their 1st restaurant and last their future. They will be serving Padma, Tom and Gail from the original Top Chef in addition to the regular critics. Also the 5 winners of Top Chef.

I find it interesting that both Hubert and Rick were brought up in the food business and that was connected to their first memory. Michael’s was tied to his mom cooking with him. I wonder about my children and what their food memories will be. Will it be the goofy cake I made or their dumping chocolate chips the first time or getting to roll snickerdoodles? My own are tied to failures and Passover;). It makes you think.

Hubert: Baeckeoffe (Alsatian Lamb, Beef, Pork and Potato Stew), Salmon Souffle served with Choucroute Flan, Colorado Lamb Chop wrapped in Vegetable Mousseline served with Vanilla-Merlot Sauce, Pan-Seared Sweetbreads served with Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks

Michael: Duo of Gnocchi, Polenta with Rabbit, Asparagus and Wild Mushroom served with Duck and Rabbit Liver Spiedini, Whole Fried Ginger Marinated Rouget served with Mango Salad, Brined Short Ribs served with 5 Onion Cavalo Nero

Rick: BBQ Smoked Quail w/ Watermelon Salad, Ahi Tuna with Oaxacan Black Mole served with Plantain Tamales & Grilled Nopales, Cochinita Pibil served with Sunchoke Puree, Crispy Pig’s Feet and Pickled Red Onion, Arroz a la Tumbaua with Lobster, Crab, Squid, Mussels and Shrimp served with Chorizo “Air”

Of course there is a finale twist. A card and remote are waiting for them in the kitchen the day of service. It is a video of their sous-chefs sending them a little encouragement. And then… the sous-chefs walked in! They all keep cooking and seem to be just getting it done. So what was the plan before the sous-chefs showed up?

Before we get to service and judgement let me say, Harold looks so much older! Not old but more like a grown up;).

Huang thought that Michael’s tomato sauce was under seasoned. But all 3 seemed to do well. The second course all went well too! Michael’s polenta looks so yummy but Hubert’s mousseline sauce is the most tantalizing for me. Michael’s fish in his 3rd course is a little scary looking. Elan thought Michael’s fish was one dimensional. Padma thought Hubert had to much vanilla and Tom thought the raw garlic was a mistake. Everyone thought Rick’s food was very sophisticated and that surprised them. Rick’s last dish may have suffered from time and it wasn’t a big success. Padma loved Michael’s short rib. Harold thought Hubert’s sweetbread was under cooked.

Onto Critic’s Table… Michael’s short rib was a huge hit but the fish was hit and miss. Hubert’s stew was homey and wonderful. Hubert said he blanched the garlic 3 times but everyone thought the garlic tasted almost raw. There was also mixed reviews on the vanilla in the lamb dish. Rick’s foam or “air” didn’t go over well and his fish was a little overcooked. But everyone loves Rick’s mole.

Michael: (diner’s) 4 1/2 stars, (total) 17 stars
Rick:(diner’s) 4 1/2 stars, (total) 18 stars
Hubert: (diner’s) 4 stars, (total) 16 1/2 stars

So Rick Bayliss won! I think it was well earned and couldn’t happen to a nicer guy!

That sends us into the new season of Top Chef. Stay tuned for that recap!

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