good morning and welcome to the final Top Chef Tuesday!
After 14 episodes of Top Chef World All Stars, we finally have the series’ first-ever back-to-back champion.
And that champion is Chef Buddha!
Our Australian-born champion won eight challenges this season, or 33 per cent. That’s a dominant record against competition featuring other Top Chef champions and finalists.
How did here win? As much as it pains to me say, I think it was more about Chef Sara losing the final.
Of the three finalists - Buddha, Gabri and Sara - it was Sara’s four-course meal that seemed to impress our esteemed table of guests the most. Except there was one course that failed her, and it was her undercooked (raw) liver.
“God dammit!” host Padma Lakshmi said during deliberations. This was only the second time in her 19-season run I’ve ever seen Padma curse.
This was an emotional finale for Padma, who last week announced she would not be returning to the show. Our host even teared up after the final dishes of the night were served.
I have to say I was most excited about Gabri’s menu. Of the three finalists he’s the one who seemed to take the most risks and even threw the rulebook out on a couple of occasions. The judges were most impressed by Gabri serving them grasshoppers, the first in a final.
But the problem for Gabri this finale was that most of his dishes lacked the final touch or two to make it “perfect”.
As far as first courses go, Buddha’s clam chowder inspired dish with a mushroom butterfly looked like a piece of art. Still, my biggest gripe is he showed us a couple of techniques he’s already displayed. I was hoping for a couple new things from him.
And while his progression from first course (chowder) to second (curry) was questionable, the smooth red curry bisque received rave reviews from Padma.
He was the most technically gifted of the three chefs in the finale and wasn’t afraid to show off his wide repertoire. His lamb and eggplant third course, and his lamington-inspired dish both looked like showstoppers.
And so there we are - the first Top Chef World All Star.
Who knows where Top Chef goes from here. The biggest question is who will fill Padma’s role as host.
Fitzie’s track of the day: Hello, by GROUPLOVE
And now for your links:
The Athletic ($$): South Melbourne and the club that moulded a community
Alasdair Gold: What Spurs can expect from training under Ange Postecoglou
Carlo Ancelotti sues Everton two years after leaving club
Real Madrid confirm Vinicius Jr will wear #7 shirt
AC Milan pay tribute to former owner Silvio Berlusconi
Padma Lakshmi explains why she’s leaving Top Chef in this LA Times interview