Top Chef, you have finally restored my faith! The finale was still great nail-biting TV, so I hope we've all learned a little something here!
In the past, as some of us might complain about just a little, the finals always have someone very disliked who often seems fixed to be there simply because he/she is not liked.
This season, we got Lisa, who didn't seem to deserve to be in the final three after her lack of wins, and her many faux pas. In the final three, she was for the sake of the drama of it all... and oh did it cause drama, though not quite in the way we expected!
With the edgy, defensive Lisa around, it seemed she'd be a mad woman in the kitchen during the final challenge, but instead she was surprisingly confident and... cheery??
What's happening?? Did Puerto Rico turn into some sort of alternative universe where Lisa is nice, happy, and a great chef and Richard is a stressed out disaster?
Well, maybe a little, but I guess I have to give Lisa credit for really bringing it with her skills and confidence when she knew full well no one really expected or wanted her to win.
So with the chefs on their final challenge of a four-course dinner with famous chefs by their sides, it seemed like everyone had to do well, though my fingers were certainly crossed against Lisa and for Stephanie.
Last season, I was very surprised to see Casey come to the finals in a completely different mindset which very much didn't include concentration on winning Top Chef.
Richard still brought what seemed to be his A-game, but I guess his head was too much into it, and he was also probably too worried about how great it'd be to win now with his wife and baby on the way.
So with Lisa all chipper and bonding with her new bff and sous chef, April, Richard was doing just fine with his work and chef, but apparently just over-thinking everything when his usual genius comes from just letting these fun and delicious ideas come to him.
Stephanie, on the other hand, just rolled along with her good ideas, and had no big stressers, and no huge, crazy ideas besides a very creative lamb dish which did very well for her!
After the dinner, nerves were crazy high with all the praise the judges were giving to Lisa's food, and all the lack of praise for Richard's.
So much for it being neck-and-neck between Stephanie and Richard... especially when things just got worse at the judges' table, including Richard's final words being him admitting that he entirely chocked on this challenge.
Ah, Richard, why?? Personally, I was rooting for Stephanie most of all, but Richard is fantastic too, and they both could easily get and deserve this win.
But with it ending up being neck-and-neck between Stephanie and Lisa, it was just stressful watching through that final judges' deliberation! Too much Lisa praise, make it stop! Sure that's nice and all for her to continue her career from here, but if she were to win, I would definitely boycott Top Chef for being entirely ridiculous.
I don't care how much they say each challenge is individually judged, they have to take the whole competition into consideration for that final round.
And thankfully, it seems they did as they declared Stephanie the Top Chef! Hooray!! Finally a female Top Chef winner, and a wonderfully deserving and qualified one at that!
This was certainly a great season with lots of interesting, crazy, and talented chefs, so Top Chef has proven to still have it!
Photo courtesy of TVGuide.com