So it’s the finale. The big enchilada. A four course tasting menu in a beautiful restaurant. A mini restaurant wars. Competing to be the sous chefs are a smattering of folks who’d left weeks before. The poor bastard who hacksaw butchered the pig in the first episode, is back.
The two finalists get to walk into a room and blind taste test the prepared dishes. Don’t pick your favorite sous chef, pick your favorite dish.
Paul picks first, and nabs himself a master chef. Sarah picks Nyesha’s dish, Paul picks Tylor, Sarah gets the poor bastard with the pork, Paul scores Malibu, Sarah gets Heather, Paul snags Keith, and the last pick goes to Sarah and it’s Grayson. Both strong teams for the most part, Paul clearly has the luckier pick.
Planning commences and shopping ensues, Tyler (not Tylor) looks like the easy target for Bravo. He is. Again, poor bastard. They go from what looks like a large farmer’s market to Whole Foods. Paul says he still feels he has something to prove to his parents about the status of being a chef. He’s one of the best chefs in the country, arguably, so here’s hoping Paul prepares the better meal.
Prep over, the chefs retire for the night, meeting up with Tom and Emeril. They’re pairing wines (insert product placement) with their meals. I’m aware that’s what largely keeps the show going and I’m willing to offer some leeway, but it does, at times, get in the way, seem overwrought, or seem ham-fisted, and that’s really my only complaint.
As the chef’s reenter the kitchen, it’s competition day. Poor Tyler (not Tylor), for him it’s a day of more criticism. I’m sure he’s a great celebrity chef. It looks like he’s never been on a line, cooking under pressure. Paul’s team seems to be humming along behind him. His shrimp smells a bit funky so he’s got to go for a Plan B, or Plan C. Paul bought prawns as a backup – good thinking.
The judges table is full of huge names in food, as you might expect. It looks like most of the old cheftestants are spread out at different tables around the two restaurants. There’s another panel of completely separate judges at the other restaurant. More huge names. Unibrow!!!
Round 1. First course for both judges goes very well. Seems like an absolute tie. Paul’s family is at the restaurant. Looks like they’re pretty proud, no need to worry Paul Second course is probably tipped to Paul, if I had to go by the judges. Third course for could go either way. Sarah’s third dish seems fine, no one is quibbling over it. Probably tipped to Sarah, if I had to guess. Her dessert clearly seems to be a winner. Paul’s dessert is clearly a “wow,” but is it a winner?
Round 2. Sarah gets a visit from her family as judges flip restaurants. Paul’s first dish tanks on the second time around. It got a bit overcooked and there’s no way to fix it. He knows it too. Seemed the first set of judges loved it when it was right. Roundly panned the second time. Win for Sarah on this round. He seems to pull it out of the hole once the rest of the dishes pop out, typical Paul. Seems like it could be a close call for the finish.
At judges table Tom tells them it’s the best food they’ve ever had in a finale. That’s pretty big praise. Cue the judges picking apart the dishes bit by bit. It’s nitpicking to be sure. But that’s what you lose on. Cheftestants are dispatched back to the
stew-room train car and wait out the judges. That’s got to be tense and awkward. As the judges are chatting – I get the slightly uneasy feeling that Sarah is winning. I won’t be happy if Sarah wins. No I won’t.
Soooo…..how does it end? Seems the little graphic during the commercial doesn’t disagree with me. 88% think Paul should win. Ouch – that’s a landslide. But it’s not a popularity contest, you can be unlikable and make better food. The chef’s walk back in with all the prior contestants and their families watching the judging. Screw that. That sucks. Who wants to get humiliated in front of your family? Damn. That’s brutal. They sure can build themselves some tension, that Bravo. And – - – Paul wins!!! That’s awesome, entirely deserved. Congrats Paul!!!