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Top Chef Season 5, Episode 14 — Last Chef Standing
OK, so what happened last night wasn't exactly my worst nightmare as far as Top Chef is concerned (That would have been Lisa pulling the upset last season. If that had happened, I might have been too upset to even watch this season). But it was still, well, sad.
Sad. Sad. Sad. Sad. Sad. Triple times sad.
On so many levels, sad. From the demise of Carla because she was a bit too loving and open, to Stefan showing he was a human being by comforting Carla, to Hosea being rewarded for playing it safe.
And the saddest part of all? That a truly exceptional season of Top Chef went quietly into the night with a mediocre winner. A winner who, until last night, had NEVER done anything spectacular. Who wouldn't fit anyone's idea of "top" of anything except maybe in some reference to height.
Yes, even if you didn't watch last night's episode you can guess who I'm talking about: Hosea.
Hosea is the new Top Chef. Yet I'd never want to eat anything the guy cooks. Every summer, we go hiking in Colorado and we always spend a day in Boulder shopping. I can safely say that no matter how starved I am after checking out the overpriced stuff on Pearl Street will I beg to eat at Hosea's Jax Fish House. I wouldn't even give it a second look. I don't care if the guy won, his food won't be worth the mark up it is surely getting this morning.
So, how did this happen? The set up began weeks ago and I feel with 100 percent certainty that it never would have happened had Jamie not over-salted her celery. Had Miss Scallop not been eliminated, then surely Hosea would have been a goner much, much sooner and tonight would have had a different outcome.
Of course, there were many other follies that led up to this injustice. Most notably, the problems caused by Carla's and Stefan's character flaws. Really, when you get down to it, Hosea won because he didn't have much of a character, unless you could "jealous of Stefan" as a defining feature.
You see, Carla is all about the love and peace and harmony and that's why I love her. But it's also what did her in. She was so open to the suggestions of Casey, who was a fantastic runner-up in season 3, that she didn't cook "her food." Casey is a sweet girl, but she hijacked Carla's third and fourth courses (meat and potatoes and her cheese dessert) and Carla was left with tough meat and no cheese tart or souffle. Not good, even if all the love in the room came and sat down on the plate.
Stefan, meanwhile, is one cocky, arrogant guy. He wins, that's what he does. He's been cooking for more than half his life and he's the son of a chef. He has the same God complex heart surgeons have on Grey's Anatomy. But, in this instance, he was a bit too hard-headed. He HAD to freeze his fish for his second course. He HAD to finish with an ice cream. He HAD to question the judges at the final judges' table. He basically dug his own grave by being too confident.
So, it had to be Hosea. Who didn't even have the favorite dish of the night (that would be Stefan's squab). Who never did much of anything in any of the challenges. Who didn't even do a dessert for the final course. Yes, he didn't have to do a dessert, it wasn't a requirement, but after three courses wouldn't you love a dessert? He tried to play it off at the judge's table like he just wanted to showcase savory foods, but in his interview he admitted that dessert wasn't his strong point. But if you can't make a dessert are you even Top Chef material? NO. But who am I to decide?
Ugh. I'm so disappointed that I can't decide if I'm sad or happy that this season is over. All season, I would have said I'd be sad when it was over because I thought it was such a great season. But the ending just put a serious bad taste in my mouth.
Some final random thoughts:
— How about Stefan showing his softer side by comforting a crying Carla. He's not so bad after all.
— And how about Hosea just standing there while Carla was crying and not even blinking. Jerk.
— And Carla was good enough not to even throw Casey under the bus. She took responsibility and a lot of reality show folks can learn from that.
— More air time for fabulous Fabio. That was definitely the high point for me.
— Drat that salted celery, Jamie. Drat!
— Well, moving on ... make sure to check out Culture Crumbs for an American Idol blog once the show is down to the Top 12. And if this season of Project Runway ever gets the green light to be aired, we'll have a blog on that, too.