It’s no secret that I’m a food show junkie…..cooking shows, cooking competitions, chef bios, restaurant features—you name it, I pretty much watch it all (Thank goodness my better half doesn’t mind too much!). Afterall, I kind of see it as my culinary education without the crazy culinary school tuition costs.
Among my favs over the past few years— Top Chef . Love, love, love it—and have been a faithful viewer all 6 seasons (in addition to the Top Chef Masters season). Sure, I agree with many who kind of liked it better in the earlier seasons when they had relatively unknown, less experienced chefs. They, after all, had more to gain. But with more seasoned chefs comes more interesting dishes which made this past Season 6 a crowd pleaser.
Before I go on, I must warn you all who haven’t seen the finale yet and say SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! Watch the finale and come back to read my rants But if you have seen it, let’s continue on…..
All season, the bf and I have been Team Jennifer Carroll, Chef de Cuisine of 10 Arts by Eric Ripert. Why? Because she was a darn great cook, funny as heck, and she was Eric Ripert’s gal. That is a winning combo right there!
Imagine our disappointment when she got eliminated in part 1 of the finale….BUMMER!!! Who will give snarky comments now? But at least we still had my bf’s fav left in the final 3– Kevin Gillespie.
Kevin Gillespie is the Executive Chef & Partner of Woodfire Grill in Atlanta, Georgia. We loved him for being the “pork guy”….so much so that he had a tattoo of a pig! Quite funny. I particularly admired his stance of using only local & sustainable goods at his restaurant.
Unfortunately Kevin didn’t perform his best with the final challenge. His 1st course was quite a favorite among the judges but the other dishes just didn’t cut it—with the worst being his pork dish….IRONY! Alas, Padma informs him that he is not Top Chef. Bummer Kev, we really liked you—and your sassy southern mom too!
Which finally leaves us with the remaining two….The Voltaggio Brothers. The culinary sibling powerhouse who were favored since the beginning of the season.
I must admit that I, too, was in awe of the dishes that these two whipped out. Beautiful, refined, innovative, and just darn impressive.
I favored the elder brother, Bryan Voltaggio , who is the Executive Chef and Co-owner of VOLT Restaurant, in Maryland. His dishes looked amazing and of the two brothers, he appeared more down to earth and humble.
He pulled out a few great dishes in the finale with the assistance of two Sous Chefs, Jennifer Carroll and Ashley Merriman. Unfortunately, the judges felt his dishes were somewhat safe. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think “safe” is a bad thing when it comes to dishes as long as it tastes darn good. But then again, I don’t get paid the big bucks to be a judge….
Which leaves us to the Top Chef Winner of Season 6, Michael Voltaggio.
Michael is the Chef de Cuisine at The Dining Room in Pasadena, California. Was I always impressed with his dishes? Yes. Did he push the envelope and think outside of the box? Yes. Did the bf and I secretly make up this fictitious story that he and Jennifer Carroll would end up hooking up? HECK YES! But what totally turned me off was the fact that he portrayed himself to be so cocky and arrogant. Two things that are NMF (not my fav). Bleh!
To be fair, I did think he was absolutely qualified to win and his track record throughout the season with Quick Fire and Elimination Challenge wins proved it (not to mention the 2010 Prius he scored and tons of cash with High Stakes challenges). But in the humble opinion of this food show junkie, I would have liked to have seen Jennifer or Kevin take it home.
I do need to also comment that the finale show this season was a tad lackluster. Gone are the days when the finale only consisted of 2 finalists or when we had to wait an entire week to see the winner after viewing the judging. C’mon now, Season 2 in the Big Island of Hawai’i was not only beautifully placed with the location but the finale meals were well spread out to give due credit to the finalists. I’m hoping that the producers of the show will rethink this new finale format and spend more air time featuring the food and judges commentary. HINT, HINT!
But when all is said and done, I can’t wait to see what next season will unfold.
For now, Food Show Junkie signing off.