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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Top Chef" Finale: Jolly Kevin vs. the Voltaggios

Though the blizzard of the century continues to dump snow on my driveway and un-plowed street, it's also kinda nice to be at home posting this "Top Chef" blog as the season plays in marathon form on Bravo.

Hey, look, there's Fatty McLipRing and her heaving sun cleavage! Oh man, remember that wacky time Mattin couldn't make French food even though he's ... French? And who could forget the delicious he-she tandem of Preeti and Ashley (well, if you ate their food, you'd probably want to forget them.)

It's been a long, fun season, but as many of us expected from the very beginning, it was always going to be Kevin and the Voltaggios battling it out for the crown. Billed as the most competitive season in "Top Chef" history, it's evident that the cream of a top-heavy crop plans to finish what they started. No matter who wins, tonight should definitely make up for last season's "meh" finale with Hosea, Stefan and Carla.

With Jen bowing out last week, our Power Rankings continue to get feisty. Evan remains in the lead with 47 followed by Boyd, 33; Adam, 32; T-Roz, 32; Ms. Q, 31; Mary, 27; Kelly, 22, and MJ, 17.

In essence, Evan gets bragging rights for winning the regular season in convincing fashion. But these aren't your grandpa's Power Rankings, so as we did last year, it's time to up the ante for the big finale.

Here are the new rules for this one-game playoff:

50 points if you name all three contestants in correct order AND name a main ingredient/component that's used in the winning contestant's final dishes (you can be as generic as duck or as specific as jicama)

30 points if you name all three contestants in correct order

20 points if you only name the Top Chef

Now you know the rules. It's time to sharpen the knives and move all chips to center.

3. Kevin
2. Michael
1. Bryan

Ingredient: Foie gras

Why Bryan will win: First, all three chefs are amazing and maybe this isn't the right logic considering the way it's been played. But I think that Bryan is the most consistent chef with the best technique. Kevin is too simple and safe. Michael is just too cocky and risky. I think Bryan will win because of technique, taste and being the best all-around chef.

-- Evan Siegle

3. Mean Brother (aka: Michael Voltaggio)
2. Nice Brother (aka: Bryan Voltaggio)
1. Gingey the Beardo (aka: Kevin Gillespie)

Ingredient: Lamb

Why Kevin will win: Sure, I get it ... Bryan’s got a kid at home and he wants to make him proud ... and ensure all this time away from him wasn’t time wasted, blah, blah, blah. Kevin deserves to win. I’m sorry but the Ginge has been on fire -- no pun intended -- or perhaps intended. Firebeard is the best chef hands-down because he takes simple (or what Michael would call “off-day”) food and blows it up in your mouth. And yes, that IS what she said.

His style of cooking is a style that anyone could relate to – simple cooking can be crazy good with the right attention to detail and the right chef. Michael needs the glitz and glitter because his food probably isn’t much without the "wow" factor. Sure, he can use liquid nitrogen, cook an egg to eggsactly 63 degrees Fahrenheit and foie gras with one hand behind his back, but he’s not willing to admit Beardy’s Flavor Flav on simple food might knock him out of the park. C’mon Gingey-poo – you got this.

-- Sara Boyd

3. Bryan
2. Michael
1. Kevin

Ingredient: Cabbage

Why Kevin will win: I have no real reasons to predict Kevin's victory, other than he's the only one of the three I like. So I'll just quote one of my favorite movies, "Hot Fuzz": "He had one thing you haven't got." "What's that, sir?" "A GREAT, BIG, BUSHY BEARD!"

-- Adam Reinhard

3. Bryan
2. Michael
1. Kevin

Ingredient: Sweet potato

Why Kevin will win: Bravo couldn't have asked for a better result than last week's Elimination Challenge win by Bryan. It gives Captain Valium a nice shot of confidence heading into the finale against two overwhelming (at least in my opinion) favorites. But that'll have to be Bryan's consolation prize, because this has always been a two-horse race. As I've previously written, Kevin is this year's Stephanie -- confident, consistent and just darn good. He also probably has the most Elimination Challenge wins, which proves time and time again that he can knock an entire meal out of the park. Michael, on the other hand, is a bit of a one or two-dish wonder, Like Blaiser and Stefan before him, he'll probably have the best dish of the night. But because he just can't get that brain to stop working, he'll likely overextend himself and make some major errors in the name of creativity. Consistency always wins in the finale, and while Bryan shows impressive technique, he's not in Kevin's league. Plus, Michael has been a jerk to Big Red all season and karma ... well, it's a beast, to put it politely.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski

3. Bryan V.
2. Mikey V.
1. Kevin

Why Kevin will win: As much as I'd love to give the nod to one of the dueling Voltaggios (just for the drama), I think our favorite jolly lumberjack will pull out one more victory to end this high-stakes season. Kevin has been stellar throughout the competition, using his culinary know-how to wow the judges in challenge after challenge. Jerkface Mike has gotten up in Kevin's bidness about cooking too simply, but clearly it's worked for him time and again. Kevin knows his flavor profiles and doesn't feel he has to prove anything with over-the-top technique or weird molecular gastronomy. He cooks best when he stays true to himself, which I believe can carry him through the finale. Look for the winning recipe to contain halibut, mostly because it's the first thing I thought of (and because Google tells me it's considered sustainable, a big plus for our boy). Game on!

-- Kelly McBride

3. In this corner, we have Boring Brother Bryan
2. In this corner, we have Eeeeevil Brother Mike
1. And on Top, we have Lummmmmmberjack Kevin! (who will use some pork tenderloin)

Why Kevin will win: Let's be honest, I've got nothing to lose right now because I'm pretty much the Robin of these rankings, but I've always had a feeling that only Kevin could walk away with the title of Top Chef. No matter how much Bravo tried to make the sibling rivalry between Bryan and Mike the focal point of the competition, Kevin has always outperformed them. True, he may not be as wacky or out-of-the-box as either of the Voltaggio brothers in his dishes, but he knows how to cook and he knows when to experiment. Call it playing it safe, if you want. I call it pure talent. "Top Chef" isn't a prize for innovation -- it's a prize for good cooking and tasty food. With that in mind, I'm on Team Kevin. Let's go, BEARD!

-- Malavika Jagannathan

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3 Comments:

3. Bryan
2. Kevin
1. Mike

Ingredient: Tuna

Why Mike will win: So I'm the only one who gets points, of course.

By Anonymous Mary, At December 9, 2009 at 1:09 PM  

3. Michael
2. Bryan
1. Kevin

Ingredient: Beef, preferably in steak or roast form

Why is Kevin going to win? Because I love a man with facial hair.

Mary - To the detriment of the rest of us, I do think it would be kind of awesome if we all blew this call and shanked on points.

By Blogger Ms. Quarter, At December 9, 2009 at 6:35 PM  

...4 hours later

Oh No! I'm so sorry I jinxed us!

By Blogger Ms. Quarter, At December 9, 2009 at 10:10 PM  

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