The winning cheftestant

I think I can speak for many of us when I say that last week’s Top Chef finale was a big disappointment. Carla practically self-destructed; Stefan’s food was described as soul-less; and that left Hosea winning season five.

The final challenge was, as Tom Colicchio phrased it, “cook us the best three-course meal of your life.” The surprise twist, because each episode needs at least one or two surprise twists, was allowing each cheftestant to choose a contestant from a previous season as their sous chef. Carla partnered with Casey, my favorite from season three. Stefan selected Marcel, who apparently has a lot of personality (read: a jerk), but I didn’t watch that season so I can’t really say. Hosea picked (picture me swooning) Richard Blais, the runner-up from last season, to assist him. I’ve actually had the pleasure of meeting Richard, albeit briefly, when I was in Atlanta last spring and I heart him. Heart him. Heart him.

The cheftestants served their three-course meals to a mixed bunch of musicians, restaurateurs and chefs at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. Carla, poor Carla. Not sure how she was steered so wrong. She cooked her beef using a technique she’s never used, sous vide, and then forgot to lower the temperature of her soufflés. Stefan had a solid evening, cooking the best dish of the night — Pan Seared Squab, Braised Cabbage, Schupfnudeln, Foie Gras and Grape Jus. I guess he got some foie gras from Hosea after all. Stefan’s mistake was going the traditional route and cooking a three course meal that ended with a very average dessert, unfortunately.

In Hosea’s defense, his food overall looked like it was better and was thoughtfully prepared. He was probably Top Chef of the night, just not of the season. His Blackened Red Fish on Corn Cake with Creole Roumelade looked great. And, the Seared Scallop with Foie Gras on Pain Perou, Apple Preserves and Foie Gras Foam appeared delicious.


Hosea’s Seared Scallop with Foie Gras on Pain Perou,
Apple Preserves and Foie Gras Foam

For the drink pairing: The classic accompaniment for foie gras is a Sauterne, a full-bodied, sweet white wine from Bordeaux that has a high acidity and therefore a good accompaniment for rich foods. It is also good for dessert or as an apertif. A Twitter friend recommended this one from Barton & Guestier. Described as supple and suave, with nice freshness on the palate and intense mouth flavors. Hootie-hoo!

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