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We knew last night’s Top Chef finale was going to be a tough one even before the chefs started cooking. It began with a shot of the judges deliberating and fretting over how great both chefs were and how hard this decision was going to be. Then, a Memento-esque smash cut and we were back to the actual beginning of the episode, days earlier.
The chefs were told that the final challenge was to open a one-night-only pop-up restaurant with a set four-course menu. But first, a quick shot of Padma emerging from the ocean, à la Fast Times at Ridgemot High (cue “Talks in Stereo” by The Cars). After choosing sous chefs—Nick went with Jason, Louis and Brian, and Nina opted for Shirley, Stephanie and Travis—the groups got to work prepping for the big night. Both menus featured local ingredients. Nina’s was predictably Italian and highlighted her pasta-making skills, while Nick’s was multicultural with dishes like scallop noodles and panna cotta.
Since we already knew it was going to be a tough decision, it came as no surprise that the judges discussed and argued the verdict late into the night. In the end they went with the dark horse, Nick. For those playing F&W’s Fantasy Top Chef, here are the final scores.
Nina Compton: +3 for adding extra little bites to her menu, even though the judges couldn’t judge her on them. +2 for thinking on her toes and making zeppoles instead of ice cream when she found out there was no ice cream machine. +2 for her orecchiette with goat sugo that was so good Emeril wanted seconds. +2 for making viewers tear up with memories of her father. +10 for being the clear fan favorite and the outpouring of support she received on Twitter. Total points: 92
Nicholas Elmi: -5 for bad chef etiquette. He exploded with anger in the kitchen when he was frustrated with a server (it was so loud that the judges heard it) and snapped when someone forgot to put down spoons. +2 for his shrimp bisque with scallop noodles, which Tom said was the best thing he’d eaten all season. +2 for pulling at heartstrings with the story of how he met his wife (he didn’t want to go on a second date with her because he knew he would marry her after that—aww). +30 for taking home the title of Top Chef. Total points: 89
The winner of F&W’s Fantasy Top Chef is NINA COMPTON! Though her performance during the finale couldn’t win her the title of Top Chef, her talent, skill and wit throughout the entirety of the show kept her on the top of our fantasy league. Congratulations to those of you who were on #TeamNina from the beginning. Let us know what you win!