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.