Before the Finale: Top Chef Season 5

February 25, 2009 at 8:43 pm

So, tonight’s the finale of Top Chef Season 5.  I stopped writing on it because I was enjoying live blogging with the folks over at Endless Simmer too much, but I thought sharing a few thoughts about the season would be appropriate before it ends tonight.

Favorite Episode:
Episode 6: Twelve Days of Christmas
Honestly, I just thought it was fun.  It was different, it was tricky, it required a lot of creativity.  Could you come up with a dish inspired by “nine ladies dancing”?
Episode 8: Down on the Farm
Yes, they shop at Whole Foods every week, but it was especially nice to see the contestants work it out on the farm, using only the meat and produce found there.

Least Favorite Challenge: Episode 11: Le Bernardin

No offense to Eric Ripert, of course, but I never did warm to this challenge.  Yes, it takes tremendous skill to cook Ripert’s food and it’s a huge honor to cook in the kitchen of Le Bernardin, but it still seems to me that the ability to recreate someone else’s food isn’t one of the most important marks of a good chef.  The contestants should be exhibiting their creativity, not Ripert’s.
Also, not a fan of the product placement quick fire challenges featuring Dr. Pepper and Quaker Oats.

Favorite Contestant:
Initially, I started out really liking Hosea, but the Hosea/Leah “relationship” put me off a bit (or a lot…) as did his attitude and food in general.  As the season progressed, I began rooting more and more for Carla.  “Hootie hoo!”

Least Favorite Contestant:
Leah, for her seeming lack of personality and motivation to stay on the show, plus the aforementioned Hosea thing.  Stefan annoyed the daylights out of me, but he proved he’s one of the best cooks of the bunch.

Prediction:
I would love to see Carla win.  But I’m suspecting it’s going to be Stefan.

Tune in to Bravo at 10 pm tonight to see who wins!

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