Yay, Stephanie!

Forgive me for posting on this so late, but I was nursing my wounds from last night’s loss. I don’t want to talk about it. But at least one of the folks I was cheering for on TV pulled out a win.

Anyway, the Top Chef finale was a bit anti-climactic, albeit deserved. Why didn’t they have a live finale like last season? Anyway, Stephanie looked genuinely shocked, and again — what a sweetheart! Who wants to bet that she’ll win Fan Favorite too? :)

From Entertainment Weekly’s Q&A:

So you keep in touch with the other chefs?
Yeah, I’m friends with almost everybody. I was just on the phone with Lisa and Antonia this morning. I’d say I talk to Antonia the most. Valerie is my friend that lives in Chicago, and Dale and I have been friends for a long time. Now when I go to New York, I have so many people to see ‚Äî it’s exciting.

But, in a way, the big story of this finale was Richard and his self-described choking. Oh, what man is able to admit a failure when he needs to not fail the most? What a guy. LAT’s Denise Martin summed up how I felt:

But before we talk about the mechanics of the unusually drama-free ‚ÄúChef‚Äù finale, I need to address Richard. Poor Richard! Before the show started, I, along with most viewers, assumed this would be a battle between him and Stephanie. Richard and all his wacky gizmos and gadgets vs. Stephanie with her homey finesse. Both of them, upright and consistent competitors throughout the competition (except for last week, where Richard let loose on Lisa. Not that I minded. His ‚ÄúYou won the … bronze medal — congratulations!‚Äù is the quote of the season as far as I‚Äôm concerned.)

Still, when Richard fell on his sword up at the judges table and said ‚ÄúYeah, I‚Äôll say it. I feel like I choked a little bit,‚Äù my jaw dropped. True, he had not cooked the meal of his life — none of the three had — but all I could think was: HUH? WHY ARE YOU TALKING? JUST BECAUSE THE OTHER TWO TALKED DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO! YOU‚ÄôRE STILL WAY BETTER THAN LISA! (And yes, I thought in all capital letters in my head.) At this point in the show, my gut was certain Stephanie had this one in the bag. Clean slate or not, the judges would in no way be able to ignore her impeccable track record in the face of Lisa‚Äôs. But Richard, why did you need to be such a stand-up guy? The result was that stuffed-up comment from Lisa in the stew room. No Lisa, just because Richard lost it a bit does not mean there was a real chance you could have won.

And in a Q&A with YumSugar:

I think it was pretty obvious, for me as a viewer that I didn’t achieve what I’d been achieving throughout the season. Lisa, she overachieved — I don’t think there were many times the judges had so many nice things to say about her — and Stephanie stayed par for the course. I don’t think that anyone really knocked it out of the park. I hope that I don’t sound like I’m being defensive, but it was a lot closer in reality than it looked on TV. Usually at that point in the competition, Tom knows where it’s gonna go, and when we all walked away, he said wasn’t sure.

OK, don’t forget to read what Chef Tom wrote on his blog about the Top Chef (not just Top Lady Chef).

Oh, and as I surfed the Bravo site, I saw that past Cheftestants will be teaching culinary classes in NY, included last season’s fan favorite, Casey Thompson, and hottie Tre Wilcox. I wouldn’t even mind a class with Dale Talde — maybe he can teach me some new ways to cook my Filipino favorites! Anyone have a spare $195 for a class???? And a plane ticket to New York?