Film & TV

Top Chef Season 7: Bird Flu, Episode 14

Photo by Joan Leong/Bravo
Eric Ripert and Tom Colicchio.
So that's it. Arguably, Top Chef's most boring season comes to close. We started following season seven because local chef Andrea Curto-Randazzo was a contestant. But we had a feeling back during our pre-season interview that she wouldn't make it far -- something she sort of hinted to. Along the way, Andrea made some (crazy?) YouTube videos that were mysteriously given the ax after the second episode. But that didn't even compare to the sort of smack talking that came later when Michelle Bernstein judged an episode.

Andrea left us after episode seven, but we decide to keep up with the shenanigans of the Most Boring Season Ever. Then again, who knew the season would end with the unlikeliest of wins.

But let's start where part one of the finale left off. Angelo and Kevin joined Ed in competing for the title of Top Chef. But the judges weren't done with the trio yet. Padma informed them that the judges wanted to give them enough time to prepare so they would be telling them what their final challenge was that very night.

The challenge was basically to cook a four-course meal that included a vegetable as a first course, a protein picked by Tom Colicchio, and, for the first time, a required fourth-course dessert. They would also have the help of past Top Chef winners Michael Voltaggio (Kevin), Hung Huynh (Angelo), and Ilan Hall (Ed).

Kevin apparently worked with Michael years ago, so they are life-long besties. Angelo said admired Hung's speed and skills in the kitchen. While Ed said he didn't know who Ilan was and hadn't heard about him after he won the second season of Top Chef. Always keeping it classy, Ed.

They all go back to their Hilton-provided room (commercial plug!), where Angelo says he doesn't feel so hot. (We wouldn't be feeling so hot either after losing two in a row to Ed.) He decides to call it a night early in hopes of feeling better the next day. But we already know from last week's previews things aren't going to go Angelo's way. Doctor orders him to stay in bed, but honestly for $125,000 we would have crawled on our hands and knees to that kitchen.

Photo by Joan Leong/Bravo
Hung saves the day.
Instead, Tom gives Angelo a break and allows Hung to do all the shopping and prep work. The only way the two communicate is via cellphone. Which brings us to the point that Angelo complaining about feeling all this awful pain and stuff but on camera he looked fine. (We're not saying he faked it -- wait, yes we are.)

Hung being the super-fast cook that he is we are sure worked to Angelo's advantage, and it was probably best that he was out of the kitchen and out of Hung's way. However, Angelo wouldn't be himself if he wasn't full of excuses. The next day when he's given the okay to cook, Angelo automatically complains that he would have done things different if he had been in the kitchen, but he will work with what's given to him. It's almost like he's issuing a disclaimer: "If I lose, it's not my fault, because I sort of didn't cook this."

On the other side, Ed kept reminding Ilan that he's the chef and Ilan is just there to help him. It could be misread as being an asshole, but we all know that in past seasons when the sous chef starts giving too much advice, the judges usually see right through it. Instead, Ed relegated Ilan to the dessert course, because he admitted it's not his strongest skill. But we are guessing later Ed had hoped he had paid more close attention to it.

What was Kevin doing? Being Kevin, of course. There is no way he could possibly win, right? It's not like the judges are going to crown him Top Chef.

Later during service, Ed and Angelo get into a mini-catfight.

Ed: "You're not so sick anymore."

Angelo: "I'm sick of your attitude."

Oh snap!

Like the past two episodes, nothing again was really wrong with the food. Everything was awesome except for a few small things here and there. Angelo's first course, which had to be a vegetable course, didn't really follow the rules since the main ingredient seemed to be pork belly. And Ed's dessert wasn't really fancy -- it looked like a piece of pound cake, drizzled in syrup, and garnished with whipped cream. Some of the judge's mentioned that Ed had big cojones for serving something like that. Tom couldn't stop laughing.

Kevin's meal, the judges admitted, started slow, but as each dish came out, it seemed to have more punch and flavor than the last. The dessert, a take on the American concoction called the Singapore Sling, was universally praised. One even mentioned that he had created a national dessert for the country. But again, Kevin is not going to win this--

Photo by Joan Leong/Bravo
Even Ed and Angelo can't believe it.
Wait. What? He did? How?

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Jose D. Duran is the associate editor of Miami New Times. He's the strategist behind the publication's eyebrow-raising Facebook and Twitter feeds. He has also been reporting on Miami's cultural scene since 2006. He has a BS in journalism and will live in Miami as long as climate change permits.
Contact: Jose D. Duran