Top Chef Season 6 Finale: And the Title Goes To …

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Alright, no in-depth recap needed this morning: “Bad BroVo” Michael Voltaggio won the competition last night. There was no QuickFire Challenge, just Voltaggio, his older brother Bryan Voltaggio, and our hometown boy, Kevin Gillespie, cooking a three-course meal—whoops, make that a four-course meal when the chefs’ two moms show up, and each chef is required to make a dish that evokes mom’s cooking.

Kevin rocked the first course of crisped chicken skin over tomatoes with a complex squash broth (future Top Cheffers: Never, ever forget that these judges can be swayed by seriously good soups and broths), did just fine with a rockfish second course, and got divided comments about his pork belly third course and a banana-bacon dessert. The judges felt he played it a little safe with those last two dishes.

Kudos to the Bravo Editing Machine for making it a tense, fun finale to watch—some seasons it has felt so predictable (was there any doubt Hung would win Season 3?), but the talent of these three made for some hard-to-guess viewing.

And speaking of editing, it’s been suggested elsewhere in the blogosphere (including by Kessler), that Michael V. was edited to be the bad guy bro toward the end of the regular run, though they softened him a bit during the first part of the finale last week, and certainly this week. Call me a softy, but I do melt a little when even a “bad guy winner” chokes up at his triumph. One of my favorite moments of the evening was when Michael hugged his mom and then, with tears running down his cheeks, turned to our pregnant host and said, “There’s the emotion you’ve been waiting for, Padma.”

The glimpses of Kevin post-Michael win showed him looking sad, but, as the TwitPic of Woodfire Grill’s reservation sked sent out last night suggested, Kevin has won in ways that count in true reality. This show turned his restaurant into a deserved destination. And for Atlanta, I love that we’ve had two very, very different chefs make it to the top three—it shows what a rich city this can be for developing talent. So congrats, Kevin. I look forward to seeing your restaurant continue to excel. And I have a mighty good feeling about that Fan Favorite prize …

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