Top Chef Shocker

Top Chef Shocker

Andy Cohen discusses Top Chef Season 5's surprising end.

Are you as shocked as I was last month in New Orleans at the crack of dawn when Hosea was crowned our new Top Chef?I think EVERYBODY expected Stefan to win, then Carla came on so strong for the last few episodes and no one really payed attention to Hosea's steady hand.   I got a lot of e-mails last night from people rooting every which way but Hosea's, but all I can say is it was his victory and the judges chose the best meal. 

In talking to the judges before the final meal, they were especially energized to see what Carla was going to come out with given her momentum from the last episode. By the time service was over, it was clear to even Carla that she'd blown it, and what a disappointment for everybody. Padma was the most upset I think I've ever seen her in her four seasons on the show, because she felt like Carla relied too much on Casey for guidance. I guess all the judges felt this way but Padma was the most vocal about it at Judges' Table. You were clearly rooting for her too, even as you watched what happened last night. She swept your votes in our on-air poll of who you thought should win. (She's still got a shot at fan fave, and you'll have to watch that TC reunion show next week to watch what happs with that.)

This was a really tough episode to edit because there was so much to fit in, and a lot that was cut out. You didn't see Tom's kitchen walkthrough, in which he initially expressed reservations about Carla's sous-vide. For that matter, I really wish we could show the ENTIRE meal and the ENTIRE Judges' Table for the finale because there's so much more; it was especially interesting hearing the diners going around the table saying who they think should win. Hosea had the edge at the table and when the Top Chef judges deliberated, they were clearly in his favor. I thought Fabio's revelation that he thought Hosea should win was most poignant given his obvious affection for his brother Stefan. When it comes down to the end, everyone's focused on the last meal.

The judges debated on and on about this one and it came down to who had the best overall meal, and the best progression. Toby was especially hung up on the fact that Hosea did not cook a dessert, though it was optional to do so. When Hosea won Top Chef it was almost 5 a.m. in New Orleans and everyone was beat, especially his former cheftestant-castmates who stood by waiting to congratulate the winner. I shot some video before judging started with the judges in which I posed a very serious question. I speculated that we'd finish shooting at 4 or 5 in the morning and wondered if they'd be up for cocktails in the French Quarter to celebrate the new Top Chef at that early hour. All said yes, that they imagined a nightcap after a hard night's work. Everyone stood by their guns and the entire crew and chefs went to a dive bar around the corner and celebrated the end of 
the season. We were surrounded by local NOLAholics, some who popped in around 7 a.m. for a nip in suits on their way to work. I took Gail out of there around 8 when a bar fight broke out. It was that kind of joint.

I'm sure you have opinions about this one. Let me know what you think.


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