Top Chef Finale Recap: Battle of the Amuse-Douches

By DahlELama and The_Obvious

This is the true story of five All-Stars, picked to cook on an island, work together, and have their lives taped. To find out what happens when people stop being polite and start being total culinary douchebags… you should probably keep reading.

It’s been such a long journey to the finale that we could just mise en plotz! But before we do, it’s time to crown Top Chef’s first ever “Best Chef of All the Chefs Who Proved Not to Be the Best in Other Seasons,” and before we do that, we need a little background on the season that was.

The season started with 18 chefs, but the combination of too much salt and too much crazy quickly whittled the contenders down to the five (it was supposed to be four, but apparently, no one sucked enough to get booted, which was super convenient considering how many episodes were left in the season!) who’d be going on to the finals in the Bahamas:

  • In this corner, we have the itch you can’t scratch, the rash that refuses to go away, the houseguest that won’t leave, Tiffany “I’m From Beaumont, Bitches” Derry!
  • In this corner, weighing in at five-foot-awesome with three ounces of pot, we have Antonia Lofaso, Purveyor of Perfect Food, Champion (well, 4th place) of Chi-Town, Tigress of the Toque! (And the toke, too!)
  • In this corner, hailing all the way from Fraggle Rock, the Selcouth of the South, the Chicken Pot Pie Perfecter, the Spectacle in Spectacles, Carla “Hootie Hoo” Hall!
  • And in this corner, weighing 145 pounds…more than he did last season, the Robber of Recipes, the Beast from the East, Mike “I’m with stunad” Isabella!
  • And, in the center of it all, stands the Lord of Liquid Nitrogen, Atlanta’s own Jimmy Neutron, the super-flammable Richard Blais!
From L to R: Tiffany, Richard, Mike, Antonia, and Carla


Of course, only two would remain standing for the finale, and after cooking for Bohemian royalty, rocking out with their conchs out, and cooking last suppers for some lusty chefs, MikeyNeck “Jersey Douche” Isabella and Richard “When did he become such a dick?” Blais emerged victorious. Let the games begin!

Gratuitous Padma Shot

The big challenge is essentially a mini-variation on Restaurant Wars: Cook the four-course meal of your life and put it on the menu of a pretend restaurant with a pretend name even though you’re serving it at a real restaurant with a real name. The two cheftestants immediately get to discussing which of the previously ousted chefs they would take on as sous chefs and writing slanderous comments about them in their Burn Book. After a few games of MASH and doing each other’s hair, they discuss their super secret strategies for the competition, because nothing screams “brilliant competitors” like discussing your plan with your opponent. (Although, to be fair, if they didn’t, Mike would’ve just stolen Blais’s from his notebook anyway.) Mike immediately declares that he would bang choose Jenn Carroll, because despite her crazy blowouts and monumental exit, she’s still hot a great chef. As it turns out, Blais too wants Jenn C, though not necessarily in a sexual way, as well as Angelo, also not necessarily in a sexual way.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who they think is awesome, because they’re forced to choose blind: each previously ousted chef’s amuse bouche is laid out before them, and they are to choose their teammates based on whose bouche amuses them the most. Mike is pretty blatant about simply attempting to pick out which one is Jenn’s (and which one isn’t Marcel’s) but the static generated by Blais’s hair interrupts their BFF connection and Mike ends up with three non-Jenn ladies, in the forms of Tiffani, Jamie, and Carla. (H/T to Psshwhatever for her brilliant and oh-so-telling tweet: “Funny that Mike always denigrates the female chefs and then just picked 3 of them, blind, based only on their food to help him.”) Blais gets a little closer to his original wishlist, successfully selecting Angelo in addition to Spike and Antonia. As Marcel leaves, everyone breathes a collective sigh of relief and toasts his departure with champagne and an impromptu dance party.

Now comes the important part: naming their restaurants. Blais, ever-the-whimsical (as he’ll be the first to tell you in a super serious voice as he comes close to tears and is clearly on the verge of vomiting), selects “Tongue & Cheek” as his restaurant’s name, which is both cute and kinda gross. Mike, in tribute to his youth, names his “Restaurant Iz,” after what we can only assume is his pre-op moniker.

Source: Videogum. Obviously.

On to the menus! Over on Team Iz, Mikey’s Angels’ suggestions are being roundly ignored by Captain Douche, who knows exactly what he wants: chocolate vinaigrette, plus some other stuff. Team Blais, on the other hand, is “ultra-collaborative” from the minute that tank of liquid nitrogen is opened. Blais’s plan is a protein explosion of sorts, to be capped off with a delicious Cap’n Crunch ice cream–wait, what’s that? I’m sorry, we’ve just gotten word from the godawful-decisions portion of Blais’s brain that he’ll be replacing Cap’n Crunch ice cream with foie gras ice cream instead. Fantastic. No chance that’ll turn out disgusting and lead all the judges to vomit on camera. None at all.

Enter Tom, who informs Mike that no one saw him getting into the finale. Like, nobody. His own mother is surprised that he has any skill. Shockingly, he has no such words for Blais, who’s pretty much been the favorite since before the cast was even announced. Now exit Tom, because it’s time for judging!

The cheftestants are set up at two different restaurants, each one with its own panel of judges. (Don’t worry—they’ll switch when they’re done!) Padma is captain of the blue team, which consists of legendary chefs Lydia Bastianich and Hubert Keller plus another guy who just so happens to be the man behind all the ridiculously unsubtle wine product placement. They begin at Tongue & Cheek and are treated to Blais’s “surf ‘n turf” menu which consists of:

  • Raw oyster with crème fraiche pearls
  • Raw hamachi with fried veal sweetbreads, garlic mayonnaise, and pickled celery
  • Pork belly, black cod cutlet, bone marrow, beets, Brussels sprouts, and kumquat
  • Beef short ribs with mushrooms, red cabbage marmalade, and celery root horseradish puree
  • Foie gras ice cream with cornbread and whipped mango

The dining went well, and we saw the judges thoroughly enjoying the food. You know who else saw them enjoying the food? Top Chef’s own Spike “Mata Hari” Mendelssohn, aka Spy-ke, who eavesdropped on the judges comments with all the subtlety of Ke$ha while rocking one of his trademark Carmen Sandiego fedoras. However, his skills as a dick secret agent proved to be extremely useful, as he convinced Richard to fix up his revamped dessert to make it look a little more fit for a fancy feast instead of just looking like Fancy Feast.

At the same time, Tom and his crew—Gail Simmons, Art Smith, and host of the upcoming Top Chef Masters and all-around hot guy Curtis Stone are being served Mike’s Italian-influenced menu (did you know Mike was Italian? In other shocking news, Tiffany’s from Beaumont) of:

  • Spiced beets with mozzarella truffle and chocolate vinaigrette
  • Halibut with kumquat marmalade, cauliflower puree, and pancetta crumbs
  • Glazed pork shoulder with pepperoni sauce(!), roasted cabbage, and turnips
  • Rosemary caramel custard and pine nuts with citrus, celery, and apple

After catching their breath from multiple foodgasms, the judges took their place at the judgement table that totally hides the fact that they are wearing pajama pants. The judges had high praise for nearly all the food, which is especially meaningful for Mike because it is the first time he has actually pleased a woman. Gail admits to bathing in Mike’s pepperoni sauce because it makes her skin glow and rack huge. Tom can barely contain himself, exclaiming to Richard, “Hachi machi! That was some great hamachi!”

It’s time for the big announcement and friends and family gather around for the results. Noticeably absent was Richard’s wife who was only moments away from giving birth to a fauxhawk. Fortunately, Mike’s wife, who is 69 times more attractive than he should be able to get, could make it because she refuses to spawn with Mike as giving birth to a child who inherits his neck-size is not a risk she is willing to take. Channeling her inner-Seacrest, Padma pauses dramatically before revealing who will win the 200,000 Buitoni raviolis. The winner is… RICHARD BLAIS! Mikey rolls his eyes, Richard tears up, Antonia smiles with a blunt between her lips, Padma and Gail make out, Tom and Tre rub each others bald heads, and Carla runs around in a circle screaming “Beeeeeeeeef Tongue.”

And so, another season of Top Chef comes to an end. Blais can finally emerge from the padded cell where he’s spent the past two-and-a-half years in his rocking chair, contemplating his loss, and Mike and his wife can finally consummate their marriage, much to her chagrin. But, since only Blais leaves the show with a prize, we think it only fair that Mike at least get a musical sendoff, and so, from one New Jersey-ite to another… goodbye, JD. You truly did go down in a blais of glory.


DahlELama and The_Obvious both wanted Richard to win, but, more importantly, wanted Mike to lose. They hope that Carla will one day get her own show, preferably a variety hour featuring humorous skits, whimsical songs, and animal guests. They wish Antonia many happy snacks and choose never to think about Tiffany again.

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