Well, at least someone in the restaurant industry has some money now...
You've all heard that Colorado's own Hosea Rosenberg (chef at Dave Query's Jax Fish House in Boulder, at least for now...) won this year's Top Chef prize. He walked away with a slot at this year's Food + Wine Festival in Aspen, a fat check for a hundred grand, magical underpants made out of Glad Bags (and other items from the "Glad family of products") and bragging rights forever.
As I said in my preview of the finale, I (like everyone else not related by blood to Hosea) had my money on Stefan to win, but qualified that by saying that all the cocky Euro had to do was fuck up a little bit, and the game would be Hosea's to win.
Lo and behold, that's just what happened.
Let's see....Hundred large on the line. Millions of people watching. How 'bout doing souffles? And, while we're at it, let's try a cooking technique we've never done before, hmm? Yeah, that ought to fuck things up right and proper. Goodnight, Carla.
First, Carla -- who, in my opinion, never stood much of a chance, anyhow -- lost her damn mind and went down with a dose of truly Shakespearean irony: Having said at the beginning of the season that she would win by cooking her food her way, she lost it all by letting Casey (a former Top Chef loser brought in from a much more interesting season, along with Richard Blais and the X-Men's Wolverine to act as sous chefs to the bumbling, weeping, smack-talking cheftestants) talk her into doing exactly the opposite.
And then there was Stefan, blowing it in the clutch by cooking a completely schizophrenic menu of squab and cabbage, 'gator (not by choice), frozen bananas, fish carpaccio and I can't even remember what else. The frozen fish carpaccio was the first stumble -- in the time available and under the circumstances of the competition, all the fish did was melt and go soggy. And then there was that moment when he tripped, falling into that time-warp back to 1982, where he found his dessert course. I mean, nice that he was able to prove that time travel is possible, but to go all the way back only to return with chocolate banana lollipops, ice cream quenelles, split raspberries and that bizarre chocolate, half-tuile screen-door laid over the top of everything? That was just weird. I was never Top Chef material even on my best days in the kitchen, but Stefan's final plate of the competition would've embarrassed me at my worst. And this from a guy who, on one of his worst days, showed up at a bar with no pants on...
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Basically, as has happened throughout this year's competition, the winner won simply by not blowing it as badly as everyone else. Hosea cooked a solid menu and did some nice work. He didn't get weird, didn't drop the ball. He just worked methodically and well and, by the end of the night, there was no doubt that his menu was the best in the room.
Congratulations are due, absolutely. I wish it'd been a better year, but that doesn't mean that Hosea doesn't deserve all the adulation, respect and Glad products he has coming to him. He kicked ass. He brought the victory home to Colorado.
Oh, and Hosea? About that whole kiss thing with you and Leah? I know you've both said it was a mistake. I know it cost you your girlfriend and caught you a lot of shit on the interwebs. But she recently went on record in the press calling substitute judge Toby Young a "fucking douchebag" -- which he absolutely is.
And for that, I kinda want to kiss her, too.