Well, I didn't see that coming. I thought for sure Top Chef Masters would take the opportunity this season to finally crown a female the winner, but instead it went to Floyd Cardoz?
Now Floyd is a nice guy, and he cooked up some great food. The judges really liked his rendang (meat cooked in coconut milk and spices) tonight, but he has spent the season always coming in behind Mary Sue Milliken. Mary Sue looked like the winner for sure during the last few episodes, especially with her lemon souffle tonight that sent the judges over the edge with their love for it. I thought maybe Traci Des Jardins would come up as the dark horse, and snatch the title at the last second. But Floyd? I never would have bet on him.
Maybe I should have picked up on the foreshadowing when he said of Mary Sue early in tonight's episode, "She's my friend, but I can't wait to beat her."
The final challenge tonight was to cook based on food memories -- dishes that inspired them in their lives. They also had to cook a food memory of one of the judges. They got quite fancy with oxtails, quail, sweetbreads, and steak tartare; and they really showed who they are as chefs. All of them are amazing and produced impressive meals that left little room for criticism. Still someone had to win, and Floyd it was.
I can't say I'm disappointed, more just surprised. It really doesn't matter much anyway. As much as I enjoy watching the show to see what they cook up each week, who wins in the end is pretty anticlimactic and part of the reason the show just isn't as gripping as some of the other competitive cooking shows.
While the winner gets $100,000, it all goes to the charity of their choice (Floyd's is a cancer research foundation). That's nice, but as I've said before, it's not life-changing for any of the chefs, and any of the charities are good causes. The title is cool, but they're already wildly successful chefs, so besides bragging rights, the stakes just aren't high.
So congratulations, Floyd, but I’m really looking forward to Rocco’s Dinner Party taking the slot and turning up the heat at least a little.
Were you surprised by the winner of Top Chef Masters?
Image via bravotv.com