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Top Chef Winner Michael Voltaggio Takes Las Vegas

Donna Diegel's picture

Kevin was eliminated first. Top Chef fans were shocked and disappointed. One of the Voltaggio brothers was expected to win, but no one thought it would be Michael. The buzz from Twitter and around cyberspace is that a lot of people are questioning why Michael V. won the Top Chef Crown. All three chefs deserved to win, so it was a tough choice for the judges.

The fact of the matter, was that all three chefs knew the outcome for three weeks prior to the Top Chef show last night, but were sworn to secrecy. It was reported yesterday that People Magazine leaked the information in a spoiler article. It was already on the newsstands before the show aired.

Reactions to the judge's decision was varied. Baltimore Sun reports there was a big Top Chef party going on at Bryan's hometown restaurant in Frederick. 300 were wining and dining at Volt Restaurant when the news of the newest Top Chef was announced. "I think Michael's won enough," said Ruth Voltaggio, 88, the contestants' grandmother, referring to his haul in previous episodes. "He won $15,000 and he won the car." And that's coming from his Grandma. "Hometown fans seemed content to claim first and second place in Top Chef, even if No. 1 won't lure any culinary tourists to town."

The Final Three
In a random drawing, each chef was given a team of eliminated Top Chef contestants who would become their sous chefs. Bryan drew Ashley and Jen, who was with Top Chef until the very end. Michael was lucky and drew Jesse and Eli, who was one of the last to be eliminated. Poor Kevin drew Preeti and Ash who were gone early on in the game.

The chefs were given a "mystry" box of ingredients containing Meyer lemons, kabocha squash, Pacific rockfish, matsutake mushrooms, anise hyssop and Dungeness crab, then told they had to recreate something from their childhood, something in their past that inspired them. “The ingredients seem a bit obscure to meld together,” Bryan said. “It’s not going to be easy to develop a dish.”

The surprise came when their mothers showed up at the door to say hello, offer some motherly advice, and taste what they were cooking. Their four course dinner was to be served and dedicated to their mamas. The "mystery" box dinner was next. That was difficult with all the weird things in the box, but they pulled it off. The third course was their choice, after which everyone would serve dessert.

Michael: Good fried broccoli, overdone chocolate cake, which Tom Colicchio said, "It was almost a very good dessert,"

Kevin: Great fried chicken skin and squash dish, undercooked pork belly and matsutake mushroom, interesting caramelized banana dessert with bacon crunchies.

Bryan: Awesome venison dish, under seasoned dishes, fantastic dessert. One of the judges' called the fig sorbet he served with his dulce de leche cheesecake heavenly.

The judges' let Kevin go right after the first round. When all was said and done, the competitio between the two brothers was like it had been right from the start. Sibling rivalry pushed aside for the moment, Bryan was disappointed, but happy for his brother, Michael. Seems that Mama Voltaggio would be a very proud Mama after all.

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Written by Donna Diegel

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