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Hosea Takes the Title

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Top Chef Finale
Virginia Sherwood/Bravo

Bad news, dear readers: The agony of watching her beloved Dr. Jeff get booted for a second time last week was just too much for Kate to handle, so she’s asked me to fill in for this season’s Top Chef finale while she mends her broken heart.

And Kate isn’t the only one with wounds to lick: Stefan and Carla are going home empty-handed now that Hosea has been crowned the king of Season 5. It was a great and hard-won victory for Hosea — and an especially tough blow for Stefan, who seemed to have a lock on the title just a few weeks back. At least Carla can lay her defeat on Casey’s bad advice and a fallen soufflé; Stefan just got whooped fair and square in The Battle of the Bald.

The episode starts calmly enough, with the three remaining chefs enjoying a beignet breakfast on an old-timey riverboat. Having never been to the Big Easy myself, I can only assume that this is how most Cajuns start their day when they aren’t busy cleaning gumbo off their jazz clarinets in preparation for the nightly masked ball. Carla seems a little shocked at the fact that she’s in the top three (she’s not the only one), but Hosea and Stefan are ready to rumble. Remember back when the judges kept commenting about Stefan’s cockiness, but we didn’t really see it? Well, he’s really making up for lost time now. ”It’s done. It’s over with,” he says in a confessional. ”Hosea, get the @#$% out of here. Go back to Colorado.” Honestly, if I were Hosea, I’d probably be pretty eager to get home just to reduce the number of spiteful Finnish men in my life.

With breakfast over, the chefs are herded over to some historical museum where Tom gives them their task: ”Cook us the best three-course meal of your life.” Easy, right? They can pick their proteins, and dessert is optional. The meal will be served to a table of twelve judges/guests at some schmancy restaurant called Commander’s Palace, and — surprise! — each chef will get a hand from one of three past contestants: Richard (Season 4), Marcel (Season 2), and Casey (Season 3). Hosea gets first pick and goes with Richard, an appropriately bland match. Next up is Stefan, who taps Marcel (still sporting that same Wolverine hairdo, bless his heart). The two of them working together sounds like a recipe for disaster, but as Stefan puts it, Marcel is ”a great chef. He’s a bit of a twat. But who’s not?” Well said, chef. That leaves Carla with Casey, which seems fine by both of them — although I get the impression Carla would’ve been equally happy if they’d given her a toddler or a papier-maché dolphin as a sous chef. She’s just that kind of gal.

NEXT: And they’re off!