Okay, I finally saw my recorded Top Chef finale. It wasn't as squirm inducing as I thought it would be and Ilan (who early on I thought could be the next Harold until I discovered Sam) took the prize.
Since this is kind of old news, I won't spend a lot of time picking the show apart, I will say that Sam was under appreciated and maligned by Marcel (although it could have been the editing) and what was Marcel thinking picking Michael to help him out and then being disappointed in his work ethic?
Ilan had stalwarts Betty and Elia helping him. Elia's strong skills were responsible for the perfectly cooked fish the judges raved about.
Seeing Elia and Sam in action made me wonder what went so wrong that we we ended up seeing Ilan, talented but staying in his zone (or should I say zona) and Marcel, the boy wonder relying on his chemical arsenal. I do think Marcel's concepts rose to the challenge (cook the best meal you can possibly create) and were riskier and more adventurous, a fact the judges seemed to appreciate.
But once again, the judges talk risk but award safe and Ilan takes home the prize.
Perhaps it finally was a decision on kitchen management and personality. Who knows? I am also tempted to say "who cares?" All the merchandising and sponsorships made this contest seem stilted. The quasi-cheating and other issues sucked some of the fun out. The lack of focus on the food made the whole thing personality and conflict driven and the whole thing just seemed long and drawn out, especially without a juicy reunion show to see behind the scenes tidbits.
Will I be there for Top Chef 3? Well, I keep swearing off Project Runway and coming back for more, so it's a possibility. But I want more Chef Tom in each episode.