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'Top Chef': The season 7 winner speaks!

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t seen the outcome of last night’s Top Chef finale, avert your eyes, click to a different part of EW.com, and save the surprise for later. If you watched, read on to see what the winner had to say. READ FULL STORY

'Top Chef Just Desserts' premiere recap: Chocolate should be decadent, but what about sparkly?

Top-Chef-Desserts_320.jpg Image Credit: Diane Bondareff/BravoI am, what you may call, a dessert fiend. I’ve had sweets at some of the finest foodie spots, like wd~50, Georges at the Cove, and Jean Georges’ now-closed Vong’s Thai Kitchen. At the same time, I appreciate the beauty of a big sloppy sundae, and the Charlie Brown brownie a la mode at Clark’s Diner in Evanston, Ill., is still my favorite dessert of all time. And though its culinary cred may be suspect to some, I’m a firm believer in Applebee’s motto that “Happiness begins with dessert.”

Oh, and I also had two root canals by the time I was 12, so there.

But I still wasn’t sure how I’d feel about a Top Chef spin-off that focused on the pastry world. Spin-offs almost always pale in comparison to the shows that spawn them, and in the worst cases, can come off as cheesy copies. Thankfully for my sweet tooth and me, Top Chef Just Desserts had all the fun, creativity and crazy characters you’d see on (a good season of) Top Chef, without feeling like a stale knockoff.

This time around, the cheftestants are vying for a feature in Food & Wine, a showcase at the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival, a Buick Regal, and $100,000 courtesy of Godiva. But something struck me about this group of bakers. The cheftestants here reminded me more of Project Runway‘s colorful casts, and that’s not just because of disco glitter. Let’s see exactly who we’re dealing with: READ FULL STORY

'Top Chef' finale recap: And the winner is...

top-chef-finaleImage Credit: Joan Leong/BravoWell, Top Chef fans, we’ve finally reached the end of another season. I know many of you have bemoaned how much the last 13 weeks dragged on, but on some levels, it flew by for me. Without a deep connection to the cheftestants, and with Tiffany (AKA the only hope for a happy ending) booted just before the finale, I was freed up from the usual anxiety that comes from having a strong rooting interest. Stir in a plethora of unanswered questions (mail-order bride or not?), and I found there was even less reason to emotionally invest.

But, hey, just because the menu might not have your favorite dish doesn’t mean you don’t eat, right? So let’s dig in. We picked things up right where last week left off, with the remaining three — Kevin, Ed and Angelo — getting called back to the judges’ table to find out what they’d be cooking for the MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THEIR LIVES. (Not to diminish first prize, but at this point, is losing really that big a deal? Won’t all three experience some degree of fame/notoriety/increased restaurant business anyway?)

Speaking of fame, past winners Ilan Hall, Hung Huynh, and Michael Voltaggio showed up to aid the top three with the MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THEIR LIVES. (I could’ve lived without Ilan, but Hung and Mike, thank you for giving me a reason to pay attention.) READ FULL STORY

'Top Chef' recap: Singapore showdown

top-chef-finaleImage Credit: Joan Leong/BravoI’m not sure how you guys are doing, but I’m still coping with Tiffany’s elimination from last week. Why is breaking up so hard to do? Well, for starters, last night proved that there’s very little to like about the remaining four chefs. I’m not talking about their food-making cred — these people are obviously talented. But when you watch a reality competition show, the contestants need to give us something more, a spark that keeps us returning week after week. READ FULL STORY

'Top Chef' recap: D.C., we have a problem

top-chefImage Credit: David Giesbrecht/BravoCongrats to Top Chef for taking home an Emmy last Sunday and upsetting seven-time champ The Amazing Race! But the excitement only reiterated just how friggin’ awesome last season was. Last season’s chefs — the Voltaggio brothers and my girl Jen — seriously out-shine D.C.‘s less-stellar cooks.

But I’m not going to get all negative Nancy on you because last night, we finally got — dare I say it—an exciting episode. All five cheftestants—Angelo, Kelly, Tiffany, Ed and Kevin — are pretty much on the same level, and the only thing separating them at this point is motivation, whether that be motivation to get further than they could’ve imagined or acquire a mail-order bride READ FULL STORY

'Top Chef' recap: Buy me some peanuts and day-old tuna

top-chefImage Credit: David Giesbrecht/BravoNow that Alex is gone, somebody’s got to fill the crazy quotient in the Top Chef house, and who knew there was such a plethora of insanity this year? Shrines devoted to four-star chefs, Anthony Robbins books, cross dressing—I think we’ve hit the turning point, my friends.

Meanwhile, the cheftestants have apparently hit their boiling points because last night tempers were flaring. Stress ran high, baseball players ran tall, and gimmicks abounded.

Things got started when Padma and guest judge/Top Chef Masters alum Rick Moonen, who bears an uncanny resemblance to another chef Rick, explained that the cheftestants would create a dish based on a food idiom, which ranged from innocent (“sour grapes”) to racy (“hide the salami”). Since everyone forgot the show’s affinity for testicles and missed out on the opportunity for lame jokes, the salami didn’t make it in. (That’s what she said.) READ FULL STORY

You pick the 2010 Emmys: Should 'The Amazing Race' win Outstanding Reality-Competition again?

Each day, from now until next Sunday’s Primetime Emmy Awards telecast, we’ll be posting polls about the major races. Pretend you’re an Emmy voter (or, if the choices strike you as too terrible, go vote in EW.com’s third annual EWwy Awards — our totally edgy alternative Emmys based on readers’ suggestions for who really deserves to win the trophies). Up today: REALITY. Deal with it! READ FULL STORY

'Top Chef' recap: The chef who came in from the cold

Like most people, I tend to assume that Padma Lakshmi’s job hosting Top Chef is just a cover for her real work as an international mercenary superspy. These suspicions were confirmed on last night’s episode, in which the remaining contestants cooked a top-secret meal at Langley while Padma delivered coded messages to CIA Director Leon Panetta. Befitting the setting, it was an evening of disguises and deceit – in Angelo’s case, self-deceit. Culinary meta-chemist Wylie Dufresne was on hand, although the only real espionage he participated in was the theft of Elvis’ sideburns.

READ FULL STORY

'Top Chef' recap: Restaurant Wars!

Top-Chef-RestaurantImage Credit: Photo: David Giesbrecht/BravoBetween the lack of a standout favorite and the fairly predictable eliminations, it was high time Top Chef gave us a surprise, and boy, last night we got a doozy. Now that Stephen was gone, I would’ve guessed perhaps Amanda or Alex would be sent home next. But Tom, Padma, and crew—how you play with my emotions! READ FULL STORY

'Top Chef' recap: My country, 'tis of thee

top-chefImage Credit: David Giesbrecht/BravoFrom 17 cheftestants, we dwindled down to nine at the beginning of last night’s episode, but still, the only thing on my mind was who stole the friggin pea puree last week? Ed was still scratching his head, and Alex continued to spout out deceitful lies, but seriously, Andy Cohen, bring us some answers in the reunion episode.

Alas, there’s no use in crying over stolen pea mush, but there’s also no use in crying over heavy-handed salt use, Kelly. Me thinks her household salt shaker will forever haunt her. READ FULL STORY

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