December 10th, 2009
01:30 PM ET
The perpetual little brother of the kitchen, Michael Voltaggio has been crowned Bravo’s newest Top Chef.
The producers really turned last night’s finale of “Top Chef” into a family affair, capitalizing on the shtick of having two brothers in the finale. Not only did the cooking competition pit Bryan and Michael Voltaggio against one another but the show flew in the finalists’ moms to offer last minute support and then brought them to the dinner table to taste their son’s creations. Cute, but also a little awkward!
For the final challenge the chefs were faced with the preparation of a four-course meal (the fourth course was sprung on them mid-challenge), for the judges at the two-Michelin star restaurant Cyrus.
The first course had to be prepared with a mystery box of identical ingredients (no one ever likes to work out of the mystery box) provided to each chef, the second course was a free for all and the third course had to be dessert.
As in seasons past, former contestants we brought in to sous chef the finalists, but in an added twist the helpers were chosen at random, always adding drama in a kitchen where not everyone was compatible this season.
Kevin, in particular was antsy with his selection of Preeti, complaining that he had 20 items to prep but he didn’t trust Preeti with more than two of them. Poor Preeti was just chopping her little heart out, but looked relieved to be able to head home at the end of the day.
After a stressful day of preparation the chef’s got a surprise knock on the door of their suite. Anticipating another twist, turn or wrench from the judges, they were pleasantly surprised by a visit from their moms who were there to offer support. Of course, with that support came another twist; the judges added a fourth course to the meal, one inspired by mom’s cooking.
Poor Bryan and Michael’s mom had to play both sides of the fence, offering encouragement to both of her sons and trying not to play favorites (although it did seem like she wanted Bryan to win just a little bit more).
“You want them both to do well but ultimately there is one winner,” Mama Voltaggio lamented.
The moms were brought to the table to judge their course. In one of the more awkward "Top Chef" moments of all time the judges asked Michael and Bryan's mom which of her sons’ dishes she liked the best. Thankfully she refused to answer the question.
Kevin's mom was just as adorable and down-homey as her son. Even when the judges threw her a curve ball question she answered it like a pro, raving about how she just likes anything Kevin makes.
A Bravo poll taken during the season-ending episode revealed that a big 58% of voters wanted the comfort-food cooking all around nice guy who can add bacon to just about anything, Kevin to take home the top honor.
But that wasn’t to be. The judges sent Kevin out of the room first, upping the tension by making their final choice between the two brothers and finally crowing Michael the Top Chef.
“I’m more proud that Bryan and I made it all the way to the end than I am about winning competition,” Michael said. But you have to wonder whether the super competitive little brother would have been so gracious had he not taken home the win.
At the end of the day, Michael did deserve to win the competition, he was a strong chef who wasn't afraid to take risks, but the judge’s selection never sits well with everyone and it always feels a little staged when the two contestants with a personal relationship or big beef end up in the finale together.
About this blog
Our daily cheat-sheet for breaking celebrity news, Hollywood buzz and your pop-culture obsessions.