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October 9, 2015

Top Chef DC

'Top Chef: DC' Winner Kevin Sbraga: 'No One Knew I'd Won'

by Audrey Fine, posted Sep 17th 2010 3:00PM
Top Chef: DC finaleAfter 14 episodes and a Singaporian show down of epic proportions, there's a new Top Chef out there in culinary land -- 31-year-old Kevin Sbraga of New Jersey.

And, while the other two men did their best to capture the title (and the prizes), in the end, as Tom Colicchio bemoaned, only one could be crowned the winner.

"This is a life changer," Sbraga said after Padma Lakshmi announced that he was the winner of 'Top Chef: DC.' "My career's been good, but this could make it great. Could make it incredible."

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'Top Chef: DC' Season Finale Recap

by Audrey Fine, posted Sep 16th 2010 8:00AM
Top Chef: DC finaleAs the season 7 finale of 'Top Chef' unfolded last night, you couldn't help but fantasize about what might have gone down in some Bravo producer's office. "Let's do the finale in Singapore," one may have pitched. "OK, but it'll still be lackluster with this crop of chefs," countered another. "Let's bring back Mike Voltaggio and Hung Huynh and Ilan Hall and then we'll have some excitement."

Whether or not that's what actually happened behind closed doors, that's what played out on the screen and, for perhaps the first time in this seventh season, there was some palpable drama in the kitchen.

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Handicapping the 'Top Chef' Finale

by Joel Keller, posted Sep 15th 2010 5:35PM
Angelo Sosa, Kevin Sbarga and Ed Cotton: the final 3 contestants on 'Top Chef' Season 7
If you read the interview with Tom Colicchio that I posted earlier today, you read what he thought about the two-round finale from Singapore that wraps up the show's seventh season. "Quite frankly with this finale, overall was better than any finale we've had," he told me.

It's hard to top the way the final four cheftestants -- Kevin Sbarga, Angelo Sosa, Ed Cotton and Kelly Liken -- stepped up in last week's episodes; Colicchio is still thinking about the banana fritters Ed made, and he had immunity. But during this week's season finale, Ed, Kevin and Angelo are going to be battling for the ultimate prize and the title of Top Chef.

It seems like a pretty good matchup, but it feels like one of the cheftestants is peaking at the right time. After the jump, I'll talk about the three finalists and handicap their chances to get the title.

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Eliminated 'Top Chef: D.C.' Contestant Defends Against 'Boring Chefs' Comments

by Audrey Fine, posted Sep 9th 2010 7:30PM
Top Chef DC FinaleWith Washington D.C. a world away, 'Top Chef''s four remaining cheftestants spent last night's penultimate episode in the culinary melting pot that is Singapore.

Being in a foreign land surrounded by exotic ingredients and unfamiliar settings wreaked a bit of havoc on the fearsome foursome, but they overcame the obstacles and turned out some of their best food of the season.

Of course, even creating great dishes couldn't change the rules of the game and, in the end, only three remained to compete in next week's finale. Whose knives were packed -- and why? Read on to get the scoop.

Warning: Spoiler Alert!

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'Top Chef: DC' Season 7, Episode 13 (Season Finale Part 1) Recap

by Audrey Fine, posted Sep 9th 2010 6:50AM
top chef dc finale['Top Chef: DC' - 'Season Finale Part 1: The Final Four']

We're not in Kansas anymore, Foodies. For the first time in 'Top Chef' history, the cheftestants found themselves in a foreign land for the finale, and the remaining four -- Kevin, Kelly, Ed and Angelo -- couldn't seem less at home than they did in Singapore's "Hawker" district, which was pretty much a giant street fair chock full with different food booths.

Looking sweaty, chubby and out of place (yes, even you Angelo, even though you purported to have spent "a lot of time in Asia"), the chefs were charged with creating their own version of street food using only a wok for the final Quickfire Challenge.

"Oooph. I'm in trouble," admitted Kevin: "I don't wok." Bummer for you Kev, the winner gets immunity.

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Why 'Top Chef' Judge Eric Ripert Should Be Replaced With Anthony Bourdain

by Joel Keller, posted Sep 2nd 2010 5:01PM
Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain judge 'Top Chef' - 'Gastro-nauts'
People haven't been overly kind to 'Top Chef' this season. Either they think the cheftestants are inept, the Washington, DC locale is uninspiring, the guest politicians are annoying or, like me, they think the show has just become stale and predictable.

But something else has come up recently that's been bugging me: the judging. Not so much what 'Top Chef' vets Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio are doing; they're taking the same reasoned approach they always do. And when Gail Simmons is there, her criticism has always been constructive and kind.

No, I'm mostly looking at new judge Eric Ripert when I think the judging has suffered this year. He may be one of the greatest chefs and restaurateurs on the planet, but as a 'Top Chef' judge, he makes me long for the days when the oh-so-quippy Toby Young was subbing for Gail. Why do I think he's been so bad this year? Read on for my list of grievances...

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Eliminated 'Top Chef: DC' Contestant Talks About the 'Emotional Roller Coaster'

by Audrey Fine, posted Sep 2nd 2010 3:30PM
Top Chef DCThere was a lot more at stake in last night's episode of 'Top Chef: DC' than usual. And, while bonus prizes like a new car, a trip to London and getting to see the Space Shuttle launch were nice incentives, it was the thrill of going to Singapore for the finales that really lit a fire under the remaining cheftestants.

Unfortunately, as Kevin said, "there's five chefs left and only four seats to Singapore. That fifth person, the one that's not going, is going to be crushed." True enough. Read on to get the details.

Warning: Spoiler Alert!

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'Top Chef: DC' Season 7, Episode 12 Recap

by Audrey Fine, posted Sep 2nd 2010 7:25AM
Top Chef: DC Dana Cowin['Top Chef' -- 'Gastro-Nauts']

Twelve episodes into this seventh season of 'Top Chef' and we're still being treated to little nuggets of info about the remaining cheftestants. Angelo, for instance, got divorced last year and has a son. (An interesting development since, in a recent episode, he talked about wanting to win the prize money so he could bring his fiancée over from Russia.)

And, Kelly, who seems to smoke at every possible opportunity, has never been away from her husband, Rick, for more than a few days. Whatever. There's no time to wallow here, folks: The last two challenges before the finale are upon you. Shake a leg.

Dana Cowin, the editor in chief of 'Food & Wine' magazine is waiting in the kitchen with Padma Lakshmi to explain the final Quickfire Challenge: The chefs have to choose a wine from the selection in front of them and create a dish to pair it with. As a bonus, the winner will win a trip to London. "Ten percent of pairings are awful," says Cowin wrinkling her nose, "Ten are inspired." Where these chefs' offerings will fall within the spectrum, we'll soon see.

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'Top Chef' Finale to Take Place in Singapore

by Audrey Fine, posted Aug 26th 2010 6:00PM
Top Chef: DCThe top four 'Top Chef: DC' cheftestants will soon be packing a whole lot more than their knives -- they're going to Singapore.

For the first time in the show's 7-year history, the finale will take place at an international location and, according to the folks at Bravo, the culinary Mecca that is Singapore seemed the perfect fit because it is a "melting pot of all things culinary," according to a release issued earlier today.

The top contenders will vie for the title (and the $100,000) in various challenges that have been tailored to the region, including a Quickfire that will focus on the local "hawker" or street food fare and, the Final Elimination which will be to prepare dinner for "Singaporean and International Chefs."

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Eliminated 'Top Chef' Contestant Talks About 'Goofy' Housemates

by Audrey Fine, posted Aug 26th 2010 4:30PM
top chef dcThe remaining six cheftestants went to a ballpark in last night's 10th episode of 'Top Chef' -- not to spectate, but to cook.

Working as a team, they had to make six high-end concession stand foods. And, in the end, an egregious error sent someone packing.

Who's no longer in the competition? Who won't be making the trip to Singapore for the finale? Read on and find out.

Warning: Spoiler Alert!

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'Top Chef: DC' 'Making Concessions' Recap

by Audrey Fine, posted Aug 26th 2010 10:30AM
top chef, rick moonen, padma lakshmi(Season 7, Episode 11)

Alex may be gone from the house, but that doesn't mean that he took all the crazy with him. Witness Angelo, who, to what must have been the delight of Bravo producers, shares this priceless nugget of info: "When I was young, I used to cut out pictures of all the famous four-star chefs. I'd light candles, and every single day I'd like kneel and go pray before them." You can't make this stuff up, folks.

And, that's only the tip of the iceberg. "He reads Anthony Robbins books," reveals Amanda, barely able to keep a straight face. "And, he says mantras like 'You're going to win,' she giggles, and then breaks in to a full-on guffaw.

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Eliminated 'Top Chef' Contestant Talks About Tom Colicchio's 'Incredible' Palate, Sets the Record Straight

by Audrey Fine, posted Aug 19th 2010 4:20PM
Top Chef DC - Covert CuisineOn the heels of Kenny Gilbert's surprising ouster from 'Top Chef' last week and the general sense of "it should've been someone else" that went with it, last night's episode further rankled the cheftestants by putting them through the ringer with a double whammy of difficult challenges.

At the end, only six were left standing. Was the judges' decision deemed fairer this time around?

Read on to see who go the axe and decide for yourself.

Warning: Spoiler alert!

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'Top Chef: DC' 'Covert Cuisine' Recap

by Audrey Fine, posted Aug 19th 2010 8:29AM
Top Chef DC Wylie Dufresne Padma Lakshmi(Season 7, Episode 10) Things aren't as honky dory as usual in the house at the outset of last night's episode of 'Top Chef.' And that's mainly because Alex is still there milling about while Kenny's back home in Florida, prepping food for golfers in ugly pants.

"I hope that Alex either steps up or goes home," says Kenny's bff Kevin. "If he steps up that's great, bring on the challenge but don't get away with bull****." Even Kenny's nemesis, Angelo shows some love saying, "I think Kenny was the most fierce competitor here." What's that? Humility? Impressive.

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Eliminated 'Top Chef' Contestant Talks About "Hurtful" Judges, Dream Presidential Menu and Hamburger Helper

by Audrey Fine, posted Aug 13th 2010 5:00PM
Top Chef Padma Lakshmi, Nancy PelosiThe thing about reality shows, however humdrum a season it may be, is that they keep you guessing. Because nothing's scripted (unless, apparently it's 'The Hills'), you're never really quite sure of what the outcome's going to be and last minute shockers are not uncommon.

So it was with this week's 9th episode of 'Top Chef: DC.'

Want to know what the unexpected twist of fate was and whose ouster resulted? Read on.

Warning: Spoiler alert!

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'Top Chef: DC' - 'Restaurant Wars' Recap

by Audrey Fine, posted Aug 12th 2010 2:30PM
Top Chef DC(Season 7, episode 9) Last night's episode of 'Top Chef' was buoyed from its usual doldrums by the return of two traditionally tricky challenges -- the tag-team relay and "Restaurant Wars." Both served their purpose of flummoxing the remaining eight cheftestants -- not to mention reducing Angelo to a raving lunatic in the kitchen, which was kinda fun to watch.

For the Quickfire cook-off, teams were chosen dodgeball style with Kevin, Kenny, Amanda and Kelly forming "Team Blue" and Ed, Tiffany, Angelo and Alex comprising "Team Red." Not that Ed was thrilled with being saddled with Alex, who remains the prime suspect in the infamous "pea gate" from two weeks ago.

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