2/28/2013 02:10:00 PM

Top Chef Seattle Finale: Crowning Top Chef Number 10

Image via Bravo
Whoa, it's a live audience finale. There are lots of people screaming. This is intense. 30 Under 30 Kristen Kish fought her way back from Last Chance Kitchen, beating pretty much everyone and Brooke Williamson won almost every challenge in the actual competition - but (besides the finale part 1) these two haven't had to compete against each other in a while. The challenge is five rounds and the first to win three, wins Top Chef. We've got Hugh, Emeril, Gail, Tom and Padma at the judges' table and they're serving to 160 diners including their families, friends and all the past Top Chef winners.

Kristen and Brooke assembled their teams and are already in the zone when the episode starts. Brooke chose Stefan, CJ and Kuniko and Kristen chose Lizzie, Sheldon and Josh  (the last three to get kicked off before them). Brooke assembled the fast, technical team of LA peeps and Kristen chose the best chefs. The challenge is to cook the best dishes in their arsenal - the only rules are that they both have to use scallops in the second round and snapper for the fourth. It's all live action, so there's lots of boring filler clips as they cook. We see Brooke and Kristen acknowledged each other as the chef to beat early on. We also meet Kristen's adorable father. When she got eliminated the first time, he texted her, "you're my Top Chef." Aw! Brooke says she uses bigger, bolder flavors than Kristen and that's what she's going to use to win.

Round 1
Kristen: Chicken liver mousse with frisee, mustard, prune, hazelnuts and pumpernickel.
Emeril says it's "very simple, very classic, very you." Tom says it's "well seasoned and balanced." Gail gets down with chicken liver mousse so she's into it.

Brooke: Crispy pig ear and chicory salad with a six minute egg, apricot jam and candied kumquats.
This is a version of what we saw Brooke making back at her restaurant last week. Tom likes it. Emeril says the crackling were overcooked. We watched Tom and Emeril watch CJ burn the pigs ears. But Padma's weren't overcooked and she loves it. Hugh says the salad dressing is awesome.

Judgment: Hugh votes Kristen. Gail votes Kristen. Emeril votes Kristen.


Round 2 - scallops

Brooke: Seared scallop with salt cod puree, crispy speck, black current and mustard seed vinaigrette.
Tom says the scallop is perfectly cooked and it all works really nicely. Hugh says the flavors are bright and well-balanced. Emeril is a salt cod lover.

Kristen: Citrus and lavender cured scallop with bitter orange, meyer lemon and apple.
Tom says it's exactly what he expects from her, "really flavorful, really delicious." 

Judgment: Gail votes Brooke. Emeril votes Brooke. Tom votes Kristen because it highlighted the natural sweetness of the scallop better. Padma votes Kristen. Hugh is the tie breaker and he goes Brooke.


Round 3

Brooke: Vadouvan fried chicken wings with sumac yogurt-tahini sauce and pickled kohlrabi fattoush. (She forgot the wet naps.) Brooke's trying to redeem her fried chicken challenge. Tom clearly thinks this was a bad move. He does like the chicken wings, but he's not sure the salad works with it.

Kristen: Celery root puree with bone marrow, mushrooms, bitter greens and radishes.
Emeril loves the dish and its earthy tones. Tom wants to know why she didn't roast the mushrooms (it was because she wanted that flavor from the marrow and just wanted the mushrooms as an undertone. Ok.) Padma just wishes it was hot.

Judgment: Emeril votes Kristen. Tom votes Kristen and says it's a much more interesting dish. Padma votes Kristen (even though it wasn't hot)

Kristen: 2, Brooke: 1

Round 4 - red snapper -  $125,000 dish

Brooke: Braised pork cheek with crispy red snapper with collard green slaw, pine nut cream, sorrel puree and pomegranate seeds. Hugh thinks the snapper is perfectly cooked and is all for collards as the new kale. Tom likes all the components. Emeril particularly liked how the sorrel perked up the dish. Gail says the pomegranate seeds gave it the perfect amount of juice. In the background, we overhear Stephanie Izard saying she likes how Brooke's dishes are more exciting and mixing different layers of food.

Kristen: Red snapper with leeks, little gem lettuce, tarragon, uni and shelfish nage.
Tom says it's perfectly cooked, great depth of flavor. Gail says the texture was spot on, the uni was beautiful, and gives her a hard time for leaving the leeks on the string. It was a little hard to eat.

Before they vote, Brooke says she wants to win to prove she wasn't just winning because Kristen wasn't there. Dum, dum dum…

Judgment: Gail votes Kristen (she gave uni to an uni lover). Emeril votes Kristen. Tom votes Kristen!

Wow, talk about a comeback! Congrats, Kristen! Don't you wish Kristen hadn't been inappropriately kicked off and we could've seen these two battle it out all season?


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