Stephanie Izard wins Top Chef 4

Top Chef has its first female winner in three seasons: Stephanie Izard. “You’ve proven time and time again that when think we have you all figured out, you surprise us with something from left field that just wows us,” Tom Colicchio said during the final moments.

The Chicago-based chef beat Richard Blais and Lisa Fernandes to win the Chicago-set season, and takes home $100,000 provided by Glad, which also provided those ridiculous bags with its oversized logo on the side that appeared throughout the season, whenever the screen wasn’t full of other Glad products or GE Monogram logos. Hopefully, they’re not stamping their logo on ever dollar.

Judging apparently took a long time with some amount of disagreement, as some judges seemed a little reluctant. “I think after this long, long discussion–as we hear the morning beginnning to chirp–yeah, I think I have a preference.” Tom said the decision came down to “which meal we would like to go back and have again.” Richard basically removed himself from contention, telling the judges during evaluation, “I feel like I choked a little bit. … I think that it wasn’t certainly my top performance that I’ve had on the show, so.” Gail Simmons said, “I’m totally shocked by what Richard just said.”

Before her win was revealed, Stephanie told the Chicago Tribune that she scounting locations for a new restaurant, which “will be very casual, very homey, with great service without being stuffy,” she said. “I would love to open in spring. It’s a great time to open, plus I want a little outdoor space.”

Stephanie Izard dishes ‘Top Chef’ finale, future [Chicago Tribune]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.