Top Chef‘s fifth season is over, and Stefan Richter did not win the $100,000 prize. That seems to be the headline, because Stefan was ridiculously strong all season and seemed like the inevitable winner. Based upon the season’s arc–Stefan’s consistency, Carla’s ascension–the actual winner, Hosea Rosenberg, is kind of confusing, at best. Hosea wasn’t weak, but he was more notable this season for his romance with Leah.
Hosea won one quickfire challenge and two elimination challenges; he was in the top two other times, and landed in the bottom four times, a pretty even record. Stefan, on the other hand, won four quickfires and four elimination challenges, was in the top group two times, and was in the bottom group three times. Carla had one quickfire win and three elimination wins, and was in the top twice and the bottom three times.
“Ultimately we made our decision based on how well the meal tasted from start to finish,” Tom Colicchio explained, and it seemed like Stefan’s weak dessert in the final four-course meal was his downfall. Hosea did not make dessert.
Most finales have a promising chef who stumble, and this time, it was Carla, who worked with Casey Thompson from season three as her sous chef. Besides a failed soufflé that Carla didn’t even serve, Casey’s influence–and Carla’s willingness to let Casey influence her–put her into third place. “It seems you let your sous chef talk you out of cooking the food that got you to the finale, and I’m not quite sure I understand that,” Tom Colicchio told her.
Determining who’s been eliminated from that night’s episode is increasingly easy, as they have red, teary eyes, or seem dejected. Carla didn’t seem to be crying, but she didn’t seem to be elated, either.
Hosea, however, was uncharacteristically arrogant. During the interview segments, Hosea all but hauled out his penis to challenge Stefan to a duel, constantly referring to Stefan as his competition and implicitly suggesting Carla was not even in the game.
Stefan was even cockier and bitchier than usual in his interviews than he has been before, and the results were hysterical. Talking about choosing season two runner-up Marcel Vigneron as his sous chef, Stefan said Marcel is “a great chef,” but then said, “he’s a bit of a twat, but who’s not?”