"Top Chef: Seattle" concluded its very competitive season Wednesday night with Brooke and Kristen squaring off before the judges and a live studio audience.
It came down to the ladies' fourth-round red snapper dishes, with all the judges voting in favor of Kristen's leeks, gem lettuce, tarragon, uni and shellfish nage over her opponent's "surf and turf" combo with braised pork cheek, collard green slaw, sorrel puree and pomegranate seeds.
So Kristen won the title of Top Chef and the $125,000 prize! After being eliminated in the 11th week, the underdog clawed her way back to a spot in the finals by smacking down five other ousted cheftestants in the Last Chance Kitchen.
Although much has been made of Brooke's five challenge wins, it's worth noting that three of them came after Kristen's untimely exit. (Kristen had originally bested her 4-2.)
In the end, it was really no contest. With their former competitors helping out as sous chefs, Kristen won three rounds with unanimous votes from the judges. Brooke just skated by in the second contest with a vote of 3-2 for her scallops, and her fourth-round failure forestalled the need for Round 5.
One drawback to the finale was its lack of suspense, especially since the fourth round judging took place in the final minutes of the episode. But the stadium atmosphere and live audience, including all nine previous "Top Chef" winners, still made for an exciting episode.
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