Top Chef Las Vegas Finale Recap: The Brothers Showdown Every Voltaggio Mom Was Waiting For


The Top Chef Las Vegas Season Finale is officially in the books. Below, the transcript of my Wednesday night liveblog, along with some additional pictures. Feel free to throw your finale reactions and Season thoughts in the comments. If you’ve got something to make fun of, do it now, cause it’s got to tide you over til Lost starts in February.

Onto the Liveblog, starting a half-hour before, because I overachieve like that:

Top Chef Las Vegas Finale

9:30 - The Top Chef Season 6 Finale starts in a half-hour; keep it tuned here for a full BWE liveblog of the episode! You won’t have to wait until tomorrow to read my inane comments and really obvious after-the-fact predictions! Feel free to add your observations in the comments, and don’t forget to shift-refresh to make sure the new updates appear.

9:31 - Bravo continues to tease the episode as the “Top Chef Las Vegas Finale,” as I’ve done with this post, even though it’s in Napa Valley. Turns out, Vegas has so many cuhhreazzyyyyyzzyyy!!!!! twists and turns, the last two episodes aren’t even in it. (I realize the finale is always a separate location, but it’s kind of hard to top Vegas, no? Well, we’ll see. Grapes!)

9:35 - No one made a “stop wining” joke last episode, huh? Hopefully someone slips that in tonight, and spontaneously turns into a wacky high school science teacher who is also someone’s dad while his kid’s friends are over.

9:37 - In honor of the robotic brothers, one of our fine spambots has chosen to join us in the comments! Wonder which one she’s rooting for? Probably whichever brother is more interested in interracial singles. Do robots see race?

9:41 - I seriously haven’t watched a non-DVRed Top Chef episode this entire season, and I’m already growing impatient sitting through commercials. I have a new respect for people without DVRs. How do you do it?? You’re the real heroes.

9:44 - My viewing guide insists that Finale Part II only goes from 10-11, so no “11:08″ or “11:15″ soccer extra time. I guess with no Quickfire and only three dudes left, 60 should be more than enough.

9:54 - I forgot to mention, Gawker posted something today about People Magazine accidentally dropping a spoiler about tonight’s episode. I quickly closed it, but if anyone read it or knows what happens, please don’t say anything or I’ll… well… I’ll make a very angry Photoshop that involves Robin somehow.

9:55 - “It’s the diciest, highest-stakes Top Chef Finale yet!” Bravo promos still clinging to those Vegas puns even though they’re in Napa.

9:57 – Rewatching last week’s rerun, Padma’s “Jennifer…please pack your knives and go” was the most emotional / choked up she’s ever been. I guess cause it’s the first time this season she hasn’t been thinking “Let’s get this over with so Jen, Kevin and the brothers can just meet in the finale.” She only said that into the camera verbatim like, three or four times though.

10:00 - Aaaaand we’re off!

10:01 - Aaaand we have our first BLEEP, courtesy of Kevin. And another one five seconds later. The whole season’s been leading up to this.

After the jump, a Top Chef is crowned. With a chef crown. Hat. Not literally. Someone wins Top Chef, after the jump:

10:02 - The brothers are eating the “complete breakfasts” from the end of kids cereal commercials:

Brothers Breakfast

10:03 - Tom: “A three-course-meal, but we’re gonna change it up a little bit.” A two-course meal!

10:04 – Kevin isn’t very good at desserts? BLEEPing study them before you go on the show! Presidents and capitals before you go on Jeopardy, desserts before TC.

10:05 - Ahhhhh!!! Robin’s back!!!!! Also everyone.

10:06 - Box of ingredients and they have to use them all? Chopped much?? Is the Hispanic judge who tempers any remote compliment with two immediate faults gonna walk out soon?

10:09 - Kevin opens the door and it’s….OH NO WE HAVE TO WAIT AND FIND OUT!!!!! I assume it’s a stripper from Vegas they couldn’t cram into one of the challenges?

10:12 - Kevin ends up with Preeti, Bryan has Jen. I’m still sticking with Kevin as my prediction, although if the point of the ingredients thing is to level the playing field between the competitors, then why do the chefs end up with wildly differently-talented assistants?

Finale Knife Draw

10:13 - Wow, for the first time ever, the chefs are actually EXPECTING a twist? Only took six years for someone to ever remember past shows.

10:14 - MOMMMMMMMMMM TWIIIIIIIIIIIISTTTTTTTT!!!! No wonder the Brothers ended up in the finale, Bravo only had to spring for one mom-ticket. Or she’s there to intensify the brother rivalry. Would they really fly her out there to watch BOTH her kids lose? That’d really, really suck.


10:16 - Favorite childhood dish? Are all three gonna make, like, Domino’s?

10:17 - Awww, baby photos! It’s like the closing credits of a movie that involved babies that shows the cast members as babies while their names scroll by! Or did I accidentally flip over to a Manning vs. Manning NFL game?

Voltaggio Brothers

10:19 - Bravo’s calling it the “Mystery Box”? Didn’t the chefs open it and see every ingredient in it, thus making it the literal opposite of a mystery?

Mystery Box

10:21 - “I hunt not for sport, but to get more in tune with my ingredients.” – Bryan. The deer are thinking, “If you’re gonna kill me, at least have not the most pretentious-ass reason behind it.”

10:26 - Moms at the table! Are the judges gonna have to hold back a bit on their criticism? Or Toby Young to mom-up his movie references.

10:27 - Guest Judges = Every Chef Ever.

Judge Man

I judge the way I make love…slow, and fairly.

10:29 - Mike and Bryan taking a tag-team critique. Early doom for the brothers? Some redemption on the broccoli.

10:30 - They’re sending the moms away after one course?? As soon as the chefs come back, the judges are just gonna be like, “Alright seriously you f***ing motherf***ers…”

10:33 – Kevin’s been almost nothing but compliments so far; his rockfish dominated:

Kevin Rockfish

He should be like, “Rockfish is my jam for real!”

10:34 - Michael makes a comeback with his squab, but Bryan’s and Kevin’s third courses both receive mixed reviews.

10:35 – They are FLYING through these dishes. There’s almost 20 full minutes left, with no one to eliminate — could there possibly be one more twist coming?

10:36 - Bryan finishes strong with nothing but compliments on his dessert. At this point, it looks like a dead heat between Bryan and Kevin. I’m gonna count Michael out; one of the judges is gonna seal his fate with a classic “you didn’t leave us with a strong final impression, and we take that personally for some reason.”

10:37 - After the commercial, “One of you…will be TOP CHEF.” No way!!!!! I’m definitely gonna stay tuned! I thought all three of them were gonna be Top Chef, but this makes things far more exciting. There’s more twists in this thing than Chubby Checker’s discography if he also sang a bunch of songs about cinnamon twists!

10:40 - Sudden uber-confidence from Kevin in the DVR buster; he’s gonna have to defend his pork when he finds out the judges weren’t impressed with it, especially cause it’s his “jam.” Starting to think Bryan’s got the edge here.

10:43 - “Up In The Air is something wonderful to see at the movies”. They didn’t use Rolling Stone’s other quote, “Up In The Air consists of many frames per second that watched consecutively create the illusion of movement.”

10:45 – Yyyyep…Toby ripping on Kev for the pork belly, Tom agrees. Kevin is defensive (never a good sign).

10:46 - Michael a big-time comeback with the Toby “tomato bomb” comment! Can’t believe he resisted a Dr. Strangelove reference.

10:46 – Gail calls Michael’s dry cake “almost a great dessert.” Like last week, judge’s table comments are starting to sound strangely different than the initial table reactions.

10:47 – Michael cracks up the Judges and the crew with his comment, “I just don’t want Bryan to be Top Chef.” A total turnaround! Now he’s suddenly Mr. Charisma? Starting to like Michael’s chances a lot more now, and the judges seem to be suddenly unimpressed with even Kevin’s non-pork dishes.

10:49 – Michael’s prawns are assaulted once again, but it might not overshadow the rest of his meal; Toby is CLEARLY pulling for Michael. Tom appears not to like anyone.

10:50 - Gail rips Michael’s squab and says that Kevin is “capable of so much more,” which is usually a Finale kiss of death. Toby agrees Kevin had an off-night; despite a decent showing at the actual dinner table, Kevin is finished. They’re already preparing their patronizing “you’ll be fiiiiiine” comments.

10:52 - So what do we think? If I had to pick, I’d say Bryan takes it, but I’m only about 60/40 confident. Michael made out great at Judges’ table, but my only defense is, it seemed like the judges talked themselves into Michael’s more, particularly with Toby’s momentum, whereas Bryan was more complimented from the start. Although, Bryan’s dish got “meh”d while the judges were eating it last week and he ended up taking it at Judges’ Table, so who knows.

10:53 - Maybe both Voltaggios will win so Bravo can keep the brothers rivalry going next week.

10:55 - 55% of Bravo texters think Kevin should be Top Chef. Will that go back in time and sway the Judges’ decision? Probably.

10:56 - One final Voiceovered-in Padma mention of the Glad money. Sniff…I’m gonna miss that next week.

10:57 – Kevin’s out. Sorry, people who texted Bravo.

Kevin and Mom

10:57 - Bryan can’t think of a “prouder moment” than making the final two with his brother… isn’t he married with a kid?

10:58 - It’s Michael!!! Took six seasons, but the A-hole finally went the distance!!

10:59 - Michael finally receives the gift of emotion. The final twist: This wasn’t a reality show season, it was a Bravo adaptation of the book “The Giver.”

Michael Voltaggio Wins Top Chef

Even Toby Young is a little choked up, like Kevin McCallister’s mother when they’re reunited in Home Alone. Also like…Shrek…when he’s happy, or something:

Toby Top Chef Finale

11:00 – All things considered, Michael was definitely the most technically gifted chef this season (much like Stefan a year ago), and the boldest risk-taker in the season (like Richard two years ago), but even though neither of those two won in the end, the combination of the two was just too much.

11:01 - I’m just now realizing that the Finale was tremendously unfunny. Three good chefs cooking well for a bunch of good judges? It’s like watching the last three weeks of American Idol, or any Idol after the auditions. Overall, it was a solid season talent-wise, but after the Las Vegas “twisty twist high stakes zany crazy casino!” atmosphere, where can they possibly go for Season Seven??

There’s only one answer: Top Chef Dubai. Think about it. I started that as a joke, but decided shortly after typing the “D” it’s actually an amazing idea. Any Bravo producers reading this? All of you? Sweet. Make it happen.

Finale thoughts? Michael winning reactions? Season 6 thoughts in general? Leave ‘em all in the comments!

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