The task remains the same. Only the talent has exponentially increased.
As is the case with the up-and-comer version of the show, the three finalists on Top Chef Masters were tasked on Wednesday's finale with cooking the three-course meal of their lives.
Simple for a bunch of kitchen veterans, right?
Oh, come now, these things never go according to plan!
But among the big hits and slight misses, Floyd Cardoz was named the winner of the third season of Top Chef Masters—to his great surprise!
"I'm shocked," he said in disbelief.
The Indian chef and restaurateur, now based in New York City, had yet to win a challenge of either the quickfire or elimination variety, but he managed to win the one that really mattered. In so doing, he banked $110,000 for his charity, the Young Scientist Cancer Research Fund, which he supports in honor of his late father.
And Floyd also finally beat L.A. chef Mary Sue Milliken, winner of four elimination challenges, usually by means of topping Floyd at decision time. Mary Sue almost squeaked by this time, too, with a lemon soufflé that made the hairs on the back of Curtis Stone's neck stand up, but Floyd had the most consistent quality over three courses.
"Your sons will be so excited!" she happily told the guy who had finally one-upped her.
Like Mary Sue, Traci Des Jardins scored thousands of dollars for her charity beforehand by winning four quickfires and one elimination challenge. She came up short today, however, after her fried duck dish was half-perfect, half-dry.
The first course had to be inspired by their first food memory, while the second should represent the moment they first wanted to be a chef. The third, however, was critics' choice, with Gael Greene choosing fried duck for Traci, James Oseland wanting rendang, a traditional Indonesian dish, from Floyd and Ruth Reichl assigning Mary Sue the lemon soufflé.
Meanwhile, Curtis didn't just stand by looking pretty.
The finalists got to enjoy a brief moment of respite, when Stone whipped up a hamachi appetizer and sunchoke soup for the tired trio.
Do you think Floyd deserved the big win? Share your thoughts in the comments section and bon appetit!