Ladies and gentlemen, you have yourselves a brand new Top Chef.
After four months and 15 episodes set in multiple cities throughout the state of California, host Padma Lakshmi has crowned the Top Chef season 13 winner. Miami, Fla. chef Jeremy Ford and Orange County, Calif. chef Amar Santana went head-to-head in the Las Vegas finale. But who emerged victorious?
Ford, the 30-year-old Chef de Cuisine at South Beach's Matador Room, is your newest Top Chef! We got our first taste of his cooking prowess in the season 13 premiere when he won the very first Elimination Challenge of the season, followed by two more Elimination Challenge wins, two high placements, and three Quickfire wins.
He defeated Santana, the 33-year-old executive chef and partner at two Orange County restaurants. Santana and his two teammates actually won the very first Quickfire Challenge of the season, followed by two Elimination Challenge wins (and another four top placements). Santana was eliminated in the 13th episode of the season, but returned the following week after winning Last Chance Kitchen to earn his place in the finals. Ultimately, though, Ford was able to pull out the win.
In the finale, both chefs enlisted their culinary mentors to help them prepare the meals of their lives. Their fellow cheftestants returned to assist them in impressing the room full of VIDs (that's Very Important Diners, in case you were wondering) that included Emeril Lagasse, Dominique Crenn, Jonathan Beno, Hubert Keller, Charlie Palmer, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and the Chefs' families.
They were also treated to a pre-finale meal from judge Tom Colicchio, which probably didn't ease their nerves but is kind of a nice treat. Tom, do you do house calls?
What did you think of the Top Chef winner? Did the right cheftestant win?
Top Chef will return to Bravo later in 2016 for its 14th season. Want to compete? The show is casting up-and-coming culinary talents in Los Angeles, Portland, Las Vegas, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia and New York.