Wednesday night on the Top Chef Singapore-based finale, host Padma Lakshmi announced 31-year-old chef and New Jersey native Kevin Sbraga winner of the cooking competition's seventh season, edging out New York-based contestants Angelo Sosa and Ed Cotton. In addition to the title of Top Chef, Sbraga's winning four-course meal -- a terrine of eggplant, zucchini and peppers; a pan-seared rouget fish course with cuttlefish noodles and braised pork belly; a roasted duck breast with caramelized bok choy and orange coriander sauce; and a re-imagined "Singapore Sling" dessert -- earned him a $125,000 cash prize. If you're a true fan of the show, a voiceover of Padma saying, "furnished by Dial Nutriskin" should automatically pop into your head after that sentence.
Prior to being crowned winner in a moment that can only be described as strangely anticlimactic, Sbraga told the cameras, "I've been dreaming, thinking, living and dying for this meal the last couple of months." His perseverance through a challenging 14-week season paid off, as judge and chef Tom Colicchio described Sbraga's final meal as the one "that took the most risks" and was also the best overall.
Before you go through Top Chef withdrawal, Eater reports that Top Chef: Season 8 is filming in New York and is rumored to include a group of previous seasons' all-stars, including Marcel Vigneron, Richard Blais, Fabio Viviani, Stephen Asprinio, Tiffany Derry, Spike Mendelsohn, Michael Isabella, Dale Talde, Tiffani Faison, Jamie Lauren and Antonia Lofaso. We can only imagine the contestants are now taking Manhattan's Whole Foods markets by storm, running frantically through aisles, jockeying for a spot at the fish counter and knocking over innocent patrons.
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On the sweeter note, Top Chef: Just Desserts debuted prior to the Top Chef finale, pitting 12 of the nation's "top" pastry chefs, bakers and overall dessert enthusiasts against each other in a series of challenges. Food & Wine's Gail Simmons hosts while Johnny Iuzzini (Executive Pastry Chef of Jean Georges), Hubert Keller (Fleur de Lys) and Dannielle Kyrillos (Editor-at-Large of DailyCandy) judge the contestants' creations. At first glance Just Desserts seems sure to bring a ton of drama to the small screen, bearing more resemblance to the Real Housewives series than to Top Chef. Let's hope the cat fights don't overshadow the confections.