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Kristen vs. Brooke: Who Will Be the Next Top Chef? 

Photo Credit: Bravo
Photo Credit: Bravo

This is it. The final showdown. And what an exciting season this has been. We saw Kristen knocked out of the competition much too early by an inferior chef. But she battled valiantly in Last Chance Kitchen and now she has a shot to win it all. We’ve watched Brooke battle her nerves and insecurity to win five challenges throughout the season (and three in a row coming into the finale). Both of these women have what it takes to become the next top chef. But who will take the title?

Photo Credit: Bravo
Photo Credit: Bravo

Tina’s Take

My favorite cheftestant from day 1 is in the finale. This never happens. But it did. Kristen took the roundabout way, however.

For the longest time she seemed unbeatable. She won challenge after challenge. She did it quietly. She let her food speak for her. All in all, she won four Elimination Challenges. She was unstoppable, right? Wrong.

Restaurant Wars did her in. She was one of the captains. It was her concept that her team was making a reality. If she had just defended herself and thrown Josie under the bus (a little bit), she wouldn’t have been eliminated. But you know what? She took the high road. And I’m cool with that. Kristen played Top Chef her way. She played with pride and integrity and, most importantly, skill. However, her time in the big competition had come to an end.

That wasn’t the end of Kristen, however. Up until she arrived in Last Chance Kitchen, CJ had an impressive winning streak going. Kristen put a stop to that. And then she started her own win streak. Each cheftestant eliminated from the Top Chef competition faced her and lost. It’s funny, because Kristen had only won one Quickfire challenge, but she cleaned up in the LCK universe. She was focused. She was determined. She knew she had to cook her A game in order to get into the TC Finale.

And she did it. She’s so formidable, I love her. I’m really glad we’re going to have a female winner in Top Chef again. And I’ll be cool with whomever wins. But I really hope that Kristen can prevail. I know she’s going to have to be at her best to beat Brooke, especially after her performance in the Finale Part 1. The judges weren’t completely wowed by her tuna or her dessert.

I believe that Kristen’s not only great at what she does, she’s awesome under pressure. And there’s an amazing amount of pressure as every winner in Top Chef history is present and accounted for in tonight’s finale. May the best chef win. In my opinion, that’s Kristen.

Photo Credit: Bravo
Photo Credit: Bravo

Kara’s Take

I like that Brooke has consistently surprised the judges throughout the competition. She appears to make these simple dishes, which turn out to be infused with layers of complexity and unexpected flavor pairings. I think both the judges and the viewers at home (and that often includes myself) have underestimated her. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress and strain of the competition and we see how Brooke constantly underestimates herself. So we underestimate her as well. Well that’s going to stop. I’ve seen her pull herself out of the weeds and impress the judges on more than one occasion. I’ve seen her take what might look like a boring dish and wow the judges with it. I’m done underselling Brooke. I’m excited to see what she’ll cook during the finale and can’t wait to see how the judges critique her meal. I think Brooke has what it takes to become the next top chef. I admire Kristen and want to see what she’ll bring to the table, but I think Brooke will take it all.

Who do you think will win the competition? Are you excited to watch them cook in front of an audience? They’d better choose their sous chefs wisely, because that could be the difference between winning the title or going home with nothing.

Part Two of the Top Chef finale airs Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 10/9c on Bravo.

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