'Top Chef' reunion: Fabio wins fan favorite
It's your final dose of Fabio and friends. And like every other "Top Chef" reunion special, this one was overly montage-happy, and unfortunately heavy on the Hosea-Leah relationship reminiscing.
Bravo executive-moderator Andy kicks things off by asking the group who they all think will be voted fan favorite. Daniel, best known for adding poorly cooked mushrooms to Carla's salad during a team challenge, raises his hand because he thinks it's funny to do so. No one laughs. Jeff points to Fabio, as does everyone else. Fabio says Carla has a good shot too. Stefan picks himself because of fan response on the blogs (including this one!), and Tom tells him fat chance. Tom is probably correct.
We're then treated to an unexciting montage of Hosea highlights, most of which came from the beginning of the season, when I was still rooting for him. He's going to use his winnings in "several business ventures," but offers no specifics. Tom says that when it came down to it, Hosea edged past Stefan because Stefan's dessert was a "throwaway." Hosea, he continues, "did some nice dishes toward the end." Toby offers that Hosea had a good day, while Stefan and Carla did not. Funny, that's not what he said in our chat! (For those who missed it, he said he was the sole Stefan supporter during the finale.) Gail says it was very close.
Stefan interjects that he's happy he did not win. All laugh. Cue the Team Europe bromance montage, which is full of Fabio kissing Stefan's shiny bald head. Fabio explains that he's straight; kissing and touching is very European. Andy presents Stefan with an "I Love Fabio" T-shirt, adding that they're available for viewers at BravoTV.com. The in-show advertising just doesn't stop on Bravo.
Cue the Carla hooty-hoo montage, reminding me that even she and Fabio together couldn't save a lackluster season. Still, they were both hilarious. Cue a random birthday elimination curse montage. Apparently, having an approaching birthday is the reason Daniel, Eugene, Radhika and Leah got sent home when they did.
Tom reveals he recently saved some person from choking because he knew the Heimlich maneuver. Tom says most people should know it. They don't teach it in culinary school.
A fan asks the judges if Toby is the new Simon Cowell? Gail says no. "It's in the editing ... most of what is said is not that interesting." All I have to say about that is, BRING ANTHONY BOURDAIN BACK.
Cue the judges table montage, a sampling of Toby's best efforts: "It was something like you'd buy in a gas station at 2 in the morning." "Tasted a bit like cat food." "I have found the weapons of mass destruction and they are in this bowl before us." "It's like eating some really potent pickle." Seriously. Bourdain. Get him back. Pay him if you have to. Here's a question for the first two eliminated kids, who got booted during Episode 1. Waste of time.
On to the inevitable Leah and Hosea montage. It's upsetting to sit through it again. Leah and Hosea look on in shame. That's why you don't cheat on your significant others on TV. So, what happened that night of the kiss? "Everybody saw it. There was a little chemistry between Leah and I. I crossed the line, I blame myself, but definitely alcohol was a big factor in that," Hosea said. Stefan rushes to Hosea's defense. (They are, after all, going skiing together soon.) The aftermath? Hosea's girlfriend dumped him when he confessed. Leah and her man dated for awhile longer and then broke up. Hosea and Leah are still friends, albeit friends with no interest in relocating for each other.
A "Top Chef" silliness montage, followed instantly by a stew room silliness montage. Leah and Jamie sure can drink a lot. A crying montage. Some of these montages are really unnecessary. A Stefan-as-ladies-man montage. A nickname montage. It is revealed that Stefan dubbed Ariane a cougar, so Bravo worked up an "I am a cougar in the kitchen" T-shirt.
A question about Gail's wedding comes up, and then a viewer finally nails Radhika for cooking all of this Indian food throughout the competition, all the while saying she doesn't want to be boxed into Indian cuisine. She says her food was Indian "influenced." Oh please. An Irritated Jamie montage.
Jeff is asked about an interview he did in which he was quoted saying that Tom's food was boring. Jeff says he never said that. The interview also quoted him saying he was cast as the show's sex symbol. He says, "I might have said something along those lines." A bald-contestant montage. You know, they don't do nearly this many montages on the "Real Housewives" reunions. If you're going to bring all these guys back for an hour, let's ask them more questions! Richard talks about his Tom crush. Tom looks super uncomfortable.
Finally it's favorite time. Richard says he campaigned on Facebook. Carla's fan base worked up an Obama-style poster. But the $10,000 goes to Fabio. No surprises there. The Fabio montage includes plenty of his broken English charm. Please let the rumors that he's getting his own show be true. Stefan is looking forward to the free food Fabio's money is going to buy. Fabio says he's going to use it for his restaurant, Cafe Firenze in Moorpark, Calif., which is remodeling. Some of us TV writers are going to dine at Cafe Firenze next month. Expect a full report soon.
— Denise Martin
Photo: NBC Universal