“Top Chef” continues to be the talk of foodies and restaurateurs alike. This season, filmed in the nation’s capital, drew to a close last night and announced a winner. This post was written by SmartBrief’s Doris Nhan.

This season of “Top Chef D.C.” asked contestants to picnic on Capitol Hill, disguise ingredients for a Central Intelligence Agency dinner and work a baseball game concessions stand. After serving international fare to inventing out-of-this-world space food, 17 contestants became just three.

The premise of the seventh season finale was simple: Make an amazing four-course meal that consists of a vegetable dish, fish, protein and a dessert. The playing field was further leveled when judges Tom Colicchio and Eric Ripert announced the contestants must use red mullet (or rouget) as their main fish and duck as the protein.

Former “Top Chef” winners returned to the show to serve as sous chefs to final contestants Kevin Sbraga, Ed Cotton and Angelo Sosa.

Some lessons to take away:

  • Season 2 winner Ilan Hall, who served as sous chef for contestant Ed Cotton, offered this piece of advice: Though judges appreciate creativity, the finale is not the time to try something new — rely on who you are as a chef to make your work stand out.
  • Being sick is no excuse when the “Top Chef” prize is on the line. Though Angelo was battling a fever and pain, he fought through the hurdle and worked with season 3 winner Hung Huynh to finish his meal.
  • When given main ingredients, create dishes that highlight those ingredients. Kevin Sbraga and season 6 winner Michael Voltaggio created simple but flavorful dishes that kept to Kevin’s culinary point of view.

What were your thoughts on this season and what would you like to see in the next season of “Top Chef”? Leave a comment.

Image credit, Xaviarnau, iStockPhoto

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6 responses to “Lessons learned from the finale of “Top Chef D.C.””

  1. Lessons learned from the finale of ?Top Chef D.C.?…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  2. Pro Chef says:

    Working with a fever is the worst example professionals can set for new chefs in the industry. You should be ashamed of yourself for demonstrating such irresponsible behavior, which in the industry is not condoned by health officials because of the potential to make many others ill. Lousy example. NOT worthy of any praise or recognition.

  3. rebeccapollack says:

    But, $125,000, a F&W feature and a showcase in Aspen was on the line … But seriously, I agree with you that chefs should not be in the kitchen when they are sick. Thanks for your comment, it's a very good point for everyone.

  4. Marlene says:

    PS, I am also a trained Prof Chef

  5. jackie says:

    I totally agree with "Pro Chef's" comment, showing up for work and preparing food for others while sick with a fever should be a crime! It is horribly irresponsible. Any Television food program that applauds this kind of behavior should be ashaimed of themselves. The crew and on-air celebrety chef should never be allowed near a kitchen again. As a culinary institute grad, ex-chef, holder of a degree in Food Science from the University of Maryland and Investigator for a Federal regulatory agency, I can say with great confidence that a chef who chooses to show up for work ill enough to have a fever is highly likely to sicken some of his customers. Big thumbs down to Top Chef for encouraging such irresponsible behavior. I advise folks to make a note of where contestant "Angelo" works and avoid it like the plague he is likely spreading.