A new Top Chef was crowned in New Orleans, and the Season 5 winner was a bit of a surprise (at least for a lot us). The cheftestants, with former runner-ups as their sous-chefs, were asked to make their best three-course meal — with the obligatory twist of a request for hors d'oeuvres thrown in the at the eleventh hour. Carla made the mistake of listening to Casey's sous-vide steak and blue cheese soufflé ideas, which flopped. And though our money was on Stefan and his creamy gator soup, his dessert really didn't sit well with the judges. It was Hosea's consistency and earthy flavored venison dish that trumped the other meals, earning him the title and $100,000.
"I was inspired by the ingredients. I cooked a meal that I would want to eat," Hosea said on Bravotv.com. "It was a combination of ingredients, cooking techniques, and flavor profiles that I love. It was the first time all season I felt like I was really cooking my own food. I was very happy with each dish."
While Hosea plans to open a restaurant of his own with his winnings, he also wants to spend time with his parents. "My dad is having a serious battle with cancer. He is getting worse," he said. "My mom lives alone and is also dealing with a number of illnesses. This money gives me the freedom to be with them and help them out for a while."
Here's a look at what other winners have cooked up with their Top Chef title:
Pre-Win: Executive sous-chef at The Harrison in New York
Post-Win: Harold went on to open his New York City restaurant Perilla, in May 2007 after long delays. The Seasonal American eatery, located in Greenwich Village, holds only 18 tables and 10 seats at the bar (so don't try strolling in on a Saturday night with no reservation).
Pre-Win: Line cook at Casa Mono, Mario Batali's tapas restaurant in New York
Post-Win: Right after winning the cash prize, Ilan was spotted wearing a small fortune's worth of designer accessories. But now, the chef is reportedly in development for his first restaurant slated to open this summer in Los Angeles. Look at it this way: If it flops, at least he'll look damn good with all that bling.
Pre-Win: Executive sous-chef at Restaurant Guy Savoy in Las Vegas
Post-Win: After leaving Sin City, Hung went the kosher route, serving as guest executive chef in the Big Apple for a month. But he is still searching for a Manhattan job that's a good fit. Perhaps being the villain has come back to bite him in the rump roast.
Pre-Win: Chef/owner of Scylla in Chicago
Post-Win: The first [and only] female Top Chef is planning her new Chicago restaurant, which will be a Mediterranean-inspired, gastropub. And let us not forget all the painfully awkward commercials she has done that have aired throughout Season 5.