Top Chef

[SPOILER ALERT: The following story reveals the winner of Top Chef Season 9. Read at your own risk.]

After trekking through Texas and enduring more all-nighters and meat challenges than you can imagine, Paul Qui and Sarah Grueneberg faced off for the last time for the Top Chef Season 9 title.

Top Chef's Lindsay: I didn't take enough risks

No sooner had Lindsay gotten the boot, Tom and Padma reveal the final challenge: create a four-course tasting menu in the restaurant of your dreams. Some of the eliminated chefs from the whole season — including He Who Could Not Butcher, Tyler — along with master chefs Barbara Lynch and Marco Canora, arrive to cook a dish in hopes of being Paul's and Sarah's sous chefs. Each pick four after a blind tasting. Paul chooses Barbara, Ty-lor, "Malibu" Chris and Keith. Sarah chooses Nyesha, Tyler ("I'm not letting you butcher," she tells him), Heather and Grayson.

Sarah, obviously, has her hands full with Tyler (who's wearing his trademarked Chef Tyler Stone chef jacket, natch), but Paul is concerned that none of his sous chefs are familiar with his Asian style. He has to nix crab after discovering the meat is funky, but fortunately he has prawns as a backup.

The judges and the chefs' families split into groups for dining.

Top Chef's Beverly: I definitely felt the fan support

Here's what they served:

Paul, Qi Restaurant
First course: chawanmushi, edamame, pea shoots and spot prawns
Second course: grilled sea bass with clam dashi, picked radishes and mushrooms
Third course: congee with scrambled eggs, uni, kale and smoked albacore
Fourth course: coconut ice cream, puffed rice, kumquats, mangosteen, Thai chili foam and jasmin gelee

Sarah, Monte Verde Restaurant
First course: squid ink tagliatelle, spot prawns and cocunut
Second course: rye-crusted steelhead trout with fennel sauce, pickled beets and gras pista
Third course: braised veal cheeks with crispy sweetbread and polenta
Fourth course: hazelnut cake with kumquat and white chocolate ganache

Top Chef's Beverly: I definitely felt the fan support

After the first service, Sarah tries to fix her polenta for the second one and averts disaster when her fiancé tells her to check her fish because his had a bone in it. Paul, on the other hand, told Keith to fire off a bunch of chawanmushi and they end up overcooked, but he's forced to serve them.

Overall, they both earn high praise — Padma calls Sarah's dessert the best she's ever had on the show — but most of the judges took issue with her sweetbread dish. Paul, expectedly, gets dinged for his second chawanmushi service.

Following a long deliberation, Padma crowns... Paul Top Chef! (This is his ninth challenge win of the season, by the way.)

Paul, cool as ever, takes it all in stride, while his parents and girlfriend cry and celebrate. Sarah tearfully says she thinks she deserves to be Top Chef, but it wasn't her day.

What did you think of the finale? Did the right chef win?