For the first time, the finale is taped in front of a live studio audience (the episode itself is not live) and they have to cook Iron Chef-style in front of not only the five judges, but their families, fans and the past nine winners. Team Brooke is Stefan, Kuniko and C.J., and Team Kristen is Sheldon, Josh and Lizzie. The rules: They have to cook five dishes by round, and the first to have three winning dishes wins.
Here's how it went down:Round 1 (salad):Kristen: chicken liver mousse with frisee, mustard, prune, hazelnuts and pumpernickelBrooke: crispy pig ear and chicory salad with a six-minute egg, apricot jam and candied kumquatsWinner: Kristen takes it 3-0 after Brooke gets dinged on some burnt pig ears.Round 2 (scallop):Kristen: citrus and lavender cured scallop with bitter orange, Meyer lemon and appleBrooke: seared scallop with salt cod puree, speck, black currant, mustard seed vinaigrette and RomanescoWinner: Brooke wins 3-2 after both get raves. Hugh casts the tiebreaking vote.Round 3 (chef's choice):Kristen: celery root puree with bone marrow, mushrooms, bitter greens and radishesBrooke: vadouvan fried chicken wings with sumac yogurt-tahini sauce and pickled kohlrabi fattoushWinner: Kristen takes it 3-0 again on flavors, while Brooke's wings confuse the judges. "It was a crucial mistake," she admits.Round 4 (red snapper):Kristen: red snapper with leeks, little gem lettuce, tarragon, uni and shellfish nageBrooke: braised pork cheek and red snapper with collard green slaw and sorrel pureeWinner: Kristen again sweeps it 3-0, which means she's Top Chef!
"Thanks for having this whole Last Chance Kitchen thing," she tells Tom.Kristen's only the second female Top Chef winner after Season 4's Stephanie."It's hard to have been through so much and to still not have gotten there, but I think I've made myself proud," Brooke says.What's Kristen going to do with that $125,000? Take a trip to Korea, her birthplace. "I'm going to go back to work and make myself a better person and a better chef," she says.What did you think of the finale? Do you like this format? Are you surprised it didn't go five rounds? Did the right chef win? Check out Brooke and Kristen making cocktails in our TVGuide.com studio below.