Congratulations to Kevin Sbraga, who just won Top Chef DC! Just 31, he's the executive chef of Rat’s at the Grounds for Sculpture in his native New Jersey. A culinary arts grad from Johnson and Wales in Miami, his biggest splash in the culinary world previous to the show was winning Best Meat Presentation at the 2008 Bocuse d'Or USA.
Said Kevin, "It's really like a dream come true. You have this dream , you set out to do it, and that road is tough, and it's tougher than you think. But then, you pull it out, and make it happen, it's amazing."
His win is pretty great because he didn't seem like much of a contender for the first part of the season—he went up for elimination about as many times as he was in the top three, and actually only managed ONE elimination challenge win, which might just be a Top Chef first.
Our handicapping of the finale earlier today had him as a "could win" with 3:1 odds behind "should win" Ed Cotton and ahead of dark horse Angelo Sosa, mainly because of his strong performance in the penultimate episode, and the fan vote during the show itself had him a percentage point behind Angelo at 25%, so while no one expected to win he wasn't considered out of the game either. Note that Bravo accidentally revealed he won on their website hours before the finale aired.
In Kevin's own words: "This is a life-changer. My career's been good, but this could make it great, it could make it incredible... It's absolutely huge that I'm the first African-American Top Chef. My dad, my sister, my friends, the guys at the barber shop, they're gonna eat it up. They're gonna love it. This is it. I'm the Top Chef."
For a blow-by-blow of how it all went down, check out Eater's finale liveblog.
Video: Video of Kevin Sbraga Winning Top Chef DC
Video: Leaked Video of the Reunion
· All Top Chef Coverage on Eater [-E-]