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The Top Chef Masters Season 3 Finale: Tears of Joy

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To thoroughly enjoy the glory that is Top Chef Masters, we welcome chef Eddie Huang, who will be here every week to take us through the season.

Top Chef Masters Season 3 Winner, Floyd Cardoz

Top Chef Finale, set to Tears of Joy by Rick Ross Featuring Cee-Lo

Smokin a fat spliff in a brand new benz, Floyd Cardoz on the track let the story begin... begin.
Lookin in the mirror but I don't see much, recapin' top chef so I don't sleep much
Watchin' Mary Sue so she don't creep up
But the way Floyd cheffin, Traci can't keep up
You shawties can't keep up...

Oseland wants beef but it can't be much
Rendang please the crowds and it can't be touched
Top Chef now brown UPS trucks
Bih Jolokia for the haters now they fucked
Damn, the boy came up...

Video: Tears of Joy by Rick Ross Featuring Cee-Lo

Affirmative Action

In closing, I just want to say thanks for reading. It's been a good season, and overall I hope people enjoyed it. I'll lift the veil and hang my 59/50 cap on the rack for a second.

When I was asked to do these recaps, I had never watched Top Chef before, only a few clips of Susur Lee's Marge Simpson from season two. Raphael sent me links of Max Silvestri's posts and the lineup of chefs for this season. I'm a fan of John Currence, so I figured, what the Hell, I'd like to watch my boy anyway, so I'll do the recaps.

But after the first episode, I was pretty disgusted. The things this competition has chefs do have nothing to do with being a chef, cook, or restaurateur. I think it's important because of the visibility it brings to our industry; all boats rise with the tide. I am fully aware that were it not for Top Chef, Yelp, and the advent of blogs, guys like me may have never been.

On the flip side, I think it's always important to question things. I don't mind commenters that hate my posts unless they try to falsely insinuate motives that I don't have. I'm an iconoclast and I tear things down. Top Chef will survive for years regardless of recappers and haters, but hopefully the things we've said this season plant some seeds for change in the industry. We have eyeballs on us and the problem isn't visibility anymore. The questions we should be asking are about how we want people outside the industry to view our craft. Anytime there's money to be made and markets to expand, we have to be careful not to get lost in the sauce. Things are really changing.

I've never hidden my respect for people like Sifton and Gold, food trucks, St. Marks, or the Brooklyn food scene for ushering in the "romantic" period of food. The parody of elBulli and takedown of Imperial No. 9 are classic joints. #ether.

Like Wordsworth or the Cultural Revolution struck down formal tenets for the vernacular, the same thing is happening in food. Things are being torn down, pedestals are knocked over, and the little guys have a chance. We need to be careful not to burn libraries, and on the inverse, remember that each generation must cook its own food. Of course, there are a lot of shark biters (I see you Chairman Bao) and dishonest carpetbaggers, but that's just a bi-product. #puss. All in all, I think this is a special time.

Top Chef is a show that has brought chefs attention and made people household names, but it also gives unnecessary weight and value to fine dining and the upper crust. It also shows chefs at their worst and asks them to conduct challenges that make a mockery of our craft. There is a faint attempt at tying the challenges into life in the kitchen, but it's all champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Like Tony Bourdain, top chef has become my "beard awards" so to speak. Something that to me symbolizes everything that's wrong with the industry. When I came into the game, I didn't want to be called a chef because I disagreed with traditional expectations. With the recaps, I wanted to entertain through satire. I see the things top chef tries to sell us as the emperor's new clothes. I have walked the line, crossed the line, and crossed back over. #doubledutch.

But this is it. I've done my job and left the building. I will not be returning for recaps. Like Chapelle, I know that jokes should have a purpose. When it's just for the sake of laughter it's lost its power. I've made my statement, had fun, and hope you enjoyed it, too. If you do end up on Top Chef, I'd encourage you to take the airtime and make a stand. Whether you're a TV chef or prep cook, you should have a story to tell. It's not about winning, but sharing your vision and saying your piece. Much respect to Hugh and Suvir who both went down swinging. Get a life to the Celina Tio's who shamelessly bounce from show to show with forgettable food and no agenda. Props to Mary Sue, Traci, and Floyd for making it to the finale and getting a chance to share their stories. The finale format is great, I just wish that the entire season had the soul that the finale has. Clearly, the elves can make good television, but choose not to at times.

For the aspiring chefs out there, if you build it, they will come. It's really that simple. Don't listen to PR folks, blogs, or experts. The next great thing is right under your nose. #ratatouille. Just ask yourself what you would like to see open in your neighborhood. Maybe you miss your mom's arepas, hot pot, or those doughboys from college. If there's already a Korean taco truck on the block, maybe you should keep it to yourself. Fine dining can be dope, too. Especially if you drop wd-50 in a place you'd least expect in the LES. I mean, Wiley, Dewey, and the Dominicans built that block. There are a million great stories in food and sadly, Top Chef couldn't even tell just one.

A lot of people hate Eater, and I did, too until I spent time as a restaurant owner in New York, and I have to say the snark has its purpose. Every one works hard, but sometimes people's agendas are dishonest. It may suck if your client makes Shitshow Week, but ask yourself honestly if they deserved it? Every industry needs a gatekeeper. Eater, the Times, the Village Voice, and No Reservations just happen to be ours. There is no benefit to ass-patting news-trolling blogs without something to say. "We liberals lose because we think truth comes from objectivity when in fact truth comes from the result of debate and advocacy. Justice in an adversarial system requires struggle so go hard in the paint."

Until next time, peace to the Gods and Earths. "I got you stuck off the realness..." Cause ain't no such things as halfway cooks.

Video: Mobb Deep - Shook Ones Part II

· All Top Chef Masters Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All TV Recaps on Eater [-E-]

· All Top Chef Masters Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All TV Recaps on Eater [-E-]