‘Top Chef: New Orleans’ finale review: Nina Compton, Nicholas Elmi face off; who won?

Top Chef -You’ve been watching the great culinary cook-off on “Top Chef: New Orleans” all season long, and there were all sorts of questions moving into this finale. Would Nina Compton really steal the show just as everyone expected, or was the darkhorse candidate that is Nicholas Elmi able to pull off a win?

The name of the game tonight was pretty simple: Cook the food that you love to cook in a restaurant setting. It was basically Restaurant Wars 2.0, and they each had some decent concepts. Nicholas decided that he was going to make some fairly classic French food using his training, while Nina opted for something more Italian to show off a different side of her culinary experience beyond what she has shown a good portion of this season.

Obviously, there were challenges all across the board … but we have to say that we wouldn’t have given Nick the title just because of the way that he swore back in the kitchen. This isn’t Hell’s Kitchen! We know that he was having trouble with his servers here and there, but if we were actually going out to dinner in a real-life setting, the last thing that we would want to do is be stressed out after hearing the chef yell.

The irony here was that going into the final judges’ table of the season, it actually felt a little bit like we could end up seeing Nick’s behavior play a big role in the decision. Why? It was a dead heat, and the judges acted like it could be an issue. While he had Tom Colicchio’s vote of confidence for the best dish of the season, he also ran into his old archenemy: Underseasoning some of his food. Meanwhile, Nina had flashes of brilliance, but also a pretty weak dessert.

In the end, though, the surprise here is that the underdog came through. Nick still found a way to win this competition, and is probably going to be the most controversial winner since Kevin beating Angelo back in season 7. (You could say that Kristen’s win last season was, but she had really dominated “Last Chance Kitchen.”) We know we said what we did about the cursing in the kitchen thing, but at the same time we didn’t have the food. Maybe his was just so out-of-this-world that the judges couldn’t pass it up. Grade: B+.

Do you think the right person won “Top Chef” season 11? Share in the comment box below, and also click here if you want to see if we got our own pre-finale rankings on this battle correct.

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Photo: Bravo



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