Throughout the overstuffed Prime Chef Kentucky finale, the three remaining contestants cooked the meals we’ve come to count on from all of them season: Contestants Kelsey Barnard Clark and Sara Bradley created meals that mirrored their Southern upbringings, whereas Eric Adjepong continued to channel his West African heritage by getting ready meals that represented the historical past of the transatlantic slave commerce. The finale featured a mid-episode elimination that shocked some viewers to the purpose the place Tom Colicchio took to Twitter to defend the judges’ alternative. And by the top of all of it, one contestant acquired $125,000 and the title of Prime Chef. Right here’s the way it all went down:
Initially of the finale, Eric, Kelsey, and Sara are all prepared for battle. “I’m in battle mode, there’s no different option to put it,” Kelsey says. “I can see it in Eric and Sara’s faces that they’re in battle mode. I wish to compete towards the most effective particular person and win.” The three finalists enter a large theater on the MGM Macau and watch spotlight reels of their particular person quests all through the season. As soon as the montages are over, Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio stroll out onto the large, smoke-filled stage. “In your closing problem, we wish you to cook dinner a four-course meal of your lives,” Padma tells the trio. “Earlier than we get began, chances are you’ll want slightly assist,” Tom remarks. The entire eradicated contestants from the final 14 episodes stroll into the theater, and Tom tells the finalists, “Every of you’ll get to decide on two sous cooks to assist with the execution and preparation of your meal.”

Left to proper: Justin Sutherland, Eric Adjepong, Michelle MinoriCarmo Correia/Bravo

Kelsey picks Brandon and Nini, whereas Sara opts for Eddie and David. Eric, in the meantime, selects Justin and Michelle. The cooks can have 30 minutes to menu plan and three hours to buy the four-course “meal of their lives,” plus six hours to prep the subsequent day. In a twist that raises the stakes significantly, all three cooks will current their first programs to Tom and Padma, in addition to judges Graham Elliot and Nilou Motamed, after the primary 30 minutes of their prep, and one chef will likely be eradicated on the spot.
“My hope for the finale is that I can take the identical Southern flavors, however refined, put it on a plate, and make it appear to be a murals,” Kelsey says of her finale menu. Eric is taking a way more formidable strategy to his finale feast. “My four-course menu goes to inform the story of the transatlantic slave commerce — how these flavors type of migrated to the deep South, via slavery,” the chef says. “By means of my travels world wide, finding out meals, it’s one of many tales I really feel like I’m most outfitted to inform.” And through her menu planning, Sara decides to not put together a dessert and as a substitute cook dinner 4 savory programs.

Left to proper: Brandon Rosen, Kelsey Barnard, Nini NguyenCarmo Correia/Bravo

After buying with their sous cooks on the Crimson Market, the finalists resolve to hit the city for his or her final evening collectively in Macau. They pattern some egg tarts and different native delicacies whereas joking round with one another. “Sara and Kelsey are actually tight,” Eric tells the digital camera. “I really don’t care — I’m making an attempt to win. Tomorrow’s an enormous day. It’s been a really, very lengthy highway, It’s very tough. However it’s time. I wish to win.”
The subsequent day, the cooks regroup within the kitchen to arrange their first programs for the judges. As a nod to her Alabama upbringing, Kelsey is making a dish of buttermilk soup with cornbread and fruit, supposed to seize the spirit of “summer season within the South.” Sara can be engaged on a nostalgic Southern-inspired starter, albeit one with an Asian-inspired twist: chile prawns with boiled peanuts. And Eric is cooking a dish that represents a confluence of culinary influences: jerk steak tartare with lotus chips.
When their 30 minutes are up, the cooks current their first programs. After serving his tartare, Eric tells the judges a bit concerning the inspiration behind this dish. “My story is an unlucky story, nevertheless it’s a narrative that must be instructed: it’s the transatlantic slave commerce,” the chef explains. “And I actually needed to seize all of the flavors that occurred, ranging from Portugal and Europe, right down to West Africa and South Africa, over to the Caribbean and the South.”

Kelsey Barnard, Sara Bradley, and Eric AdjepongCarmo Correia/Bravo

After the cooks retreat again to the kitchen, the judges debate the deserves of those three first programs. All of them appear to like the prawns with peanuts and the buttermilk soup. Graham take problem with the truth that he couldn’t style the meat in Eric’s tartare, and Tom thinks he had “4 or 5 too many components.” When the three finalists return, Colicchio inform them, “All season lengthy, all three of you actually cooked your hearts out, going again to this emotional connection that you need to your meals.” However sadly, there may be one dish that wasn’t as robust as the opposite two, and that’s Eric’s tartare. “The lotus root chips have been burnt, and we didn’t style the meat,” Colicchio explains. Eric thanks all of the judges, hugs his fellow cooks, and heads again to the kitchen to interrupt the information to his crew.
“This entire expertise is a blessing,” Eric tells the digital camera. “I’m proud right through. I’ve nothing to hold my head over. I feel I’ve carried out one thing extraordinarily distinctive on Prime Chef. It’s taken 16 seasons to showcase delicacies from Africa. It’s unlucky that I couldn’t end my closing meal. However I’m extraordinarily pleased with what I did and the way I did it. I’ve gained Prime Chef in different methods.”
Kelsey and Sara head again to the kitchen to wrap up the remainder of their prep with their sous cooks. “We’re unhappy to see Eric go, however Kelsey and I are within the finale,” Sara tells the digital camera, “Kelsey and I had an alliance within the sense that we have been going to push one another to do properly, and assist one another. This was a friendship alliance.” After prep is completed, the 2 finalists shotgun some beers of their lodge rooms and head right down to dinner at Mitsuharu Tsumaru’s restaurant Aji.
The subsequent day, Sara and Kelsey return to the kitchen of Graham Elliott’s restaurant, Coast, to complete prep on the “meal of their lives.” Kelsey is troubleshooting her crispy soft-shell crab dish, whereas Sara is refining a bacon and peach course. Becoming a member of the standard roster of judges this spherical are Tsumaru, Meals & Wine staffer Melanie Hansche, and cooks Alexander Smalls, Could Chow, Dan Hong, and Alvin Leung.

Carmo Correia/Bravo

Kelsey is the primary chef to serve her meal to the judges. The buttermilk dish, now with the addition of crawfish, is an enormous hit, and the judges are very impressed by her second course of oysters with vichyssoise. The crispy mushy shell crab dish with subject peas and pistou lands with a thud, however everybody loves Kelsey’s peach cobbler.
As soon as it’s time to serve her meal, Sara tells the judges, “I may have come right here and simply cooked the very same factor that I at all times cook dinner in the very same approach, however I actually needed to attempt to do one thing totally different.” Tom finds that Sara’s prawn dish is definitely higher the second day, however her plate of bacon with razor clams and peaches is deemed to be too salty by many of the judges. Sara’s duck with black-eyed peas and pickled beets will get excessive marks, and everybody on the desk loves the rib-eye with soiled rice and shitake broth that concludes the meal.
On the finish of the second meal, Padma tells Sara and Kelsey, “Cooks, no matter what occurs right here, each of you gave us extraordinary meals as we speak, so congratulations.” Whereas each menus have been robust total, the judges talk about how Kelsey’s crab and Sara’s bacon dishes missed the mark. Kelsey’s cornbread starter and Sara’s steak with soiled rice are amongst their favourite dishes of the evening.
As soon as the judges have made their resolution, Kelsey and Sara stroll out to face the decision in a room that’s stuffed with members of the family as properly contestants who acquired eradicated earlier this season. Padma begins the ultimate judgement by telling Sara and Kelsey, “There will likely be hundreds of thousands of little women all around the world that see the way you guys have carried out, the way you’ve struggled, and the way you’ve made all of it the way in which from again dwelling to right here in Macau — and I’m so blissful that I acquired to be right here to style it and watch it.”
Tom additionally has some remarks earlier than the massive announcement. “We benefited all season lengthy from only a implausible season of nice meals, and that is just the start,” Colicchio says. “Somebody’s going to win Prime Chef tonight, however each of you’ll go on to having profitable companies and receiving way more awards, since you’re each actually implausible cooks, however extra necessary than that you simply’re implausible folks.”

Carmo Correia/Bravo

With the pleasantries out of the way in which, Padma then reveals that Kelsey is the winner of Prime Chef Kentucky. “I feel I’m fully in shock,” the chef from Dothan, Alabama tells the digital camera. “It’s so surreal, and actually all I needed is to make my household proud.” Though she landed in second place, Sara is supportive of her pal. “I feel you’d be a loopy particular person to say you aren’t dissatisfied,” she remarks. “But when I’m not going to win, there’s nobody else that I needed to win apart from Kelsey.”
“All that I’ve gone via, and all of the hardships have formally turn out to be price it,” Kelsey tells the digital camera after the massive win. “[My son] Monroe watching me be on Prime Chef will be taught that you simply’re going to actually fall in your face, however you possibly can rise up and maintain going and be taught from yesterday. There’s no higher lesson. I don’t suppose anybody would ever say I’m an underdog ever once more.”

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