Top Chef Season 3 Winner – Hung


Cooking at high altitude, celebrity sous chefs, surprise fourth courses, kicked off chefs, live reveal… There was a lot of action in this Top Chef finale.

The last three chefs, Casey, Dale and Hung, arrived in Colorado and were brought up to the top of a mountain to find out about their last challenge.

The chefs were asked to come up with three course menus, and once they did they found out they were getting sous chefs. They had fears they’d get sous chefs that were the weakest competitors, and wow, were they wrong.

Rocco Dispirito helped Hung, Michelle Bernstein helped Casey, and Todd English helped Dale.

(That’s some pretty fine help, I’d say).

You could really tell that the celebrity chefs wanted to tell the competitors how to improve things, but they all kept their mouths shut.

The next day, Casey, Dale and Hung all worked alone… until Tom pulled them out of the kitchen with two announcements. First, they were getting new sous chefs to work with. Hung got Sara, Casey got Howie, and Dale got CJ. The second surprise was they had to come up with a fourth course in the time they had left.

First courses:

Hung served “fish and chips”: raw Hamachi with potatoes, olive oil and tomato vinaigrette

Dale served Foie Gras mousse with peaches, Ras el hanout gastrique & Arugula

Casey served Cinnamon scented scallop with celery & foie Gras with apple

The courses were fairly even, but Casey’s got the most criticism for the salmon roe.

Second courses:

Hung served shrimp with palm sugar, cucumber salad & coconut foam

Dale served his “extra” dish – seared scallop with purslane grapes and sweet corn

Casey served poached prawn with rice cake in lobster mushroom broth

The judges liked Dale’s dish a lot, and Casey’s dish didn’t quite make it, again because of the roe.

Third courses:

Hung served Sous Vide Duck withe Mushroom Ragout & Truffle Sauce

Dale served lobster, corn, mushrooms & gnocchi in curry jus

Casey served crispy pork belly over pea shoots with a roasted peach and creme fraichee

They REALLY liked Hung’s duck. Todd English called it “Three Star Michellin” and Michelle Berstein said she was “a little jealous”. Rocco said that he was pretty sure Hung kept him busy the whole time with a list of things to do, just to keep him out of his hair (ha!), but everything was in that dish.

They didn’t like Dale’s dish.

Casey’s pork belly dish didn’t go over well either.

Fourth courses:

Hung served chocolate cake with raspberries & nougatine tuile

Dale served poached lamb with eggplant puree, tomatoes & squash

Casey served seared lamb sirloin with potatoes, mushrooms, ruby chard & parsley puree

Dale’s dish went over well, as did Casey. Tom didn’t like the fact that Hung’s dish didn’t “follow the progression” of what he served.

Judge’s table:

The judges were happy with the overall meal.

Dale got high marks for his second dish, but the third dish fell flat, and they LOVED his last dish. They were especially surprised that he never made that before.

Casey really got beaten up for the first three dishes, and got nice compliments on her last dish… which she admitted that Howie handled.

Hung said that he didn’t plan the courses ahead of time, and was inspired by the ingredients. They loved the third dish, and weren’t impressed by the last dish. Even Hung said for the last course he “played it safe”.

After the competitors left, the judges talked about the dishes.

Hung’s dish won the first round.

Dale’s scallop was a favorite for the second round.

Third course, Hung won with his dishl

The last course, Dale’s dish was the favorite.

Based on what I saw up to this point, Dale should win this, with Hung second, and Casey third.

At this point in the show, they went live to judge’s table and announced that the winner of Top Chef Season 3 was Hung!

I think what ended up doing it for him was that throughout the whole season, he was very consistent, and did very well in the end.

Next week, there’s a Top Chef Season 3 reunion show.