I’m still hanging with Harold for the long haul and I’m not sure about anyone else at this point in time. – My commet from Episode #2.

Can I call ‘em or what?  Yes, to my (and to, apparently, 93% of Top Chef viewers’) utter delight, Harold took the final challenge in the first season of Top Chef.  I cannot reiterate enough how glad I am that Tiffani did not take the honors.  Yes, I didn’t like her as a person, but it was her complete lack of professional attitude, judgement, and skill that really put her off for me.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  You’re probably thinking, “Well, what about Stephen?” Well, I’ve come around to the young man.  I think that he is pompous, yes…a little self-absorbed, yes…but, Stephen pulled out the guns during the reunion show when he was ready to go toe-to-toe with Kenneth “FINAL HOUR!!” Lee during a sweet moment (induced by wine, perhaps?) of apology to Candice Kumai.  Stephen really won me over when he realized that his “persona” is what killed his chances to reach the finale.  What I despise about people is their inability to LEARN from situations, not the inability to initially control these situations.  Stephen learned that he was a douchebag and stopped.  Tiffani, however, was a snake (sssss!) through and through from episode 1.  She was a backstabber, a saboteur, and a liar.  She burned every bridge she built from the beginning.  I think Tom Colicchio put it best tonight when he said the mark of a true chef is not only his or her skill, but their ability to draw people to them with the desire to WANT to work in building the creations.  There was no question of Tiffani’s error in this respect when the four sous chefs (Miguel, Lee Anne, Stephen, and Dave) voted Harold to be Top Chef.  Dave and Stephen even WORKED for her this episode!  On a side note, I thought it was just hilarious and perfectly karmic when the judges for the final dishes gushed over the dessert that was completely created by Dave (Tiffani made a quick attempt to claim credit for it – Tom called her on her bullshit).  Now, THAT was great.

Anyway, I could go on forever assessing all the things Tiffani did wrong as a person and a chef.  The bottom line is this: Harold won because he was likeable, was a model chef, and was an extremely skilled cook.  Bravo, Harold!  I lost faith in you half way through the season, but you picked it up and did the show well.  I’d love to have the chance to try some of your dishes some day.