Kerry's dishes worked to "nurture you into a blissful coma," while Chris was saying, "I dare you to eat this bravado." Two very different philosophies.
James, Ruth, Francis, Krista, and Curtis call the chefs to critics' table. They go through each dish, mostly just oohing and aahing. The editing here really plays up the Kerry-as-stoic and Chris-as-passionate storyline.
"When you cook with your heart and soul, it comes through in your food," Chris says. " When you cook just to receive accolades, I think you lose direction and focus on what your goal is." Cue a sideways, anxious glance from Kerry.
In the wine room, Chris is convinced Kerry has won. The critics discuss the philosophical question at hand. Ruth sums it up: "Do we want to be comforted, or thrilled?"
Curtis announces they have arrived at our crowning moment. Chris and Kerry shake hands and smile. The winner of $100K and title of Top Chef Master goes to ... CHRIS! (resulting in a genuine "YES!" from this viewer).
Chef Costantino truly gasps for air when his name is called. He bends over and is clearly overcome. Kerry smiles genuinely and the judges applaud.
Quote # 4 of the ep, and our last for this season, from our winner Chris: "Guts prevailed. Thank God."
He has won a total of $141,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Chris reminds us that his Uncle John was diagnosed with Parkinsons 35 years ago and he passed away last year. The money is going to help a lot of people, and Chris is overcome with emotion about what a huge donation this is.
Curtis pops the champagne, Kerry declares he has no regrets and is very proud of his work during the competition.
Curtis hands Chris his massively oversized black "Top Chef Master" chef's coat. And with that, we are sated.
Don't fret, "Top Chef" maniacs : only six weeks until "Top Chef Seattle" premieres. Until then!