To be honest, Richard Blais sometimes came off like a dick during this season of Top Chef, not giving any of the credit to Stephanie Izard for his loss to her during season four. But more often, Mike Isabella wore the mantle of asshole chef. During the last couple of episodes, though, he appeared to be more likable, while Blais' neurotic lack of confidence sometimes seemed to be a front to gain sympathy from the judges and other "cheftestants." (How ridiculous is that name, and is it worse than "celebreality?")
Last night, though, I think we saw the real thing from both chefs. Blais willingly delegated to his sous chefs (I worried that Spike wasn't at the same level as Antonia or Angelo, but wasn't he the one who suggested changing the foie gras ice cream?), while Isabella, no doubt immensely talented, wasn't interested in taking any suggestions from Carla, Tiffani, or Jamie. Was that some of the same sexism he exhibited throughout much of the competition (and poor Antonia suffered the most for it when three got cut down to two)? Actually, I don't think so. I think Isabella followed his vision, and for the most part, he succeeded admirably.
Still, I think Blais as winner was the correct call, and I hope this will give him the confidence he needs to give his nasty little "you're not good enough" inner voice a rest. I'm familiar with that voice. So is my daughter. She called Monday to say she'd gotten an A on her philosophy midterm, which surprised her because she thought she'd earned a C+. Poor thing. She's experiencing precisely what I went through after each round of tests in college. I finally stopped fucking with myself in grad school. Hopefully it won't take her four years to figure it out.
I think this was one of the best seasons of Top Chef, even though I wish Angelo had made it into the finals. He against Blais...now that would have been something to see.