Welcome to Cosentino Watch, where we recap the moves of San Francisco chef Chris Cosentino as he competes in Top Chef Masters. Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Finally, we're at the finale, and we know what we came here to do. Chris Cosentino and Kerry Heffernan have swiftly eliminated their competition over the past two months, and it's all come down to one final meal.
Host Curtis Stone explains that there is no Quickfire Challenge this time and only one four-course dinner separates them from the chance to win $100,000 for their charity. The final challenge is to bare their soul on the plate by writing four letters and translating them into a four-course meal. They'll need to write/serve a love letter, an apology, a thank you note, and finally a letter to themselves.
"There's a lot of emotion involved," Cosentino says of cooking. "I think that's what food's about. We put everything we have on the plate, our heart and our soul, to showcase who we are."
Stone tells the chefs that an extra pair of hands has been invited in the kitchen to help them. Cosentino is stoked to see Manfred Wrembel, his chef de cuisine at Incanto for the past six years.
"Oh my God, I am so relieved," he says. "Manfred's almost like a mini-me."
"I'm glad he's not mad at me for being here," Wrembel grins after receiving a big hug.
"Wait a minute," Cosentino asks, "Who is running the restaurant?"
Heffernan's old buddy Nick Liberato not only taught him how to surf, he's often worked with Heffernan on large, last-minute events, so Heffernan is also very glad to see who his assistant will be.
Stone gives them a $600 budget and the rest of the day to prep and shop, plus two hours the next day to finalize and plate the meals. Heffernan decides to get all of his ingredients at Whole Foods because he doesn't want to spend too much time outside the kitchen. Cosentino plans trips to the butcher, the Asian specialty market 99 Ranch, and Whole Foods. He's confident in what he's planning, but once he's out in insufferable Las Vegas traffic, he gets nervous.