Tonight was the season 3 finale of The Taste, and, as judge Anthony Bourdain said it best,”The days of hugs and high-fives are over.” Out of five contestants, the mission was to find the best undiscovered cook in America and the winner was … Gabe Kennedy. The winner gets their own cooking show on ABC.com, $100,000 and the trophy of The Taste.
Jen Royle, Benjamin Burke, Eric LeBlanc, Tristen Epps, and Gabe Kennedy were the final five contestants. The final five were being watched by a live audience, which included their previous fellow competitors. Their friends and family were also in the crowd, which added extra pressure.
Saints And Sinners was the theme for team challenge with two opposite dishes and 90 minutes to cook. The guest judge was the successful Jonathan Waxman, who tasted each contestant’s food blindly. Benjamin’s food got mixed reviews from Waxman. Waxman felt that Tristen’s was lacking salt and pepper. Eric’s dishes were said to be very well done, though Waxman felt one of his sauces was too thick. For Gabe, Waxman loved the complexity of his food. Waxman enjoyed Jen’s flavors, but felt her second dish was a bit “one-note.” The winner chosen was Gabe and Benjamin was the second favorite. The losing cook was Jen from Team Ludo, so she was eliminated.
Next up was the solo challenge with a Surf and Turf theme. Each cook created two dishes for the judges to taste and this time, Waxman was overseeing their skills in the kitchen and acting as their mentor. Bourdain’s favorite solo dish was Tristen’s and Chef Marcus’ favorite was also Tristen’s. Nigella Lawson’s pick was Gabe’s dish and Ludo chose Gabe as well, setting a record for the show with Gabe having the most gold stars. Benjamin and Eric were not picked. After much deliberation, Eric was sent home and Team Anthony was eliminated.
The final challenge was titled “Three Perfect Course” and the inspiration for the challenge was to watch Jonathan Waxman prepare his own three-course meal. Gabe has a panicking moment when he realizes the sour cherries he has are not fresh. Nonetheless, each of the dishes were delicious and the judges had a tough time figuring out the winner. The cook in third place was Tristen and, as a reward, Chef Marcus offered Tristen a job with him in New York City, which he gladly accepted. And the winner was announced as Gabe.