Critics' Table. Reichl says the texture of Mary Sue's tartare was lovely, though Oseland thinks her second course was an odd pairing. Reichl says her soufflé was a "Eureka moment." Floyd's first course is deemed brave, but his snapper was (admittedly) a mistake. The rendang, however, was delicious and soulful. Finally, Traci's shrimp Creole didn't have the long-cooked flavor that Gael was looking for. Curtis says she nailed the quail, but many of the judges were unmoved by her dry third course.
The cheftestants retire to the wine room so the critics can deliberate one last time. The consensus is that all three meals were phenomenal. What's more, the critics appreciated experiencing the cheftestants' individual voices and seeing skills they hadn't previously exhibited come to the fore. Witness, Mary Sue's Asian twist on a steak tartare. Floyd's constant spicing paid off in his upma. And Traci's shrimp Creole is contentious -- Oseland literally uses the term "fightin' words" when Gael disparages it. Curtis appreciates Traci's mixture of textures and flavors.
The cheftestants return for the final verdict. Traci has depth and classical training. Floyd is deeply skilled and very memorable. Mary Sue pushes the envelope and provides exciting, delicious food. But who is Top Chef Master? Floyd. He says it means a lot to his family because they have sacrificed to allow him to do what he wanted to do. He is especially proud to win the $100,000 for his charity because his father had cancer, so it's a special tribute. Curtis presents Floyd with his Top Chef Master jacket, and all the chefs and critics toast one last time.