Andy Cohen is back to host the reunion. I've had to make my peace with my issues with Andy Cohen as reunion host, because it looks like he's going to be doing it for a while. And I will say, I admire his willingness to ask the awkward question most of the time. But I think these reunions are long on the fluff and short on actual information that might be useful or interesting.
Andy welcomes the cheftestants and the judges (Gail, Tom, Padma, Emeril, and "the Hugh-nibrow"). Everyone laughs at Hugh Acheson, but seriously -- why not pluck that brow a bit? You're a big boy now. I knew dudes in high school who shaved their unibrows; how does he get to be well into his adult years and no one pulled him aside and said, "Seriously, it's got to go."
The reunion starts officially with a congratulations to Paul, the winner, who says that it hasn't really sunk in yet, and he felt a huge sense of relief upon winning, as well as a huge sense of accomplishment. He's very cutely nervous. I imagine it's easy to forget you're on camera when you're cooking and competing, but it's tough to forget the cameras in this reunion setting. That leads us to a montage of Paul's "journey." What is this, The Bachelor? Anyway, if you watched this season, you know the basics: Paul was a bit of a ne'er-do-well and started cooking late. And then he was awesome and everyone pretty much knew he was going to win except him. The best part of Paul's story was how he was so happy to finally do something to make his parents proud, since he'd been kind of a fuckup in his youth and how obviously happy his parents were.
Paul reveals that he won a total of $185,000, a trip to Costa Rica and a Prius on the show. Tom says that the finale was incredibly hard to decide, especially since Sarah went so far out of her comfort zone and pulled it off, but Paul's food was more thorough and detailed. Andy tells Sarah that she was very visibly shaken when she lost and they cut to some footage of Sarah practically hyperventilating while talking to the judges after the winner was announced. Sarah gives the PC answer about how you put a lot of yourself into the meal and it was a disappointment.
Then Andy brings out the big guns. Someone in production told him that Sarah told a judge (cut to a shot of Emeril) to "eff off" when she lost. Sarah says she doesn't believe that. Tom pulls a face like, "Um, it happened so why are you denying it?" Andy points out that she was there, so she should know whether it happened or not. Sarah says she did not say that and then adds that she was really emotional that night, and she thinks it's really shitty that they're bringing it up now. And she's totally crying again. Just own it! Just say that you told Emeril to fuck off because you were SO upset, and you're really disappointed in yourself for doing it, and you hope Emeril can forgive you, but you just wanted to win very badly. I think people can understand that. But Sarah's all about placing blame on others and then crying so you pity her. Sigh. Some things never change. And then she starts talking about how much she admires Emeril (who said it was Emeril?) and he really pushed her during the competition. Emeril says that he loves her food and was so impressed by her evolution from the beginning of the competition to the end. I still haven't seen an apology from Sarah, but I guess apologizing would be admitting she said it? I also feel like that sequence was highly edited since she went from denying it to talking openly about her admiration for Emeril.