Everyone but Jessie (who is sick) is back for the reunion. The cheftestants admit that being on the show has helped all of their restaurants business-wise, and Kevin won a ton of money from High Stakes Quickfires. They discuss Restaurant Wars, and how a lot of people thought the wrong person was eliminated that night, and apparently it made Kevin kind of bitter for a while.
The Fan Favorite won't be revealed until the next night, but the other cheftestants think perhaps Bryan, Kevin, or Jen might get it. There's a funny clip package about how this batch of cheftestants were totally down on themselves. And remember when Kevin got immunity and didn't have to cook for the French chefs? Turns out that he would have rather cooked, since they all talked to each other in French and he couldn't understand anything. This leads Tom Colicchio to talk about how the industry has really embraced the show, and that has led to some impressive guest judges. And not only are the judges impressive, but the cheftestants themselves were very accomplished coming into the show.
Andy Cohen calls Ash out for thinking Padma doesn't like him, and then asks which other cheftestants thinks Padma doesn't like them, and almost all of them raise their hands. Padma is surprised that she comes off as a cold fish. Some of the cheftestants (Mike I, Hector) thought they went out early. On a lighter note, people got drunk and crazy back at the house.
We learn that Michael V. actually applied to be on the show, and then they found out he had a brother who's a cook and they asked him to apply too. They spend quite a bit of time talking about the sibling rivalry, which I think we get at this point, and it would have been nice to use this time to talk to some of the cheftestants who didn't get to speak at all in the reunion. Their mom comes out and says that since Michael won, she and her husband are giving Bryan their vintage Corvette. Damn.
Kevin and Eli knew each other before the show aired, so they spent a lot of time talking about nerdy science things that the other cheftestants didn't understand. Mike I. was as much of a cocky asshole as you thought, and they even have the clip package to prove it.
Robin gets a chance to defend her incessant talking, and then there's a really awkward segment where they try to make her tormentors defend themselves, and Michael V. gives her a somewhat sincere apology and Toby Young manhandles an apology out of Eli and there's some bitterness there, still.
They talk about serving breakfast in bed to Padma and how flustered some of the men got, and everyone giggles. And that's it until next season!
Hey, awesome! The reunion is once again hosted by Andy Cohen. Except not awesome because I can't stand the dude as a host. He just doesn't ask the hard questions, and he gets all sweaty and reveals more of his hairy chest than I need to see, and it's not good. I don't know whom I would rather have host. Maybe Colicchio, who doesn't seem to shy away from asking the hard questions. Or Padma. Anyway, he introduces Gail, Tom, Padma, and Toby, and then welcomes all of the cheftestants, explaining that Jessie is sick, so she's not there. Not that Andy would have made time to talk to her anyway.
Andy starts by congratulating Michael Voltaggio, the winner, and asks what his plan is for the money. He hopes to open a restaurant, possibly with his brother, and travel a bit. He didn't win THAT much money. Although with the exposure from the show, and his track record, it would probably be easier to get investors. Roll the montage of how awesome Michael was this season, where he explains that he only became a chef because his brother was one, and he tries to express himself with food the way that an artist expresses himself on a canvas. And then he won a lot of the challenges, and the judges talked a lot about his food and how good it was, even when he didn't win.
Andy asks Tom what happened in the finale that gave Michael the win. Tom says that Kevin had a bad night, so he was out of the running early. And then Bryan's dishes were lacking seasoning (salt, specifically), and that's what knocked him out. Andy asks the cheftestants how being on the show has affected their restaurants. Bryan says that he was worried that his restaurant might go out of business before going on the show, and even while he was filming the show, and now his business is crazy. Kevin adds that there's a lot more buzz around his restaurant, and critics visiting. They had the High Stakes Quickfire this season, and Kevin ended up winning the most money: $45,000. The judges are shocked.
Andy wants to talk about Restaurant Wars, when Team Mission won the Quickfire and then decided to double down and lost all the money. Kevin has the chance to talk about how his team wanted to have fun and be nice and so they didn't elect a leader, and it was the reason why they lost. A montage reminds us that Laurine was front-of-house and screwed up the timing of the dishes and also wasn't attentive enough to the judges, but on the other hand, both Jen and Kevin screwed up their dishes: Jen because she took on too much and Kevin because his lamb was too rare for some diners. Kevin admits that he almost quit the competition because he felt he should have been eliminated instead of Laurine. Tom points out that he read recently that Laurine felt that Jen should have been eliminated instead of her, which if I recall, was the more common refrain from the usual blogs and forums about the show. Laurine looks a little surprised that Tom called her out like that, and then says that Jen bit off more than she could chew. Gail defends the elimination by saying that they don't know what went on behind the scenes when they are judging, and Laurine's performance was not good that night.
Andy moves things along to a lighter note and says that the Fan Favorite will be revealed on his talk show the next night (it was Kevin) but he wants to know who everything thinks will win. Mike I. thinks Bryan has totally got it, and laughs that he knows that he himself won't win. A lot of the others predict that Kevin will win it, and Kevin jokes that his beard is in the running. Padma continues her girl crush and points out Jen as a contender, which leads Andy to a montage about Jen's awesomeness. Of course, they leave out all the parts (i.e. the second half of the season) where Jen talked about how she had no confidence in her food. They do show a lot of footage from when she ran the kitchen and was awesome. That's when I fell in love with her.
A viewer asks about the lack of confidence the chefs showed this season, since he thought chefs were supposed to have huge egos. Well, some of them do -- notice that in the ensuing montage, you don't have Michael V. or Mike I. talking about how much their food sucked as much as you do, say, Jen or Ash or Ashley. Anyway, there's a montage of cheftestants talking about how much their food sucked. The end. Andy asks Ashley why she's so hard on herself and Ashley says she's just a really competitive person and always wants to be the best at everything. Toby has to pipe up and add his two cents, but he basically says what Ashley just said.
Andy's flop sweat is starting to pop out on his upper lip as he brings up the French cooking challenge with Joel Rubuchon. Tom asks Kevin if he would have rather cooked than eat with the chefs, and Kevin says he definitely would have. He reveals that Joel asked him if he spoke French, and when he said no, the last thing Joel said to him all day was "Pity." This introduces a clip where the editors caption what the French chefs were actually saying during that dinner contrasted with what Kevin probably thought they were saying. It's fairly predictable (the chefs asks if the wine is America and Kevin imagines that they're calling Americans the worst chefs), but it's still kind of funny and at least it's something new instead of just rehashing stuff we've already seen.
Andy helps Tom pat himself on the back by bringing up how impressive the guest judges have become, and this leads into a montage of the judges giving tough criticism, including Wolfgang Puck throwing a donut at a PA, which was awesome. I hope they bring him back in the future.
A viewer wants to know which season of the show had the best food, according to the judges. Well, after they show a montage about how great the food was this season and how high caliber the cheftestants were, what do you think the answer is going to be? Tom says that this season was the best, and he hopes next season can top it. Mike I. yells out that it's not going to happen. You didn't win, dude. Take it down a notch.
Andy brings up that Ash claimed that Padma didn't like him. Before he can respond, Andy asks the cheftestants which of them think Padma doesn't like them, and nearly all of them raise their hand. Padma tries to explain that she only knows their food, and doesn't know them personally. So she hates their food? Tom rescues the potentially awkward moment by saying that Toby hates most of the cheftestants, and Gail loves all of them. Aw. She's the Paula Abdul.
Because of the high level of talent, some really talented people went home pretty early, and Andy asks who thinks they went home too early. Mike I. thinks that he did, but admits that his leek dish was bad. So...he should have stayed even though he had the worst dish? That makes no sense. Hector also thinks he went home too early. Okay, then.