"That was the best reaction ever!" lead judge Tom Colicchio laughed.
"I won, Jersey's taking the belt home," a more composed Kevin said afterwards. "It's really like a dream come true... this is a life-changer. My career has been good, but this could make it great, it could make it incredible."
"It's absolutely huge that I'm the first African-American Top Chef. My dad, my sister, my friends, the guys at the barber shop -- they're going to eat it up, they're going to love it. I'm Top Chef!"
Padma did not reveal who was the competition's runner-up before announcing Kevin's victory.
"I didn't winTop Chef [but] there's absolutely zero regret," said Angelo, a 34-year-old from Connecticut who currently resides in New York, NY. "Kevin, you did an awesome job man. I'm very proud."
"Mr. Kevin is TopChef. I'm happy that he won, he definitely deserves it," said Ed, a 32-year-old from Boston, MA who currently resides in New York, NY.
As Top Chef: D.C.'s winner, Kevin will receive $125,000 in seed money to help open a restaurant, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, and a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.
Kevin was crowned the competition's winner after each finalist prepared a four-course meal -- a vegetable course, a fish course, a meat course, and a dessert -- for Top Chef judges Tom, Padma, Gail Simmons, and Eric Ripert as well as a group of guest diners.
All three finalists were required to base their fish and meat courses around the same two proteins -- rouget fish and duck -- and also incorporate four other proteins -- cuttlefish, cockles, slipper lobster, and pork belly -- into their dishes in some manner.
Kevin's winning meal consisted of eggplant, zucchini and pepper terrine; pan-seared rouget over a bed of cuttlefish "noodles," pork belly, cockles, and slipper lobster; roasted duck breast with duck dumplings; and a "Singapore Sling 2010" dessert which contained tropical fruits.
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