Marcus Samuelsson wins the second season of 'Top Chef Masters'
By Christopher Rocchio, 06/10/2010
Marcus Samuelsson was crowned the winner of Top Chef Masters' second season during last night's finale broadcast of Bravo's Top Chef spinoff.
"It's the best feeling," said Samuelsson after his victory was revealed. "People all over the world will celebrate this with me, I guarantee you that."
AsTop Chef Masters' champion, Samuelsson -- a chef from New York, NY -- won $100,000 for the UNICEF Tap Project, which raises funds to bring clean and accessible water to millions of children around the world.
Samuelsson defeated fellow New York chef Susur Lee and Las Vegas chef Rick Moonen.
"I'm very proud of myself that I gave my very best," said Lee.
"But I'm a human being. If I say, 'Hey, no problem. The next day, move on.' I'm bulls--tting you."
Moonen also competed on Top Chef Masters' first season but been eliminated in the culinary tournament's preliminary round.
"I had to prove something to myself from last season to this season," he said after his defeat during the second-season finale. "I'll do it again in a heartbeat, but I need to recover first. I'm a little sore."
Top Chef Masters' second-season "Champions' Round" required the three finalists to each prepare a biographical three-course meal -- with the first course serving as their first cooking memory, the second course being a meal that inspired them to become a chef, and the third course representing what defined them as a chef.
The meals were judged by regular Top Chef Masters judges Gail Simmons, James Oseland, and Jay Rayner as well as a group of guest diners that included Top Chef Masters'first-season winner Rick Bayless and finalists Michael Chiarello and Hubert Keller, as well as Top Chef lead judge Tom Colicchio.
Lee received 4 1/2 stars from Rayner and Oseland and 4 stars from Simmons and the panel of diners for a total of 17 stars. Moonen also received 17 stars, as he collected 5 stars from Oseland and 4 from Rayner, Simmons and the panel of diners.
Both were edged out by Samuelsson, who received 5 stars from Rayner, 4 1/2 stars from Simmons, and 4 stars from Oseland and the panel of diners -- giving him a total of 17 1/2 stars and the second-season title.