The Final Showdown
I’ve never met a more polarizing finalist, or, a more confusing one. She had so much going both for and against her. Some viewers were up in arms about her from episode 1. And yes, sometimes the truth seemed to shift underneath her feet like quicksand. Who can guess why she chose to slide into spin-mode on so many occasions? It was so counterproductive, unnecessary and, ultimately, a factor in the viewers and judges never totally trusting her.
On the other hand, she had innate TV skills, a unique culinary point-of-view and the cooking chops to pull it off. When Debbie auditioned in our kitchens for the very first time, I remember thinking that she could really have a shot at this: a natural on camera who could really cook.
So I was as puzzled as anybody by all of her misstatements and missteps. But, interestingly, every guest chef who met Debbie was as impressed by her as we were initially. The dream team of celeb chefs this week was all mesmerized by her natural communication gifts – even if her food fell short this week in almost everyone’s eyes (or mouths).
She admitted this week that she had “lapses in judgment” and learned from them. I’d like to think that’s true. She’ll have plenty of time to reflect on them now.
I couldn’t be happier with our final two. Jeffrey and Melissa have both earned their spots at the very top. They’ve displayed integrity, talent, skill and heart. What I love most is how evenly matched they are. In fact, I’d use the exact same words to describe them both: Smart. Talented. Warm. Generous. Expert. Creative. Likeable.