"You are Top Chef," Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi told Kevin, a 30-year-old from Willingboro, NJ, as he and fellow finalists Ed Cotton and Angelo Sosa waited to learn their fate.
"I am?" Ed asked.
"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!"
Vegetable course: eggplant, zucchini and pepper terrine -- call it sweet justice for Ed, but Eric Ripert was a fan of the presentation but not the lack of flavor or contrast
Fish course: pan-seared rouget with cuttlefish sauce and noodles -- who knew potbelly and squid went together like peanut butter and jelly? Kevin did!
Meat course: roasted duck breast with duck dumpling -- Eric was amazed by the caramelized bok choy. "I have never zeen zees!"
Dessert course: frozen Singapore sling with tropical fruits -- restaurateur Iggy Chan was positively floored by the sling, which he deemed the new national dessert. Everyone seemed to agree that it was a complex, successful spin on a traditional favorite.