June 22 2009, 8:29 AM
The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen wrapped up yesterday with a fitting finale: Top Chef winners Stephanie Izard (Season 4) and Boulder's own Hosea Rosenberg (Season 5) battled it out with one last quick-fire. The challenge: Prepare--using leftovers, a stocked pantry, and dairy products--a breakfast of champions for judges Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, Food & Wine editor Dana Cowin, and Todd Jaffey, who paid $15,000 (benefiting KitchenAid's Cook for a Cure) for a spot at the judge's table. The Top Chefs drew knives for their famous sous chefs--Ming Tsai and Jacques PÃ©pin--and then cooked for 25 harried minutes. Final dishes included Izard and Tsai's leftover pizza topped with lobster, bacon, and a fried egg, and Rosenberg and PÃ©pin's smoked trout mousse, wild mushroom tartlet, and fried green tomato with lobster and coral butter. In the end, team Rosenberg took the title. Great food aside, I suspect that his pomegranate, fresh melon, and Grey Goose vodka martini swirled with a Gummi Bear swayed head judge Colicchio, who has an alleged weakness for the candy. While Rosenberg's dominance continues, I can't stop thinking about the recipe for bacon popcorn that Izard shared with me on Saturday afternoon: Cook bacon, pop kernels Jiffy Pop-style in renderings, and garnish with finely chopped bacon. Um, yeah, that's popcorn Top Chef-style.