Finale

In the Finale, the Winner Proved Fusion Cooking Isn’t Just Some Lame ’80s Fad

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This season we’re recapping every episode of Top Chef All Stars Los Angeles. You can check out who had to pack their knives and go last week.

In a season honoring Los Angeles, one LA legend was noticeably absent: Wolfgang Puck. Sure, snooty New Yorkers may like to make sport of disrespecting the chef to the stars who became a star himself. But he’s much more important to late 20th century American dining than his east coast critics give him credit for. In the 1980s at his hit restaurant Spago, and especially at Chinois on Main, Puck helped usher in era of fusion cuisine by merging Asian and European traditions. Perhaps some of the dismissal of Puck is simply a residual hatred of what that trend devolved into: sushi tacos at Guy Fieri’s Tex Wasabi’s.

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