The New Top Chef Masters Winner Sounds Off on Skydiving and More

09/26/2013 at 06:13 PM ET

Doug Keane Top Chef
Isabella Vosmikova/Bravo

Something old, something new, something borrowed… Was there a wedding on the finale of Top Chef Masters last night?

No, former cheftestant Sang Yoon didn’t swoop back in to woo finalist Doug Keane (it really was just a bromance, guys!). But the wedding rhyme did play into the final challenge on the show—only the last line was “something sous.” Clever, right?

To create a four-course meal, each finalist had to make a dish inspired by his or her early career, a dish inspired by his or her current ambitions, a dish inspired by a chef he or she admires and a re-do of the dessert his or her sous chef made in a prior challenge.

Prize for the cutest plate goes to chef Bryan Voltaggio, whose “something old” was the chicken Chesapeake he cooked his now-wife when they were 18. But when Curtis Stone declared that Keane’s soup maybe made him orgasm, you had to hope that Keane was the winner.

And…he was! His four courses:

1. Billi Bi (cream of mussels) soup with white wine, saffron, fennel puree and uni—a classic dish from Cyrus, his California restaurant that closed last year

2. Soba-wrapped ocean trout with ginger dashi and groats

3. Duck breast with sake roasted daikon, tamarind, golden pea sprouts and dates

4. Black sesame panna cotta with shattered miso custard and green tea matcha—a new version of the panna cotta his right-hand man, Paul, had lost the sous chefs challenge with

So what didn’t we see on camera? “My favorite moment of Top Chef Masters that wasn’t caught on camera was at the Asian night market challenge,” Keane told PEOPLE. “It was toward the end and Sang had come over to try my dessert and I didn’t have another plate to put it on for him, but I had it in one of the foamers, the canisters that I was using. I said, ‘Here, I’ll just kind of squirt a little bit for you out of the foamer right into your mouth,’ and it exploded. It exploded all over him. We must have laughed for about 15 minutes, [we were] just crying. And the producers were so upset because none of them caught it on camera.”

Keane’s win means $100,000 goes to the charity he founded, Green Dog Rescue Project, which trains and rehabs mistreated dogs and helps them find new homes. The chef and his wife, Lael, have their own posse of four-legged friends at home: Indie, Finnegan, Cash and Piglet.

The dogs don’t get table scraps (except 19-year-old Indie; “I figure she’s earned it,” Keane said), but of course he and Leal spend plenty of time cooking. She’s in charge of their pizza oven—Keane claimed his crust is “terrible”—but the new Top Chef Master drops an important tip for any kind of cooking:

“Salt your food,” he said. “It’s the single best cooking tip I’ve ever gotten, and it’s the single best one I’ll ever give. People put all this effort into cooking meals and they forget to just add some salt to it, which is actually the most essential element of food. Food needs to be seasoned. If you don’t do it, you’ve wasted your time.”

Maybe even more thrilling than hearing last night’s outcome was watching Keane go skydiving—an adventure he had refused during the first episode. After winning, he says, he realized he needed to do it to complete the journey.

“Once I was in the plane I knew I was going to do it and it was just about conquering that fear, so it was kind of a really cool feeling,” he said. “Once I got out of the plane it was actually very different than anything I thought it was going to be. I literally felt like I was just kind of sitting there, it didn’t feel like you were falling at all. It was really just getting over the fear of it and I think that was the cool thing.”

Is he hooked?

“I would do it again, no problem,” he said. “It’s nothing I’m dying to go do, but yeah, if someone said, ‘We’ll give $20,000 to your charity to do it,’ game on.”


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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms


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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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