Top Chef Winner Buddha Lo Had Only One Goal With His Final Meal

Season 19 of "Top Chef" was filled with exciting challenges, taking us from Space Center Houston to a fishing boat in Galveston, Texas, and ending in Tucson, Arizona (via Bravo). Along the way, chef Buddha Lo presented elegant dishes that reflected his fine-dining background but was also able to adapt to the more rustic challenges, cooking dishes inspired by his family (via People).

The Australian's 18 years of experience in the kitchen certainly helped him win the title, but he also meticulously studied the show (via Food & Wine). Prior to the show's taping, he watched eight seasons of the competition series in quick succession and took notes to inform his own game plan. It came down to four overarching strategies: "listen to the challenge," "taste everything," "presentation is key," and "finish the dish." This meticulous plan clearly worked to get the Australian Chinese chef to the finale, but it was his final four-course meal that secured him the title over two tough competitors, Evelyn Garcia and Sarah Welch.

Buddha Lo's goal was to win, not just participate

The stakes are high for the "Top Chef" finale because a winner is not crowned based on their performance throughout the entire competition; rather, it all comes down to the final meal. Host Padma Lakshmi explained in the Season 19 finale that the task at hand was the same as many other seasons of the show: "cook the best four-course progressive meal of your life" (via People). As he did with the other challenges, chef Buddha Lo really thought about what the judging panel was asking for and cooked dishes based on his family, with fine dining touches. His reasoning was that while other dishes may come and go, his family is a constant in his life.

He dedicated his first course, hamachi with caviar, to his brother. He followed that with lobster laksa inspired by his mother,and Mongolian lamb in honor of his late father, who was his culinary mentor in their family restaurant in Port Douglas, Australia (via Bravo). The fourth course, a pumpkin mille-feuille, paid homage to the United States, a place that he is happy to call home (via People). 

Lo's post-win interview was very emotional, as he dedicated his win to his father and spoke to his mother and brother on the phone, who were immensely proud (via Bravo). If you want a taste of the finale meal, Lo will be recreating it as a tasting menu at HŪSO from June 22 through September 24 (via People). Ultimately, the truth about "Top Chef's" Lo is that he deserved this win, and we can't wait to see where he goes from here.