Why a Woman Needed to Win Top Chef:
It was definitely time for a female to take the glory. And I'm not even saying that because men have all won the previous three seasons, though that's certainly reason enough.
1. The nature and the makeup of the final competition - The fact that Stephanie, this season's victor, competed against a man (a likely and talented frontrunner, who was a top pick from the get-go) and another woman during the final challenge was brilliant. Even playing field—each equally regarded the other as an opponent. Although Lisa's presence in the top three was a little questionable (how did she manage to eek it out that far???), there was no sorority or girl-power high-fiving between her and Lisa simply because of their shared geneder and the knowledge that either of them winning would be historic.
2 The medium of the show itself - The current tv-viewer's perception of female cooks is a fairly one-dimensional and arguably inaccurate one. And it needs to change. If you look at other food programs on television, most notably on the Food Network, the number of male hosts and chefs vastly outnumber the females. And of the well-known women that do have shows (Rachael Ray, Paula Deen, Barefoot Contessa's Ina Garten), none of them are actual chefs, trained and toughened by working the line in real restaurants. Top Chef's female contestants were hardly Sandra Lees. They butcher, they swear (some of them), they sweat—just like the guys. That's an accurate representation of female chefs. Viewers should see them that way, and see them win that way.
3. The prize - Instead of getting their own tv food show, the chance to be a spokesperson for Glad family products, or any other frilly stuff, Top Chef winners actually get cash for a restaurant (which as we know, isn't the easiest thing in the world to open without ample funds). The number of female chefs who own their own restaurants is still dwarfed by the number of men, so that leg up--thank you Top Chef--is perhaps the most fitting prize a female chef (any chef, but specifically a female), could ask for.