MARCH 1, 2012 9:25AM

'Top Chef: Texas' Winner Takes the Cake

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Like the song that never ends, "Top Chef: Texas" took its time getting to the finale.  And at long last, last night the winner finally, finally, finally won, scores of meals and an abundance of agita later.

The show, the ninth season of "Top Chef" on Bravo, started way back on Nov. 2, with 29 contestants, eliminated one by one.

But not even really eliminated; many were shunted over to "Last Chance Kitchen," the show's minor league offshoot.

Finally the show got too big even for Texas, and last night's winner -- Paul Qui, 31, of Uchiko in Austin -- and the runner-up, Sarah Grueneberg, 30, of Spiaggia in Chicago, took the cake in Vancouver.

When Padma Lakshmi, the host, opened her mouth last night, saying, "Paul," the words "pack your knives" were sure to follow, but she was the tricky one.

"Paul, you are top chef."

Yay!  Now, all we have left is next Wednesday's reunion show, and we can go on ahead and clear our palates for the seasons to follow, all gazillion of them. 

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