Roy handles rice with palpable reverence and respect. At the same time that I enjoy making fun of food and my industry I also adore people like Roy who speak so beautifully and authentically about their craft and what food means to them. I can’t think of a more interesting meal than Emeril and Roy cooking up comfort food for lunch and then talking about their life experiences. Roy lets loose and shows how food really saved him. I can listen endlessly to the stories of chefs' lives, their businesses, their philosophy, their worries, and fears. I think listening to a multitude of chefs' stories has taught me a lot about life and empathy. It is a beautiful thing to me to hear how much Emeril has meant to so many chefs. The man is a legend.
Short ribs and sugar-free cornbread are the menu for the lunch. I’d eat that. We learn that Sheldon moved up from dishwasher, just like myself, and countless others. You see it all when you start in the dish pit, and that vantage is so critical to understanding the entirety of the industry.
The Elimination Challenge is clarified: they have to make a dish that represents the moment they decided to be chefs. The meal will be at the Governor’s Mansion with the big G and the First Lady in the house! From the top floor of the mansion you can see Russia and other looming threats to Alaskan security, like otters and Canada.
Josh’s wife is having that baby whether he is there or not. Obviously he is pretty scattered. Brooke, who is not having a baby right now, is also scattered and can’t decide what to do. Snapper, foie, and many other things flash through the prep kitchen. Tom wanders through and interrogates the chefs, while taking credit for all foie gras recipes ever created.
We see pictures of baby Georgia on Skype. Awesome. Very cute. Congrats, Josh.
Sheldon is hearing voices in his head whispering about fish cookery. This is usually the first sign of going completely insane, or being near the end of a Top Chef season. The stress kind of gets to you. The Guv welcomes the whole gang and Tom cracks self-deprecating bald eagle jokes. I am not concerned as to why I am the only judge not there. Will not take this personally. I am crying on the inside.
Sheldon makes a salty spot prawn and rockfish bowl. It is an ode to Sam Choi, but also an ode to the salty sea, and Sheldon knows he’s flubbed it. In a brief interlude, Wolfgang and Tom become guidance counselors and explain how they became titans of the industry through either listening to or ignoring their father’s advice.
Brooke has made a duo of fowl: chicken and quail. It’s a comfortable dish which is really what Brooke specialize in. Wolfgang is making a move on Brooke’s mom through this dish. Roy likes the prodigal chicken plate from Brooke.