That night, the chefs get to relax -- well, as much as we ever let the chefs relax on Top Chef -- and the chefs eat at Qsine. My friend just took a Celebrity cruise and told me about the atmospher and food there, so it was fun for me to see the chefs there. After quite a bit of shit-talking, Padma and The Handsome Cardigan arrive. They issue the chefs' Elimation Challenge: to reimagine surf and turf. Since Sheldon won the Quickfire, he gets to pick his proteins first. The proteins he selects are off limits to the other chefs. Sheldon jokes that he'll select canned tuna and Spam, which is pretty much what Hugh has been joking about in relation to Sheldon every week in his blog. Weiiird. Oh by the way, Sheldon worked at Disney World. Whaaat?!
The chefs select their proteins, and although Sheldon has first pick, he selects the two most traditional: beef and lobster. Alhough the other chefs are surprised by this seemingly boring choice, I look at it as an opportunity. If he can cook them in a new and exciting way, he could win. Make the judges see them in a different light, Sheldon!
Theres some tension in the kitchen between Brooke and Josh. They actually have a really interesting relationship, but I don't quite know what to make of it. Anyone have any insight they care to offer?
All the chefs are all working furiously till the end of their time. The judges are joined by several members of the Celebrity Cruises team including Executive Chef John Suley. They talk about how nice the weather is. If you're a whale. Tom is waiting to see a narwhal. This is the weirdest exchange i think we've ever had between the judges, and i love it. if this is how they are on a boat, let's film a whole season on a boat!
Let's go through the dishes, shall we?
The judges really like Brooke's frog leg dish. Her papadum was greasy, but that was the only real criticism. Spoiler alert! She wins!
Stefan serves crispy pork with beer sauce and eel/ravioli. HIs dumplings weren't unagi enough, his sauce was greasy, but the the real issue -- or rather, debate -- seemed to be his pork. I found this whole conversation around the pork fascinating and was pretty happy Curtis, someone familiar with that style, was there for it. While the American and Canadian judges seemed to be really bothered by the crispy pork, it reminded Curtis of home. When Stefan said he was making it and i saw how he scored the top, I instantly thought of the pork at Porchetta here in NYC. The method seems to be similar. So, yeah, it's a thing. Whether Stefan's pork was just inedibly hard -- unlike Porchetta's -- is another question.
I am not sure where else to leave this comment, but I wish while in Alaska the contestants could have done perhaps a quick-fire challenge using an ulu!
It's interesting how we have been told time and time again that the judging isn't cumulative - it is based on the dish presented for the particular challenge - yet the judges have been referencing past dishes (successes and failures) more and more with each episode. Why bring up Stefan's cordon bleu? Secondly, I'm becoming more and more disturbed with Padma's "mean streak" as it's being named. She hosts the show, yet I see more and more of her personality shine through and influence decisions (which isn't a good thing). Did you hear her ask Hugh, "So is THAT who you think should go home?" Almost as if she were challenging him. I'm definitely not enjoying Padma at all this year and tend to brace myself for whatever snottiness may come out of her mouth during each clip. Kind of reminds me of Stefan as a front of the house man. Padma should remember that her role is to "host" the viewers, not turn them off. If she's going to be an Anthony Bourdain type judge, then maybe they should get another host.
shinyfirefly893 I agree. It seems like Sheldon really botched his dish in both technique and concept whereas Stefan messed up mainly in technique. I think the judges kept Sheldon because overall he's been awesome all season... and I'm ok with that! I just wish they would be consistent with taking into account past performances and failures. It really just makes more sense in terms of fair judging. Not to mention that would have saved Kristen!
Here's my comment in regards to this show and keeping it fresh: I would suggest you take a page from the newest cooking show and do blind tastings of the chef's offerings.
It has become hard to tell who is sticking around based on personalities and how much certain judges favor them, and who remains because their food is truly wonderful.
Do it blind, and if a judge spends time in the kitchen and knows who is doing what, keep them off the panel for that judging.
Josh comes off as a bit sexist at times & I think he is showing resentment at Brooke's success. His crap about men not getting manis was rude and unnecessary. He's been a bit of a blowhard at times, too. He isn't all that and a bag of chips.
I think Sheldon just had one of those "freeze-up and draw a blank" moments in this challenge, like Brooke had in the fried chicken challenge. He's lucky all his good work up until now wasn't wasted by getting himself eliminated. I would like to see Kristin & Brooke definitely in the final with any combination of Sheldon, C.J., and Lizzie. It would be great if all the women ended up on the top.
BTW-My first cruise was in the early 80s, before the ships got so HUGE and we had a blonde waiter from northern Italy named Sergio.... Being 4 single women on a ship of older people & families made for some fun with an international crew, let me tell you...
TChefAddict2012 I think Josh is playing a part to a degree. He's posturing as the Oklahoma cowboy who has no truck with highfalutin' cuisine, but I think it's all for the cameras. After all, Mr. Macho knew what French tips were.