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Top Chef Seattle - Ep. #15 - 02/13/13 (Spoilers)

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We're getting down to the wire. There are glaciers; there are sled dogs. There's a baby on the way! (Note - a lot of "stories" in this episode, so the recap is probably longer than usual.)

They start off back in the hotel; they go to have breakfast, and find a note from Padma saying "Head to the Eagle Crest for your next Quickfire. Dress warm!" They head up to the Eagle Crest Ski area, and a helicopter meets them on the road to meet Padma. Brooke is absolutely *terrified* to be in the helicopter; the pilot tells them all they have survival gear for 7 days; it'll just take them 15 minutes to get there, and Brooke will be fine. She climbs on board, but is crying. She asks the pilot to wait 15 minutes until the Xanax kicks in (pretty sure this is a nervous joke). She refuses to look out the window while they're flying and is clinging to Josh's arm very tightly. But when she does *finally* look out, she's overwhelmed with the beauty and seems to calm down a bit.

They get to climb onto the dog sleds to take them the rest of the way. NOW Brooke is laughing and having fun! Tom and Padma meet them on Norris Glacier at the base of Guardian Mountain. They're in a dogsled camp where training is going on for the Iditarod. They tell them that only two of them will move on to cook in the finale. The Quickfire is to create a dish in 30 minutes using whatever they find in the camp for their ingredients. This is the last Quickfire before the finale. They rush to the coolers and pantry and grab what they can and then head to the tiny tent kitchen to cook.

Both Sheldon and Brooke are using halibut for their proteins....and Josh is making breakfast. AGAIN. Sheldon and Josh are rushing back and forth to the coolers and pantry - Sheldon said he and Josh are the heavier set guys in the competition, and they call themselves Team Husky. But they're amongst the *real* Team Husky - the dogs.

Padma and Tom ask what the racers' typical diet is while they're training, and who eats more - the people or the dogs. Josh runs out of time to be able to fry his eggs, and has to scramble them....leaving the texture of his dish, ironically, to be like "mush".

BROOKE - Pan-Roasted Halibut, Panzanella Salad with Red Currant & Beet Vinaigrette - Tom liked the flavor, loved the crunchy bread; and a racing team member said she's really picky, but she really liked it.

JOSH - Cornmeal Cake with Canadian Bacon, Scrambled Eggs & Smoked Salmon - in her introduction, Padma said "let's move on to what looks to be breakfast...I'm going to guess that you made this, Josh!" Shocking, says Josh. :-) Tom asks if the eggs were "straight up scrambled" and when Josh said yes, Tom replies "Really? OK." The corncake was well received, and another racer said that's what they eat up there - hearty camp food.

SHELDON - Pan-Roasted Halibut with Tomato Sauce, Sesame Bok Choy & Pickled Radish - Tom liked the halibut, but thought the sauce was a bit too salty. But one of the racers really liked Sheldon's dish.

Tom reviews the three dishes, and announces Brooke as the winner. She's on a roll!

Padma tells them she has another surprise for the cheftestants, and they climb back into the helicopter to head down the mountain. Padma's driving the car to wherever they're going - Sheldon says in the confessional "I've never seen Padma drive; I think she's gets chauffeured around, so I hope she can actually get us home safely!" They head back to the hotel, and Emeril and Roy Choi, their guest judge, are there in the kitchen. Roy is the co-founder of Kogi and A-Frame in Los Angeles, and started the whole gourmet food truck revolution. Turns out that Brooke used to cook at the restaurant that Roy cooks at right now, but as Emeril says, it's not going to buy her any extra points.

Emeril and Roy have cooked them a special lunch in honor of getting to the final 3. Roy and Emeril do their cooking, and sit down with the chefs and Padma to eat Emeril's cornbread and Roy's braised short rib, which has a lot of significance to him. He didn't become a chef until later in life - around 25 - he calls himself a scumbag. He said you didn't want to meet him on the street. He was lying on the couch one day watching Emeril on TV cook a braised short rib in red wine, and said it was like Emeril popped out of the TV and slapped him across the face. Roy said that was it; he started researching culinary schools and he's cooked ever since. Emeril seemed very honored to hear he was an influence for Roy. Emeril said he started off washing pots and pans in a Portuguese bakery, and the bakers took a liking to him and taught him to bake bread, and that was the start of his love of cooking.

Padma said these amazing stories brings them to their next Elimination Challenge - they are asked to make a dish that represents the moment they all knew they wanted to be a chef - their defining culinary moment. They will be cooking for the Governor of Alaska and his First Lady at the Governor's mansion. They'll have 2-1/2 hours to prep that night, and then another 1-1/2 hours the next day to finalize their dishes. Emeril tells them to *not* hold back at all.

The cheftestants start talking about dishes that define them, and Josh gets a call from his wife saying her water broke and she's heading to the hospital. A *very* emotional time for both Josh and his wife without him there. Sheldon says to Josh to let him know if he needs breathing exercises; he can help. Brooke asks if he wants to go home; his immediate reply is "No!" and then he clarifies to say "Well, eventually, yes. Just not now."

They rush into the kitchen to conceptualize and prepare; Brooke has no idea what she wants to do, and Josh says he's going to continue to ask her what she's making (and he does). Sheldon removes the head of a big-ass prehistoric fish, and puts the head into a large pot of water - and I *swear*, the fish's gills start to expand as if it's breathing - freaky! LOL Josh is trying to do a foie gras torchon in 4 hours (usually a 4 day process).

Tom comes into the kitchen to ask what everyone is doing. Tom tells Sheldon that he says every time someone makes fish, they start the fish too soon - so Sheldon's going to take his advice and cook it at the last second. Brooke's working on a braised chicken dish, which she remembers her Mom making as she made dinner for the family every night - she will elevate it with quail to show where she is now. Josh said his defining moment was when he was reading an article in Food & Wine about foie gras, thinking it was so far advanced for a kid from Oklahoma, and then the first time he had tasted it - turns out the restaurant he was working at, the chef used to work for Tom, which Josh says puts even more pressure on him.

They head to bed, but Josh's wife calls him and says "I just want you to be here!" and is crying on the phone. Josh ends up staying up waiting for his wife's or mother-in-law's call. He gets a Skype call from his wife, and baby Georgia has arrived! His wife said "It wasn't so bad, so I guess we can have another one." Josh replies "Well, we can wait a little bit!" The morning arrives, and he tells Brooke and Sheldon the baby has arrived.

They head to the Governor's mansion to finish their dishes. Sheldon notes that Brooke has won more challenges than anyone else; but she feels very nervous knowing that one of them still needs to go. Sheldon begins to get nervous knowing he can't start cooking his fish too early. BUT when he tastes his broth, he realizes he let it reduce way too long, and it's too salty. But he has no time to make changes.

The judges arrive and are greeted by the Governor and his wife. The judges are the Governor and his wife, Tom, Emeril, Wolfgang Puck, Gail Simmons, and Roy Choi.

SHELDON - Pan-Roasted Rockfish, Spot Prawns, Baby Vegetables & Dashi - Wolfgang likes the prawns and Tom agrees that the fish and the prawns are done perfectly. Roy Choi loves the conception of the dish, but said it was too salty, and the Governor's wife agrees. Tom notes that one mistake will be the difference for sending someone home, and over-saltiness is definitely a mistake.

BROOKE - Braised Chicken, Grilled Quail with Carrot Barley & Pickled Vegetables - Tom said you know when the food is good, because everyone's quiet. And everyone *is* quiet. Roy said it looks very simple, until you start breaking it apart and see the various layers. Wolfgang said his only criticism is that his quail breast is overcooked, but if that's the way her Mom cooks, he would go to her house. Tom said Brooke accomplished taking something her mother did and making it more upscale. The Governor said it's reminiscent of his mother. Roy notes that Brooke was a prodigy in the city of L.A., and this was her style of food - this was Brooke on a plate.

JOSH - Fois Gras Three Ways: Torchon, Pan-Seared and Profiterole - Roy ate his whole plate - he liked the flavors on all three. Gail enjoyed the Profiterole, but the Torchon wasn't set (and sure enough, he was having problems with it in the kitchen). Tom said he understands that Josh is pushing himself, but sometimes you have to pull back a bit. Tom notes "You cannot make Fois Gras Torchon in one day. You just can't do it." The Governor said he liked the flavors, but said he wanted something to chew on - he needed more texture. Wolfgang said he loved the sauteed fois gras, and both Emeril and he loved the corn puree.

The chefs arrive at Judges Table in the Governor's mansion. Padma says she was surprised to get fois gras from Josh; he said he wanted to go balls to the wall. Tom called him out on the Torchon, but he does get praise for the flavors.

Roy Choi tells Brooke that her dish looked simple, but it ended up being like origami as he opened it up. Wolfgang said the flavors were great, but his quail was overcooked. Padma notes that she set herself a difficult task trying to meld two dishes into one, and Tom said she did a great job and it all worked.

Wolfgang asks Sheldon how he could have done such a perfect job on the fish, but screwed up the broth so badly. He thought there was someone else cooking the broth. Gail said there was a lot of flavor, but the saltiness left a harshness.

It was a unanimous decision - BROOKE is the winner! She moves on to the finale in Los Angeles. The judges ask Sheldon and Josh to leave so they can discuss. Tom notes the two major mistakes - Sheldon's overly salty broth and working with an ingredient Josh really didn't seem to understand. Roy said he felt Josh was trying to impress them and lost sight of the dish. Padma is frustrated by Sheldon, as he should have been able to make the broth in his sleep. Wolfgang was surprised he didn't taste the food *before* he plated. But Tom notes that whoever they send home has one more chance in Last Chance Kitchen - so *someone* will be going up against the current LCK champion!

Improper cooking or overseasoning - which loses out? It's Josh who is asked to PYKAG and Sheldon moves on to the finale! Josh tells Brooke and Sheldon to "knock 'em dead in L.A. - maybe I'll see ya!" and winks at them both as he walks out.

Tom and Padma come into the kitchen to tell them that they'll be competing in the finale along with winner of Last Chance Kitchen. Padma tells them to bring their A Game to be the 10th Top Chef, and Tom says to work on their technique, but come back raring to go.

Previews show Josh entering LCK, ready to go up against the LCK champion, and the two chefs up for Save-A-Chef join them. And Brooke's response in the preview to whoever walks in from LCK seems surprising - perhaps not who we're hoping for? Off to watch LCK....

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  1. THANK YOU, AS ALWAYS, FOR SUCH A MASTERFUL RECAP!

    1. I noticed on my twitter feed from last night that Sheldon, Brooke and someone else (don't want to spoil) were meeting at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market this morning...so they're probably filming fairly soon.....looking on other chef's twitter feed to see their location....you may surmise who made it to the finale.....or maybe not....they may be a sous chef in the finale....

      1. More bacon -- Canadian this time! Jeeeez... Later Josh.

        Best line was from Sheldon: "I wish I had some great reefer" (I can't remember the exact quote, but it was strange, kind of out of place, and bizarrely timed -- just like him).

        8 Replies
        1. re: davis_sq_pro

          I think Sheldon's line was on top of the mountain. Just looking to enhance the experience a little bit more.

          1. re: davis_sq_pro

            I thought I heard that. And then I decided it wouldn't pass by the editing/censor process.

            1. re: chicgail

              I definitely heard it; meant to put it in the recap but forgot.

              1. re: LindaWhit

                It was a pot-themed night.(edited to add: no pun intended). Did anyone notice the T-shirt Josh was wearing at one point?...appeared to be a list of variaties...since 'Maui-Zowie' was at the top of the list I will admit I wondered if it was a gift from Sheldon....:-)

                1. re: susancinsf

                  I did see that--kept trying to get a better look at it, straight-on, but they made sure not to show it! Sheldon apparently isn't the only one who enjoys his pakololo.

                  1. re: MsMaryMc

                    I was really surprised that he called it "reefer" instead of "pakalolo." What kind of local boy calls pakalolo anything else?! :-)

                    1. re: KailuaGirl

                      And I haven't heard the word "reefer" used since listening to Cheech & Chong circa...

                      1. re: JAB

                        maybe the editing folks were whippersnappers and didn't recognize the reference :). I also saw the Kona Gold on Josh's shirt but didn't have time to read the rest.

          2. Another good episode. They even screwed with us a bit with the sled dog promo as in, please no sled dog racing for ingredients. There was even a gondola in the background of one shot to mess with us some more. Anyone else notice no prize for winning the qf? How about at least a years supply of green mountain coffee? There was at least a years worth floating around the episode.
            I was afraid I was going to hear the "I" word with Sheldon's dish and the salt. I was thinking that he should have tasted the broth many times before plating. He lucked out again.
            Josh. What was he thinking? Don't try to cook something that can't be done in the amount of time allotted. Gotta add that to the top chef things to know before going on the show list. "Ok. Chefs, you have 10 minutes to prepare this meal" you don't grab a 20 lb. turkey and go to town.
            Brooke IS on a roll. No matter who comes back from LCK, she's got to be a favorite. Talking LCK, it is a good one.
            Talking about prizes, anyone else think $125, 000 is a little on the low side compared to some other reality shows? Survivor gets $1 million and I think this is harder.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bobbert

              Yes, TC is harder than Survivor! You actually have to be able to do something. I am in awe of what they can cook in such a little amount of time. I also feel that way about Project Runway!

            2. I liked that they got advertising for Alaska in without making them something stupid in the challenge related to it. Cooking in those weather conditions and in a limited kitchen and pantry was good enough but it was odd that there was absolutely no reward for winning the quick fire not even an advantage in the elimination challenge.

              I liked that Josh really tried to step it up in the elimination challenge. I don't understand why when he knew it hadn't set, (and as Tom said there was no way it would), he didn't just serve it. He still had two preparations he could serve.

              Sheldon's dish looked so appealing and Brooke looked really hearty and fitting for both the challenge and the environment.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tjinsf

                Exactly re: Josh. Even though Tom *knew* he had three ways on the fois gras, he could have just said at the table "I realized that the torchon preparation wasn't set, so I chose not to serve it." As I think Tom said - if he had done that, he *might* have won the challenge.

              2. Xanax product placement?

                So Roy wiped the snot from his eyes, started researching culinary schools, and just WENT to one? Don't they cost a lot of money? Is that why I didn't want to run into him on the street? I still like him, I guess,and he seems to remember where he came from, but I hope it happened for him because he "deserved" it.

                Thanks and good night!

                9 Replies
                1. re: Shrinkrap

                  <So Roy wiped the snot from his eyes, started researching culinary schools, and just WENT to one? Don't they cost a lot of money?>

                  Not all of them. There are a number of community colleges that offer complete culinary courses for very modest fees. And some of them are quite good.

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    Many years ago when I lived in Santa Barbara we would go regularly to the community college to eat at the culinary programs public restaurant. It was very good and very cheap. Back then, attendance in California's community colleges was free. You read that right, free. Now, in-state tuition at Santa Barbara is under $1400 per year. I assume all the California community colleges are similarly priced. Other states are probably in that ball park as well.

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      Roy Choi was the salutatorian of his graduating class at the Culinary institute of America.(25,000 a year for the BSC 4 year program).

                      Who know how he paid for college? He may have taken out loans, gotten scholarships, or his parents who are immigrant corner store owners may have just paid for it.

                      1. re: tjinsf

                        Exactly, how does ANYONE pay for culinary school really? Everyone I know who has gone either had family help, or they just took out loans and lived like paupers for years after graduating in order to pay back the loans.

                        I went to a private design school that had similar rates to most culinary schools and most of it was paid by loans. Probably 75% of my classmates paid for it that way and the rest had rich parents.

                        1. re: juliejulez

                          I see. Well nowadays it is almost impossible to borrow that kind of money for school, at least with out loanworthy cosigners. I'm not sure how long that's been true, I guess I just felt a little resentful that some have this option, but most do not.

                          I was not thinking of the California Community Colleges, but few of the ones in N Cal have culinary programs. There are some good viticulture ones.

                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                            " There are some good viticulture ones."
                            And the potential for a much better income than cooking...

                            1. re: bobbert

                              Haha, maybe if you are growing herbs in Humboldt

                              1. re: tjinsf

                                Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research
                                http://www.humboldt.edu/hiimr/

                            2. re: Shrinkrap

                              I grew up in the central valley (Visalia), there was one cooking school I knew of, at the community college in Lemoore. Of course, Fresno State had food science and enology but that's a bit different. In So Cal there's plenty of private ones.

                              I was always amazed they lent me that kind of money without a cosigner, but this was 10 years ago.

                    2. thanks again, Ms.W....probably in the minority, but would like to see Lizzy prevail in the ultimate last chance. Collicchio was really impressed with the soup that nearly ousted Kristin in the previous cook off ; the irony was, he said it would have won the salmon/sourdough elimination, but Lizzy chose to avoid making a soup in order to stand apart from her competitors. in terms of personality -- after all, we're not tasting the foods -- just don't find Kristen appealing, but appreciate how grounded and unaffected Lizzy seems. Brooke and Kristen both seem to be the young pretty prodigies, Sheldon and Lizzy, salt of the earth.

                      back in Dec. we ate at the gastropub that Brooke owns and works as the exec chef (Tripel, Playa del Rey) with no prior knowledge of her connection -- she can't have been in the kitchen that night, as the food sounded great on the menu but had very uneven execution. overall very enjoyable with the great beer selection, excellent staff and service, but most of the dishes fell short by a notch or two.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: moto

                        "Brooke and Kristen both seem to be the young pretty prodigies, Sheldon and Lizzy, salt of the earth"

                        Except Lizzy is only 3 years older than Brooke, per wiki, and Sheldon is 4 years younger. I think it's accurate to say Brooke WAS a prodigy, sounds like she started her career and owned her own restaurant at a very young age and her TC bio says she was the youngest chef to ever cook at the Beard House. But she's self taught, no culinary school, so while "salt of the earth" wouldn't be my descriptor of her, there's something about "young pretty prodigy" that seems way too dismissive for someone who has clearly worked her ass off to get where she is. Though I do agree that she's pretty. :-)

                        1. re: LurkerDan

                          restaurant/kitchen work is arduous for nearly everyone engaged in it, and tough to succeed -- Kristen and Brooke clearly have a work ethic. the food we had at Brooke's place, though, wasn't within light years of the places we've tried with a TC winner as the chef de cuisine or the owner/chef who was preparing every plate leaving the kitchen.

                          the ubiquity of shallow Padma has burned me out on pretty faces, smooth skin, carefully groomed coifs. the lone female winner of the show so far would not be mistaken for a model. the ex-model who made one final but didn't win wasn't that brand of mainstream pretty.

                      2. Thanks LW!
                        I really enjoyed this episode, and I was happy that the chefs got to cook in a real kitchen for the elimination challenge. I think that Josh really got the loser edit with all the time spent on him and his wife. I appreciate that he went for a difficult dish, but it was kind of dumb -- he knew going in that he didn't have enough time to cook the torchere properly. It was kind of a foie gras hail Mary pass.
                        Boy, is Brooke on a roll. She just keeps racking up the wins, and seems pretty unbeatable at this point. I am rooting for Kristin to come back since I feel that she is the only one of the chefs who could give her serious competition in the finale, although it is also possible to always make a mistake. I wouldn't count on that, though! It was also interesting to have Roy Choi speak about her as being a culinary wunderkind.

                        17 Replies
                        1. re: roxlet

                          I was very surprised at the outcome. First I was surprised that Josh made something like foie gras. Hardly breakfast food. And not the kind of thing he's made all season. And I don't remember any bacon in it (thank goodness).

                          It appeared that everyone made some mistake (overcooked quail, salty broth, improperly cooked foie gras tourchon.

                          I was surprised that if Sheldon's broth was o salty, that he got by. And if Sheldon over-reduced that broth, why didn't he add a little liquid to it to dilute it a bit? The dish certainly looked good.

                          I wondered if the judges took Josh's personal situation and the new baby into consideration in sending him home. But of course there is still LCK.

                          1. re: chicgail

                            I think that the only one who commented on the quail being overcooked with Wolfgang Puck. There were some other nods, but they can edit that in from anywhere. My sense is that Puck might like his quail more rosy than some of the other diners since he was the one who mentioned it in the critique among the judges, and then later to Brooke. It was never really discussed. In any event, it was clearly not a mistake of the caliber of the other mistakes.

                            1. re: roxlet

                              Yep, Tom's blog said that Brooke's meal was pretty much flawless. I think Puck's statement was the lone criticism of her dish, so they put that in to make the choice seem more difficult than it was.

                              Similarly, they made Sheldon's broth out to be saltier than it was to make the choice seem close. The blog calls it slightly salty broth and says the choice was very easy.

                            2. re: chicgail

                              Josh's plate looked like a train wreck though - really poorly conceived, crammed together, inelegant for a traditionally elegant ingredient (torchon timing aside, which also had me thinking WTF?? when he first mentioned he was doing it).

                              I mean, who wants to eat foie on top of foie on top of foie?

                              (...OK probably the same person who puts bacon on every damn thing...)

                              Sheldon was lucky, no question, but I think Josh was the right person to go.

                              1. re: reiney

                                That was my thought on the foie gras, too. I share it as an appetize, not slab after slab as a main course. He could have used it as an element in a great main course, rather than literally just serving his inspiration, overkill. As Tom said, Brooke was the only one who took it a step further. I'm really liking Brooke right now, maybe even more than Kristen.

                                I was almost happy for Josh when he lost because I thought he'd be going home to his baby so was a little sad for him when he showed up at LCK.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  He went home right away I assume. The Alaska scenes were filmed last summer. He flew into LA this past week for LCK.

                                  1. re: bobbert

                                    That makes sense. Good to know!

                                    1. re: bobbert

                                      They all went home right after this episode, win or lose.

                                      1. re: LurkerDan

                                        Just noticed your (new?) avatar. Beautiful golden. Reminds me of my now-gone sweet boy. My apologies to all for being off-topic.

                                      2. re: bobbert

                                        I think he lost the weight since TC 10 started to run last November. He said something about "...seeing himself on TV...".

                                        1. re: John E.

                                          It was even noted it in LCK that he was much thinner.

                                        2. re: bobbert

                                          yes, if you watch LCK, he's lost a bunch of weight. said he saw how he looked on camera.

                                          oops, didn't read down far enough.

                                        3. re: chowser

                                          Aren't they all going home at the same time, though? LA is only filmed now, right?

                                          Josh's dish was very representative of his overall TC performance: beating a horse to death

                                          (...maybe he should work for Burger King UK...)

                                          Sometimes it worked, other times it didn't but all the time it lacked nuance. Reminds me of my dear culinary school compatriots who wanted to sous vide every damn thing.

                                        4. re: reiney

                                          >>>"who wants to eat foie on top of foie on top of foie?"<<<

                                          I do, would, and have.

                                          1. re: acgold7

                                            yeah, right there with you.

                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                              Before the foie gras ban last year in California, a lot of people (including me!) were going to many multi-course, last chance foie gras dinners.

                                              1. re: Debbie M

                                                yep, i was one of them!

                                    2. What a great episode. I've seen the obligatory slide show from my aunt's cruise to Alaska, but those helicopter views were stunning. I was foiled by editing, as I was sure Sheldon was going home. Brooke's prodigy story by Roy was interesting. She certainly seems to be the one to beat, but so did Richard Blais. Despite the Josie drama, I give props to producers for making changes and dropping the ridiculous challenges of the Texas season. Looking forward to the finale.

                                      1. Thanks for the great recap, Linda. I fell asleep about half way through the episode and awakened just before the repeat was over. This way I don't have to wait for a rerun of the whole thing! :)

                                        I can't imagine that Kristen is not going to be the third finalist.

                                        1. Hugh and Tom's blogs:

                                          http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...

                                          "Sheldon whips up a peppery halibut with tomato sauce, sesame bok choy, and some radish. Tom likes the halibut cookery but says his sauce is too salty. Jeremiah, musher No. 4, loves this dish and does his best Jeff Spicoli impression. He and Sheldon disappear for 10 minutes to evaluate their chronic problems."

                                          And when they get to the Governor's mansion: "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. "

                                          http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...

                                          "Frankly, had he [Josh] simply done a beautiful sautee of foie gras with the braised pineapple and that cornmeal, and had he seasoned it all nicely, he would have been in the finale right now, because Sheldon’s overseasoned broth would have been the worse mistake. "

                                          12 Replies
                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            Tom's blog is interesting to me for a few other reasons. It gives a small peak into the filming and editing process, and his role in things. It seems clear that he has no decision making WRT what gets put together on screen. OTOH, it seems he must have input as a producer on the overall show, because he talks about being there when Roy is telling the "Emeril" story, but he was not actually in that portion of the episode.

                                            1. re: LurkerDan

                                              Yes, I found that interesting as well (his comments about Roy Choi telling how Emeril influenced him). So it sounds like he's there as a member of the background staff, just observing, but not participating. Interesting.

                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                other than the occasional suggestion or expert advice about something food related, i'd be surprised if tom had any input on the show at all.

                                                on air talent are often given a producer credit as part of their deal, without having any producer responsibilities.

                                                tom's a chef/restaurateur, not a t.v. producer.

                                                1. re: linus

                                                  Without inside info, we'll never know. But I suspect that Tom has more input than "occasional suggestion or expert advice about something food related".

                                                2. re: LurkerDan

                                                  Tom gets a screener the week before as he mentioned in the previous paragraph. I think he was talking about watching the episode and see the story, not that he was actually there. All the blogs on Bravo are written after the writer sees the screeners not just after they have filmed the raw footage.

                                                  1. re: tjinsf

                                                    Based on the paragraph in the blog, however, it *does* sound like Tom was there for that part of the shoot:

                                                    "Our guest judge Roy Choi’s story about being at a low point in his life and watching Emeril on television and about how that moment turned Roy’s life around was riveting. Seeing the footage of Roy telling his story with Emeril seated right next to him and watching Emeril so clearly moved (which I couldn’t really see from where I was seated at the time it occurred) is not something I will forget anytime soon."

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      interesting point linda, I missed that line.

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        I would love to see that entire conversation. People turning from badasses or stoners (or both) to chefs is an interesting topic and this isn't the first time it's come up on TC.

                                                        BTW, whatever happened to Extended Judges Table? This may have been addressed before and I just missed it, but I do wonder. I really enjoyed watching those videos and miss it.

                                                        1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                          It was noted earlier this season, KailuaGirl, that it seems Bravo has done away with them. I miss them too; sometimes they gave more insight into the decision(s) made.

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            It seems to me that they have also cut down on the amount of debating at judges table we get to see each episodes.. as I recall, there were a few episodes this year that we didnt see any JT discussion.
                                                            Am I right? Has anyone else noticed that?

                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                              That's true. What we sometimes saw was the winning group; discussion as to why each dish was good, and then the winner announced. They were then asked to send in other cheftestants for the bottom group; those dishes were discussed as to why they were in the bottom, some back and forth with the cheftestants, but then a (seemingly) immediate PPYKAG from Padma. We *know* the judges would have had more discussions amongst themselves as to who was going to leave, but we didn't see it.

                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                    "Tom wanders through and interrogates the chefs, while taking credit for all foie gras recipes ever created. "

                                                    Hahah! Hugh cracks me up.

                                                  3. Thanks for the great recap!

                                                    I may get the fuddy-duddy award for this, but did it bother anyone else that three of the men were wearing hats at the table during lunch? That is a major pet peeve of mine and I find it incredibly rude.

                                                    Why is it rude? Because "my mom said so". I was just brought up that way and it's one of her rules that actually stuck.

                                                    20 Replies
                                                    1. re: Christina D

                                                      I have to say that I didn't notice, but we ask people to remove their headgear when they're at table in our house.

                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                        Alaska. The normal rules of etiquette do not apply.

                                                        1. re: bobbert

                                                          Especially at those temperatures. Brrrrrr! I kept wondering how Padma and Tom could stand there bareheaded.

                                                          1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                            Esp. at those temperatures? There were a couple of racers out in short sleeves, which certainy seemed odd.

                                                            As far as food, Brooke's dish seemed kind of like a mish mash to me and doing both chicken and quail didn't make sense. Altho I guess it did in the end to the judges but it wasn't the prettiest plate in the world.

                                                            1. re: Joanie

                                                              I was wondering about that - even Padma had her jacket unzipped. Is it possible that there are spots that are really warm?

                                                              1. re: piccola

                                                                "even Padma had her jacket unzipped."
                                                                I don't think that had anything to do with the weather. I think the conversation went like this:
                                                                Director (looking over the script) "OK, it's ten below but the script calls for some skin shots of Padma. Makeup!)
                                                                This is followed up by a makeup artist rushing out to unzip Padma and buff her up a bit.
                                                                Director: "...and....ACTION!"

                                                                1. re: bobbert

                                                                  Actually, it looked like summer to me. Certainly it wasn't shot in the winter because there was lots of grass visible. I imagine that the sun can be pretty strong up on those glaciers even though the air temperature is cold.

                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                    Yeah, the weather was probably OK. They were on a glacier that I'm guessing was at least a few hundred feet thick. It was August. A few years back, I skied in Alaska in April. Wearing a t-shirt.

                                                                    1. re: bobbert

                                                                      Yeah, I live in Colorado and there have been many times in the winter, on sunny days, where you can easily wear a t-shirt even if the air temp is cold. The sun is pretty damn powerful at high elevation (or in their case, the height of summer at a very northern latitude).

                                                                      1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                        I recently returned to Minnesota after staying in Arizona for a while. I got a few 'looks' because I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. My response was that it was well over 40°.

                                                                        1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                          When I lived in Colorado there were always people with sunburns from spring skiing - clearly back in the days before sunscreen was invented.

                                                                        2. re: bobbert

                                                                          That makes sense - it's like that sometimes in Whistler, too.

                                                                        3. re: roxlet

                                                                          I noticed Brooke, in the front of the dog sled, not wearing gloves, and I thought "you idiot!" Then noticed that the guys weren't wearing gloves, and neither were Tom and Padma when the chefs arrived. So I figured it was probably an air temp more in the 40s than the 20s. They didn't look too cold.

                                                                    2. re: Joanie

                                                                      The chicken and quail made perfect sense to me: mama and baby.

                                                                    3. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                      A commenter in a different forum who lives in Juneau said that the highs were in the 60s when the show was being filmed there.

                                                                2. re: Christina D

                                                                  At the picnic table outdoors? I wouldn't care what people wore to a picnic table.

                                                                  1. re: Hobbert

                                                                    I would assume Christina was referring to the lunch prepared indoors by Emeril and Roy. That sat around a beautiful table, but Josh, Sheldon and Roy did not remove their hats.

                                                                    1. re: gaffk

                                                                      That makes more sense, I suppose. I can't say I noticed if they had hats on though.

                                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                                        You're correct, gaffk. I was referring to the lunch with Emeril and Roy.

                                                                        1. re: Christina D

                                                                          Yeah, I noticed that too. I always find it odd when guys wear hats indoors, let alone at the dining table.

                                                                  2. Modest observation:

                                                                    I'm struck by the likeability and competency of this season's contestants. Hindsight tells me that Josie may have been brought in as the da (designated asshole) for the sole purpose of providing a little tension.

                                                                    LW: As always, great job.

                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                    1. re: steve h.

                                                                      +1 +1

                                                                      1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                        I dunno.. I am finding Brooke less and less likable each episode.
                                                                        Did anyone not notice how passive aggressive she was being towards Josh - trying to mess with his head about being away from his wife while she gave birth?
                                                                        i thought it incredibly obnoxious.
                                                                        (Think she will win, though, but I am rooting for Sheldon!)

                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                          I didn't see it that way. I saw it as a type of dialogue that the 2 have developed.

                                                                          1. re: JAB

                                                                            I was actually the one who pointed out in last episodes comments that the two had a teasing banter going on, but I watched it with a friend and we both were really irritated by her demeanor... watch it again.
                                                                            It's also a cruel thing to mess with someone about, IMO..tease about cooking etc.., but not about being away from ones wife while in child birth.

                                                                          2. re: NellyNel

                                                                            Oh, that's just kitchen banter...where there's almost no such thing as "too cruel."

                                                                            There's a code and a camaraderie amongst cooks, and the banter is part of it - so, regardless of his emotions, I'm pretty sure Josh can take it.

                                                                            1. re: reiney

                                                                              i have to agree, they just seem to be just being playful with each other, in a teasing, funny/cruel way. they both seem to give as good as they get, and to have a real affection for each other.

                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                That was my feeling, too. They seem to have a genuine affection for each other, from the way Brooke seemed to console him when his wife was in labor to the way he consoled her when she was so afraid on the helicopter. I don't see anything mean spirited about their relationship.

                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                  I do agree they genuinely like each other, and no harm seemed done..but she still left me with a bad taste in my mouth about that...it seemed like she was trying to act concerned, but was really trying to psyche him out.

                                                                                  My friend and I rewound the scene a few times to analyze it!!
                                                                                  (lol)

                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                    The scene that I remember is when Josh's wife went into labor and Brooke was trying to console him by saying she was in labor for days. They both chuckled because they knew it wasn't the case but it was a last ditch effort to make him feel better that he could potentially make the birth. I didn't rewind to watch the episode repeatedly but I do think if she was being mean spirited, Josh wouldn't have responded to her as warmly and nurturingly as he has. Watch his interactions w/ John--he's nobody's fool.

                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                      They were sat on the couch, and he was just sitting there, and she made 2 or 3 comments like :"Wow, I don't know how you'll be able to cook tomorrow"
                                                                                      and "I don't know how you can be away from your wife"
                                                                                      Something like that, but the tone in her voice was sooooo obnoxious.
                                                                                      (even with rewinding the scene several times, I have the memory of a goldfish)
                                                                                      In fact, it was so obnoxious, I guess it was clear to Josh that she was taking the piss, and so he didnt mind so much.
                                                                                      Maybe it's me, but I still think that must have been horrible for Josh and his wife, so I think busting balls in that case is in bad taste.

                                                                      2. Linda! Thanks for the whole season (almost) and hope you don't develop carpal tunnel issues! I think I like the Northwest a whole lot more than Texas! I can't help wondering if sending Kristen packing to LCK was part of a master plan for the ratings. I say the same thing about the Super Bowl too.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Berheenia

                                                                          I agree, Berheenia - this season has been SO SO SO much better than Texas.

                                                                        2. Thanks again Linda for an excellent recap!!! I thought this was a great episode... I told DH we need to go to Alaska to experience some of those views for ourselves!

                                                                          Josh's breakfast during the QF looked so good, even without the fried egg.

                                                                          +1 on the comment that the contestants have been very likeable - for the most part <grin>. I'm really looking forward to the finale!

                                                                          cue soap opera music...

                                                                          Will Sheldon's inconsistency bite him in the tush???
                                                                          Will Brooke continue to dominate???
                                                                          WHO will be the mystery third chef-testant!!!
                                                                          tune in next week to find out!!! :-D

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                            That soap opera "tease" would have been a good way to wrap up this week's recap, juju! LOL

                                                                            1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                              Same bat-time, same bat-channel :)

                                                                            2. Don't think anyone posted the Eater wrap up:

                                                                              http://eater.com/archives/2013/02/14/...

                                                                              I like this:
                                                                              Padma gets in the driver's seat to take the chefs back to their house, and I don't think I'm alone in being more afraid for their lives here than when they were in that tiny glass bubble with a fan on top that flies them through the mountains on a pillow of air. Sheldon can't believe Padma is driving. He rightly assumes she gets chaffeured around everywhere. Magical Elves gamely edits out fourteen instances of Padma yelling, "Go to House!" at the cruise control and careening the car into a ditch.

                                                                              And
                                                                              "Next week begins what I imagine is a 16-part finale."

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Joanie

                                                                                "As they say in Alaska, the fish flows like bread!"

                                                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                                                  That was one of the better ones. I loved this line

                                                                                  "Roy gets emotional and talks about his rough life on the street, and how at rock bottom seeing Emeril's face turned his whole future around. He cleaned up and got into cooking. The story is intense and Emeril was not prepared to hear it. He tries to nod and pay the right amount of attention, but I think I can see his brain wondering if he could pay Roy to knock off an ex-wife or something."

                                                                                2. Thanks for the recap, Linda! Like others, I really enjoyed this episode, chefs cooking to their inspiration w/out adding unnecessary elements,, no chasing down food on dog sleds. I'm happy w/ the outcome, wish Josh could have gone home immediately to his baby. While I don't like drama, I liked seeing him in the baby scenes. Brooke's comment about being in labor for days was great and their camaraderie is apparent. Oh, on the likefest, I loved Padma's dress at the governor's mansion. I want it. Spoiler is available for who survived LCK is anyone is interested. Some astute fan w/ incredible attention to detail spotted it. If you do NOT want to see itt, don't read the comments below LCK video.

                                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                    Thanks for the tip, chowser. I'm off to investigate. Nothing else to do while home coughing both lungs up!

                                                                                    1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                      I am too! Yuck

                                                                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                        Awww, sorry you're both sick!

                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                          I had to find out, too, watched in slo-mo. I'll try to refrain from blurting it out, whatever the online version is.;-)

                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                            I'm debating going back to watch the most recent LCK to see if I can see it without reading comments. :-D

                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                              I read the comments and then watched it and still didn't see it. heh.

                                                                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                I saw it. Goes by really, really quickly.

                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                  I read the comments, too, and there's some doubt as to whether it really is a spoiler, for a few reasons. One, it may not be the person people think it is (it might have been Brooke, sure wasn't Sheldon ;-). And two, even if it is that person, it still doesn't guarantee that person won LCK, since TC often brings back eliminated contestants as sous chefs.

                                                                                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                    Yes, it clearly could have been spliced in from anywhere.

                                                                                                2. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                  Same here. As an aside it looks like it's going to be a really good finale part 1. Looks like they're cooking for real people in Tom's restaurant. Not a rifle or gondola or set of cross coutry skis in sight. From what I saw on those previews I'm very much looking forward to watching.

                                                                                      2. re: chowser

                                                                                        I loved Padma's dress too! Considering some of her questionable wardrobe choices, I wonder who chose it?

                                                                                        1. re: chefhound

                                                                                          There is a "bonus" video segment on bravotv.com about the stylist and Padma's wardrobe that you might be interested in viewing.

                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                            It really does help to show that there's a LOT going on behind the scenes before scenes are shot. And there are always stylists and makeup artists on set. The touch-ups are constant, I'm sure.

                                                                                        2. re: chowser

                                                                                          OK, I just rewatched the last LCK episode. I have *not* read the comments below the video. But this time around, I *think* I saw something that doesn't refer to what those who have read the comments and then rewatched LCK are point towards. Hmmm...... curiouser and curiouser! LOL

                                                                                        3. I really wish the stylists would do a better job of consistency with the look of each chef during interviews. A couple of episodes ago I noticed Brooke started popping in with the pigtails. From that and the cuts, I guessed right away she would be in the finale. Didn't seem like those interviews were done at the same time as the others.

                                                                                          I'm also pretty sure I know who wins, just from interview observation. I'll keep it to myself, but I'd be curious if anyone else picked up on something that might have tipped the ending.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Pylon

                                                                                            Look on the LCK thread for some educated guesses.

                                                                                            1. re: Pylon

                                                                                              When do they do those interviews? Is it after everything is done and they have to try to "recreate" their emotions before they know what happens next? I also watched one with Brooke in this latest episode and thought there were some clues in there about the outcome.

                                                                                            2. So until I read the eater recap, I didn't catch that Josh couldn't tell his wife whether or not he was still competing. So she didn't know whether he was still in, or sitting around twiddling his thumbs? That would have been awful. And since they all (presumably) went home at that point to wait for the finale, was he (and the others) still under an NDA until now?

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                My understanding from reading about past seasons that they're under strict NDAs throughout the entire time - from start of filming through airing of the finale. I wouldn't be surprised if Josh privately told his wife that he wasn't in it when he went home, but they wouldn't have been able to say anything.

                                                                                              2. This is worth reading.

                                                                                                http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8...

                                                                                                jb

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                  "Padma Lakshmi, that stoned and regal puma..." Wowzers. On the money. I have been trying to put my finger on how I feel about her. And, about AB, " Now he sits on a garishly lit soundstage, defanged like an aging circus lion..." That's sad, but true.