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Top Chef Seattle - Ep. #16 - Finale Part 1 - 02/20/13 (Spoilers)

We're in Home Stretch City, folks. Who from Last Chance Kitchen will be joining Brooke and Sheldon at Craft-Los Angeles for the Top Chef finale?

Before we get there, Sheldon and Brooke have a congratulatory pillow fight back at their Alaska house - they also have a little sing-a-long using Sheldon's ukelele.

They show Sheldon back in Maui, Hawaii, 2 weeks before the finale. Sheldon notes that it's been SIX MONTHS since Alaska. He's had an opportunity to stage at a high end restaurant, trying to get his technique down. He also does a lot of schmoozing in his restaurant with diners, and is out in a park with his family cooking BBQ, and talks about creating a better life for his 3 girls and his wife by opening a Filipino restaurant, his dream.

Then we head off to Los Angeles, just 1 week before the finale, and Brooke is shown with her husband and son, getting him off to school, and then her husband and Brooke bouncing between their two restaurants. Brooke also notes that she met her husband when she hired him as her sous chef. He asks her at dinner who she thinks is coming back from LCK, and Brooke replies "Kristen". He said that would be a pretty solid battle. Brooke said the ultimate satisfaction would be beating someone she has the most respect for in the culinary world. Roy Choi (A-Frame) and Sang Yoon (the owner of Father's Office) show up at their table. They both give her encouragement.

Annnnd we're now on Day 1 of the Finale. Brooke and Sheldon are in the car driving to Craft. And the sneak preview seems to show TWO PEOPLE walking into the restaurant from the Craft kitchen! So maybe we were right?

Padma, Hugh and Emeril are all in Craft waiting when Brooke and Sheldon walk in. Padma reminds them of Last Chance Kitchen going on during the Top Chef competition. Quick preview of each time someone was ousted from TC and what they did to win LCK (meaning lots of CJ wins). And Padma announces the winner of LCK, and it's KRISTEN!!!! (And she walks in with Tom Colicchio - that was the other person I saw in the window. LOL)

This is the best of the best of this season. And they're off for their last Elimination Challenge. Craft will open in 3 hours, and the three of them will be Tom's chefs. Each will be responsible for an app, entree, and dessert, and Tom will expedite. Emeril tells them that both he and Hugh will be going into the kitchen to observe and offer advice. They run to the walk-in to figure out what they're going to make, and the three of them review what they're each doing for their courses, and get cooking. Brooke is the only one who doesn't seem to have her act together as to what she wants to make for each course.

Hugh shows up in the kitchen and talks with Brooke. She got into the competition via the preliminary competition in his kitchen, and he's been impressed with some of her more creative dishes, so he's looking forward to seeing what she can do.

Tom comes in to talk with Kristen and asks her if she's changed her approach - and Kristen says simplicity. Doing too much in too short a time is what screwed her up. Tom asks if she was successful in LCK because she only had 30 minutes to put something together, and Kristen agreed - it gave her no time to overthink things.

Emeril shows up to talk with Sheldon. Sheldon notes he's been doing a bit of homework since Alaska, and he thinks they'll be surprised at what he's learned. Emeril gives him one piece of advice - TASTE, brother. Taste and retaste. Emeril tells him he admires Sheldon from where he started - dishwasher. Just like Emeril himself.

Sheldon and Kristen note it's cool to be cooking in Craft. Sheldon said you kind of get lost in.....and Kristen fills it in with "his blue eyes!" They dreamily stare at each other, and Kristen jokes, saying "I just got lost!" and they both laugh and get back to prep.

Sheldon calls out Yahtzee! when his quail goes on the stovetop, and Brooke cannot stop burning pistachios in the oven. She's behind in her prep, and she starts to panic, not even answering Sheldon when he calls out "Are you OK?" Sheldon's not known for dessert so he's a bit worried. Kristen realizes that a lot of her time is gone, and she's got to start her dessert. She calls out to Sheldon "Have you seen any sesame oil?" He replies "You're going Asian? You don't cook Asian, you Asian person, you!" She laughs and says "It's a white person Asian!"

(Can I just say I *LOVE* how these three get along so well?)

Brooke still feels like she's spinning out of control, but her dishes are tasting good. Kristen says she's sweating in places she didn't know she could sweat. Only 5 more minutes to service. Tom shows up to tell them how he expedites - Order, Fire, Pickup - but they need to talk to each other. He asks them to get their stations together - but please clean up, as the place is a mess. LOL

The judges arrive - Padma welcomes everyone, and let's them know that Tom will not be at the table since he is in the kitchen expediting. The judges are Emeril, Hugh, Martin Yan, and John Besh, and Tom, who will get a dish of his own in the kitchen.

Orders start to come in - and Tom begins to taste in the kitchen.

SHELDON APP - Sashimi Spot Prawns, Court Bouillon, Radish & Asian Herbs - "very pretty", Emeril said the prawn was perfectly cooked.

KRISTEN APP - Chestnut Velouté, Duck Rillette & Brussels Sprouts - Yan liked the raw brussels sprouts and its kick, but Hugh said you wouldn't ever serve the duck rillette that way by itself; you'd have cornichons or bitterness from pickles; John Besh said it needed a touch of acid.

BROOKE APP - Crispy Veal Sweetbread Salad with Kumquat, Beets & Mustard - Padma like the intensity of flavors; Martin Yan said it had a lot of surprises - the kumquat is very aromatic and intense in flavor, but the beet stands alone like a stepchild. Hugh said the sweetbreads should have been cleaned a bit more and he would have sliced them thicker.

Back in the kitchen, Tom realizes Brooke doesn't have enough dumplings in the pans for the orders he has up. This is Brooke's "bad day to have a bad day."

KRISTEN ENTREE - Seared Ahi Tuna with Veal Mustard Jus and Meyer Lemon Purée - Martin liked the tuna - it was perfectly cooked - but Padma thought the lemon curd was too harsh for her. John said one bite was borderline too salty - he thinks Kristen probably hit it with sea salt before it came out - "or maybe it was the expediter!" An "ouch!" from Hugh.

Tom is asking for veloute in the kitchen - "I'm dying up here, and you're killing me - I'm desperate!" and Kristen notes that having Tom expediting is scary - "I peed in my pants a little!"

BROOKE ENTREE - Braised Short Ribs, Parmesan Sauce, Nettle Purée & Squash Dumplings - Martin said her dish is perfectly cooked and is complemented by the side dishes. Hugh loves the parmesan sauce, which mixes well with the braising liquid jus, and Emeril loves the nettle purée.

SHELDON ENTREE - Roasted Quail, Pine Nut Purée, Garam Masala & Tangerine - Martin said Sheldon was brave, as quail can be very difficult to do. Hugh calls the "pine nut thing" an "ode to pine nut hummus" (or did he mean "eau du pine nut hummus"? LOL) which is OK, but not his favorite. Hugh says this is not Sheldon - it's someone else who put Sheldon's hat on - and he wants the old Sheldon back! Emeril agrees with Hugh - Emeril said he's been brainwashed and doesn't know where Sheldon went.

BROOKE DESSERT - Brown Butter Cake, Whipped Goat Cheese & Blackberry Sauce - John Besh says "Holy smokes!" THAT....is really really good!" And Hugh agrees. Martin notes it's not overly buttery, and loves the texture on the outside, and the balance of yin and yang.

KRISTEN DESSERT - Curry Chocolate with Cashews - John Besh says "interesting; interesting!" Martin said it surprised him to combine the chocolate and curry, but Padma said she likes it together. Hugh says "I don't know! It's not a great idea; it's a really basic dessert." Emeril just shrugs.

SHELDON DESSERT - White Chocolate Mousse with Apple & Fennel - Padma liked the flavors, but John Besh said the raw fennel overpowered everything else. Martin noted the fresh fennel was pretty distracting, because it was such a big chunk.

Service is over, and Tom tells them "It's really hard running through service in one night, bu you did a great job. See you back at Judges Table."

In the in-between, Sheldon notes that Chef Tom is calling out tickets like a drill sergeant. "Sauce for prawn, sauce for prawn, sauce for prawn?" Sheldon said "Once I look into those baby blue eyes, he can get anything from me!" Too funny.

Tom joins the judges and gives his perspective from the kitchen. He notes that Brooke was a bit behind with her mise en place, but she got there. He said they all got a bit in the weeds, but managed. Tom asks how they all thought dinner was, and John said the evening was awesome. He thought they all did great. Hugh said overall the menu seemed "easy" and thought they played it a bit safe. Martin Yan said they needed to pay attention to a few individual elements, and it would have been perfect. Tom said "that and only if they're as fast as you are!"

Back at Judges Table, they review Sheldon's dishes. His app "sung", the quail entree was just OK - Tom called the pine nut dish chalky. Padma asked if he had roasted the pine nuts; he hadn't. Emeril notes that he had been told by Sheldon "you're going to see a new Sheldon tonight." Emeril said "there was nothing wrong with the old Sheldon - that's what got you here!" Hugh said the quail was not what he expected from Sheldon. They discuss the dessert, and the raw fennel seems to be the issue for everyone.

Kristen's soup was well received, but Hugh thought it was too safe for her. Her entree was perfectly cooked, but the lemon was too bitter. Tom asked if she blanched the lemon before roasting; she said she was kind of going for bitter; Tom said he wasn't sure if the bitterness and the celery root puree worked. Padma asked about her dessert and if she was happy with it - Kristen said "NO! It was a bowl of chocolate!" Hugh said it tasted like a badly thought out pot de creme. Emeril liked the flavor, at which Tom squinted. Emeril thought the dish could really be something - but Tom said "not tonight!"

For Brooke's appetizer, Tom liked the crispiness of the sweetbreads. Hugh noted he would have cleaned them more. Brooke noted her biggest challenge was timing - she was cleaning them to order. Tom said it's what hung her up - orders were coming in and she was still working on her mise en place, and things were incomplete. Her short ribs seem to be the favorite entree dish of everyone Padma said the sauces were the best of any in that course. She was going to take some of Kristen's tuna and sweep it through the sauce. As for Brooke's dessert? Hugh thought the cake was great, and Emeril said "I thought it was pretty damn good - and so did John Besh and so did Martin Yan." Tom has a quizzical look on his face, and says "The cake was nice, but it's just not a restaurant dessert. I think it was very unfinished."

The cheftestants leave JT so they can deliberate. Tom notes to the other judges "I know we don't take past performance into consideration, but sometimes it's hard not think about what they've all been through this season." For Sheldon, his flavor profile has benefited him throughout the season, but Hugh said it fell flat tonight. Tom said that Kristen fell on her sword during TC, but killed it during LCK - dish after dish was so good. Hugh said she's got an amazing skill set. Brooke's first and second courses were very good. Hugh said based on how in the weeds she was in prep, she got her stuff out, perhaps as nuanced as it could have been, but it was still really strong. Tom said she seemed to lack the focus she had had all season.

Tom reviews with each of them how they did, and turns to Padma - and Padma asks Sheldon to PPYKAG. Aww, I'm sorry to see him go! But that means it's an ALL GIRL FINALE! Truly, the Top 2 Cheftestants made it into this finale. I'm very glad!

And previews of the finale, they're cooking in front of a live studio audience, which includes LOTS of past Top Chef winners and competitors. I saw Michael Voltaggio, Richard Blais, Paul Qui, Hosea Rosenberg, and Stephanie Izard. This is gonna be interesting!

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  1. Quite an episode.

    I have to say that although I wasn't rooting for him most of the season I've grown somewhat fond of Sheldon, and I'm sorry to see him go. But I'm really happy that it will be Brooke vs. Kristen in the finale. Really exactly as things should be.

    1. Awesome, just awesome. All three deserved to be there. I'm sad to see Sheldon go, and it was really hard hearing how choked up he got after being eliminated.

      The finale looks really exciting, with all the prior Top Chefs there, and a standing ovation for the winner. I haven't been this excited for a finale in a long time. So often there's been a clear favorite, but this time I truly think it could go either way, they are both equally deserving, and I will be both happy and sad at the outcome. I wish they could both win! This is how a genuine competition should play out.

      1. On paper, this is the best finale matchup since season six, and better than any before season six. It doesn't hurt that both the finalists are so likable.

        I just hope that the live audience won't force them into giving the contestants too much time pressure. The pleasure of the finale, to me, is providing the contestants with ideal conditions to cook the best possible meal.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dave Feldman

          Agree that this the best finale since the Voltaggios and Kevin Gillespie.

          I'm interested and a bit concerned at the live studio audience. From the bit I saw, they seemed far enough away from the cooking, but not so far that the Kristen and Brooke couldn't hear them talking, or perhaps they can call out and talk to them. That could be distracting.

          But there were a LOT of people in that audience. That's a lot of non-disclosures. :-)

        2. For the first time ever, all three of the finalists are likeable. I know that's not a requirement for a Top Chef, but it makes the show more enjoyable to watch. I thought both Sheldon's family and Brooke's little boy were adorable. While I like both Brooke and Kristen, Brooke already has two restaurants and appears to be quite successful with them (I know, looks can be deceiving) so I will be hoping Kristen does just a bit better in the finale.

          I knew Sheldon was doomed when he admitted he had a dessert for the finale finale that he was saving. I don't know why these contestants don't show up for the last two challenges with at least 4 or 5 restaurant desserts in their repertoire.

          4 Replies
          1. re: John E.

            I'm with you John! Why on earth would you come to a competition and hold back your best? You must always put forth your best effort if you expect to win.

            I'm disappointed that Sheldon had to leave but from all accounts (blogs), it appeared anti-Sheldon showed up. What a shame. His food looked good all season. I wish him nothing but the best. His parting comments were very sorrowful but he knows he will be fine. Tough one.

            Brooke and Kristen are both fierce so the final episode looks to be interesting. I'm not sure if I'm liking the live audience aspect but I'll play along.

            1. re: Dee S

              I like the idea of past winners coming to the finale, but I too am apprehensive about a live audience watching the contestants cook. I am sure the contestants would rather not have the distraction as well.

              1. re: John E.

                It looked very Iron Cheffy. I hope it's fun as I want to like it. If it turns into the IC circus, hmm, don't think I'll be very happy.

                jb

                1. re: JuniorBalloon

                  I thought Iron Chef too. And since I hate that show, I would also not be happy. However, a lot of these folks were sitting at tables, suggesting (perhaps?) that they will be dining.

                  It should be interesting. And I don't even care who wins . . . both have already won lots of good stuff and both seem to be great chefs who get along.

                  .

          2. Have to agree with everyone else - this was a great episode. Great cooking. Tom expiditing. All just like a real restaurant especially with what goes on behind the kitchen door. Great judges table as well. The looks on some of the judges faces at times were great. If you Tevo'd it, you have to go back for those looks! Tom, Emeril and Hugh - all great.

            Sorry to see Sheldon go but he pulled a Carla by deciding to be something he's not. Do what you do best, especially in the finale. Coming with only one dessert was another mistake - he should have had at least three down cold. Oh well - he's a great chef and more important, a great guy. Roll a fat one Sheldon and it will be alright.

            Luckily for Brooke (and many, many chefs out there) you don't get judged on what goes on in the kitchen but on what shows up on the plate out front. In a lot of ways, Tom being the task master may have saved Brooke. If it had been a Restaurant Wars type of scenario she may have gone down in flames but with Tom expiditing, he was able to keep her afloat. Sure, he helped them all in that way but, as Brooke was most in the weeds, he ended up helping her the most. Overall, I would have liked to have tried her food over the others.

            I believe Kristen did play it a little safe for her but I think she's great at taking things to a whole new level. With Kristen, I can see saying "wow, I didn' know (insert name of food) could taste this good". Really special when someone can do that.

            On to the final. I'd like to see something along the lines of an 8 course tasting menu rather than the standard "make the best 3 course meal of your lives" that they're been prepping for for the past 6 months. Some kind of twist while keeping it to cooking is what I'm hoping for.

            4 Replies
            1. re: bobbert

              Yeah I have to Brooke has overtaken Kristin for me as my fave to win the whole thing. It was weird how flummoxed she was in the kitchen. And I was surprised there weren't more "yes Chefs" and acknowledging Tom's requests, aren't they always supposed to be talking about when thing's are gonna be ready and stuff?

              Hopefully all chefs for next season will come in with a repertoire of good desserts (and I don't know why Tom said Brooke's wasn't really rest. quality, it looked great).

              1. re: bobbert

                But this was one time that they might have been judged by what went on in the kitchen -- or at least discussed it -- since Tom was there and had first hand knowledge of the situation there.

                1. re: roxlet

                  They certainly discussed it but to me it appeared more to be about explaining why or how the plate ended up looking and tasting as it did as opposed to "she was in the weeds so I'm taking points off for that". I do realize however that it might have had some influence, especially on Tom, had it been closer. From the blogs it appears that Sheldon being sent home was hardly debatable. Even considering the possibility of Tom's discussing how weeded Brooke was constituting a negative at judges table, I'll stick with my feeling that it was way more than offset by Tom's expediting prowess pulling all of them, but most notably Brooke, back from falling off the edge. Imagine if someone like Josie was expediting - Brooke might have sent out cold plates or plates without dumplings etc. There could have easily been more grievous errors than those committed by Sheldon. Tom helped her way more than hurt her.

                2. re: bobbert

                  I was really impressed with Tom as expiditer. He was clearly making his will known, but was always calm and respectful.

                3. Tom C. expediting at Craft..And he apparently has blue eyes. Wow? Craft is our go to, when we visit son in college. Might not be the best benchmark overall, but its LA, so....there's that.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                    Oops. I had a hard time editing last night.

                  2. Tom C. expediting at Craft..And he apparently has blue eyes. Wow?

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                      Who knew that Tom had mesmerizing blue eyes? It sure was fun, and intimidating, watching him expedite.

                      I thought this was a great episode but was so sorry to see Sheldon eliminated! Why he decided to show off newly acquired skills, and get out of his comfort zone, at such a critical juncture, and hold the dessert he was going to make in the finale instead of just busting it out is beyond me. As bobbert said, they should all have at least 3 deserts down cold.

                      Oh well. It would have been so wonderful for him and his family if he'd won and gotten the money to start his own Filipino restaurant. As John E. mentioned, Brooke already has 2 apparently successful restaurants. As much as I like all 3 of them, I was really hoping that it would be Kristen and Sheldon in the finale.

                      That finale looks wild! I kept flashing on those live cooking shows that Emeril used to do onstage when he was on the Food Network. I thought I caught a glimpse of Sheldon (or at least his beanie) and CJ in the preview. Maybe they'll have a bunch of the eliminated cheftestants acting as sous chefs. If I can't have a Hawaii kid as Top Chef, I'll be happy to have another woman win, and one who is a truly great chef from what we've seen.

                      I agree with you guys above who said that this looks like the best since Season 6. This is the first time that I wanted all 3 of the finalists to be declared winners and split the pot.

                      Now that it's down to Kristen and Brooke I'll be rooting for Kristen. With all the money she's already won she'll be able to live in Korea for a few years if she wants to. If she wins the finale she can open a restaurant there...

                      As always Linda Whit, great recap! This turned out to be a really good season!

                      1. re: KailuaGirl

                        Oh yeah, I really loved Sheldon throwing that "Shaka" and telling them "Aloha" on his way out. He's got class. :-)

                        1. re: KailuaGirl

                          Definitely saw CJ in the previews, with someone saying something like "CJ is overcooking those pig's ears". Presumably he's working on the pig's ear salad Brooke made at home with her husband. Also saw Stephan (most likely assisting "wifey").

                          1. re: KailuaGirl

                            I'd bet Sheldon gets backing for his own restaurant. I think he more than proved himself, and the interest in the Filipino flavors seems strong enough for him to branch off on his own, should he pursue it.

                            And yes, Sheldon and CJ were both in the finale kitchen, as was Kuniko, I believe. They usually do pull in at least 4-6 former cheftestants to play sous.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Agreed! And I wouldn't be surprised if it's in NY or LA or someplace other than Hawaii.

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Given his reception on Maui during his TC break, I don't doubt that the community will gladly pull the financing together. I just hope he does his version of Filipino food, because it sure looked good, and that he does it here in Hawai'i! If it's good and original enough he can spread out to NY and LA like Roy Yamaguchi did. :-)
                                I know they usually have former cheftestants as sous, I was mainly speculating on who would be in and wondering if they'd do it in their normal fashion since coking on a stage before a live audience is such a departure. I thought I saw Kuniko, too. I sure hope she makes it back for at least a final appearance.
                                I'm really looking forward to this!

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Based on all the love Sheldon seemed to get from Emeril, it seems like he's going to get a phone call about going to New Orleans after the show is over.

                                2. re: KailuaGirl

                                  No. We don't want her to move to South Korea.

                                  We want her to open her own place here in Boston!

                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                      I was just saying that the world will be her oyster if she wins. Maybe she can just take some cooking classes in Korea while she's there checking it out.

                                      I'd like her to come over here and open an Asian place in Hawaii with Sheldon. A restaurant that specializes in Filipino and Korean food would be such a blast! None of that "White people Asian" (or however she put it) food, though. The real deal! :-)

                                      1. re: KailuaGirl

                                        Sorry, I'm a little out of the loop on this. Is Kristen planning to move to or visit Korea?

                                        And I love all three of these finalists. So sad to see Sheldon go, but I would have been sad to see either of the other two go, too. Strange that Sheldon spent 6 months getting some additional training, but didn't come with more than one awesome dessert. It's almost a cliche, these chefs falling short on dessert in these finales. It's like playing Survivor without first learning to make fire.

                                        ~TDQ

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          Kristen mentioned during one episode (where the winner was going to get a good chunk of change) that she wanted to visit Korea, where she was born, but left as a young'un.

                                          1. re: momjamin

                                            I didin't get the impression that she was going to move there, only that she wanted to visit.

                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                She was born in Korea and adopted as a toddler by an American couple and raised here. She said she wanted to visit Korea to find out more about her culture which was why she was so excited the first time she won some money. As she kept winning and getting more money someone, I think one of the other cheftestants, but it might have been one of the judges or even on here, said she was going to have a very luxurious (or something like that) trip to Korea. She has also said that she doesn't cook Korean food because she never learned. That's why she called what she was cooking "white people Asian" and why I suggested she might take some cooking lessons at a Korean cooking school with some of her winnings.
                                                I was just joking about the move to S. Korea. I think that if she lived there, she'd have a hard time since she looks Korean but acts and speaks American. Third generation Japanese friends of mine from Hawaii would come to visit me (I'm a haole) when I lived in Japan and people would invariably try talking to them in Japanese (which they didn't speak). Confusion and sometimes disappointment or anger would follow when they said in Japanese that they didn't speak the language, and I'd follow up in Japanese with a fuller explanation. People sometimes thought we were trying to play a trick on them.
                                                Visitors are almost always treated very well in most Asian countries. I know the JTB has cooking schools listed that non-Japanese speakers can go to. A few sansei friends checked one of them out and came away quite impressed. I would hope that S. Korea has something similar, if only to share their culture with the outside world, and that Kristen tries some of them out. She can add to her already amazing repertoire and skill set.

                                3. Tom C. expediting at Craft..Does someone like him really do that? And he apparently has blue eyes. Wow?

                                  We always do Craft when we visit son at college. Nice.

                                  I think Sheldon will be fine

                                  You go, girls!.

                                  1. Thanks for the next-to-last great recap, LW!

                                    I was really happy to see Kristin come sauntering in. It should be a really interesting finale.

                                    I continue to think that Padma has it in for Kristin, or maybe she is being edited that way.

                                    I thought that each of the chefs had significant, though not fatal, missteps in their meals. Again, maybe it was the way it was edited, but no one seemed to hit it out of the park.

                                    Given that Brooke owns and runs two restaurants with her husband, I have to say that she seemed like the most inexperienced of the chefs in a professional kitchen. I still can't quite figure out what set her back so that she was always behind on everything. Despite that, it seemed to me that if they had picked a winner last night, it would have been Brooke because her meal seemed the most consistent.

                                    41 Replies
                                    1. re: roxlet

                                      Even with her timing issues, she got on top of it. Not at all like Chef Josie!

                                      1. re: roxlet

                                        I actually thought that Brooke was not in any danger at all, and they used the editing power they had to highlight her (minor) mistakes. She seems to be rocking and rolling the last few episodes.

                                        1. re: DGresh

                                          Remember in the beginning when Brooke was at her restaurant & she talked about all the paperwork taking her out of the kitchen? Maybe she hasn't been cooking in the kitchen as much & her timing was off.

                                          1. re: topeater

                                            Good point. I could easily see Brooke taking a month or two off after Alaska to get back in touch with her young son and also having to catch up with the restaurants she had been ignoring for the time she was away. On top of all that, as compared to Sheldon and Kristen who are actually prepping and cooking all day, Brooke is the owner of two restaurants as well as a mom. There's a whole lota paperwork that has to be done. Sure, Sheldon has the three kids but it appears at least that his wife takes a ton of that workload off of him. I don't see Sheldon or Kristen taking too much work home with them. Yeah, Brooke could be out of practice in the type of environment that this challenge presented - cooking for many people. Next week could be a lot different if she's only cooking for, say, 8 people.

                                            1. re: bobbert

                                              I have to say, when I saw Sheldon at home, in Hawaii, on that beautiful beach, I thought, "He could lose and he's already won! He gets to live there!" I do think, as strictly cooking goes, that Brooke is at a disadvantage given she's running two restaurants--the business end takes over. I know a few people who've sold their restaurants because they didn't get to cook enough and that's their passion.

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                I left a vocation because I enjoyed it as a hobby but, not as an occupation.

                                        2. re: roxlet

                                          Interesting, roxlet - do you think Padma is jealous of Kristen?

                                          And Brooke said it herself - she spent *so* much time conceptualizing her dish, she used up a lot of her prep time to actually prepare the mise.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            Padma jealous of Kristin? What? Another tall, gorgeous model type on the show, only this one can cook? Naw.

                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                Don't forget "far younger", a much better chef, and modest/likeable w/ a great following.

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    i find padma modest, likeable and am willing to bet she has a perfectly nice sized following and a q rating larger than kristen's by some power of 10.

                                                    i've not seen any evidence of padma being jealous of kristen on episodes of 'top chef.'
                                                    just because two people are similar in some ways doesn't mean there is jealousy involved.

                                                    i have no idea who is the better cook. i haven't eaten their food.

                                                    1. re: linus

                                                      Yikes!

                                                      Have we been watching the same show?

                                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                                        "Have we been watching the same show?"
                                                        +1 !

                                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                                          this IS the 'parks and recreation' thread, right?

                                                        2. re: linus

                                                          I may be a sucker for a beautiful woman, but I find Padma quite likeable as well. Then again, maybe I'm not such a sucker. Kristen is also quite attractive, but I'm not a huge fan of hers.

                                                          Also, here's a crazy thought, but maybe she's not all that impressed with Kristen's food/style of cooking. No, that can't be it. It has to be the jealousy thing.

                                                          1. re: donovt

                                                            I'm a huge fan of Kristen's ability as a Chef and her personality but, I don't find her particularly attractive or, certainly not nearly as much as others who have posted. Now Padma...

                                                            1. re: JAB

                                                              I don't find either of them to be stunning...but (I have always thought Padma to be a bit weird looking) I LOVE Kristen! I think she is smart, talented and she has a great attitude......Go Kristen!!

                                                      2. re: roxlet

                                                        I don't know - there's no real evidence of this and it smacks of the usual "catfight" trope. You can have two successful/attractive/whatever women in one place without them automatically resenting or competing with each other.

                                                        1. re: piccola

                                                          As I recall, it was Padma who most forcefully agitated for having Kristin PYKAG during restaurant wars. And it was Padma's criticisms of Kristin's dishes that were most evident in Episode 16. In fact, I was surprised to read in Tom's blog that Kristin's meal was the strongest of the three. From Padma's comments, it sounded as if Kristin's dishes were the weakest.

                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                            um...maybe that meant padma didn't like the dishes, and was outvoted.
                                                            doesn't imply jealousy to me.

                                                            although it's certainly possible tom voted sheldon off because he's jealous of sheldon getting to say "reefer" on t.v.

                                                            1. re: linus

                                                              I've always noticed that Padma argues strongly for an objective view even in favor of an unpopular contestant if she thinks someone may be getting a bit of a pass due to past performance and preference for their cooking overall.

                                                              She seems determined to make sure only the dish of the day is the judging criterion, from my POV.

                                                            2. re: roxlet

                                                              So? That doesn't automatically suggest jealousy. Padma is there to critique and judge -- it's far more plausible she just doesn't like Kristin's style of food. It's just as sexist to imply that Padma dislikes Kristin for her looks than it is to suggest Tom likes her for them.

                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                But after Kristin left, she called in to WWHL while Padma was on and Padma told her she LOVED her food, and that it was just about what was on the plate that night, nothing personal. Kristin agreed that the decision to send her home was the right one.

                                                                I just don't think you know what another person's intentions are unless they tell you, and in this case, it's all really clear and amicable between Kristin and Padma.

                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                  No, you don't know what someone's intentions are, and that's why we, as humans, interpret the things we see. If you want to see things through the PC prism of sexism, that's your get-go, but it will be the first time in my life anyone ever implied that I was being sexist. Clearly, that's your interpretation,

                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                    Sexism? That wasn't my comment, that was piccola's.

                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                          To be fair, I'm not saying you as a person are sexist -- I don't know you -- but the assumption that Padma criticizes Kristin because she's jealous of her looks and youth certainly comes across as sexist. I'm taking issue with the argument, not attacking your character.

                                                                          1. re: piccola

                                                                            Not just any woman, only Padma. I wouldn't think that if Gail made the comment. It could also be sexist to assume that a person was talking about all females when he/she is talking only about one.

                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                              did you really just say if gail said the same things padma said, and acted the same way padma did, you wouldn't think gail was "jealous"?

                                                                              just trying to understand here. thanks.

                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                My point is that when Tom criticizes a male contestant, no one assumes that it's because he's jealous of a younger, more attractive chef.

                                                                                1. re: piccola

                                                                                  Not Tom but from what I've read about Padma, it sounds like she's not always welcoming to other women, especially attractive ones (from people who've been to events with her). If there were a male host w/ similar history, I'd think that were a possibility, especially if the comments were out of line w/ what the others thought. This is only about Padma, not about all women. It's been a while but if I find any, I'll link them.

                                                                                  Here's one. I'm wondering if this person posted it here since I know I didn't read that blog and have read those rules before:

                                                                                  http://www.uproxx.com/tv/2012/01/what...

                                                                                  Rushdie's view of her:

                                                                                  http://eater.com/archives/2012/11/30/...

                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                    Let's just say an unnamed diner and a philandering ex husband who thought her job was to meet all his deepest needs aren't convincing.

                                                                                    I'm willing to believe she's selfish, narcissistic, ambitious, yada yada...

                                                                                    But so far, no evidence at all of disdain for other women. She and Gail express great affection for one another, btw.

                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                        Oh, stop making so much sense when I'm trying to be catty.;-) There were other things I've read about her that have made me think that's the case but it's been here and there over the years. It seemed that she has some kind of vendetta against Kristen at JT. Had a male judge raved about one of Kristen's dish while the others hated it, and he had a reputation for, say, appreciating pretty women, I might comment that it was due to her attractiveness. Not sexist about men, just a comment about him.

                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                            Sorry to rain on your MEOW parade. ;-)

                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                              Nothing like a little common sense to rain on a perfectly good meow parade.:-) I actually like to think I'm above them for the most part but once in a while my inner "Bachelor" contestant wannabe comes out.

                                                                                            2. re: chowser

                                                                                              i cannot begin to fathom what it is she said that made you think padma had any kind of vendetta against anyone.

                                                                                          2. re: chowser

                                                                                            Yes, I've seen this stuff about Padma before. None of it is surprising, and it only reinforces my feelings about her: disgust that I don't look like that, and apathy for her as a person. I've known a fair number of models and actresses in my day, and let's just say that they generally don't succeed on brains. And BTW, the same can be said for actors.

                                                                  2. I don't often expect to cook anything from TC, but I'll be looking for Brooke's dessert, given these two statements:

                                                                    Tom's blog: It was a cake topped with sauce and berries that I thought any decent home cook could have prepared.

                                                                    Linda's recap: John Besh says "Holy smokes! THAT....is really really good!" And Hugh agrees.

                                                                    56 Replies
                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                      momjamin, I thought the *SAME* thing about making it myself! If a decent home cook could make it, and John Besh and Hugh both give it two thumbs up? I think I can manage that. :-)

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        OK -- let's do it, and invite John and Hugh (and Eric and Tony and...) ;-)

                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                            If Hugh is involved, I'd damn well better be on that list.

                                                                          2. re: momjamin

                                                                            Recipe is up (it wasn't yesterday) -- http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...

                                                                            It's true what Tom said about home cooks -- I can look at those ingredients and not scratch my head about where to find them ;-)

                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                Any thoughts about pan size? I'm thinking the batter would fit an 8" square; would love to hear from a more experienced baker. Can't wait to eat it. Browned butter, goat cheese, berries-- I'm in!

                                                                                1. re: monfrancisco

                                                                                  Sounded great to me too, but I'm bummed I used up my vanilla paste awhile ago and if I want to follow the recipe I'll have to mail order some.

                                                                                  1. re: DGresh

                                                                                    If you have a HomeGoods or TJMaxx near you, that's where I get my vanilla paste.

                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                      Really, TJMaxx? I had no idea they sold food stuff (I haven't been in my local one in years)

                                                                                      1. re: DGresh

                                                                                        TJMaxx usually has a part of the store devoted to Home Goods, and one aisle is various food items. I'm still ticked off the full-on Home Goods closed in my town to move to a shopping center closer to a highway. Grrr....

                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                          I visited my TJMaxx today, and alas, no vanilla bean paste. But I could see that it was the sort of thing they might have at other times, and I took the time to peruse the shelves so that next time I need something out of the ordinary, I might know where to look. Thanks! (just ordered some from KA Flour)

                                                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                                                            Yes, it's basically hit or miss, but I grab it when I see it...

                                                                                            1. re: DGresh

                                                                                              And of course the day after I ordered, I found it at a store where I was buying fish! Bought some, and then King Arthur was nice enough to cancel my order for me. Brownie points for them (pun intended).

                                                                                          2. re: DGresh

                                                                                            Yes, they don't always have it, but they do frequently. Their home goods aisles are generally pretty good, and I've even found All-Clad and other top label cooking and bakeware there.

                                                                                      2. re: monfrancisco

                                                                                        I agree, an 8" square..
                                                                                        I am ordering vanilla bean paste today!
                                                                                        This looks great - and pretty easy

                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                          Thanks for the confirmation; I don't really trust myself on stuff like this (among many other stuffs...).

                                                                                          1. re: monfrancisco

                                                                                            LOL - yeah, but if you read on, you will find I am not to be trusted either.....!!!

                                                                                        2. re: monfrancisco

                                                                                          So now I'm looking at the recipe and it's kind of vague; I don't remember what it looked like (and my on-demand has no fast forward!); is the goat cheese a frosting, or a dollop, or something else? Also, is the ratio of 1/2 cup flour to 1 cup butter ok? Sounds like not a lot of flour. Has anyone tried this?

                                                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                                                            Huh. I just reread the recipe - you're right - 1 cup of butter, 1 cup of sugar, 4 eggs, and a half cup of flour seems very strange and not enough to bind all of the liquid ingredients. Below I linked a quick way to see screen cap pics of the dishes made on TC:

                                                                                            http://pinterest.com/BravobyBravo/top...

                                                                                            But it figures. Do a "Find" for "Brown" and the recipe isn't there. :-/

                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                              Here's someone who did her own interpretation (with some pics!) but the cake is *completely* different. So I think our intuition that the ratios are off is probably correct, but this one makes more changes than that (no whole eggs, only egg whites....)
                                                                                              http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com/2013/0...

                                                                                              Found another one with these ingredients (closer) Cake
                                                                                              2 cups sugar
                                                                                              4 eggs
                                                                                              1 cup milk
                                                                                              3/4 cup browned butter*
                                                                                              1 tsp vanilla
                                                                                              2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
                                                                                              2-1/4 tsp baking powder

                                                                                              1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                OK, now her version sounds VERY good!

                                                                                            2. re: DGresh

                                                                                              I think it must be very rich, like flourless chocolate cake, or the brownies I make with 1/4 cup flour or less.

                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                That was my thought too, that it must have that sort of un-cake-like texture to it.. I would have liked a gooey buttery just barely cake consistancy.........but I now worry that the recipe is not correct....
                                                                                                I am not known for my baking skills, so I didnt really question the ratio.

                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                  I was thinking that with the proportions but the cake didn't look that dense on TV. It looked more like a ginger cake.

                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                    right.. but I don't remember there being any goat cheese or creamy thing on top either - I remember a layer of berries and thats it...but then again ..my memory is always pretty shot...

                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                      Definitely goat cheese because I remember thinking it would be a great combination, browned butter cake, goat cheese cream, berries. The judges seemed to love it, too, and I don't know why they'd mark down for it being "homey" and not restaurant quality. But, then I think it was edited to make it seem close. Brooke seemed safe from the first dish on to me.

                                                                                                    2. re: chowser

                                                                                                      I agree that the recipe looks pretty dense -- butter held together with a little flour. Somehow, it just doesn't seem right.

                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                        Yeah, it appeared to me all of the judges loved it...even Tom (but again.. my memory ??)

                                                                                                        i hope someone with more skill than I, attempts the cake soon because I am dying to try it!

                                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                          I want to give the cake a try but I think there is an error in the recipe. I might try w/ another brown butter cake and use the goat cheese cream because that's what really appeals to me. But, I can't get good berries yet.

                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                            From my write-up, and from what I remember, Tom didn't rave about Brooke's cake. He didn't pan it either, but just said it wasn't a "restaurant dessert":

                                                                                                            Hugh thought the cake was great, and Emeril said "I thought it was pretty damn good - and so did John Besh and so did Martin Yan." Tom has a quizzical look on his face, and says "The cake was nice, but it's just not a restaurant dessert. I think it was very unfinished."

                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                              yeah, it's confirmed...my memory is shot!

                                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                Ahh, that's OK. We're all losing something or other. :-)

                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  LOL!!
                                                                                                                  yup.. I've been losing a hell of a lot lately...but adding weight!
                                                                                                                  ugh~

                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                    Well, you're still losing something there: the battle. ;-) (Me too!)

                                                                                                            2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                              Tom thought that it wasn't a restaurant dessert. That it was delicious didn't seem to matter.

                                                                                                            3. re: roxlet

                                                                                                              Oh, but it IS! Though usually such things are held together more by eggs...

                                                                                                            4. re: chowser

                                                                                                              I thought it looked like a very dense, moist cake.

                                                                                                          2. re: DGresh

                                                                                                            The picture I saw (on bravotv.com?) showed sauce in a shallow bowl, a plop of goat/cream (so frosting under the cake sort of), and a round of cake topped with berries. But I'm in the unreliable memory crowd.

                                                                                                            1. re: monfrancisco

                                                                                                              That's how I remember it. I thought the judges thought it was the best thing they'd had all day.

                                                                                                              1. re: monfrancisco

                                                                                                                She cut the rounds of cake out of a larger, sheet cake.

                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                  Yeah, that's what I figured after doing geometry in my head. Wish I'd been there to eat the scraps!

                                                                                                              2. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                So now that I have my vanilla paste, I decided to take one for the team and give it a try. I did observe the texture of Brooke's batter on the repeat last night, figuring that if mine didn't look like hers I could add more flour. I was pleasantly surprised that when I wisked the flour in, it was really batter-like, and looked like hers. I put it in the oven, and 22 minutes later (8 minutes early) I pulled it out. (My oven does tend to run hot). It was firm and perfectly cake-like. I'll let you know how it all tastes later tonight (the goat cheese cream tastes really good!)

                                                                                                                1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                  Thanks! I can't wait to hear what it tastes like.

                                                                                                                  1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                    So DGresh, you made it per the Bravo recipe? I can't wait to hear how it came out - thanks for falling on your sword for us! :-)

                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      Really! So interested to know how the cake tastes!

                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                        So I made it last night, exactly per the Bravo recipe (except I took mine out earlier). It was, as we had expected, very dense and "fudgy" (of course no chocolate), with a buttery-vanilla taste. As a cake, it was not anything mind blowing, but it was good. The berries and whipped goat cheese were very good, and certainly the cake on its own needed more oomph. I liked it; not sure I'll make it again, because as a "company dessert" (given the richness; last night it was just for DH and DS and me) it wouldn't look that fancy unless you cut it out like she did, which is wasteful for me. I should also add that I probably should have left it in for 30 minutes rather than 22, but the toothpick came out clean, and I was afraid of overcooking. It was very moist in the center area.

                                                                                                                        1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                          So it seems it was as Tom Colicchio said - "not a restaurant dessert." It's good - just not as high a caliber of dessert as he would have wanted.

                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            thanks DGresh!!

                                                                                                                            I am a bit disappointed that the cake itself wasnt mind blowing... a rich, dense, brown buttery things sounds sooo good to me..
                                                                                                                            I would like to try it.. the goat cheese and berries combo is just my kind of thing, so I still think I will love it.

                                                                                                                            DGresh, what kind/size pan did you use?

                                                                                                                            Yup, Linda, it sounds like Tom was spot on!

                                                                                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                              I used an 8x8 square cake pan. It was the right size for the batter.

                                                                                                                          2. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                            Thanks for reporting back. I'm thinking a brown butter almond financier might be good w/ the goat cheese and berries. Maybe that'll be my next project. Something like this:

                                                                                                                            http://www.thenovicechefblog.com/2012...

                                                                                                          3. re: momjamin

                                                                                                            Yes, I thought that was interesting too because it presupposes that a decent home cook couldn't make a restaurant quality dessert. And what's so wrong with a homey dessert in a restaurant?

                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                              Too often, I see great looking desserts that end up looking much better than they taste.

                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                I agree 100%. It's all about the taste.

                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                  Hey they could make a whole show based on how food... Oh never mind.

                                                                                                                  jb

                                                                                                                2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                  That is one of life's ongoing disappointments. I almost always know better, but occasionally I'll cave and -- waahhh!

                                                                                                            2. I'm still fighting a cough, so I took cough medicine last night and promptly fell asleep at 8:00 like a third-grader. Woke up at 2 and ran for my iPad to read your recap. Thank you, Linda! I'm mad that I missed it, but will catch a repeat. It's so, so nice to have a final three, now two, where any of them winning would be great. I've thoroughly enjoyed this season. The pros have far outweighed the one headband-wearing con.

                                                                                                              I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I wonder if Kristen doesn't have a small leg up based on the fact that she came back through LCK. If the online viewing of that show is something they really want to promote, having someone who won the whole thing via that route would lend it some gravitas.

                                                                                                              42 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                                                If Kristen does end up winning, will she "have an asterisk" coming from LCK?

                                                                                                                1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                  Ah, the Mark McGuire asterisk. Interesting, indeed...

                                                                                                                  Linda, I know it's pathetic, but I was really looking forward to last night's show, and I honestly kinda-ran for my iPad! Since Lost ended, TC is my only can't-miss show.

                                                                                                                  1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                                                    Ahhhh.....LOST. Sawyer and Sayid. Very good substitutes for Bourdain and Ripert. :-)

                                                                                                                    1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                                                      Since you bring up baseball, the answer should be no asterisk, unless you think that wild card teams that win the World Series or Super Bowl should get an asterisk.

                                                                                                                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                          Totally agree with FoodPopulist on the asterisk thing. Kristen is kind of the wild card team in this competition.

                                                                                                                          I'm rooting for Kristen to win. Brooke is good but I think Kristen will win.

                                                                                                                      1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                        I agree with this. I think it's so odd that one of the two finalists is someone who regular TV viewers didn't see for half the season. I didn't ever watch last chance kitchen- I'm not devoting more of my life to the show than just watching it every week (except, of course, for reading Linda's recaps!!)- and I don't like the idea of someone being brought back.

                                                                                                                        I definitely remember all the conspiracy theorists on Linda's thread the week when Josie was safe and Kristen was cut, and I absolutely think it was something done for production value and to drive people to the online portion of the show. I know this isn't "real life" in any way, but it is a little disappointing to me for some reason. Kristen has been one of the top 2 all along, so why didn't they just leave her on the real show, rather than making her part of the sideshow?

                                                                                                                        1. re: erin_grogan

                                                                                                                          We'll have to disagree on the ousting of Kristen being done for production value, erin. Tom C. has said many times in the past they have *no* idea what's going on behind the scenes until they (the judges) see it on screen. They judge the *food*. Kristen took the hit the week she was sent packing.

                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            "They judge the *food*."

                                                                                                                            If was the "absolute" truth then Tom C and company would have a lot of explaining to do for not sending Sheldon packing for;
                                                                                                                            A) Not knowing The difference between Chum and King or Sockeye and which to choose.
                                                                                                                            B) Not being able to cook or serve Salmon that wasn't a hacked up sloppy mess.
                                                                                                                            C) Making the most pathetic sourdough of the bunch. That green bread Sheldon made wasn't fit to even serve on St. Patty's day on the wrong side of town.

                                                                                                                            Who did they send packing on a Sourdough and Salmon challenge? The Chef that made the best Sourdough.
                                                                                                                            Okey Dokey.
                                                                                                                            It's just contrived reality TV antics to up the ratings on LCK.
                                                                                                                            Either way I'm getting a serious laff out of those who came so un-glued about the suggestion that there might be a bit of manipulation going on only to see that in the end those silly conspiracy theorists called the play spot on about Kristen.

                                                                                                                            1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                                                              Because it wasn't about just the sourdough. It was about the entire dish as a whole (hence the question Padma asked "Did you taste the entire dish together?" and Lizzie said she tasted just the individual components). Lizzie's entire sandwich just wasn't as good from a taste standpoint as the other dishes made that night.

                                                                                                                              I get it TJ. You think the entire show is contrived. I don't. Oh - and I'm not coming unglued about the issue. I just respect the fact that Tom Colicchio and the other judges wouldn't put their industry reputations on the line just for a TV show's ratings.

                                                                                                                              But go ahead and "laff" away.

                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                I don't think the "entire" show is contrived but I don't have naive rabid fan blinders on either. There's no hit to the judges reputation for running a reality TV show....well like a reality TV show. LOL
                                                                                                                                The episode that Sheldon should have been sent packing was a Sourdough and Salmon challenge. He made the worst sourdough and hacked the fish. Worse yet he didn't even know what fish to pick!
                                                                                                                                Padma spit out Sheldon's food and at least she ate Lizzie's sammich.
                                                                                                                                I do realize as some who has spent many years in a professional kitchen my view is different from many main stream viewers but this season has really strayed from seasons past in several aspects.

                                                                                                                                1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                                                                  The hit to the judges' reputation would be to allow someone to win that they "liked" or for drama's sake vs. what ended up being the best food that day.

                                                                                                                                  Sheldon picking chum didn't seem to matter, as the dish tasted good (and IIRC, some of the dining guests at camp were pleasantly surprised as well). Gail said of Sheldon's bread "I just want to say, of all the breads, it was made very well, but the matcha wasn't a necessary choice." Hugh said "No joke, if everyone is dissing chum, then Sheldon should be the new chum spokesperson for human consumption. "

                                                                                                                                  Gail noted about Lizzie's dish "Her bread was the best bread we ate all day, quite frankly. The problem was that the rolls were so large in proportion to the salmon that you just lost the salmon, and it just became kind of a salmon sandwich, and at the end of the game we were expecting more from her, first of all. And second of all, we didn’t get enough flavor. When she explained the dish to us, the citrus and the beets are great complements to salmon, but she glazed the salmon, and she should have marinated it to really infuse the flavors, and so it was just glazed at the end of the cook time and then put it on a very large roll that was very bready, it just sort of got lost. "

                                                                                                                                  Either way - we're not there eating it - the judges are, and they deemed Sheldon's dish to be better than Lizzie's.

                                                                                                                                  And interestingly, I think this season is light years ahead of last season in Texas, which was gimmicky and stupid. These chefs are better, the challenges are better, and we're seeing better food. At least I think so.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                    ITA LW, the chefs this season have been impressive pretty much across the board!

                                                                                                                                    personally speaking, I would pick Sheldon's dish over Lizzies in the sourdough/salmon challenge, even tho the idea of matcha sourdough is not that appealing to me.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                      i've never understood how this "hit to their reputation" thing works in regards to the judges.

                                                                                                                                      it's hard for me to believe their lives or livelihoods would be affected if it was revealed they voted for reasons other than those they've previously stated.

                                                                                                                                      what would it cost, and how, for example, if tom colicchio said a year from now, "well, i really voted for _____ because i didn't like the other chef"?

                                                                                                                                      i kinda think their peers, and the food community at large would go, "eh, t.v."

                                                                                                                                      1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                        "it's hard for me to believe their lives or livelihoods would be affected if it was revealed they voted for reasons other than those they've previously stated."

                                                                                                                                        Exactly. It's just TV. Actually, admitting they got it wrong like Tom C did with Kristen on his blog draws even more attention so the notion of reputations taking a "hit" is just silly.
                                                                                                                                        If even a prep-cooked hacked up Salmon like Sheldon did on that challenge they'd be bouncing the back door of Craft toot sweet!
                                                                                                                                        Either way there's a lot of creative editing and manipulation IMO. More this season than the past in an effort to get people to watch their LCK spin off.
                                                                                                                                        Either way it's not all about the food. Not by a long shot. It's about marketing, product placement, ratings and revenue.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                        "And interestingly, I think this season is light years ahead of last season in Texas, which was gimmicky and stupid. These chefs are better, the challenges are better, and we're seeing better food. "

                                                                                                                                        Sing it, Sistah!

                                                                                                                                        Last year was just awful. This year is an encouraging change for the better.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                          eh, i don't know if the food is any better. paul and edward, for example, seem at least as good of cooks as brooke and kristen.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                            Linus, I was referring to the whole season, and the way gimmickry took precedence over culinary arts.

                                                                                                                                            Paul is one of my favorite winners ever.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                              i don't think gimmickry took precedence over culinary arts that season.
                                                                                                                                              the quality of the cooks bears that out.

                                                                                                                                              that being said, i don't think this thread is the place to open the can of worms on season 9 again.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                Whereas I think the quality of the cooks overcame the debacle.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: linus

                                                                                                                                              I don't taste the food, so I don't care as much which season had better food... What I do care about -
                                                                                                                                              Are the challenges enjoyable to watch?
                                                                                                                                              Are the chefs likable?
                                                                                                                                              For me, this season was a zillion times more enjoyable...
                                                                                                                                              ok, Paul was indeed likable, but not many of the other chefs, i have to say... and the challenges were DREADFUL last year.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                I thought Grayson and Ed were likable on TC 9 but you are correct about the challeges. Apparently they oversold Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio on the "Everything is Bigger in Texas" thing.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                  Yes yes yes. I loved Grayson, liked Ed, was thrilled that Paul won, but so many of the challenges were obnoxiously bad.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                                                                            Come on, as a professional, the salmon to bread ratio in Lizzie's sandwich...

                                                                                                                                            1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                              Exactly, JAB. All you saw was bread.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                                                                              I believe there is manipulation in the editing to make it seem like a dish is better or worst than it really is. They want to keep the suspense and viewers watching. When you read the blogs, you get a more straightforward judgement. We have no idea how good the food is, only a view through biased editing, taking hours of video and condensing what they want us to think into a few minutes. That salmon sandwich looked terribly bready, even without eating it.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                I don't believe that there was even any type of mayo / aoli / spread on the sandwich.

                                                                                                                                          3. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                                                                            There's this thing called the FCC and serious problems with "fixing" contests. Remember the game show scandal back in the day? Given that this is basically a game show in which the winner receives a large prize of money and other considerations, there would be a serious problem if it was ever proven that the producers colluded with each other and/or the chefs to fix the outcome. A TV production is a hive of gossip, innuendo, and petty jealousies, and I think that if this kind of behavior were occurring, someone would have blown the whistle by now.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                              "There's this thing called the FCC and serious problems with "fixing" contests."

                                                                                                                                              There's also this little thing called a contract. TC is not a "contest". It's reality TV. Big difference when the Cheftestants knowingly sign an agreement. ;)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                                                                                Yes, but if there were an obvious case of manipulating the results, it would become public pretty quickly. Although the cheftestants do sign contracts, the show is nonetheless presented to the public as a contest, in which the winner is deemed by the judges to be the best chef. Parsing "reality show" vs "contest" is very difficult in this context since the chefs are, in fact, competing. Everyone on a TV program, no matter in which capacity they appear, has signed an agreement or contract of some sort. For the most part, these contracts are specific to the person appearing, not to the network on which they appear. Given the nature of a TV show production, very little, or almost nothing, in fact, takes place in secrecy.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                                                                                  Don't you think if they wanted to rig it, then they wouldn't bother doing all that editing? It would be easy enough to find scenes to justify whatever they want, but they manipulate it to manipulate you. "Let's fool them into thinking the Sheldon's dish isn't good to keep them wondering" rather than just showing that one is clearly better. Do you think the Bachelor also is as close as they edit it? That this guy has no idea, out of all those women, who is he closest to? Of course he knows. It's all about how easily they can fool you.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                                                                                    It's actually a game show and has to follow strict rules.

                                                                                                                                                    jb

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                    doesn't that disclaimer thing in the credits get them past all that stuff?

                                                                                                                                                    and, since cooking is much more subjective, than, say, answering factual questions, i think any fixing would be very difficult to prove.

                                                                                                                                                    i think for an equivalent scandal like the game shows of the fifties, the producers would have to do the cooking for or provide winning dishes for the contestants.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                      "doesn't that disclaimer thing in the credits get them past all that stuff?"

                                                                                                                                                      Of course it does as does the contract the Chef's sign. It's just reality TV. Slow that DVR down and read the fine print.
                                                                                                                                                      There's been numerous threads on CH in the past about this topic.

                                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/339063

                                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/320792

                                                                                                                                                  3. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                                                                                    I'm sorry, but in what world do online ratings bring in bigger bank than ratings of the actual show? Sacrificing the non-LCK viewers for higher ratings on bravotv.com just does not sound profitable to me.

                                                                                                                                                    As far as Sheldon using chum...I think it's pretty clear he chose it, unaware it had a stigma, and made it taste fantastic, to both the judges and the locals. He also used sockeye, but got raves for the chum. Since chum is plentiful and cheap, I am all in favor of his showing it off.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                                                                      "As far as Sheldon using chum...I think it's pretty clear he chose it, unaware it had a stigma"

                                                                                                                                                      Sheldon picked Chum from the pile not knowing the difference between Sockeye, King or Chum. Lets not forget there was a clip with Sheldon admitting he had no experience with Salmon. This is the ole TC trick. Offer good ingredients and cra**y ingredients and leave it to the chef's to know the difference. Remember Spikes first pick frozen Scallops at Tramontia?
                                                                                                                                                      If he had knowingly chosen Chum for a reason that might get respect.....but that's not what happened. He simply didn't know any better. Worse yet he didn't even know how to clean a Salmon. His fillets were a mess.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                                                                                        But his was better than Lizzie's. It'a about what's on the plate, not why it was there.

                                                                                                                                                  4. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                    And television producers and personalities would *NEVER*, *EVER* lie about something they do to jazz up a show and increase fan interest and buzz...

                                                                                                                                                  5. re: erin_grogan

                                                                                                                                                    "...didn't see for half the season..." Kristen was on the first 11 episodes, missed 4 episodes, and appears on the last 2 episodes. Kristen will have appeared in more than 76% of the episodes. It's not as if Kuniko won LCK and came back after appearing in the first 3 episodes. I am not a fan of LCK, but it drives people to the Bravo website, so I'm sure it will be around for a while. I just hope Facebook does not become an integral part of the show. If that happens, I'll stop watching it.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: KrumTx

                                                                                                                                                  Wow, now *that* is devotion to the show, KrumTx! LOL Glad the recap helped. And I hope you're feeling better soon.

                                                                                                                                                  Agree with you that it's nice to have had 3 cheftestants in the finale group that I would be fine with any of them winning. I didn't like Michael Voltaggio as much as I liked his brother, Bryan, and Kevin Gillespie in TC6, but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Michael V. deserved to be in the top 3.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                                                                                    There was an interesting comment from Tom about whether Kristin had been helped by being in LCK. She responded that she thought that she had simplified her cooking and concepts.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Loved the last two comments from Tom on his blog:

                                                                                                                                                    Oh, P.S. To the guy who tweeted, “Based on the comments in Last Chance Kitchen, it’s obvious that Kristen isn’t going to make it to the finale. Horrible judging.” Just couldn’t hold off on tweeting long enough to watch the episode, could you? Ready, fire, aim. Thanks for your tweet, guy.

                                                                                                                                                    And P.P.S. For all those wondering why pictures of Andy Cohen keep popping up on the set on Last Chance Kitchen. I have no idea why. Honestly, I have no idea.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                      He must have missed the tattoo spoiler.;-)

                                                                                                                                                    2. Wow! Kristens Back? I'm shocked......NOT.
                                                                                                                                                      It's a good thing no one saw that bit of reality TV ratings manipulation coming...<rollz eyes>
                                                                                                                                                      Sheldon I really like but he was in waaaaay over his head. He should have been gone on the Sourdough challenge. Too bad he was so busy thinking about weed instead of working on a dessert recipe. Ce'st la vie
                                                                                                                                                      More snark from Padma directed at Kristen. TFF
                                                                                                                                                      An audience for the finale....yaaaaaaawn.

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                                                                                        Umm....if you don't like the show, why bother commenting on the thread?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          LOL It's just reality TV. Nothing more, nothing less.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Linda,
                                                                                                                                                        Such a great recap. So good I almost don't have to watch the show. Almost. Thank you again.

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. I was sad to see Sheldon go but would have been sad to see any of them go. It was tough at JT because you know one will be leaving. I'm finished trying to figure out from the edits who will go home. It seemed that Kristen had the weakest dishes overall and I was worried it might be her. So, does the Save a Chef contestant come back next week? And, that means Sheldon doesn't get a chance to be the Save a Chef contestant? It's too bad because I think he'd win.

                                                                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                            Lizzie and CJ were up for the last Save-A-Chef, and Lizzie got 61% of the votes a few weeks ago. Then Kristen beat Lizzie and Josh in the final LCK. Next week is just Brooke and Kristen.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                              Maybe there's a double secret "this is really, and I mean it, really, the Last, Last Chance Kitchen competition" taking place somewhere. The winner goes up against the winner of the "most negative tweets" competition taking place simultaneously on Twitter (a secret sponsor of the show). So who will be in the final final with Brooke and Kristen? You guessed it. Josie!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                Do you really want to see everyone on this board pick up their pitchforks and pick axes and storm the offices of the Magic Elves?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                  I'd stab bobbert with my pitchfork for even thinking much less writing such a comment! :-P

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                    I've got the torches primed and ready to go if that happens!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe they will do a cross over show with Hells Kitchen and Josie gets to be Gordo's Donkey?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                      They've gotta save some twists for next season!

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                      Oh...that reminds me I haven't seen the LCK from last week, only read comments about it here and there. Off to see it now, as uneventful as it'll be.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                        ::::snort:::: Yeah, I pretty much told you what happened, didn't I? :-D

                                                                                                                                                                  3. Another great recap, Linda- thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                    My pressing question is this: We saw a glimpse of the other chefs in the teaser. CJ and pig ears, we saw Stephan...

                                                                                                                                                                    So, how's this going to work, and who's going to get stuck with Josie this time? Will Kristen choose (rightly) the dishwasher rather than endure that again?

                                                                                                                                                                    20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                      There was Josh, too, but I didn't see Josie. Can you imagine the fight over who wouldn't get her ("I'll give you CJ if you take Josie, too").

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, I was thinking about whether someone had to choose Josie. Kristin wouldn't make that mistake twice if she could help it. Or pick Josie and make her peel potatoes even though you're not using any.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                          LOL, or have her make potato chains. Who was it who tried it and it failed miserably?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, I remember those failed potato chains, but I also don't remember who tried to make them...

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                  OK, I love the idea of peeling potatoes or whatever else and then not using them. :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                  Or forfeit. Because they know they'd lose with her on their team anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: cheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                                  Don't they usually pick 2 or 3 of the former contestants? I can't imagine Josie will be among those selected ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                    ...unless they just want to mess with us. Sort of a corollary to "There's no such thing as bad publicity," they might figure there's no such thing as bad fan interest and excitement.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                      One season, they drew knives for sous.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Dee S

                                                                                                                                                                                        You're right. Wow, if I pulled the Josie knife I might just fall on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Dee S

                                                                                                                                                                                          and IIRC, last season they did a blind tasting based on dishes that the prospective sous chefs cooked up. That's how Paul ended up with Barbara Lynch and Sarah ended up with the kid who got cut for not being able to cut meat. Do I have that right? It's becoming a blur.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                            I think you're right about the tasting. But the kid who couldn't butcher wasn't there--only the folks who actually made it on to the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                            A quick check on wiki tells me Sarah's sous chefs were Heather, Grayson, Tyler [sic], and Nyesha

                                                                                                                                                                                            I think by Tyler, they meant Ty-Lor. And I only remember Ty-Lor because pictures, once viewed, cannot be unviewed :(

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                              I think Tyler was the guy who couldn't butcher. Yep, that's who Sarah got vs. Barbara Lynch (who Kristen works for) for Paul. Small world.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                I think you're right (after another wiki check) . . . Ty-Lor was on Paul's team. Guess that's why last season I ended up just reading the recaps and not watching or only half watching the show itself. As if the gimmick challenges weren't enough, they actually brought back people who didn't even make the show? It's amazing I returned for this season . . . but this season was worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: cheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                                        Hopefully they get to choose who they like from the available pool, and I don't think anyone's choice would be Josie...

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Linda, thank you so much for another wonderful, nearly complete season of recaps...

                                                                                                                                                                                        The final three are the ones I think I named some weeks back as what I'd like to see (and expected we might see) in the finale. Brooke and Kristen is some serious cooking competition and all is as it should be.

                                                                                                                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                          For a long time I was rooting for Kristen but now I'm torn between the two, I can't remember another Top Chef where I felt the same; I'm normally pulling for one or another. I do think this finale is one of the strongest.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                            This is more like Stephanie Izard v. Richard Blais. Both great chefs. Both really great people.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                              The problem is that in TC 4 there were three people in the finale finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's true. She made Stephanie and Richard look even better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was thinking the same thing, Gail.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                She gots one more to go.... ; )

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Almost there. I've made it up Heartbreak Hill, I'm on Beacon Street near Kenmore Square and the Citgo sign, and the Boston Marathon finish line is just around the corner...hopefully with the Boston chef winning TC10. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Remember Rosie Ruiz? Back then, somebody was selling t-shirts that said on the front: "Rosie Ruiz Track Club". On the back it said "Somebody Call Me a Cab".

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I just read Tom and Hugh's blogs, and it was interesting to read the judges' true reactions to what they were served. The reaction to Sheldon's food was much more negative than the editing led you to believe. Also, Kristin seems to have produced the best meal, according to Tom who said that if Sheldon had cooked the way he cooked earlier in the competition, Brooke would have gone home. As I was watching, I assumed that a winner would be declared and that it would be Brooke...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                    does anyone know if the blogs are written after the bloggers view the episode when broadcast, after they view their screener (at some unknown date), or soon after they shoot the episode?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    just curious how much time passes between when the cooking goes down and when the keyboard is picked up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                      In Tom's blog last week he talks about watching about a week prior to broadcast to write his blog. He mentioned how he "half watches" but became mesmerized when Roy Choi was talking about Emeril being his saviour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I know I was mesmerized when Roy opened up. I thought he was going to lean over and plant a big ole wet one on Emeril.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It was heartwarming though. We all joke about Emeril and his celebrity but he has inspired a lot of people and seems to be a down to earth kind of guy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Dee S

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, I never cared either way for Emeril, and I never watched his show. One day, my friend got tickets, and I got to go to a show taping one day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I simply can't tell you how impressed I was by him!
                                                                                                                                                                                                          He was actually nicer when the cameras were off than he was during filming!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          He was so friendly to everyone, and invited all the children up to have some chocolate...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Honestly, his smile and his warmth absolutely shined!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Truly a humble, and nice guy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I actually like the 2013 Emeril Lagasse. I did not care for the Emeril Bam! 'Live' Emeril Lagasse. Apparently neither did some members of his family. I guess he foresake time with his first wife and children in his climb to the top. I remember when one of his twin daughters did not invite him to her wedding in the late 90s - early 2000s. (But I seem to remember him ahowing off his yoing son on his TV show.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I remember him having his mother and father on his TV show. I thought that was sweet!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was also never a fan of Emeril Live, but Essence was a fantastic show in my opinion. Just him alone in the kitchen, calmly explaining how to put together various dishes. No floor show, no Bam. And definitely one of the top shows I can recall from the earlier days of FoodTV. (Taste with David Rosengarten being #1 from that period, in my mind.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm pretty sure they write the blogs after viewing the episode, so they can address it like we see it, but they do get a somewhat advance viewing. (Whether they take notes after the judging then add notes from the episode, I wouldn't know.) But there have been several times they've specifically mentioned, "I didn't know anything about this until I saw it in the finished cut." At the same time, they often have the blogs up as soon as the episode is over on the east coast, so they must be written ahead of when we see it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Thanks for the recap. Like all three chefs but the women really seemed to be cooking at whole other level. Also liked that they didn't through some stupid twist in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        As soon as Sheldon started veering away from his wheelhouse I was worried for him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tjinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have rarely enjoyed three chefs more than these last three: Sheldon is such a delight and Brooke and Kirsten have great talent and drive without being "horrors." I hope Sheldon goes in a straight path toward his concept of "urbano": a restaurant that takes all he carries with him and moves it into new territory. For the first time I wasn't "rooting" for any one and I would have felt any of these three deserving of their place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ditto. There have been finales where I went in thinking "Please oh please let XXX win" and finales where I went in thinking "Please oh please let XXX NOT win," but I would have been satisfied with any of them outcooking the others this time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Couldn't agree more. I hate it when, like last year, there is an obvious better chef and one mistake could be the end. This season, I'm going in knowing I'll be a bit saddened that one will have to lose but will be OK with the winner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              What always bothered me was that the weaker of the two (who is usually still a very good chef) would have had 6 months to prepare one meal. Last year Paul was clearly the best but Sarah was still very good. Sarah spent 6 months working on "the best four course meal you can put in front of the judges". Stage in the finest restaurants. Consult with James Beard winners. Hey, give me 6 months and I can put together a great meal. Sheldon, who readily admits to not being good with desserts, I'm sure had a killer dessert planned if he made it to the finale. I don't think it would have been a fair representation of his overall skills vs. say, Brooke,who can probably do great desserts in her sleep.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Anyhow, Brooke and Kristen are pretty evenly matched IMO. They're both very likeable and I think Brooke is just as, if not more, attractive than Kristen and Padma. There, I said it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Just discovered a very quick way to find *all* the recipes from a Top Chef season, including LCK recipes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://pinterest.com/BravobyBravo/top...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          These are just pictures, but click once on the picture to get a larger pic, and then click again, and you go right to the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The search function in the upper left hand corner, however, will search on *anything* on Pinterest that has those words. But if you do a CNTL-F Find within Chrome for a word within the recipe title, you can find it quickly that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks Linda. I'm a Pinterest fiend :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. LW, thanks for another great recap. I also really enjoyed the way the cheftestants were getting along. :)
                                                                                                                                                                                                            What a fun episode! I think the top 3 of the season were there, and the result got an "AW MAN" response from me... it would have been the same no matter who went home!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                                                                                              We were saying that as we watched. It's both ends of the spectrum-happy regardless of who wins, sad because someone has to go home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                LOLing in reference to Kristen:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                "What if her final Last Chance Kitchen against Josh turned out to be Battle Breakfast Bowl and Tom demanded everything be pale yellow and soft and flecked with stray mustache hairs? Josh would smoke her."

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I watched it this morning and wanted to reach out and hug Sheldon as he gave his exit confessional. What a sweet guy. I'll miss this season when it's over!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Was there a winner in this episode?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A contestant was not announced as the winner, but Brooke was told she made it to the finale finale first and told to leave the judging area. I suppose whe cannot count that as a 'win' but she could count it as being in 'first place' for that episode.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Are you sure about that? I don't remember that. I seem to recall that after Sheldon left, Kristin and Brooke turned towards each other. I may be remembering incorrectly...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I guess I was remembering the previous episode.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wasn't that the episode before ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I thought all three were standing there when Sheldon got the boot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Per my original post:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Tom reviews with each of them how they did, and turns to Padma - and Padma asks Sheldon to PPYKAG. Aww, I'm sorry to see him go! But that means it's an ALL GIRL FINALE! Truly, the Top 2 Cheftestants made it into this finale. I'm very glad!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            So as roxlet and C. Hamster noted, all three were standing there when Sheldon was asked to leave the competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I watched this on my DVR...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Random thoughts -
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I didnt watch or follow LCK, but was not shocked in the least, when we discover Kristen won
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I wasnt thinking about Carlas famous mistake, I actually thought Sheldon was going to WOW the judges with a new side of his cooking.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I teared up when he was eliminated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My DVR stopped taping just at the end, so I know nothing of the preveiws showing a live audience type situation!! I am shocked!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I really don't know how I feel about that???