Top Chef: Seattle Recap

By David Mumpower

February 12, 2013

Her accent is totally turning him on.

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Previously on Top Chef, The Thumb stared too hungrily at Brooke’s breasts while they were dancing. The following day, he was eliminated from Top Chef. The two events may not be related but I choose to believe that they were. Stefan is the type of guy whose bathroom cabinet contains a lot of roofies.

The unexpected aspect of Stefan’s removal from Top Chef is that the other players seem to like him a great deal. For all of the creepy Finnish sexuality he exudes, the dude apparently has a good heart. Even Josh wound up becoming his buddy over the course of the season. I had fully expected them to wind up the participants in a murder/suicide pact.

As the chefs reach Alaska, the herd officially has been thinned. The only four remaining players represent four of the top five chefs this season. The other is of course Kristen, the woman who lurks in the loser’s bracket of Last Chance Kitchen. She recently executed her pseudo-boyfriend, Stefan, and thereby ended the most awkward flirtation in the history of reality television.

Josh and Sheldon are the less heralded men who have survived a season of female dominance. Still, I believe that Lizzie is the worst contestant left in the competition, the only one without a victory this season. If tonight goes as expected, Brooke will be the women’s last chance to win Top Chef, barring a victorious return by Kristen.


Only half a dozen episodes ago, I struggled to find a scenario where one of the men emerged victorious. At the time, Stefan had done nothing of note while Josh was closer to the bottom than the top. His ascension down the stretch changed the math quite a bit. Sheldon, not Josh, is the one who has been in danger of elimination a couple of times during that timeframe. While I still feel the Hawaiian is the man best positioned to upset Brooke and/or Kristen, another strong episode by Josh would cause me to re-evaluate my longstanding opinion. Still, I believe this competition is Brooke’s to win.

Tonight’s episode begins with kind words for Stefan. All four remaining players lament his absence with Sheldon going over the top. He states that he considered Stefan the favorite to win, which is a lot like saying that the Chicago Cubs are the clear frontrunner at the start of every baseball season. That track record of never winning anything is a strong indicator of future success, right?

In reality, Sheldon is feeling tremendous relief that he was not the one voted out of the competition because he knows his dish was not up to snuff. Sheldon struggled to find inspiration in the most recent challenge. If he is to continue to the Top Chef finale, our Polynesian friend needs to demonstrate more focus. From the moment he entered the freezer last week, he was too trapped in his own head. The same issue hurt Brooke in the previous episode. The players know what is at stake and they are having trouble addressing the unprecedented pressure.

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