Top Chef: Seattle Recap
By David Mumpower
February 27, 2013
Previously on Top Chef, the Man with the Mustache finally met his match. Oklahoma wrestler Josh served a Tom Colicchio recipe to Tom Colicchio. Distracted by the birth of his child that day, Josh compounded that poor tactic by an even worse decision. Josh tried to truncate the preparations of a prolonged duck dish that should take days into a few hours of cooking. Obviously, the protein failed to set properly and Josh’s goose was cooked, metaphorically.
What happens next is the greatest mystery this season. As I mentioned in last week’s recap, Last Chance Kitchen featured the reigning champion, Kristen, plus a pair of potential fan favorites in CJ and Lizzie. Josh also appeared and had a chance to return to Top Chef in time for the finale. Alas, he was quickly eliminated, although he at least lasted longer than CJ, who wasn’t even afforded the opportunity to cook. As near as I can tell, CJ was flown in long enough to be told that he had not won the Save a Chef Twitter challenge. Then, he was escorted out of Last Chance Kitchen.
Kristen and Lizzie were left to battle for the final spot. We the viewers were (inexplicably) given a cliffhanger about the challenge rather than a resolution. Still, as I mentioned last week, some enterprising Top Chef fan performed a frame by frame examination of the preview for this episode. They noticed the presence of Kristen’s tattoo, meaning that Kristen should be the third and final contender although there is a chance some of the losers are invited back to aid with the meals.
Tonight’s episode begins in Juneau, Alaska. Brooke and Sheldon are celebrating their shared accomplishment. They are the only two players yet to be eliminated this season. They know that they are technically not the final three as Tom Colicchio notified the players of Last Chance Kitchen early in the season. Still, this is a moment of triumph for two exceptional chefs who also happen to be quite likable. Other than the Josie fiasco, Top Chef won the casting war this season. They relish the experience by singing, dancing and playing ukulele. Judging by his chords, Sheldon is lucky he can cook.
After the music has stopped, we cut to Hawaii two weeks before the finale. Sheldon is shown working in his own kitchen as well as interacting with customers outside. Enough time has passed since the Alaska portion of the season that people are treating Sheldon like the new celebrity he is. The always affable Polynesian also has a beach cookout for family and friends. His wife, Janice, and their three adorable daughters have a wonderful time eating and splashing in the water. Even if Sheldon loses, his daily life still looks paradisiacal.
While Sheldon appears focused and ready, Brooke’s experience in Los Angeles is a bit different. She laments that during her downtime prior to the finale, she has spent a lot of time running the business side of her restaurants. The money management has prevented her from preparing for the finale the way she would have liked. Brooke is enjoying being reunited with her son, though. The little fellow has a beautiful smile but I enjoy him the most when he admonishes Mommy for being too fussy about his hairstyle. “It doesn’t have to be like that!” Yeah, mom!