Top Chef Seattle Finale Review : Part 1

It’s the Top Chef Finale, Part 1 and you get to hear me tell you all about what went down.  That’s because I don’t have my TC viewing partner with me to bounce opinions, cheers, and jeers off of.  Also because I don’t have anywhere to be tomorrow morning. 😉

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Courtesy of chowdownseattle.com

The Top 2
No one really thought Josh should make it to the finale, right?  I wanted so much to like him throughout the whole season, mostly because of his mustache, but it was clear early on that he wasn’t quite up to par.  6 months since we last saw the contestants in Alaska… doesn’t that seem longer than normal?  Additional thoughts:

  • Sheldon’s daughters are just too cute.  Melts heart.  Especially that little one.
  • I hope that picnic at the beach is a normal part of Sheldon’s life.  Looks like fun!  I need to get to Hawaii, ASAP.
  • Brooke‘s kid is pretty cute, too.
  • Brooke seems much more stressed.  It’s probably because she doesn’t live in Hawaii.
  • I like that Brooke seduced her sous chef husband.  And I’m happy he didn’t file harassment charges against her.
  • Brooke is a secret rock star, I think.  She’s buddies with all the important people!

I mean, the Top 3
And the winner of Last Chance Kitchen is…. are you ready for it?!?!?  Thanks be to God, it’s Kristen!  So deserved.  She is pure talent, and yeah, she’s gorgeous!  There I said it.  I swear I like boys.  She’s my pick for winner.

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Courtesy of realitytea.com
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Courtesy of web.poptower.com

The Elimination Challenge
The chefs have to work in Tom Colicchio‘s kitchen at Craft and serve their own 3 course menu.  It’s the ultimate pooping-in-pants experience; Tom will be there glaring at them.  Sheldon goes with a sashimi spot prawn broth first course, a risky quail second course, and a white chocolate, apple, and fennel dessert . Kristen decides on chestnut veloute with duck confit, tuna for her second, and a curried chocolate dessert.  Brooke struggles with conception from the start, and it leaves her fighting with time and execution. She starts with a sweetbread salad first course, braised short ribs with Parmesan sauce, and a brown butter cake for dessert.

Each chef is interviewed/mentored as they prepare.  Hugh Acheson checks in with Brooke and seems honestly impressed by her creative presentations throughout the competition, mentioning some of his favorites, like her lamb stuffed squid.  Hugh Acheson uttering the word “proud” is not something I expected to see.  He’s an interesting character.  Next, Tom chats with Kristen, (I think he pretty much loves her and wants her to cook 30 minute meals for him forever), and she reveals her chocolate “thing” for dessert.  Kristen shares her desire for simplicity and not over thinking her dishes.  Emeril touches base with Sheldon.  He raises his eyebrows a bit at his quail choice, but also expresses his admiration for Sheldon’s humble beginnings and hard work.  They seem to have a cute little connection, as well.  (Spoiler: I knew who was going to be eliminated based on Emeril’s face at judge’s table.)

During cook time, the chefs seem pretty darn calm for a pre-finale, except for Brooke, who is panicking almost the entire time.  Both Sheldon and Kristen keep asking if she’s okay, because they’re awesome.  I’ve never seen this much kinship among Top Chef finale contestants.  I’d really be happy if any of them won the title.  That never happens.  I almost always hate at least one person ha.

The Tasting
Despite Brooke’s freaking out behind the scenes, no one has anything but good to say about her dishes, overall.  It seemed like she was safe before the judges even left the table.  Kristen’s tuna dish with lemon puree was slightly bitter for some of the judges, and maybe a tad salty.  Brooke’s short ribs were perfectly cooked, and the judges couldn’t get enough of her sauce.  Sheldon’s quail was well-seasoned, but very un-Sheldon like.  Judges used phrases like, “I miss the old Sheldon”, and “Sheldon’s been brainwashed.”  Really?  Come on!  He’s trying to push it a little.  If it tastes good, who cares!  They did have a problem with his unroasted pine nuts, though.  Almost everyone loved Brooke’s cake, wasn’t sure what to think about Kristen’s concoction, and were unsure what Sheldon was doing with his raw fennel and apple dish. Didn’t quite mesh.

Please Pack Your Knives and Go
Sheldon.  Poor little Sheldon.  He just missed a few points, and he wasn’t being “the old Sheldon.”  I am okay with this.  I liked him all season, but his consistency was just a few notches behind these very cheftastic lady cooks.  I hope he continues on to much success!  We love you SS!

For the Final, Final, Finale
For the first time in Top Chef history, two women will go head to head in the finale.  It will be pretty exciting for the human race.  To make things even more cray, the ladies will battle in a live kitchen stadium-esque showdown, complete with what looks to be every other former Top Chef contestant/judge/superstar watching, waiting, judging their food.  I will definitely be drinking next week.

My Prediction: Go get em Kristen!  I knew from the first episode that it should be her.  I also would like to vote Big Ceej for fan favorite.  If there were 2 spots left for LCK comeback, he woulda been my second pick.  Stay tuned…

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