February 26, 2013

TV Talk: Kristen Takes On Brooke In The Top Chef Finale



The Top Chef Seattle season 10 finale is being broadcast Wednesday night on Bravo, and if the preview footage is any indication, it looks like it’s going to be exciting and different (check local listings for the time in your area).


Top Chef Seattle's Kristen Kish and her 5 opponents in Last Chance Kitchen jiveinthe415.com

Glacial Gourmand Episode 15


I didn’t realize that there’s such a long period of time between when a challenge takes place, and when a particular episode airs. In the final Alaska episode Glacial Gourmand, Joshua Valentine was eliminated, while Sheldon Simeon and Brooke Williamson were heading to the finale.

The audience and Sheldon and Brooke wondered which cheftestant would prevail in Last Chance Kitchen and rejoin the main competition, to compete for a place in the final competition.

Someone at Bravo decided that the Top Chef  fan favorite this year, would join the final competitors of Last Chance Kitchen, for another chance to return to the fray. The viewing public votes on the fan favorite, and because of the long delay between shooting an episode and the broadcast date, the competitors were all sent home for six months, and then summoned back to Los Angeles, once the Top Chef fan favorite was determined.

That seems silly to me, but doesn’t affect the viewing experience for the fans at home, so it doesn’t matter. The Top Chef cheftestants must have been on edge though, and incredibly frustrated, by the 6 month hiatus.


Top Chef Seattle judges Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Hugh Acheson, Emeril Lagasse

I don’t know why my gut told me that Lizzie Binder would prevail in Last Chance Kitchen, though I have a hunch. Aside from the fact that she’s a good bay area chef, and worked at a restaurant where I’d really enjoyed the food, there was something about the black cod dish she prepared that reminded me of Jardinière. Lizzie “cut her chops” so to speak at Jardinière, which is a personal favorite, and a great restaurant in San Francisco. I can only guess that my fondness for Jardinière was speaking to me!

Regardless, I was pulling for Kristen Kish to get back into the main competition, as she was robbed by the judges when she was given the boot. A similar situation happened last year with Beverly Kim, and I was rooting for her too.



Top Chef Seattle contestants Brooke Williamson, Sheldon Simeon, Kristin Kish


Finale Part 1 - Episode 16



At last - Kristen prevailed over Lizzie, and made her dramatic entrance back onto the set, to face off against Sheldon and Brooke.

Each chef had to prepare a 3 course meal that would be served to the diners at Craft in Los Angeles, for the elimination challenge. Head judge Tom Colicchio was acting as the expediter that night, in his restaurant, and he’d be viewing every dish as it left the hot line and the confines of the kitchen, as it makes it's way to the waiting diner.

When Sheldon announced that he chose to prepare quail for his entree, I thought to myself no no no no no! Roasting quail and delicate flavors didn’t get him to the finale, it was rustic cooking and bold flavors that got him there. Accordingly, the judges were shocked by his choice - and Sheldon was eliminated.

There are lots of great chefs that are constantly consumed with trying different things, and experiment with new preparations, and new ingredients. During a competition it’s probably not wise to do that, and I think that Sheldon was tripped up at the wrong time, by his innate desire to be a better chef.


Past Top Chef Contestants at the Top Chef Seatlle Finale

Finale Part 2 - Episode 17

It’s an all female finale, with Kristen Kish facing off against Brooke Williamson. With Kristen making an improbable exit after the Restaurant Wars episode 11, does she stand a chance to defeat Brooke and her winning streak? This week I don’t have a clue.

I’m glad that Kristen and Brooke both are in the final elimination challenge. I’m glad that they’re both good at what they do and that they’re likable to boot, and I hope that they inspire other women to pursue a career as a professional chef.

Two worthy competitors will pour their heart and soul into creating and preparing what might be the most important meal of their lives.

I have no idea who will be told to pack their knives, though I’ll guarantee - it’ll be - a better show than the housewives.





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