Real Time Web Analytics Foodie Gossip: Top Chef Seattle Episode 15 Recap: Glacial Gourmand

Friday, February 15, 2013

Top Chef Seattle Episode 15 Recap: Glacial Gourmand

The final 3: Sheldon Simeon, Brooke Williamson, Josh Valentine

On this week’s Top Chef: Seattle (episode 15), there are just 3 chefs left in the running for the title of “Top Chef”. And between Sheldon, Josh & Brooke, it’ll be a tight race to the finale…

The episode opens with the 3 cheftestants at their Juno, AK-based quarters, reflecting on their last challenge and Josh stressing over his wife’s pending birth. Then the chefs go to the kitchen to grab breakfast and find a letter that reads:


The chefs drive up to find a helicopter.  Brooke is horrified and breaks into tears. The view from the air is just outstanding and she musters enough courage to take it in. The chefs land on a glacier and Sheldon notices a lot of dogs and says he’d “die for some reefer”. Yep. Sheldon has just outted himself as a pothead on National TV. You go, boy.

The next part of their journey involves a dog-driven sleigh ride. When chefs arrive at their destination, a dog sled camp, Tom and Padma are waiting to greet them. This is the final Quickfire before the finale. Their challenge:  To prepare a dish in 30 minutes using whatever they can find in the camp.

The chefs grab their ingredients and prepare to cook in an extremely small (tent) kitchen that doesn’t have any electrical equipment. To make matters worse, the altitude and temperature make it that much harder to prepare their meals.

Brooke prepares a pan-roasted halibut, panzanella salad with walnuts and red currant and beet vinaigrette. Tom seems very impressed and the overall response is very positive. He particularly liked the crunch from the croutons.
Josh makes a cornmeal cake with Canadian bacon, scrambled eggs, and smoked salmon. The response from his dish isn’t quite as flattering – one person ever refers to it as “good, hardy camp food”.  To be honest, I was hoping for something more innovative, but the guy’s wife is having a baby and he’s a thousand miles away. Hello distraction…
Sheldon serves up pan-roasted halibut with tomato sauce, sesame bok choy, and pickled radish. Tom compliments him on the fish preparation, but tells him that the sauce was very “one note”.

Brooke-Pan-Roasted Halibut, Panzanella Salad with Red Currant & Beet Vinaigrette
And the winner is… Brooke!  I love all of them, but would really love to see this girl walk away with the “Top Chef” title at the end of this season. We haven’t had a female “Top Chef” since Stephanie Izard, from season 2, and Brooke’s so damn likable.

The three chefs and Padma pile back into the helicopter and then are driven (by Padma) to a special surprise:  They find that Kogi’s Roy Choi and Emeril Lagasse have prepared an amazing-looking meal just for them! Roy prepared braised short rib and tells the story of how Emeril inspired him to become a chef. Then the Elimination Challenge is announced: The chefs must prepare a dish that represents the defining culinary moment in each of their lives. The chefs will be cooking for the governor of Alaska and his wife, as well as the array of celebrity judges.

Brooke, Sheldon and Josh retire to their living room and discuss the challenge when suddenly, Josh’s cell phone rings… It’s his wife. Her water broke and she’s going into labor. As if he needed any distractions, the tension across his face is agonizing. Poor Josh…

The chefs arrive at the challenge kitchen and have 2 ½ hours to prep for their dishes. Brooke is struggling to figure out what to make, but decides on braised chicken and quail. Sheldon is doing snapper and Josh goes for a foie gras dish. Tom makes sure to apply more pressure on the chefs. When they get back to the house, Josh’s wife calls him (in tears from labor pains) and then they video chat the next day. Congrats, Josh! You’re now the proud father of a baby girl, named Georgia.  

The Top Chef Seattle Episode 15 Judge's Panel
The chefs are now back in the kitchen and the chefs have 1 ½ hours to finish their dishes. It’s clear that Brooke is the one to beat – that girl’s got game. Padma, Tom, Gail, Emeril, Roy and Wolfgang all arrive at the governor’s home and await the chef’s presentations. In the kitchen, Sheldon accidentally over-reduces his broth, which comes out too salty and there’s not enough time to correct it…

The chefs each come out to present their dishes.

Sheldon serves up pan-roasted rockfish, spot prawns, baby vegetables, and dashi. The judges are really impressed with his dish, except… It’s too salty. Damn that over-reduced broth.
Brooke serves her braised chicken and grilled quail with carrot barley, kale, pickled vegetables, mushrooms, and pearl onions. Brooke almost nails it, but Wolfgang Puck’s quail is just slightly overcooked. However, he still thinks the dish is terrific.
Josh does foie gras three ways: torchon with pineapple, pan-seared with apricot, and profiterole with foie gras mousse. The two latter versions get quite a bit of praise, but nobody seems impressed with Josh’s torchon.

Josh, Brooke and Sheldon stand before the table of culinary celebrities (not intimidating at all **wink wink**) to receive very direct critiques. Josh takes a hit for shortcutting his torchon – a dish that usually takes days to prepare. Brooke almost skates by without criticism, but Wolfgang makes sure to point out his over-cooked quail. And Sheldon’s salty broth comes back to bite him in the butt. However, his fish was cooked to perfection.

Brooke's Braised Chicken, Grilled Quail with Carrot Barley & Pickled Vegetables
The judges take no time to deliberate. The winner is: Brooke! (again) She takes her win so graciously and manages to stay humble. I can't say I'm surprised. She's consistently been a force to be reckoned with. 

But then the judges have to decide who goes home. Both remaining chefs made major mistakes in their dishes. Will Sheldon’s salty broth send him packing? Or will Josh’s torchon end his time as a Top Chef competitor?

Josh, please pack your knives and go.

Chef Josh Valentine
Can’t say I was surprised. It’s hard to imagine any man keeping his head in the game while he has a newborn child waiting to meet him at home. But Josh is such a sweetheart. He'll be missed...

Tom informs Brook and Sheldon that they’re heading for LA and will not only be competing in the finale, but that they also need to compete against the winner of Last-Chance Kitchen. Damn. All this way and they get an extra hurdle to overcome.

Can’t wait for next week’s finale part 1.


  1. I think Josh's baby is a girl, "Georgia".

  2. Josh shows he is a pothead in this episode as well. If you look at his shirt when he tells the chefs about his baby girl in the kitchen it has bunch of weed strains ;)