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Top Chef: Seattle, Episode 16 Recap: May the Best Man (Not Woman) Win

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Kristen Kish is back in the game! The tall Asian model battled her way past ogres and demons in Last Chance Kitchen to make it into the final three. Everything is right in this world. Top Chef, you have redeemed yourself. Thank you.

The three remaining chefs are back from a relaxing six month vacation. Sheldon’s channeling the spirit of Menehune, while Brooke is feeling a little unprepared. She didn’t spend that much time in the kitchen during her time off. This bites her in the butt when Padma tells the three of them to create a three course meal at Craft, Tom Colicchio’s restaurant. Dang. We have a Chinese saying for this: “Small fish, big pond.”

“We’re in Chef Tom’s house… We gotta make sure his customers are happy. It’s a lot of pressure. Hopefully, I don’t set this place on fire,” says Sheldon. “This challenge is BOOM! balls to the wall.”

Our ukelele-playing friend starts working on a sashimi spot prawn appetizer, roasted quail entree, and white chocolate mousse dessert. He’s feelin’ pretty confident and cheery. Even though the roasted quail isn’t very Filipino, but he wants to show the judges how he’s developed as a chef. Bravo, Sheldon, but maybe you shouldn’t be working outside your comfort zone on the, um, finale?

Brooke, on the other hand, can’t decide on her concept. She’s a waffler. She overthinks her dishes, and now she’s behind on prep. “Bad day to have a bad day,” she says. Yup. For the judges in the dining hall, her crispy veal sweetbread appetizer and braised short rib entree knock it out of the park. They love the flavors. Expediter Tom Colicchio, on the other hand, is not such a huge fan. He keeps barking at her. Brooke is a major slowpoke in the kitchen. Josie would be proud.

“Tom expediting is scary,” says Kristen. “I peed in my pants a little.” Kristen’s doing alright; she’s sticking to simple ingredients, simple dishes. Her chestnut veloute doesn’t wow the judges, and neither does her seared ahi tuna. Both don’t really push the envelope. The chocolate curry dessert with cashews? Not so great. “I’m sweating in places I didn’t know I could sweat.”

Overall, the judges agree that all three did well, and it’ll be hard to send someone away. I’m having a hard time watching. (I love the three of them to bits and pieces.) In the end, the guy with the Menehune spirit has to exit. So now the winner of Top Chef is definitely going to be a female. Part of me wants to high five the person next to me, and the other part wants to hide in a corner and mourn Sheldon’s loss. He represented Hawaii well. That kid cooked from his heart. Every morning, he began the day with his ukelele and ended with a smile. As;aflk;askdjf. This was a hard goodbye. I’ve got to stop typing before I start sniveling.

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