From left, Chef Nick Roberts and "Top Chef" contestant Brooke… (Tasteterminal.com )
On Wednesday night's episode of "Top Chef," the remaining four chefs stepped off their Alaskan cruise in Juneau. There was snow on the ground, bears in the trees and salmon a plenty. And L.A. girl Brooke Williamson proved once again she's the one to beat.
Sean Brock of Husk restaurant in Charleston supplied the chefs with king crab for the Quick Fire Challenge: Create a dish highlighting Alaska's most prized ingredient at Tracy's king crab shack. Elizabeth Binder made a lame frittata and right away I pegged her as the one to go home. Josh "The Stache" Valentine did a butter-poached king crab and bean succotash with his favorite ingredient, bacon. Williamson made a crab toast with crab compound butter, but Sheldon Simeon's crab innards miso soup and pine smoked asparagus earned him the win and $5,000.
For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs were asked to feed locals two of Alaska's favorite foods, salmon and sourdough bread. Each chef was supplied with a sourdough starter and fresh fish. They literally got to go to the dock and pick through fish that had been just dumped off the boat, still covered in ice. Very cool. They used their starters to make their bread the night before. Simeon found a way to give his bread some Asian flavors by putting green tea and chives in his loaf, Williamson added some dill to hers, "The Stache" put some black olives in his and Binder kept it simple and classic with no additions.
The chefs prepared their dishes at a salmon bake with picnic tables and outdoor grills. There was no doubt that Williamson was going to win this challenge. She poached her sockeye salmon in seafood broth with king crab and grilled her sourdough. The judges seemed to have a tough time deciding on whom to send home, but the decision should have been simple. They weren't blown away by Simeon's pea soup with smoked salmon or The Stache's salmon with roasted garlic soup, but Binder's salmon on a sourdough roll sandwich with poppy seed butter and pickles looked so amateur. I was dissapointed and surprised at her decision to make something that basic and not execute it well. The judges were disappointed as well and sent Binder home.
With Williamson, The Stache and Simeon left, my money is on Williamson to take the title and bring it to L.A.
Best and worst moments:
Seeing Simeon let loose during these last couple episodes. "I put on a couple underwear so I can keep the package nice and warm," joked Simeon.
When Simeon jumps out of the curtains like a five-year-old and screams bloody murder, scaring the you-know-what out of Williamson. I laughed out loud. Better food and less horsing around next time!
Tom Colicchio's mini soul patch. Someone get the guy a razor. Please!
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