The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Top Chef Charleston, Episode 11 – Adios Charleston, Hello James

Last week I came up with the idea of a drinking game where viewers would do a shot when someone mentions any of the cliches that usually come towards the end of the season.   In the opening minutes we heard “there’s four left”, “at this point it’s anyone ’s game”, and “the competition is tougher.” Needless to say I got loaded quickly which may or may not have led to my fantasy (in Random Thoughts at the bottom of this post) about Casey and Brooke.

I can’t believe we’re down to the final four already.  This season has really flown by, which speaks to how much I’ve enjoyed it.  I was a little hesitant about the theme of past competitors versus newbies, but I’m thankful for it as the overall quality of the food was high.   Although I wonder if the newbies lack of representation in the final four is due to lesser skills or inexperience in playing the game.

Overall, the editing and production of the season was terrific – no slow moments and false drama. There was a good amount of eye candy for male and female viewers and the local food-themed challenges were aided by the terrific Low Country cuisine of Charleston.

But, let’s face it, the real reason why this season rocked is the return of Sheldon.   Yes, I may be be a little biased because we’re both Filipino (represent!!).  But the Hawaiian Hurricane has been dominating the competition in a manner very much like another Filipino Top Chef competitor – Paul Qui from the Texas season.   Hopefully i didn’t just jinx him.

Food aside, his easy-going outlook while others are melting down around him helped him along in the competition.  That, along with great quotes, reactions to others, and the occasional reference to booze and reefer made him a joy to watch.

Cheers to you my Kababayan!



Quickfire Challenge

It was finally that point in the season where they bring in a family member, although they didn’t know it. They were each partnered with a “mystery” guest on the other side of a partition and and had to tell this person how to make a dish. They were judged on the quality of the dish and how close the guest’s dish was to theirs in flavor and appearance. Winner gets $10 Grand and a sous vide machine.

John and wife – Pan-seared scallop with jumbo jump crab succotash & beurre monte
Sheldon and wife – 6-minute egg with sautéed mushrooms, charred onion, & brown butter grapefruit sauce
Brooke and sister – Collard greens, corn & bacon hash with poached egg
Shirley and husband – soft scrambled eggs, brown butter, corn & crab ragout

Winner: Sheldon & Janice.   All were pretty close in terms of presentation, but it sounded like the grapefruit sauce won it for them.


Elimination Challenge
Prepare a dish that represents your journey on Top Chef this season. The winner will cook the dish and create a supporting menu at the James Beard House in New York. It’s the culinary equivalent of winning The Oscars.

John: Soffrito-crusted scallop with braised leak sea broth
Shirley: Oil-poached grouper with meat & bone “Herbal Tea” consomme, collard greens & cracklings
Brooke: Braised pork shoulder & tenderloin with smoked island sweets, radish & egg yolk
Sheldon: Carolina Gold rice chow fun with pork belly, okra, annatto seed & turkey broth

Two best: Shirley and Sheldon
Winner: Sheldon
Gone: Brooke


Random Thoughts

– Both Sheldon and Shirley’s dishes sounded delicious and either could’ve won.  But I think Sheldon deserves it because he’s been rocking all season long.   And he’s Filipino.  (Did I mention that?)

– Brooke is a great chef, but she’s been erratic this year. In this one she messed up the protein and that’s usually the kiss of death.
– Her decision to use sous vide on the pork tenderloin was the issue. Tom brought it up and I was wondering the same thing – tenderloin cooks in a couple minutes, there’s no need to do anything different with it.
– I call BS on the Quickfire. Sheldon was the only one to recognize the other person’s voice. Or maybe the others have just tuned out these people in their lives…

– In Last Chance Kitchen Part 1 – Brooke, Casey, and Jamie had to cook a protein using two techniques – saute and braising. The two ladies went with pork and Jamie went with scallops, which I’ve never heard of braising. He got pushed to the side.

– That challenge was called “3-Way, Two Ways” and I can think of worse things than a three-way with Casey and Brooke. Just saying. But knowing my luck (and skill level) I would’ve gotten pushed to the side as well.

– In Last Chance Kitchen Part 2 – it was a challenge that tested consistency. Brooke and Casey had to make two completely different dishes, but Tom would only choose one of them at random to eat. So both have to be really good. Winner will be announced in the next show.



About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

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This entry was posted on February 13, 2017 by in Television and tagged , , , , , , .
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