* brown butter cake, whipped goat cheese and blackberry sauce
Tom leaves the kitchen at the end of service and joins the other judges to talk about the food. Then it’s time for Judges’ Table with Hugh, Emeril, Tom and Padma. Emeril and Hugh liked Sheldon’s spot prawns. Tom didn’t like the pine nuts in Sheldon’s quail. Emeril said the quail wasn’t a signature Sheldon dish; Hugh said it lacked flavor. None of the judges liked his fennel dessert.
On to Kristen: Tom liked her veloute, but Hugh thought it was too safe. Emeril thought the tuna was perfectly cooked but that the other components were too bitter. None of them loved her dessert; Hugh called it overdone. Brooke’s turn: Tom complimented her sweetbreads, although Hugh wanted them cleaned more. Brooke admitted her timing during prep was off. Emeril loved her short ribs, and Padma loved the sauce and thought it was the best of any of the main courses served. Hugh loved her dessert, and Emeril told her it was “pretty damn good” and said that Besh and Yan loved it as well. But here comes Buzzkill Tom, telling her it wasn’t restaurant-quality.
Who’s going home? Sheldon. That leaves Brooke and Kristen as the two finalists. Which . . . can I brag for just a minute? I was interviewed by Hanna Raskin with Seattle Weekly back in January, and she asked about my predictions for the finale. I said I thought there would be an all-female finale. And I was right! Now, I did have Lizzie in there instead of Sheldon, but ultimately, I picked Brooke to win it and Kristen to come in second. So, I’m well on my way to being super-right, yeah?
Up Next Week: The real finale. Brooke vs. Kristen. Live in front of a studio audience! Former “Top Chef” winners in the audience. Former “Top Chef Seattle” cheftestants as sous-chefs. At the end of the promo, they show the audience response to the reveal of who is this season’s Top Chef, and show a table full of former “Top Chef” winners whooping and hollering — except for L.A. boy Michael Voltaggio. Who stays seated and is only slightly clapping. Is that because his fellow Angeleno Brooke doesn’t win? But Padma seems giddy-smiley and excited when she announces it, and we all know she loathes Kristen, so maybe Brooke wins? Oh, Magical Elves, how you tease us . . .