We are down to just four chefs, the seemingly preordained winner, John Tesar, Sheldon, Shirley and Brooke. The top four walk in to the kitchen to see that the work stations have been partitioned. It’s clearly the challenge where they have to cook while telling an unknown partner how to replicate their dish. Generally, the partner ends up being a family member. They seem to be pretending they don’t know how the challenge works. Brooke admits she remembers the challenge from Top Chef Masters. Both people cooking have to tell their partner what to do and they will be judged by how similarly the two dishes are prepared. Each pair will have the exact same ingredients.
They guys and Shirley are cooking with their spouses. Brooke is cooking with her sister. How do you not recognize your spouse or sister’s voice. Sheldon recognizes his wife’s voice. He makes a simple dish because he knows that her cooking skills are not great. Sheldon is really good at explaining what to do. Shirley is very loud and it’s annoying Brooke. The winner gets $10,000 and everyone is highly motivated by that. Only Sheldon knew he was cooking with his wife. Again, how is that possible? Sheldon won.
The elimination challenge is to make a dish representative of the chef’s experiences in Charleston. Brooke is recreating some of her favorite dishes. One is representative of her radish challenge. Since the radish episode aired I have been to two Whole Foods and Trader Joes looking for any radish other than the basic red one. I found nada. I am now on a radish mission. I have no plan to actually do anything with these radishes. I just for some reason want to buy a weird radish. Clearly, the crazy is getting more intense.
Sheldon is making a dish that includes okra. Tom hates okra. Sheldon has never had a win, why use okra when you don’t have to? The winners get to cook their own menu at the James Beard House. They all want this very badly.
After the chefs do their prep work, the come home to have dinner with their family member at the house. Padma does the cooking. Apparently, she sells some organic rice in the freezer section. Who knew?
John’s dish is a sofrito crusted scallop in a leek broth. It’s a very simple dish and he is worried about its simplicity. He tries to sell it by talking about the saltiness of the broth and tying it to the ocean and he also mentions the influence of Edna Lewis. The judges things John captured the ocean well. But they were not happy he didn’t peel the peppers. That was a deliberate choice John made in the kitchen. It’s odd to me that the chefs always mention something while cooking it that the judges later dislike.
Shirley’s dish is an oil-pouched grouper with a meat and bone green tea consomme, with collard greens and cracklings. The judges love Shirley’s dish. Shirley gets teary-eyed by the heavy praise.
Brooke is not happy with her dish. Braised pork shoulder and pork tenderloin with smoked island sweets with her radish and an egg yolk. The radish was a hit. Overall it seemed to go well. Until Brooke left and then there were a few criticisms. Um what are island sweets? Anyone? Bueller?
Sheldon’s dish is Carolina gold rice chow fun noodle with pork belly, okra, annatto seed and turkey neck broth. One judge he is happy to finally get some okra. Tom just shakes his head. Sheldon better not go home for the okra. Everyone seemed to love it. Tom ate all of his okra! YES!
Overall, all the James Beard folks dining with the judges were extremely pleased with the meal. I think Brooke is out.
The Judges Table
The judges two favorites were Shirley and Sheldon. Sheldon was very humble. Tom told him that while it is great to be humble, Sheldon will soon take his place among some of the world’s greatest chefs. Very high praise from Tom. Sheldon gets his first win. He is overcome. I am so happy for him. He gets to cook at the James Beard house. It’s a dream come true for him.
Brooke has a breakdown in the boiler room as she awaits her fate. If she goes now, she doesn’t go as far as she did on her first try on the show.
Brooke is sent to pack her knives. She still has a shot at last chance kitchen. However, I am all caught up on LCK and the person still there is a big competitor. She will have to bring her A game. Please don’t spoil LCK for those who want to be surprised. Thanks.
So Tesar, Sheldon and Shirley are headed to the finale in Mexico. It seems that Tesar is the predetermined winner, and he got a redemption season. However, I’m pulling for Sheldon. I don’t think whoever returns from LCK will win.
Who do you want to win? Who do you think the judges will pick? Thanks for watching this with me all season. I really enjoy this show WAY more than the housewives. I really enjoy hearing your thoughts.