Top Chef (Bravo/David Moir)

Last night’s Top Chef installment left me with mixed feelings.  On the one hand, Sheldon Simeon’s continued growth and quiet confidence during the competition is one of this season’s highlights, and his Quickfire Challenge victory, in which the chefs spotlighted iceberg lettuce, continued his momentum.

Things can go funny on a cruise ship to Alaska, however, as Simeon’s huge advantage over the elimination challenge (he had first choice of proteins in a Surf N’ Turf theme) did him a disservice. Brooke Williamson won the challenge with a frog legs and mussels dish, and she also received a Caribbean cruise ship trip as her prize (Brooke said the reward was ironic, since she didn’t really have sea legs before this cruise).

The bottom two were Sheldon, whose tempura lobster ended up soggy and not crispy, and Stefan Richter, whose crunchy braised pork belly, though appreciated by Curtis Stone, was met with sheer horror from Tom Colicchio. The crunchiness was the greater of two evils, as Stefan Richter has to pack his knives and go.

Although I’m a huge fan of Sheldon and am proud of his accomplishments as a fellow Filipino, failing to properly cook tempura and actually whipping up a literal translation of the Surf ‘N Turf challenge (he also cooked Korean BBQ filet mignon, sesame cabbage, and kimchi) should have sent him home. At least Stefan tried something different with his eel ravioli, but that dish was also met with substandard results.

With Stefan’s elimination, he must now battle his “wifey” Kristen Kish in Last Chance Kitchen, with Tom Colicchio serving as their judge and jury.  It’s a pretty cool head to head match, as the pair, flirty throughout the season, continued their playful banter as they cooked away.

Top Chef fans can save their favorite eliminated chefs from the show, as a head to head Twitter vote features the recently eliminated chef from Last Chance Kitchen vs. the previous week’s highest vote getter. This week’s Twitter matchup is #savechefcj vs. #savechefjosie. Tweet the name and hashtag of the chef you want to return to the competition.

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Posted by @GregSrisavasdi