Whoa. What a surprise Top Chef Seattle drops this week. They sure do pull the rug out. Kristen returns! Victorious in the Last Chance Kitchen, she's back on the real show, to compete again, perchance to win. Who could have guessed this outcome, other than just about everyone who watches the show?
From the previews, next week's real finale — as opposed to this week's part 1 pre-finale — looks like it's going to be a humdinger, like Top Chef meets Iron Chef, with a face-off and, for the first time in Top Chef history, LIVE AUDIENCE. Exciting stuff.
Watching Brooke print out payroll statements only makes you want to scream, "Get to the &%$# challenge!"
But until then, to stretch things out far longer than they need to and passive-aggressively inflict undeserved pain and angst upon their faithful viewers, there is this week's episode, a.k.a. As The Top Chef Turns. It begins with 18 sands-of-time minutes visiting the chefs in their home milieu to discover their simple hopes and dreams.
First, we join Sheldon in Hawaii. We meet the wife and three kids and hear him say, "I just want to provide for my family" about 50 times. Then to LA to catch up with Brooke, her kid, husband and the two restaurants they own. The best part is the awkward dinner date she and the husband have where she says, "We ought to do this more often."
On Project Runway, this kind of background exposition makes sense. Seeing a designer's home life does explain what kind of clothes they might make. But watching Brooke print out payroll statements only makes you want to scream, "Get to the &%$# challenge!"
Speaking of, the three chefs must work on the line at Tom Colicchio's Craft restaurant, where they make an appetizer, entree and dessert. Tom is expeditor and, boy, is he mean — especially to Brooke, who can't figure out her menu, can't clean her sweetbreads, can't get her food out on time.
Kristen's shortcoming is her weird chocolate curry pudding. Sheldon gets dinged because he tries to do something different and makes a fancy quail dish. The judges, who always say they want to be surprised, don't like quail from Sheldon because it's not what they expected.
Things look bad for Brooke, but it's a trick. Sheldon gets cut. He tries to mask his disappointment, but when he says, "Aloha," you want to cry a little. Top Chef, how could you do this to his family?