Thursday, November 26, 2015         


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Lumpia, pork belly earn praise for isles' Simeon

By Joleen Oshiro


Our guy Sheldon Simeon continued to shine on last week's episode of "Top Chef: Seattle." His Quickfire dish of banana lumpia with peanut butter mousse, coconut and pineapple earned him a compliment from host Padma Lak­shmi, who called it "sophisticated."

Simeon's food was whipped up as part of the challenge — a sweet and savory holiday dish reflecting the chefs' family lineage — posed by guest judge Marilyn Hagerty, the 80-something-year-old food reviewer for the Grand Forks Herald in Grand Forks, N.D. Hagerty's effusive review of the town's new Olive Garden went viral and garnered her instant fame.

Brooke Williamson's apple crostata with cheddar cheese crust, candied pine nuts and apple salad won her immunity.

The main event, the Elimination Challenge, centered on a large family dinner for Hollywood stars Chris Pratt and Anna Faris, who both hail from Washington state. Guest judge was Rick Moonen, a previous employer of cheftestant John Tesar who had Tesar quaking in his boots.

But in the end, Tesar's chowder was deemed one of the best dishes of the night, alongside Kristen Kish's tortellini with cheese and dried apricot and Williamson's lamb-stuffed squid on black rice with coconut milk. Simeon's braised Okinawan pork belly with seared scallops and rice congee also earned him praise. Faris said, "Every bite is a surprise."

But it was Williamson who won the challenge and took home a Toyota Prius for her effort.

Others didn't fare so well. Danyele McPherson's unevenly cooked wild boar, Eliza Gavin's uncooked elk and dried carrots, Josh Valentine's tasteless pork and Micah Fields' unbalanced pork ribs had them facing elimination. Judges knocked off Gavin.

Last-chance kitchen: Gavin took on Tyler Wiard and Chris "CJ" Jacobson, who were competitors rather than teammates for the face-off. The winner: Jacobson, with a pan-roasted trout, carrot purée and charred pickles.

Save a chef: Kuniko Yagi stays in the game but now must go up against Gavin and Wiard for viewer votes. Visit

Tonight at 8 on Bravo (repeats at 9 and 10 p.m.): In "Foiled Again," cheftestants must contend with an entire pantry wrapped in foil during Quickfire. Then, more than just burners flare during the Elimination Challenge. Season 4 winner and Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chef Stephanie Izard serves as guest judge.

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