As I mentioned elsewhere, it was rather fitting that during the week I was away on THE WEEKLY STANDARD cruise, the Top Chef episode I missed happened to take place on a cruise ship. The kitchen quarters are cramped and the contestants had to figure out how to use the various serving vessels and electrical (not gas) appliances. But their challenge was to create their own version of surf and turf—one dinner—whereas the actual onboard chefs need to figure out how to feed some 2,000 guests three times a day for a week (no small feat considering many passengers like myself will go for seconds and thirds and fourths and ... ).
Alas, I missed my opportunity to interview losing chef Stefan Richter (so we may never get that recipe for his onion and mayo sandwich). Meanwhile, on the most recent episode, the contestants were in Juneau and served up salmon and sour dough. Sheldon Simeon, who's been on a winning streak, twice landed on the chopping block because (a) his surf and turf was pedestrian and (b) despite there being a terrific selection of salmon, one of the types he used was chum—the chuck roast of salmon. But at least it was seasoned better than Lizzie Binder's salmon dish. She ended up going home and was supposed to take questions via email, but I have yet to hear back from her. Nevertheless, numerous contestants over the last two seasons have told me the main reason for elimination was insufficient seasoning. (One could also argue that the judges' sense of seasoning is subjective.)
So now we are down to the final three—Josh Valentine, Brooke Williamson, and Sheldon Simeon. But wait! There's still the winner of Last Chance Kitchen (hoping it's Kristen Kish). And then there's the chef you can text or tweet back into the race (perhaps C.J. Jacobson?). This could go on for a while.