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Top Chef Seattle cruises to Alaska, but no one rocks the boat

Top Chef Seattle, Josh Valentine
Won't you let me take you on a sea cruise? Photo courtesy of Bravo
Top Chef, Joshua Valentine, Stefan
Top Chef Seattle contestant Stefan likes his pork belly super, super crispy. Photo courtesy of Bravo

With only another episode or two until the finale, Top Chef Seattle is in cruising mode. This week's episode is on a cruise — to Alaska. "Alaska, here we come," says one contestant.

Which contestant, we cannot say, which is unsettling, since only five contestants remain. But there's something weirdly forgettable about this week's show. Maybe that's what happens when you're on a large cruise liner. What happens on the liner stays on the liner.

The other reason the episode might be forgettable is because it's on a large cruise liner. Oh wait, we said that already. No, the other reason is because they keep repeating things. In the show's first 10 minutes, there are two rounds of nostalgia ("What was your most memorable moment?" asks Sheldon, about a series that hasn't even finished yet), two rounds of drinks and four identical admissions that "I've never been on a cruise before." That's a lot of déjà vu.

 By now, even fellow contestant Stefan is fatigued by Josh's bacon shtick. "He does bacon every time," Stefan says scornfully.

The theme of the quickfire is iceberg lettuce. Iceberg, Alaska — get it? Nobody has much good to say about iceberg lettuce, especially Dallas chef Josh Valentine, because iceberg lettuce is not bacon. Worry not. He finds a way to incorporate bacon. But, by now, even fellow contestant Stefan is fatigued by Josh's bacon shtick. "He does bacon every time," Stefan says scornfully.

The elimination theme is "surf and turf," which the contestants must reimagine. Not just imagine, but RE-imagine. Sheldon chooses unimagined steak and lobster as his "proteins," but everyone else picks more exotic stuff: pork belly, bacon, a whole pig. Come to think of it, that doesn't sound so exotic. Compared to all that pork, Brooke's frog legs and mussels sound re-re-re-imagined, and she wins (despite the fact that frog = amphibian).

Josh barely squeaks it out. He flubs his reimagined effort to transform scallops into pasta, then re-imagines scrambled eggs with scallops mixed in. The Gerbers-soft texture proves a pleasant pabulum for the babyish judges. They must have dental issues because Stefan's extra-crisp pork belly hurts their teeth. Wah. Off he goes.

But no pity for Stefan, because he kisses all of the remaining contestants goodbye, some on the lips, some twice. It's enough to make the prospect of seeing Josh's waxed mustache for another episode tolerable.

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