1/31/2013 01:44:00 PM

Top Chef Seattle Episode 13: Cruise Control

Image via Bravo
We're down to five and it's the fight for the finale. Peace out Seattle, we're taking a super huge cruise ship to Alaska for the finale and someone's not making it off the boat.  Curtis Stone tries to sink them with an iceberg. [Awkward Titanic joke.] No, but it's an Iceberg quick fire. The cheftestants have two hours to create one bite highlighting iceberg lettuce for 200 guests at the Celebrity Cruises welcome aboard party.

Sheldon thinks it's cray they're focusing on such boring lettuce. Stefan is the only one that cooks it and makes braised iceberg lettuce with pastrami, fingerling potato and blue cheese sauce. Lizzie makes iceberg salad with crispy bacon, shallots and anchovy vinaigrette. Josh does an iceberg roll inspired by the wedge salad with apple cider vinaigrette, bacon jam and blue cheese. Brooke does an iceberg wrap with bacon, scallop, caramelized onion and crispy quinoa. But the winner is Sheldon with a Vietnamese lettuce wrap with pork, shrimp and pickled iceberg hearts. He wins "an advantage in the next challenge."

They send them off to explore the ship. Sheldon and Lizzie get manicures while the other three get drunk. Sheldon loves manicures. They have dinner at the on ship restaurant Qsine, that has cool iPad menus and serves whimsical, inventive food with over-the-top, Barton G-like presentations. They're having a blast, woo-hoo. Cheers to the "most awesomest five best friends that anybody ever had." It's going too well. Just as they're served a chocolate tombstone…dum, dum dum, Padma and Curtis appear with a challenge. They hope they liked what they tasted tonight because they'll be running dinner service here tomorrow night. The elimination challenge is to re-imagine surf and turf as a single dish. This is no shrimp on top of steak. They want them to get playful. Take a classic dish and turn it on its head. Make it beautiful. It's not Stefan's favorite but he's super creative so he's not worried about it.   

Sheldon's advantage is that he gets to pick his ingredients first. He takes the filet and lobster tail.  Classic. Not exactly inventive or…on-challenge.  Stefan takes eel and pork belly.  Josh takes pork belly and scallop. Lizzie takes scallop and the whole pig. Brooke goes frog's legs and mussels. Interesting. The boys are turned on by Lizzie butchering that pig.           

At the table we have Curtis, Padma, Tom, Hugh Acheson, the cruise's head chef John Suley and the cruise and hotel directors. Brooke starts it off with butter poached mussels and beet-glazed frog's legs over a bed of celery root and fennel puree, papadum and shallot chutney. Right off the bat, the judges are impressed by the inventiveness. Tom likes the flavors, he points out that frog's legs aren't the most earthy ingredient but adding the beets gives it more earthiness and makes it work.

Stefan's feeling really good about his dish. He comes out with braised pork belly with beer sauce and parsnip and eel ravioli. Bite and crunch. We hear Tom chewing and it's very loud (potentially sound effect-enhanced). Apparently Stefan's crispy pork belly is too crunchy. Curtis says it's a cultural thing, that if you order roast pork in Australia or England it comes out with the very crunchy "cracklings," and people love it. Hugh says you can't taste the eel in the ravioli. Ouch.

After all is tasted, Brooke and Josh are on top. Stefan and Sheldon are on bottom. Lizzie is safe. They give Brooke the win. Tom says you think nothing's new but frog's legs and mussels are new. Brooke is afraid of boats and ironically wins a seven-day cruise. They send Brooke away with Josh and Lizzie. It's down to Sheldon or Stefan. Sheldon's tempura was terrible. Stefan's pork was too crunchy and they couldn't taste the eel. Both of them served separate surf and turf but didn’t bring it together.  We really don't want to see either of them go. In the end, it's….Stefan! He exits with: "See you in f**king Last Chance Kitchen, Motherf**kers!"

And then there were four.