Tonight on BRAVO Top Chef DUELS airs with a new episode of season 1 called, “Shirley Chung Vs. Brooke Williamson.” On tonight’s episode, both finalists in their respective seasons, Los Angeles Chef Brooke Williamson and Las Vegas Restaurant Consultant Shirley Chung were mere inches from victory, but the title slipped through their fingers.
On the last episode two of the most notorious “mad scientists” in Top Chef history faced-off once again, Top Chef All Stars winner Richard Blais and competitor celebrity chef Marcel Vigneron. First, Marcel challenged Richard to make a dessert featuring both a hot and cold component while Richard chose to challenge Marcel to make one of his specialties, a burger. And for their Duel that decided who moved on to the finale, Richard and Marcel had to concoct a three-course meal specifically designed to entice each of the judges’ senses. Although Richard won the title when they competed against one another on Top Chef All Stars, never underestimate the power of revenge! Did you watch the last episode? If you missed it we have a full and detailed recap, right here for you.
On tonight’s show both finalists in their respective seasons, Los Angeles Chef Brooke Williamson and Las Vegas Restaurant Consultant Shirley Chung were mere inches from victory, but the title slipped through their fingers. Now is their time for redemption. First, Shirley challenges Brooke to a “weird shellfish” showdown and then Brooke attacks Shirley’s Achilles heel and asks her to make a vegan dessert. For the Duel that determines who goes on to the finale, the Chefs must step under the big top making dishes based on the circus to impress the judges and special guest P!nk. Neither Chef wants to go home empty handed again.
Tonight’s episode is going to be filled with competitive culinary that you won’t want to miss, so be sure to tune in for our live coverage of the show tonight at 10 PM EST! While you wait for our recap hit the comments and let us know how excited you are about the show!
Tonight’s episode begins now – Refresh Page for Updates
Tonight on Top Chef Duels are two former Top Chef finalists Shirley Chung in the white jacket. She’s now in New Orleans and readying to open her first restaurant 28. In the black jacket is Brooke Williamson who lost Seattle in the finale. She just opened her third LA restaurant with her husband. They’ve never faced off before now but the will tonight on #TopChefDuels. Curtis welcomes them. Gail and Wolfgang are also there.
Shirley was in the finale of her season, but placed third so she’s hungry for a win. Curtis says there are three challenges each worth $10,000 paid by Lexus. The winner moves on to the $100k finale. Brooke says Shirley is classically trained while she’s kitchen trained so she says it’s interesting. They draw knives. Brooke gets the red knife. She asks to do Shirley’s challenge first.
Shirley shows her the weird shellfish challenge. She tells her she can pick abalone, razor claims or geoduck. Brooke ponders and says geoduck. Shirley is surprised because it’s the hardest. Brooke tells her go big or go home. Brooke thinks her plan to trip her up may have backfired. Curtis tells them they have 30 minutes and they’re off.
Brooke says she may watch her clean it and Shirley asks why she picked the hardest. Brooke says she likes a challenge. Shirley says the hardest part is how to clean it. Brooke asks her some questions but Shirley won’t share her expertise. Brooke cuts hers open and looks it. Shirley is making a warm geoduck salad and is blanching some of the meat and frying another part to be the crouton.
Brooke says she’s doing a cold salad and Shirley says she’s doing a warm one. They joke they’re both doing salads and Brooke says it’s a short time limit. They are down to one minute and are scrambling to plate it. Shirley says she’s made it at home many times because her husbadn loves it. She thinks she’s won. The judges come in and Shirley describes her dish.
They taste and Wolfgang says good texture. Curtis says it’s aggressively salty. Curtis says it was well done and nice flavors. Gail says it has a Chinese flair and says the clam belly croutons are a little aggressive. Wolfgang says it needed more color and acidity, but liked so they could see what they were eating. Brooke is up next with her cold salad. They taste.
Curtis says he likes the combination of flavors and Gail likes the colors. Wolfgang asks for white wine or champagne. He says he liked the look of the dish but wished for more of the geoduck. Curtis says the passion fruit is good, but the seeds may scare the diner that they are getting shell. He says the falvor was great. Gail compliments it as well.
Gail votes for Shirley. Curtis votes for Brooke. Wolfgan has the deciding vote. He chooses Brooke. She won Shirley’s challenge and tells her sorry. She’s excited about the 10 grand and beating her at her own game. The ladies hug it out. Shirley is teary but sucks it up so no one sees it. She is feeling pressure. Shirley tells her to watch out for the next one.
Brooke’s challenge is pastry – she says she researched Shirley and knows that’s her weakness. Brooke shows her the ingredients she can’t use – and says it has to be vegan – no animal products. Shirley is floored and says she hates her. Curtis says they have 30 minutes to make their vegan desserts. Shirley really wants to beat her.
Brooke is doing banana chocolate pudding. Shirley tells her she hates her jokingly. Brooke says since Shirley is French trained, she is used to having butter. She tells Brooke she’s making tapioca and jokes that she has a pastry chef make it for her. Shirley is fretting over making a dessert with no animal products. She used liquid nitrogen to speed freeze her dish.
Brooke tells her she’s getting fancy and Shirley laughs. Brooke is using tofu and dark chocolate. Shirley tells her she needs to cool it down and Brooke says that’s why she didn’t do it. Shirley says it’s going to be more like a warm jam. Brooke is excited about hers and says Shirley seems frazzled and wonders how that will play out. Their time is done.
The judges come in. Brooke tells them she made banana hazelnut chocolate pudding. The judges taste and Wolfgang says the mousse is very light. He asks what spice it is and she says Cayenne – he likes it. Curtis says the texture is nice and Gail asks how she made it and she says tofu and Frangelico. Curtis says the Frangelico may be a touch strong.
Shirley’s looks like a tapioca soup. She says they eat it like a congee – Wolfgang says it’s a great Asian dessert that he would serve. He says he likes the green tea. Gail says it’s light and fresh but it’s a little soupy. Curtis says he wouldn’t guess these dishes are dairy free. Gail says these are two of their top Top Chef desserts. Shirley says that’s wonderful to hear even if she doesn’t win.
Wolfgang says it’s a hard decision but votes Brooke. Gail says Shirley’s was more satisfying. Curtis says he loved them both and is splitting hairs. He says Shirley’s was not quite as good as Brooke’s and she wins the second challenge. She’s thrilled and now has $20,000. She wasn’t expecting to win Shirley’s challenge so is thrilled.
Curtis tells Shirley it’s not done yet. She says it sucks that Brooke knew what to hit her with. The women smile at each other. It’s time for the duel. Curtis says they have to do a three course meal inspired by the circus and some performers come into the kitchen and do their stuff on unicycles and spitting fire. The first course must be prepared table side.
The second must be a three element entree that’s circus-inspired and the dessert must be at least six inches off the ground. Brooke says she doens’t like high concept challenges and thinks Shirley has a leg up because of working in Vegas. Gail tells them to welcome Pink. Shirley loves her and is a fan. Daniel Boulud and Dana Cowin will also be there to dine.
They next tell the chefs they have to make a drink to honor pink. They welcome in some back up people. Shirley has Cesar and Amanda, her sous and pastry chefs. Brooke has Chris, her sous chef, and her husband and co-chef Nick. They have four hours before service begins. Shirley says she’s thinking a water show for the first course.
Brooke says she’s doing shellfish. Shirley thinks of an elaborate Vegas style show but also wants to do elegant. Brooke is doing surf, turf and earth for her entree. They are off and cooking. Shirley says she must redeem herself. Her water show will be a broth with crustaceans so she cooks them right in front of the dishes. Brooke is doing mussel broth and is pouring a broth tableside that she’ll torch.
Both teams are working well together. Brooke says it’s different working with her husband in this setting. She says in the restaurant they compromise, but here it’s what she thinks. Pink comes in with Curtis to check on the dinner. Brooke shakes her hand and asks which one is her husband and Pink jokes she wouldn’t let her hubby work with her and sharp objects.
Pink says she likes seeing couples work together. She describes her dish to them and Pink says she has nothing to be nervous about. They go to see Shirley and she explains her menu. She says she’s telling a story with her meal. Pink says she tells a story when she’s onstage and gets that. Pink jokes and says it’s like what she made last night.
[11:00:26 PM] Rachel Rowan: Brooke has decided to add a touch of absinthe to add some flame. The judges, guest judges and Pink sit down to the table. Curtis explains the challenge to them. They are down to one minute. Pink says they were so quiet she was amazed. Brooke and Shirley come into the dining room. Brooke says she has fennel jelly and crab with fava beans. She adds hot falming absinthe. She has a gin based cocktail for them as well with absinthe foam. Wolfgang wants that recipe. Gail likes that it’s not sweet.
Pink likes the broth and Dana compliments it but says her mussel was cold. Wolfgang says the problem is it’s not hot or cold. Shirley is next and also has broth. She says it’s interactive and tells them to toss it. Pink likes the mint and Wolfgang says it’s super spicy. Daniel asks if she likes glass noodles and she says it stays al dente. Gail says she likes the interactivity and Pink says this inspires her to make food her two year old can play with.
The chefs are working on their next course – the entree – feverishly. Brooke is sure that Shirley won round one easily. She says she’s a master of presentation. Dana says Shirley’s story was good. Pink says a circus is about audience participation and Gail said she loved the broth. Dana says Brooke didn’t stick to the circus theme as well. Wolfgang says he thought it was great. Pink says she doesn’s like gin but likes that.
Curtis asks Alicia (Pink) about stage accidents and she says she forgets words, has fallen, had equipment failure and more. She says everything can go wrong. Shirley is making tandoori chicken. They’re both doing chicken skin and Shirley asks why she’s copying her but they laugh and say they are similar in separate ways. It’s time to serve.
Shirley tells them it’s fire phoenix. The first is a deviled egg, the nest is a chicken breast and the last is a fiery chicken wing. She says her cocktail is the rebirth – a twist on a gin and tonic. Wolfgang says she’s got the three ring circus theme well but didn’t like the poached chicken skin. She says she did surf, turf and earth. Pink says this is her new favorite thing. Curtis sends them back to the kitchen.
Pink says she loved Brooke’s dish. Wolfgang loves her chicken skin. Curtis says he likes a cohesive dish than one that’s in three parts like Shirley’s. Gail thinks the cocktail is watered down. Next up is the tall dessert. Brooke has made a chocolate ganache with beet parfait. The judges wonder if the desserts will fall.
Brooke asks Shirley if she just asked her pastry chef to make it for her. Shirley admits she’s relying on Amanda and is nervous about this course. The desserts come out. They measure and Gail says she feels like an a-hole measuring, but they’re good. Brooke says she designed the dessert himself. Gail says the rhubarb and chocolate played well. Shirley has an Earl Gray macaroon. Pink digs in. There’s a sugar bowl with Earl Gray ice cream inside.
Daniel says blown sugar is something you don’t see every day and says this was smart. The chefs pack up and Brooke thinks Shirley won hands down for presentation. Shirley sends her people off and so does Brooke. She kisses her hubby good bye. Dana likes the complexity of Brooke’s dessert. Gail says Shirley’s dish was theatrical and perfect for the challenge.
The girls talk and taste the dishes in the kitchen. They are getting along nicely. Dana says Shirley did a really confident job. Daniel says hers showed imagination and technique. Pink says Brooke’s was beautiful and delicious and Curtis agreed. Brooke tells Shirley she’s super clever and wished she could think like that. She makes a jab about the pastry and Shirley says she’s talking shit. They laugh.
They thank Pink and she says she really enjoyed it. Curtis recaps the evening and Gail says they were great meals. Wolfgang says they went to different circuses but both were great meals. The judges voted and Curtis says the winner is Shirley. She moves on though Brooke goes home with $20k. She can’t believe she won after losing the two challengs.
Curtis congratulates her on her stunning food. Shirley is in tears. They tell Brooke she gets to be in another competition that may let her back in. Brooke says she’s good under pressure and wants to prove it. They congratulate Shirley on moving on and Brooke on her cash.