Shirley chung or brooke williamson_ who is crowned season 14 top chef winner – the orange county register

Shirley Chung is surprised to see her chef de cuisine at Twenty Eight in Irvine show up to help her in the finale. Chinese restaurants open late near me The sight of Jay Lacuesta brought tears of joy. New york food blog “He’s like my little brother,” Chung said. New orleans restaurants french quarter “He understands my cuisine.


New york food and wine festival 2016 It’s so great to have someone that knows me so well and cooking side by side with me in the most important moment of my life.” (Note: Chung has since left Twenty Eight to pursue opening a restaurant in Los Angeles; Lacuesta is now the executive chef.) (Photo courtesy of Bravo)

Shirley Chung’s last dish, a rice pudding dish honoring her mom, was applauded by every judge. New york city vegan restaurants Many called it the best of the night, but it wasn’t enough to land her the title of Top Chef. Restaurants open late night near me (Bravo)

In Beijing, Shirley Chung said she developed her palate at a young age thanks to her grandmother, who was director of The Red Cross in China. New york vegan restaurants Her grandmother exposed her to the international foods she discovered on her travels

Chung began cooking for herself at age 8. New orleans breakfast restaurants But she didn’t pursue a professional career as a chef until she was 28.

While living in the Silicon Valley, she left a sales job to attend cooking school. Restaurants near me new orleans She eventually landed gigs working for restaurants owned by Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy, Mario Batali and Jose Andres. Mexican restaurants open late near me As a so-called shadow chef, she excelled at cooking their food.

While working as executive chef at Andres’ China Poblano in Las Vegas, the restaurant was nominated for the Best New Restaurant Award by the James Beard Foundation in 2011.

In 2013, she competed in Season 11 of Top Chef, making it to the final four.

In 2014, she moved to Orange County to open Twenty Eight in Irvine, a modern Chinese concept. Soul food restaurants in new orleans It is a collaboration with local restaurateur Stacie Tran. Fast food restaurants with play areas Last fall, after filming Top Chef, she left Twenty Eight.

Chung and her husband Jimmy Lee are developing a fast-casual seafood restaurant in Los Angeles.

For the majority of her culinary career, Shirley Chung has been a “shadow” chef – a talented cook tasked with translating the recipes of celebrity chefs.

Not anymore. Organic food restaurants near me During her second tour of duty on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” the Newport Beach resident said she discovered her cuisine. Best seafood restaurants in atlanta “I know exactly who I am as a chef – modern American with Chinese soul,” she said in a phone interview earlier this week.

Her bold, well-edited dishes – along with her fearless confidence in the kitchen – earned her a spot in Thursday night’s Season 14 finale. Good food in san diego Chung, former executive chef at Twenty Eight in Irvine, is the second consecutive Orange County chef to make it to the championship round. Best seafood restaurants in chicago In the Mexico match-up, she faced Season 10 runner-up Brooke Williamson of Los Angeles.

Does Chung triumph or suffer the same fate as last year’s Orange County runner-up Amar Santana?

Though she had a strong finish, Chung’s first two dishes fell flat – costing her the title. Best food places in chicago Host Padma Lakshmi declared Williamson the winner for delivering a near-flawless, four-course meal.

“This is exactly what I wanted. Best seafood restaurants in miami beach I feel validated,” said Williamson, who ironically lost her finale four years ago to the winner of Last Chance Kitchen.

Early on in the show, she said that day still haunts her: “I haven’t quite gotten that stale feeling of losing out of my head.”

It was a bittersweet ending for Chung, whose playful dishes paid tribute to her favorite food memories. Best seafood restaurants in miami A rice pudding dessert honoring her mother’s sweet tooth was her best dish of the night. Best seafood restaurants in wildwood nj It was topped with tropical fruit and lemon-lime snow made with liquid nitrogen.

The editor of Food & Wine magazine called it “compulsively edible.” Even more impressive, Los Angeles restaurateur Joachim Splichal of Patina Restaurant Group said: “It’s one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.”

But Chung’s first two dishes (red snapper crudo and a ramen soup) didn’t impress the judges who devoured nearly every dish Williamson made. Good food places around me The chef, who owns a string of South Bay restaurants including Hudson House in Redondo Beach, dazzled the judges course after course.

“This is finale food,” Lakshmi said of her charred octopus second course.

Still, the judges said Chung cooked with heart. Best soul food restaurants in nyc “Shirley put it all out there with her stories,” Gail Simmons said.

Going into the finale, fans knew the all-female contest (the second in Top Chef history) could go either way.

Throughout the season, Williamson had her ups and downs. Best seafood restaurants in nyc She won the most challenges. Fast food restaurants in canada But she also tanked several others. Best seafood restaurants in houston She was eliminated in Episode 11, but returned with confidence after winning Last Chance Kitchen. Best soul food restaurants in atlanta The online-only competition allows chefs to fight their way back onto the show.

By contrast, Chung was rock steady the entire season. Best seafood restaurants in dallas She had two defining moments. Largest fast food chain in the world She insisted on being executive chef during Restaurant Wars. Soul food restaurants in los angeles Her task-master role in the kitchen and menu vision led to her team’s victory. Best lunch places in san diego She also won the overall challenge – one of the most coveted prizes for any “Top Chef” contestant.

She also showed true grit when she nearly got eliminated during a Sudden Death Challenge in Episode 10. Best food places in san diego After a stomach-turning boat ride, she was in a drunken stupor after downing sea-sickness pills. Famous food in los angeles She wrecked a Quickfire dish, forcing her into a sudden death cook-off with two other chefs.

She quickly regained her composure to survive. Good restaurants in san diego Cook what you know, she told herself. Best restaurants in san diego ca She went with calamari, and stayed in the game. Best mexican food in san diego It was one of many self-discovery moments for Chung.

The judges took notice all season. Best food places in los angeles She was consistently applauded for smart play and her ability to infuse subtle Chinese flavors into classic American dishes – even Southern food.

Last week, culinary legend Jeremiah Tower said: “That girl can cook.”

During the finale, nearly every judge loved her playful storytelling dishes.

“This was one of the most creative, provocative dishes we saw,” guest judge Graham Elliot said of her rice pudding.

Head judge Tom Colicchio said: “I finished it in seconds flat and was looking for more.”

Even though she didn’t win, Chung said she accomplished something more important .

Her mom, a doctor and her toughest critic, was at the finale. Best lunch places in los angeles She never understood why Chung left a job in the Silicon Valley to pursue being a chef at age 28. Best indian food in chicago But after eating her tribute meal, Chung’s mom gave her a big hug.

In a rare moment, her mom spoke English: “Beautiful Shirley. Best lunch places in new orleans I am happy, Shirley. Best food places near me I am proud.”

Chung choked up. Good fast food places near me “Today, I feel like without talking, through my cooking, my mom finally finally understood me.”

Contact the writer: nluna@ocregister.com ; follow the Fast Food Maven on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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