Fil-Am chef fails to make it to Top Chef finals

Posted at 02/22/2013 2:41 PM
Filipino-Hawaiian chef Sheldon Simeon.

MANILA, Philippines - Filipino-American chef Sheldon Simeon missed his chance to be one of two chefs battling it out for the title of "Top Chef" in the finale of the hit reality show.

Simeon and fellow chef Brooke Williamson were the last two chefs left in "Top Chef: Seattle." However, they still had to compete with Kristen Kish, who was booted out earlier but regained a spot in the Top 3 via a web competition "Last Chance Kitchen."

In the end, Simeon was denied entry to the finale, after his dishes of prawns, quail and white chocolate mousse failed to impress the judges.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Simeon said he wanted to show how much he has grown throughout the season.

"Going into the finale, I wanted to showcase how much I’ve grown from this show. As I was watching the whole season I felt that I was the guy from Hawaii that cooks Asian food. So I wanted to show that as a chef I can grill, and going into the finale I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do, and that’s kind of how I created my menu," he said.

Simeon was considered one of the frontrunners of the competition. The Hollywood Reporter described him as a "Hawaiian Care Bear who spoke in a soothing Pidgin English and cooked beautiful and complex food with heavy Asian influences."

Earlier in the season, the Hawaii native wowed the judges with modern Filipino restaurant concept he came up with for the Restaurant Wars challenge.

Simeon's group came up with a modern twist to the Kilawin (Yellowtail with cilantro, spicy chili and white sauce); adobo (Pork belly with mung bean puree and pea shoots salad) and balut (Poached egg, duck confit and foie grass mousse).

Simeon is the executive chef of Star Noodle in Lahaina, Hawaii. He studied at the Culinary Institute of the Pacific and Maui Culinary Academy.

His profile on the show's website describes him as a two-time James Beard semifinalist for "Rising Star" and "Best New Restaurant" both in 2011.

On the same year, he was also named "Chef of the Year" by the Maui Nokaoi Magazine. He was also named the "Best New Chef People's Choice" nominee in 2012 by the Food & Wine Magazine.