Quantcast
Latest Stories

Sheldon Simeon may have lost Top Chef but makes Filipino cuisine a winner

By

Sheldon Simeon

MANILA, Philippines — There have been a number of Filipino chefs who have tried their luck inside the competitive kitchens of Top Chef, but no one else has flaunted his roots more than Sheldon Simeon.

Simeon, the Hawaiian born who was raised in a Filipino household, has a classic underdog story that Filipinos love — a dishwasher turned executive chef and one of the three finalists in Top Chef Season 10: Seattle.

The 30-year-old chef has been known to use ingredients that “speak to me,” as Sheldon repeatedly said throughout the competition.

And on several occasions, they would involve ingredients Filipinos are most familiar with.

In episodes 10 and 11 of the Seattle edition, Simeon ruled the elimination challenges for nailing dishes that Filipinos most probably would serve on their dining table more than once a week.

Making a pitch for the restaurant concept URBANo, Simeon’s upscale Filipino food with a twist wowed the judges, especially with his famous “sinigang.”

“It makes you sit up straight, in a good way,” commented famous New Yorker restaurateur Danny Meyer after taking a sip of the sour taramind soup with pork belly, shrimp and snapper concoction.

Simeon’s hopes of reliving the memories of his grandfather, who moved to Hawaii from Ilocos Sur, through URBANo turned into reality — even for one night — in the anticipated Restaurant Wars.

And he, once again, put Filipino cuisine up on a pedestal, as his team won the challenge with a menu serving Kilawin (usually served with beer in the Philippines), Miki, the famous pork Adobo, Halo-halo, and even Balut (which others think of as exotic) — all done upscale.

Head judge Tom Collichio went as far as saying Simeon’s pork Adobo was the best tasting dish of the night. But it isn’t our typical “toyo’t suka” broth but done with mung bean pureé and pea shoot salad.

“You don’t get too much Filipino restaurant concepts like that. Maybe we are waiting for a chef like you to do that,” Collichio told him.

Chefs like Season 9: Texas winner Paul Qui, Dale Talde (Season 8: All Stars and Season 3: Chicago), Leah Cohen and Eugen Villatora (Season 5: New York), and Josie Smith Malave and Chrissy Camba (Season 10: Seattle) have all been open about their Filipino lineage, but only Simeon has showcased it extensively in the show.

“My grandfather travelled to the Philippines with a dream of giving a better future to his family, here I am three generations later doing the same thing,” said Simeon.

“Filipino culture is very hardworking culture, Filipino foods are very soulful. Food of that style it reminds me of my grandparents,” he also said.

On the 16th episode last week, though, as the two-episode finale of the Bravo TV creation unfolded, Simeon chose to take an unfamiliar route.

Along with other finalists Kristen Kish, who emerged from the Last Chance Kitchen, and Brooke Williamson, Simeon had to serve a three-course meal and run the service for Collichio’s restaurant Craft.

Simeon served Sashimi Spot prawns, court-bouillon, radish and asian herbs, roasted quail with pine nut purée, garam masala and tangerine for main course and white chocolate mousse with apple and fennel for dessert.

“It’s definitely out of my comfort zone. Not the type I’ve been cooking all season. But I’m doing it to show how much I’ve grown,” said Simeon.

Simeon took risks and tried something new, but in the end, the judges just wanted the old “Sheldon” back.

“Overall this is not Sheldon, this is another chef who put on Sheldon’s hat,” commented Hugh Acheson after tasting Simeon’s quail dish.

“He’s been brainwashed. I don’t know where he went,” also said renowned award-winning chef Emeril Lagasse.

Simeon was eliminated and left Kish and Williamson to battle for the title of Top Chef.

“I’m definitely disappointed to come so far and so close, but I fell a little short. I’m gonna continue to cook from my heart,” a teary-eyed Simeon said.

While he ultimately failed to bring home the title, Simeon, though, throug out the competion still managed to make Filipino cuisine a winner.

Originally posted: 4:51 am | Saturday, March 2nd, 2013


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Filipino food , Seattle , Top Chef , Top Chef Season 10

  • CebuAnoNoyPi

    Kudos Sheldon! You’re a champion just the same.

  • Karabukov

    I’m proud of you man for making Filipinos proud of their heritage!

    I hope you keep trying until you make yourself and the Filipino cuisine the champ.

    Sinigang? Mmmmmm. Sarap.

    And yes, you can make balut what it’s cracked up to be!

  • Vertumnus

    Filipino food is delicious, specially singang and adobo made with fatty pork! Mmmm Sarap!! Nothing is more comforting food than pork sinigang and adobo!  My doctor put me on a strict low cholesterol diet so I don’t get to eat fatty pork anymore. 
    Good job Sheldon, I was rooting for you and thanks for exposing the world to delicious Filipino food!

  • bogli_anakdami

    PAGPAG - now that’s the flip gung gongs’ staple…

    double murder chicken/pork/beef – yummm yummm yummm

    dog/cat/rats – yumm mmmm

    galunggong – sarap

    kang kong – linamnam…

    • maysayako

       yan siguro kinakain mo, wawa ka naman..

    • GustoKoHappyKa

      kawawa ka naman…

  • philip99_manila

    sayang!.. there is next season pa naman!.. 

  • http://twitter.com/josefvdc Josef Caneba

    just a correction: Dale Talde competed in season 4: Chicago and 8: all stars, and not in season 3, which was in miami. and while he did not use filipino cuisine in his time as executive chef for restaurant wars in both of his seasons, he has showcased Filipino food whenever he can, as he was actually the first one to serve halo-halo (season 4 restaurant wars) and served a play on turon on a quickfire in the same season. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.geronimo.9 Joseph Geronimo

    Let’s not forget, he won “Fan Favorite” this season!



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  2. Lover’s quarrel linked to hunger – study
  3. Encounter with a ‘Mangkukulam’
  4. ‘Kamias’ for fever, ‘siling labuyo’ for headache–first aid in the kitchen
  5. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  6. Summer treat for your aspiring astronomers
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. ‘Heaven is for Real’: Nonfiction book on life after death reaches screen
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  5. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  6. South Koreans crave Asia’s smelliest fish
  7. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  8. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Ex-Givenchy model fights for ‘Yolanda’ survivors

News

  • UN warns banana fungus spreading from Southeast Asia
  • Massive infra spending set
  • ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  • Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  • Our Lady of Piat: Centerpiece of Cagayan’s gifts to Christianity
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  • Entertainment

  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Mommy-daughter adventure continues
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan
    Marketplace