In what Top Chef judge and producer Tom Colicchio called in his blog the "best episode ever," contestant and local chef Brooke Williamson earned herself a spot in next Wednesday's episode—the first part of the season finale.
Williamson—who owns Hudson House in Redondo Beach and the Tripel in Playa del Rey—won both the episode's Quickfire Challenge and the Elimination Challenge.
"Holy crap, this is absolutely fantastic!" she exclaimed in an interview filmed after the decision. "I'm not hear to gloat, although it feels good."
The Elimination Challenge called for chefs to cook a dish inspired by the moment they first wanted to become a chef. Williamson apparently had a difficult time deciding which dish to make, as she's wanted to be a chef since she was young.
"I woke up in the morning, and instead of watching cartoons, I watched Julia Child," she told Colicchio during the episode.
Ultimately, there was no question as to whether Williamson would move on—her braised chicken and quail was unanimously declared the winner.
"(Williamson) was a prodigy in the city of L.A.," guest judge Roy Choi told the other judges as they tasted the food. "She started really young, and this is her style of food. This is Brooke on a plate."
Williamson—who owns Hudson House in Redondo Beach and the Tripel in Playa del Rey—was the first of three remaining competitors to move on to the finale. Sheldon Simeon was the other chosen, and Joshua Valentine went home.
Williamson and Simeon will be joined Wednesday by the winner of Last Chance Kitchen, which gave eliminated chefs an additional chance to compete in the finale.