‘TOP CHEF’

Maui’s Sheldon Simeon on tonight’s episode battling in blindfolded experiment of palates

Cheftestant Sheldon Simeon remains on Season 14 of “Top Chef” as a veteran who with the others will test his palate in a blindfolded experiment on the Bravo channel. Will Sheldon advance past this evening? Stay tuned to find out. “Top Chef” photo

With $125,000 to win or lose, Maui’s Sheldon Simeon has a lot at stake as one of the remaining cheftestants on Season 14 of “Top Chef” on the Bravo Channel.

Episode 9 of “Top Chef” will air at 7 p.m. today on cable channels 20 or 560.

“Top Chef” Season 6 winner Michael Voltaggio puts the remaining chefs’ palates to the test with a blindfolded taste experiment. And then for the elimination challenge, the chefs must draw inspiration from their own childhood memories to create dishes for the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital charity gala on the ultra-exclusive Kiawah Island in South Carolina.

The chefs will need to impress 100 guests, as well as returning judge Graham Elliot in order to stay in the competition, according to the liner notes for the program.

The good news is, Sheldon knows judge Voltaggio as he came to Maui to appear at the James Beard Celebrity Chefs tour last year at the Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria resort.

“Yes, I met Michael Voltaggio,” explained Sheldon in a conference-call interview arranged by “Top Chef” earlier this week. “We had some fun on Maui with Hubert Keller at Cow Pig Bun. We played darts at Dog & Duck. We were taking shots of Jaeger. I showed him the hospitality of Maui and what we do here. It was pretty awesome to just hang out but not for too long.”

As far as being blindfolded goes on tonight’s show and tasting various  foods, will Sheldon’s palate hold up?

“In the kitchen a well-developed palate can be a vital tool,” says host Padma Lakshmi. “On ‘Top Chef,’ it can be a weapon.”

Even being blindfolded may prove to be easier than the “Restaurant Wars” of last week’s episode. Sheldon wasn’t on the winning team and had to deal with chefs Katsuji Tanabe and John Tesar verbally going at it in the hot kitchen.

“Of all the people to have on the team were Katsuji and John, two of the craziest and the biggest personalities,” Sheldon said about the tough episode. “You cannot cook with hate in your heart or the food will suffer. And it happened. I was trying to be the guy to calm those guys down. But we survived. We lived.”

In addition, Sheldon was on another program: “Eater,” known as the “one stop shop for food and restaurant obsessives across the country. With features, explainers, animations, recipes and more.”

“Yes, I got to do ‘Eater,’ “ Sheldon said. “It was pretty rad. ‘Eater’ is an online series through YouTtube. Super cool to go back home to Hilo where my inspiration and all of that comes from.”

A native of Hilo, Sheldon visited his family’s kitchen there, where he prepared a Filipino feast for his relatives and friends, introduced some of his favorite places to get produce and fish on the island and cooked with his father with Hawaiian ingredients.

On Maui, his Tin Roof restaurant in Kahului is doing swimmingly well and last weekend was his busiest ever.

“In addition, we’re full throttle on a restaurant in The Shops at Wailea connected to Island Gourmet. I’m excited because it will be a reality. It will be lunch and dinner. People know my style of food and flavors and it will be right around that line.”

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