Maui chef gets the ax

“Sheldon, please pack your knives and go!” These words, emphatically spoken by “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi, were not what he wanted to hear.

But Wednesday night, Maui’s own Sheldon Simeon handled it with poise, humility and grace when he got axed from part one of the two-part season finale of Bravo Channel’s “Top Chef,” the top-rated food show on cable television.

“It was fun. It was a hell of a ride,” Simeon said Thursday in a conference call from Honolulu. “Top Chef “staffers in Los Angles listened in to the interview so he wouldn’t divulge anything about next week’s finale. “I experienced so many things. It’s been awesome.”

After final tapings at head judge Tom Colicchio’s acclaimed Craft restaurant in Los Angeles in recent weeks, Simeon returned to Maui, where he runs the kitchens of award-winning Star Noodle in Lahaina and Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop in Olowalu.

“I came back to Maui, but then I flew to Honolulu Wednesday night to hang with friends at the Vintage Cave. There’s a special dinner there. I’ll be hanging in the kitchen with Blane Wetzel of Willows in Washington State. I knew last night’s episode would be heavy. So I thought I’d get away, forget about it all, and start a new chapter in my life.”

But nobody on Maui is forgetting how close he came to winning it all.

On Wednesday night’s episode, cheftestant Kristen Kesh of Boston, who had been cut from a previous episode and aced her way through the “Last Chance Kitchen” online program, returned to beat out Simeon. The other remaining chef is Brooke Williamson of Los Angeles.

For more on the chef, see Friday’s Maui News.