Brooke, Josh, and Sheldon remain, splayed out on the sofas and clearly exhausted.
Brooke finds a note from Padma telling them to meet her at the Eagle Crest. Is that an Alaskan Leather Bar? I'm excited.
They drive up a long mountain and are stopped by a helicopter in the middle of the road. A lady approaches the car and announces she's their pilot and they'll be taking the bird up the rest of the way to meet Padma.
Brooke is not cool with this. The helicopter involves three of her biggest fears -- heights, being in an enclosed space, and having no control. Not to get all sappy, but as someone who struggles with anxiety issues myself, this sequence was so hard to watch. My heart physically ached for Brooke as you could hear her shaking breath as she wiped away her tears. I could so sympathize with her as she got into the chopper, saying, "I'll live. Can we just wait five minutes until this Xanax kicks in?"
I have wanted Brooke to win this competition for a while now, but now I can say with conviction that I think she and I are sister soul mates.
As the chopper lifts off, the chefs take it all in. Well, Sheldon and Josh do. Brooke is clinging to Josh and keeping her eyes sealed shut. Eventually, she opens her eyes. "Woah!" she shrieks as the smile cracks across her face. Hooray!
As they land on a glacier, with sled dogs to greet them, Sheldon admits at this moment he "would die for some good reefer." We're not surprised, bra. Maybe bogart one of Brooke's Xanax? The pack of dogs take the chefs via sled the rest of the way. Brooke is giddy and thrilled and the footage of her enjoying the ride is adorable.
Padma and Tom greet the chefs to introduce the quickfire. The challenge? To create a gourmet meal using what they can find in their rugged surroundings -- which is base camp for training for the Iditarod.
The chefs have a small cabin-like kitchen to work in and are forced to run back and forth between that and the supplies through the snow. Sheldon admits this is the first time his Hawaiian self has ever traipsed through snow like this, while Brooke keeps face planting and I'm worried her helicopter Xanax may be throwing her off her game.
Promotional consideration side note: This entire episode was clearly sponsored by Ray Bans as every single person on camera was wearing a pair for the entire episode. Seriously.
Padma and Tom make small talk with the Iditarod trainees as the chefs finish up. They are all struggling with the small burners and cold temperatures.
The chefs' quickfire dishes are pretty unsurprising -- Brooke did a pan roasted halibut with a vinaigrette, Sheldon also did a pan roasted halibut with asian influence. Josh did -- to no one's shock -- breakfast. With bacon.
Tom does the judging for each dish, noting that for what they had to work with, the chefs did a decent job. The winning dish was Brooke's pan-roasted halibut, panzanella salad with red currant & beet vinaigrette.
"Congratulations, Brooke -- you're on quite a roll," Padma says.
Brooke says that "conquering her fears" has been the thing she's most proud of during her time on "Top Chef."
Padma and the chefs pile into a Toyota, driven by Padma. "Step into my chariot," Padma coos.
"I've never seen Padma drive," Sheldon points out. "I think she gets chauffeured around so I hope she can actually get us home safely."
They head back to their posh B&B and are greeted in the kitchen by Emeril and this week's guest judge, Roy Choi, who is known for his Kogi food truck in LA. Emeril and Roy serve the chefs lunch. Roy speaks to how growing up, he was in a lot of trouble, but that one day he saw Emeril on TV cooking and it woke him up and changed his life. That was the moment he decided to be a chef.
Roy's speech is incredibly genuine and obviously unscripted -- you can see the surprise and awe on Emeril's face -- everyone's noses turn telltale red as they try to hold back tears. It was really one of the most honestly moving moments I've seen in this series, ever.
Well, it felt unscripted, but it wasn't totally. Padma announces, "Chefs, these amazing stories bring us to your elimination challenge. We want you to make a dish that represents the moment when you knew you wanted to be a chef."