"[There was] a moment at Craft [when] we were in the middle of service and Chef Tom was barking his orders and I had a bunch of quail done," explains Sheldon Simeon, the most recently departed cheftestant from Bravo's Top Chef. "I just put all my utensils down, stopped and laughed. I looked up and [thought], 'what are you doing here?' It's been a hell of a run."
The Hawaiian chef, known for his Filipino and Asian dishes departed from his style in the finale, making a quail dish. "I've grown from the finale," he explains. "It made me remember that I am a product of my environment and to never forget where I came from. I'm going to continue to cook from my heart."
While Simeon continues to cook from the heart, he rarely has a chance to cook at home with his busy schedule as executive chef at Hawaii's Star Noodle. Still he and his wife grow Filipino vegetables in their garden which they later incorporate into meals. "Give me a big bowl of rice, a beer and some Filipino vegetables, and I'm good to go," he says.
Simeon was perhaps even busier while on the show than in his home routine. "Nobody actually sees how grueling it is," he says. "It's long days." Being away from family and his kitchen was another of the show's challenges, but he was thankful for the company he had while filming. "You are in the house with a ton of different personalities so it gets kind of heated sometimes, but I think we lucked out [with] the group we had this season," he says. "We all have grown this bond and this friendship that will hopefully last for a long time."
Check out the slideshow above to learn Simeon's advice for the home cook.