February 16th, 2012
11:37 AM ET
This week on “Top Chef: Texas,” the final four met atop Whistler Mountain in British Columbia, where they were faced with the most outlandish cooking challenges yet. (Hard to believe, I know.)
The cheftestants learned they’d go through a three-event gauntlet at the 2010 Olympics site. The winner of each event secured a spot in the final and skipped the remaining tests, with one chef eliminated after the third challenge.
But first, we were treated to Lindsay and Sarah complaining yet again about Beverly. Somehow, they still weren’t over this whole “personality clash” thing. Um, WHO CARES if your personalities clash with Bev’s? So you aren’t compatible, big deal - you’re not dating.
Quite the opposite, in fact: you’re rivals. Did Lex Luthor obsess over Superman’s aloofness or supreme confidence? No, Luthor meticulously plotted his rival’s demise, like a normal adult.
Anyway! Event No. 1: cook a dish in a gondola moving between two peaks, like they were re-enacting some zany “Rocky and Bullwinkle” getaway scene. That sound you heard was Top Chef Nation facepalming itself.
Luckily, the food was pretty commendable. Paul made seared lamb with mushrooms and wasabi creme fraiche. Sarah cooked chorizo with prune juice and gooseberries. But Lindsay and Beverly had the standout dishes. Beverly made salmon tartare with horseradish creme fraiche, while Lindsay served salmon, red quinoa and chorizo.
Lindsay won, so with her ticket punched she got to cheer for Sarah, with whom she said she has “a special bond.” I don’t know what’s been going on with these two all season, but there’s definitely a Transformers “more than meets the eye” vibe.
For the next event, the three remaining chefs had an hour to chisel their ingredients out of giant ice blocks and cook them. This was a very important test, because these guys might want to open an igloo-themed restaurant someday.
Lots of chiseling/grunting/throwing ensued, and shockingly nobody impaled a hand.
Paul finished carving out his ingredients first and made poached king crab, toasted almonds and mango chutney. Sarah made pea and spinach soup with crab. Beverly, who spent about 35 minutes freeing up her ingredients, served scallops with red wine reduction and couscous.
Because you just KNEW this was all a setup for a Bev-Sarah showdown, Paul got the win. Oh, you producers! You’ve given us the duel we’ve all been waiting for. All is forgiven.
But just when we thought the challenges couldn’t get more inane, we got the culinary biathlon. Not some sort of cooking double-event, no. An actual biathlon: cross-country ski one lap, then head to the shooting range with 10 bullets to hit as many ingredient targets as possible. Then cook.
Presumably this challenge tested whether they’d still be good chefs if placed in a lawless, icy, dystopian future in which cooking a fancy dinner required trekking across snow-covered terrain, hunting and then cooking under a strict time limit due to the roving bandit hordes closing in.
During the resultant ski vignette, they just kept falling, again and again, and it was SLOW falling, which is the most ungraceful kind.
Once the ladies got to the shooting range, the obvious question arose: what if they missed with all ten bullets? Unfortunately, we’ll never know: both chefs bagged a handful of ingredients.
The final two dishes were very solid. Beverly made slow-roasted arctic char with onion and beet compote, celery root-truffle puree and fennel. The judges loved the combination of earthy flavors and seafood. However, the char was slightly overcooked.
As for Sarah, she made braised rabbit leg and heart with cherries and sauerkraut puree. It was risky and flavorful, but the rabbit was a bit tough.
So, oddly, the main components were the weak links in both dishes.
The judges came to a decision, and I was so ready to jump up and fist-pump following a Bev victory announcement. And I don’t even LIKE Bev.
Alas, Sarah was victorious. As Bev cried, Sarah embraced her and spouted some garbage about being happy they cooked together and how Bev is “amazing” and it was pretty much the fakest.
Next week, the
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