'Top Chef: Texas': The duel we've been waiting for
February 16th, 2012
11:37 AM ET

'Top Chef: Texas': The duel we've been waiting for

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 nightmare amazing journey is over!

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Filed under: television • Top Chef • TV recaps

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. danielwalldammit

    Cooking food in a moving Gondola? Lol, I see this TV theme has just about run it's course.

    April 17, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tom

    I will not watch the rest of this sad season. Too many spiteful unattractive women that don't deserve to even be in Bev's kitchen. Sarah is not a nice person and will always be a fat pig with a moon face.

    February 18, 2012 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. RedWineReduction

    Agree with posters (and all viewers generally) that this season's ridiculous stunts have ruined this show. I find myself rooting for the least offensive person (Paul), but not really caring who wins. The producers should go back and look at the Voltaggio season and use that as the model. Recipe for a great show = Superior Chefs cooking super creative food.

    February 17, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • April

      I agree, the Voltaggio season, and the season with Fabio, Stefan, Carla was great. Lindsay and Sarah are uninspiring as chefs; they have mentors that are important to the producers. Paul is just nice; I thought he and Bev made the most interesting food. The finale would be far more watchable if Sarah had been eliminated. Lindsay would have lost her crutch. Paul would have had to go head to head with Bev on asian flavors.

      February 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jb2817

    Sarah is just a nasty beeotch

    February 17, 2012 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Missilene

      hey sarah!! i really want to watch the show but i can't cause the guys from the USA nowretk site has stoped uploading the episodes and this is my only way to watch it decause i am not from america .. can you do something about that???you are great i love love love you!!!

      March 17, 2012 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. Denise

    Very disappointed... I feel that Bev won the battle and the only reason they chose Sarah, it because Sarah's mentor is a big time ched who has been on Top Chef Masters...... Not fair and disappointed with the judges.

    February 17, 2012 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kyle

    I'm convinced that Bev is being edited alot. They try to display as this some kind of victim, but she is selfish, as evident by some of her behavior in the kitchen. Also, I just realized that Lindsay reminds me of that girl from Eddie's Million Dollar Cookoff.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. happy dance

    I'm am sooooo glad Bev is gone again. I hate when they bring people back. She was never and will never be a fan favorite.
    Bev open you darned eyes sometime, she spent all her time crying and nodding with her eyes closed. God she was a pain to watch.
    Goooo Lindsay I have rooted for you from day one.

    February 16, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • CJ

      Disagree. Bev was really a nice person unlike Sarah and Lindsay. Both horrible and rude. Since there "best buds" it will be great to see how they go against each other. Rooting for Paul. GO PAUL!!

      February 16, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. country girl

    I grew up eating wild game that my dad hunted. Rabbit is delicious – tastes like chicken. What I hated to eat was squirrel!

    February 16, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Michele

    Been watching since the beginning, but I'm done with this show. The challenges are beyond stupid and have nothing to do with being a chef. Would rather watch the cooking channel and learn something about food. Sarah should have been gone long ago when she was too ill to help but well enough to serve her own food. What a joke. And, if being the biggest blowhard is what is necessary, sorry, Paul, Lindsay and Sarah take the honors. Is there no talented chef left for this show?

    February 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • OWL

      I agree that this show has lost its way. What did these ridiculous challenges have to do with the skills needed to be a chef...or with Texas!? Did the Whistler ski resort just pay for one long advertisement? Sarah and Lindsay are arrogant b****** who think overestimate their skills.

      February 16, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. San Jose

    Ugh... This is BY FAR the worst season of Top Chef EVER!!!!! I don't even care who wins. They need to give this show a rest for a while, it's bad :(

    February 16, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Gordon Ramsme

    What a seriously uninspiring group of final contestants. Two horrible and rude females and one incredibly dull male. I could care less who wins.

    February 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Julia's Child

    It's Top Chef, not Top Beech so I hope Paul wins.

    February 16, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kate

    Bev and Sarah had three chances to cook for the finale. Bev was a better shot and got an extra ingredient. Both chefs could pick their ingredients by their shots so there wasn't any sabotage. The rabbit dish was more appealing to the judges, enough said!

    I wouldn't eat rabbit and I found that Sarah's recipe much more desirable on a cold winters' night!

    February 16, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |

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