After 29 chefs (and what felt like 29 episodes), “Top Chef: Texas” crowned a winner.
In the end, Paul got the Food and Wine magazine feature and added $125,000 to his already sizable stack of winnings. And it was never really in doubt.
OK, that last part is a lie. This was one of the tightest finales in the show’s nine seasons, with Tom saying it was the best food they’ve eaten.
For the final challenge, Paul and Sarah had to create a four-course tasting menu. A bunch of booted “Texas” chefs and two established American chefs each made a Quickfire dish, which Paul and Sarah blind taste-tested to determine teams.
Paul’s first pick turned out to be master chef Barbara Lynch, and he rounded out his crew with Ty-Lor, Keith and Pretty Chris.
Sarah had a strong group with Nyesha, Heather and Grayson. Unfortunately she also chose Tyler, who made the quickest exit in “Top Chef” history after flubbing basic butchering on day one. Both chefs blatantly avoided making eye contact with this guy, like when some hack cruise ship comedian is looking to pluck a volunteer.
When it came time to plan the dishes and cook, though, Paul and Sarah were in command, determined not to let anyone derail them. As Sarah put it: “I’m trying to get Tyler to feel like he’s part of the group, when really I don’t give a s***.” For once, I agreed with her.
For Paul’s first course, he presented chawanmushi (which the Google machine says is a Japanese steamed egg custard) with spot prawns. The first group of judges said it was exceptional, citing the silky smooth texture. But for the second rotation, the batch was an overcooked mess.
Next was grilled sea bass with clam dashi, radishes and mushrooms. The whole dish exhibited Paul’s deft use of contrast, and the broth was “brilliant.”
For the third course, Paul served congee (rice porridge) with scrambled eggs, uni and smoked albacore. It wasn’t as interesting as his other food, but was well-executed and confident.
Dessert consisted of coconut ice cream with puffed rice, Thai chili foam and a bunch of mystical-sounding stuff. The spicy foam played well with the (slightly too crunchy) rice.
Overall, it was described as a “sexy meal.” Dude is the mailman: he always delivers (but unlike Karl Malone, Paul got himself a championship).
Admittedly, Top Chef Nation – myself included – has been pretty rough on Sarah this season. But last night she showed she deserved to be in the finale.
She started off with squid ink tagliatelle with spot prawns (what’s with all the spot prawns?) and coconut. Gail described this as one of those out-there dishes that was so delectable, you wondered why nobody had thought it up before.
Next was rye-crusted trout (under-seasoned) with pickled beets (raw), the one “meh” dish of the night.
Third was veal cheek with sweetbreads and polenta. The polenta in the first batch was a Goldilocks porridge nightmare, but Sarah smoothed it out for the second judges’ visit. While the veal cheek was “luscious,” the dish lacked texture.
All the judges swooned for Sarah’s hazelnut cake with white chocolate ganache – especially Padma, who said despite her hatred of white chocolate, it was one of the best “Top Chef” desserts she’d ever had.
Overall, Sarah’s meal was dubbed “incredible.”
The judges concluded that while Sarah had a slight edge in the first course, Paul convincingly won the second and third, and the dessert was just barely Sarah (Tom preferred Paul’s). While Paul did what he knew and nailed the details, Sarah successfully stepped out of her comfort zone.
As I obsessively analyzed the chefs’ confessional room demeanor and Sarah’s giant grin during the “Watch What Happens Live” promo, I concluded she snagged the win.
Did I mention I’m not a body language expert? Like so many other challenges this season, the victory went to Paul. Commence obligatory/adorable crying with the parents.
Meanwhile, Sarah whined that she thought she deserved to win. But hey, she didn’t blame Bev!
So, yes, this season was prolonged and sometimes underwhelming. But it finished strong and the most deserving chef won. I’d take that over a more consistent season that ends with a Hosea or Kevin S. fiasco any day.
URGENT – Please read more about VERIZON. Things they don't want the public to know! I was tormented by racial comments that were ignored, then racially discriminated against and wrongfully terminated for making complaints about the racial injustice.
Please visit my Blog Page to see what Verizon did to my family. What they have done to my family, and continue to do is horrific. Today they still will not accept responsibility. So I will not stop this FIGHT for JUSTICE! It has been 8 years and I refuse to give up, but I need your help to spread my message.
You can read my stories about what VERIZON did to my family by GOOGLING:
• “Verizon Raped My Family – Cover Letter”
• “Verizon Raped My Family – Press Release”
• “Verizon Raped My Family – Requesting Criminal Punishment”
From there you can access the other letters through the recent post.
I am a man who has stood up against racism, discrimination, bullying, harassment, hostile environment, belittlement, threats, and retaliation, all while working for Verizon Communications, as they conspired to terminate me.
I am a man who is trying to hold his family together while in the process of trying to fight for my rights to be heard. I am a man who has brought up his family on morals, discipline, character, hard work, dedication and conviction to believe that good things happen to good people. I am a man who could not be more proud of my family for all their trust and faith in my conviction. I am man who is a proud servant in my community and deserves to be heard, as I am begging for JUSTICE!
Neal W. Dias
Somewhere deep, well not deep as depth doesn't really play into the chef's hat, and its odd fibers, all loosely locked and starch held. Excuse the aside, but I'm not convinced they chose the right Paul. And am concerned about the wires, his ramblemancy, and their choice based on food taste and not food form and fire. Form and fire.
Sarah was a mean girl. I am glad Paul won. She was a backstabber and I thouht people her age stop behaving the way she did once they left high school. Go Paul!
i am glad paul won. They were both good chefs but she was part of the mean girls crowd. karma will get you every time
So happy that Paul won!!!! Good guys don't always finish last! (maybe you will stop being such a mean girl, Sarah)
I'm so happy for Paul and I'm extremely happy he won. He seems to be a genuinely good and decent person. I agree with everyone Paul is by far the best Chef; consistancy is everything. Sarah wasn't very nice to a few people and she got just what she deserved! Good luck to Paul; we all know you'll be successful!
The right person won all that pig did was talk junk and backstab everyone, then gives the one "my mom is a single mother who raised me." Should have been my mom had a one night stand with some random dude when she was doing body shots at the bowling alley bar and 9 mos later she's on welfare and food stamps with me wa wa wa, did she teach you how to treat people like crap you lost because of Karma so put that in your crepe and cook it....
I was hoping for a Paul vs Ed or a Paul vs Lindsay final. I was so disappointed that it was Sarah that I didn't even watch the last episode. But I'm so glad Paul won. Hope they go back to a more enjoyable format next "season" and quit trying to make the contestants look like idiots. Just let them COOK!
I think that they were evenly matched. The first course win was Sarah's, the second course win was Paul's, they both needed to re-work their third courses, and the fourth I'd give to Sarah. Paul's meal was pretty egg-heavy, which can be nauseating, but his mistakes were few, so that's why he won.
As to the most annoying season, that would be DC. I can't remember a single chef from that season. The challenges were dismal!
This whole Texas thing was really the worst season of Top Chef ever. Between the two last chefs, Paul deserved to win, no question. Each week he seemed talented and humble, while Sarah just managed to be a blow hard, getting worse every week. In the end, her only redeeming quality was that she was slightly less annoying than Heather.
rooted against Sarah from the first time she opened her mouth, While Paul was obviously the cream of the crop, thought Ed would have been best opponent
Even though this was the very worst season of Top Chef EVER, I still have hope that it will be better in the future... only because Paul won. I stopped watching about half way through the season when I started noticing all the good chefs were being sent home. I tuned in to the last 5 minutes last night, telling myself that if Sarah won I would NEVER watch the show again. I'm pretty happy I can watch this show in the future. :)
Good for Paul. Sarah's obviously a more-than-competent chef, but that off-kitchen backstabbing all season long was a real turnoff. Sometimes nice guys DO finish first.
The right chef won. Not just because he's a decent person but he was far and away a more consistent chef. That being said, I am so glad that rude bully did not win.
I am with you she bashed everyone and treated like crap it's called Karma
as a chef of 35 years myself, i have no idea how sarah made it half way through the season...i have been watching top chef since season 1 and i disliked sarah more than any other contestant from the first show onward. it would have been the last time i ever watched top chef again if sarah would have won.
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Our daily cheat-sheet for breaking celebrity news, Hollywood buzz and your pop-culture obsessions.
Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.
Join 7,772 other followers