Top Chef: Texas Recap

By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis

February 22, 2012

deja vu all over again

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Beverly and Sarah do not have much luck, even with Paul’s (significant) assistance. Sarah’s soup congeals in a nasty looking manner. Beverly looks world weary by the end. The judges are polite to the women but it is clear that Paul has destroyed all opponents in this challenge. Sure enough, he earns another $10,000 (giving him a cool $7 million for the season) and a spot in the final three. So, this season is going to come down to Paul versus Lindsay with one of Beverly or Sarah handed the role of (extreme) dark horse.

Beverly and Sarah now face off in a direct challenge, the “Culinary Biathlon”. The prize is the final spot in the final three plus $10,000. After skiing to the area where the ingredients are located, the dueling chefs are given a rifle (what a great idea) and asked to demonstrate their shooting skills. If they get a bullseye, the ingredient they choose is theirs to use in the meal. As has been the case throughout the season, Sarah brags about phantom skills that she does not in fact possess. In this case, she claims to be a gun nut like most Texans. Beverly, on the other hand, has never held a firearm before in her life. Guess what happens next. Yes, Beverly hits the bullseye on five out of ten challenges while Sarah manages only four. It’s a good thing Sarah currently resides in Chicago because she won’t be welcome in Texas after this.

The ingredients Beverly wins are Arctic char (how appropriate), celery root, winter truffle, fennel and beets. Sarah targets (literally) rabbit, cabbage, hazelnuts and cherries. Sarah had wanted beets, but Beverly beat her to the location. Sarah is left to whine about how Beverly must have had more shots (not joking) and root against Beverly making a shot. After Beverly hits the target, Sarah only has one shot at cherries but to her credit, she sharp shoots when it matters.

Throughout the episode, Sarah has indicated strong feelings of insecurity about Beverly. She states that this is because Beverly won so many heads up battles during Last Chance Kitchen. We suspect she knows that karma owes her a small dose of abject humiliation. When they get to the kitchen, however, Beverly reminds us of why we found her so annoying early in the season. For no apparent reason, she chooses to blend at Sarah’s station. This comes on the heels of her trying to get in Grayson’s head during the final Last Chance Kitchen. Unlike Paul, Beverly isn’t showing a lot of class down the stretch. The only winner in a battle between Beverly and Sarah is society.


Beverly completes her dish of Arctic char, onion and beet compote, celery root truffle puree and fennel salad. Sarah’s dish is not as well plated but it does look more refined. It is braised rabbit leg and heart with cherries, hazelnuts and sauerkraut puree. We are not crazy about sauerkraut but the other components of the dish sound like a delicious combination.

Tom feels that Beverly overcooked the dish slightly but the other judges agree that the flavors are wonderful. Tom compliments Sarah on the risks she took in creating the dish. He feels as if she went for it more. Oddly, being less successful with the shooting phase has helped her in this regard as was the case with Lindsay’s mistake in the first round. Her dish is more measured due to the limitations on ingredients. Gail Simmons indicates that the rabbit is a bit tough, meaning that neither chef has delivered a perfect meal. Tom politely states that both are good dishes and that the contestants “have not made it easy” on the judges.

Our opinion is that since Beverly had been eliminated once previously, the onus was on her to outperform Sarah. In the end, she hasn’t done that, which is why we are not surprised when the judges announce that Sarah will be the final member of the final three. For the second and final time this season, Beverly is eliminated from Top Chef. Lindsay and Sarah will attempt to upset Paul to claim the title of Top Chef.

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