Top Chef: Texas Recap
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
February 28, 2012
Previously on Top Chef, Beverly was eliminated from the competition…again. We might still be bitter that her return can be directly attributed to Edward’s having to pack his knives and go. In any case, Bad Beverly was back last week, behaving poorly during the challenges, though of course since the other two women in the competition are absolute jerks to her, we can sort of understand the reason why. Last week’s challenges were a little silly and not really demonstrating a lot of what chefs in the real world have to do to develop a strong reputation, but in the end Lindsay, Paul and Sarah emerged as our final three. How do we rank them?
1) Paul: He wasn’t the first one in the finals last week, but Paul did add yet another $10,000 to his coffers. Since he has been the domination for the entire season, we see no reason to move him down now. We’re going to be damned surprised if he’s not in the finale, where he should at last be free to cook unfettered by silly guidelines.
2) Lindsay: Since she was the first one to get into the finale last week, she pretty much has to be ahead of Sarah. Lindsay has been an up and down performer most of the season, with the majority of her dishes finishing right in the middle. The difference between first and second is extreme.
3) Sarah: Yes, Sarah was in the bottom two last week and at risk of being eliminated. Yes, we dislike Sarah, because she’s been self-centered and unpleasant through the majority of the season. Even so, we have to give her credit for putting herself out there during the last few challenges. She’s trying different things and the judges are noticing (in a positive way). This is the kind of behavior that is really important for an underdog trying to beat someone as naturally talented as Paul.
As the episode begins, we see Paul, Lindsay and Sarah bonding during their drive to Vancouver. Paul notes that the three of them have become quite close through the course of this season, and it’s actually a really nice moment. Other than in All-Stars, we don’t usually see chefs bonding quite so closely due to the competitive element that keeps them at an arm’s distance from each other.
Nonetheless, Paul does note that at this point in the game, friendship has to be out the window. He’s got his game face on. Do the girls?
The three of them head to Chinatown, which concerns Sarah since Asian food is not her strong suit. On the plus side for all three of them, at least Ed and Bev are gone now. Padma and Emeril Lagasse greet them, and explain that today’s Quickfire Challenge will play to the fact that Vancouver has one of the largest Asian populations outside of Asia itself. Thus, they’ll be mixing it up with some of the master chefs of Asian cuisine. In fact, these master chefs are Top Chef Masters, including Anita Lo, Takashi Yagihashi and Season Three winner Floyd Cardoz. Sarah is thrilled, because she knows Takashi and is friends with him in Chicago.