Top Chef: Texas Recap

By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower

February 28, 2012

The agony of's even worse when you lose to Sarah.

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Finally, we have Paul’s mirugai sashimi with yuzu dashi, fried white fish, scallions and chili. It is also lovely, though Sarah’s looked overall prettier. Takashi does say that Paul got the idea almost perfectly. Emeril asks about the heat, and Paul says he added the Thai chili at the end. Padma says that she and Emeril do like a lot of chili, but even for them, this was too much.

We’re pretty sure Sarah has pulled this one off, all the more impressive since she’s done something so completely different from her norm. Emeril tells Lindsay that her Chinese sauces were a bit overpowering, while Padma tells Sarah that she had a beautiful plate of food – she wants to steal the amaranth (which was Floyd’s idea, but Sarah incorporated perfectly). Emeril says it could have used slightly more acid. They’re impressed that Paul went for it with the geoduck, but in the end, that Thai chili was just too much. Sarah and Floyd do indeed win the Quickfire, which means Sarah is taking home $20,000 for her trouble.

Two amusing items here: Floyd says it’s the first time he’s ever won a Quickfire, while Sarah comments that she won nothing before coming to Canada, but now she has $30,000. She is feeling very good about going into the next challenge.


We move on to the Elimination Challenge, which will bring together both Texas and Canada. The three chefs will be throwing a “Fire and Ice” cocktail party, which includes one dish and one cocktail apiece. Each dish should contain both a hot and cold element. Lindsay immediately comments on how this challenge is so open to interpretation that it could be very difficult. The cheftestants will be serving 150 of Vancouver’s “culinary elite,” with the winner receiving a trip for two to Costa Rica.

Whole Foods is apparently in Canada, because our chefs head there for shopping. Lindsay continues to stress about the specifics of the challenge – she seems to be having a hard time wrapping her head around what she’s supposed to accomplish. Paul buys king crab, and wants to do a play on the lobster bouillabaisse – something that’s theoretically supposed to be cold, but when you eat it, it’s hot. This is a clever idea that embraces the theme nicely.

Sarah is going to make a baked pasta that she will then “cool off” with a frozen ginger mousse. She says she has never made anything like this before, so we continue to be impressed by her willingness to go outside her wheelhouse. No one can say she isn’t going for it here.

Lindsay’s going back to cooking halibut, which she got super mad at Beverly for ruining during Restaurant Wars (never mind the fact that Beverly cooked it precisely as instructed, a fact that was pointed out by Grayson several times). We worry about this choice for Lindsay. If she messes up this same dish twice, it’s going to send her home, no question. Lindsay is also worried about the fact that both Sarah and Paul have some literal aspects of snow, ice and fire in their dish. She thinks it’s gimmicky, and doesn’t plan to do that sort of thing herself.

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