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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Ultimately, the judges are looking like their decision is going to be tough once again. For the past couple of challenges, it has come down to the smallest of mistakes. Paul’s concept is complimented as well as the spice, though Tom continues to harp on the arugula. He felt like it was an afterthought, just added for color.

Gail asks Sarah about her idea, and the judges all smile when Sarah explains what she was thinking when it came to putting the mousse on top of the pasta to serve as the sauce. Gail notes that the pasta was perfectly cooked, but that the mousse was indeed over-frozen. Tom praises the dish as brave, but agrees that it was a little too cold. Emeril compliments the cocktail as being “yummy.”

They finally come to Lindsay’s dish, and Gail tells the cheftestant that she feels the elements worked well together. Tom is giving her the stink-eye, though, and says the remoulade and the tomato overpowered the dish. Emeril (who is apparently playing the Good Cop role through these proceedings) says that the fish was perfectly cooked and that he liked the cocktail, though it had some separation at the end. Tom does say that her cocktail probably worked best with her meal.


Ultimately, each of the chefs had some minor errors, but from Tom’s reaction during the discussions of those issues, he seems to be fighting to eliminate Lindsay. Gail is an advocate for Lindsay (clearly arguing for Sarah, because of the frozen mousse). Tom keeps worrying over that arugula, but we don’t think a piece of arugula is significant enough of an issue to see him eliminated. We’re going to predict that Lindsay is going home. If Tom wants someone to go, he usually gets his way. He also makes the point that Lindsay’s dish wasn’t particularly interesting in comparison with the other two.

They call the chefs back to Judges Table, and rehash all that has been noted above. Sarah’s name is called – because she is going to the finale. That means that either Paul or Lindsay is going home, and we’re going to be sending cards and letters to Bravo if it’s the former. Fortunately, as we predicted based on Tom’s reaction, Lindsay is told to pack her knives and go. We had imagined that Sarah had won this Elimination Challenge, but in fact Paul is the winner of the trip to Costa Rica. That means he has now won eight out of 16 Elimination Challenges, finished in the “low” group only once, and also has two Quickfire wins on top of that. This is as dominating a performance as we’ve ever seen on the show.

It’s on to the finale, and we hope that they stick to the tried and true formula of allowing the chefs to just cook the best food that they can. It would seem that Paul ought to be the heavy favorite here, but we have to say that Sarah has been bringing it both creatively and through execution. Will she be able to pull off the upset? It should be very exciting to see these two push themselves. While we’ve felt that this was a lackluster season, the past few episodes have definitely seen some accelerated performances from everyone involved. The preview shows Tom saying that one of the dishes is the best he’s ever had in a finale. That should make for good TV.

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