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Top Chef: Texas Recap

By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis

March 7, 2012

The knife points to the winner!

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As for Sarah, we placed her ninth out of the 13 remaining competitors at the time. Lindsay was third if you were curious. In that update, we derided Sarah for her selfish streak and not much has changed in the interim. We still view her as such. Still, we are impressed with her fortitude in surviving until the end. Sarah won only two elimination challenges and one Quickfire challenge in her home state of Texas. She has won almost as much in Canada with an elimination challenge as well as a Quickfire challenge victory to her credit. Clearly, she is cooking with more freedom and purpose as we reach the finale.

The judges congratulate the remaining Top Chef contestants on making the finale. Next, they reveal that a pair of popular Vancouver restaurants, Black + Blue and Coast, will be the setting for the last meals. Our presumption is that a form of Restaurant Wars will occur. Tom mentions that some very talented sous chefs will aid them. This leads to the inescapable conclusion that previous players from Top Chef: Texas will return.

We are mostly correct. A pair of James Beard award winning ringers, Barbara Lynch and Marco Canora, joins several previously eliminated players in the kitchen. They are all asked to prepare a dish. Based upon Top Chef history, we recognize that the chefs will do a blind taste test then select whomever prepared the food in question. Theoretically, both James Beard winners could be on the same team. If that happens to be Paul’s team, we can all call it a day and change the channel to ESPN.

The above is the dream scenario. There is also a nightmare scenario. A few of the chefs who never made it to the Sweet 16 are among the returning players. Colin Patterson is an outsider chef from Seattle who failed to include a key component on his trial dish. Ashley Villaluz immediately won our hearts with a marvelous story about her in-laws before failing to qualify. We are thrilled to see them given another chance.




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We are less excited to see Tyler Stone, the dreaded butcher whose knife skills led to the quickest elimination in the show’s history. He was so incompetent he almost got Grayson eliminated in his wake. His presence is unwelcome albeit understandable since the show’s producers probably felt as if he did not receive a fair shake. Since this is a sous chef assignment, however, he is a lodestone if anyone winds up with him.

Humorously, Keith is also one of the people in attendance. Were Sarah to select his dish, there would be a strong amount of karma if he returned the favor from their earlier encounter. She was vile to him and her half-apology after the fact that did little to provide consolation. In a perfect world, Sarah selects Tyler Stone and Keith and we laugh at the group dynamic for the body of the episode. Alas, this is only a half-perfect world.

Since Paul won the previous challenge (not that you could have known this from the way Paul seemed to be in jeopardy of elimination), he receives first choice of dishes. Paul immediately selects master chef Barbara Lynch. The odds of his winning just increased from 100% to 120%. Sarah picks someone we believe was a better chef than her, Nyesha. You may recall Nyesha was eliminated for Dakota’s mistake, then won several heads up challenges in Last Chance Kitchen before losing to Beverly due to a “slight under-seasoning." Effectively, Nyesha proved herself to be one of the best chefs in recent memory but fate was against her. If Bravo does Top Chef All-Stars 2, Nyesha will be a strong contender to win. Sarah’s chances of winning just went from -5% to -3%.


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