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Okay, now strap yourself in because this is it! The first of thirty Top Chef Texas Finale Episodes! Yeah see, I was looking ahead to find out if there was another Top Chef next week and there is! Apparently they're not doing their usual two-hour turn 3 chefs into 2 chefs into one. Yep. The DVR won’t let me go more than two weeks into the future but I’m imagining that there’s another show the week after and then the week after that because Bravo doesn’t want this to end either. It’s a cash cow! A cow made of cash that will be killed and turned into expensive hamburgers and tartares!
The three finalists sit outside near a fire pit and Sarah Smile mentions that Bev is gone and isn’t coming back and says this is how it was supposed to be all the time.
Really, you were supposed to wear that hideous hat the entire series?
The next morning they leave Chateau Whistler in their Product Placement car, play the ‘name game’ (I never played that, ‘the alphabet game’ and ‘punch buggy,’ yes and ouch, respectively) and check into the Fairmount Hotel in Vancouver.
(Again, no one has told us why Top Chef Texas is in Vancouver. Still no clue as to why this ocurred.)
Then they get to an Asian restaurant in Chinatown. Sarah Smile: “Asian food is not my forte. Thank God Beverly went home because she would have nailed it.”
I have a nail I’d like to put somewhere myself.
They enter to find Pads looking very MAD MAX; and usually absent TC Judge Emeril (BAM) wearing something from the Big And Bigger Men’s Store.
Pads: “Vancouver has one of the largest Asian populations outside of Asia...” (Say word?! How’d that happen?) She announces they’re about to mash it up with the Masters of Asian cuisine.
Pads: “Please welcome...
Oh Lordy, now this is happening again:
"Top Chef Masters..."
Sarah Smile: “Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God!”
Anita Lo, TC Master Winner Floyd Cardoz and Takashi Yagihashi (which should also be a sex move, right? let’s just make up one, shall we! But if it involves soy sauce, use the low sodium stuff.)
Sarah Smile does like fourteen “a new car!” faces, hands shaking and tears welling up because she "knows Takash"i and they’re “friends in Chicago” and “I totally respect him” it’s "just amazing to see him." Um, that don’t mean you won, Bitch.
They draw knives. Lindsay gets Anita Lo; Sarah Smile gets Floyd (ha-ha!); Street Food gets Takashi Yagihashi. Sarah Smile feigns happiness for Street Food and herself: “Oh, you got Takashi.” btw when the Masters go to stand next to their chefs, Takashi doesn’t even embrace her or anything. He doesn't even LOOK at her. Yet another chef relationship Sarah has built up in her fat head.
Each team must create an Asian inspired dish in 40 minutes. But they have to take turns cooking and every ten minutes tag out so the other chef can cook. Nuts. The winner gets 20k (whoa) and Time Starts Now!
The Masters go first and leave the Finalists in the dining room. There’s no talk- there’s no talking?! Oh right, this is TC Texas, we’re lucky they aren’t cooking with their elbows.
TC Master Takashi knows that Street Food knows Asian food and will understand what he’s going for and “do a good job.” He grabs a sea penis...
Okay, it’s called geoduck and it’s geo-ross. Meanwhile-
BAM reports that the other chefs will “have their hands full” as the three wait, Sarah Smiling and asking her fellow chefs stupid questions rapid-fire like she found Coke Mouth's old coke stash.
TC Master Anita wants to make a trio of scallops highlighting three different Asian cultures. TC Master Floyd reveals he never won a QFC when he was on Masters, he preps a curry. He wants to hit a home run for Sarah Smile. (But what if I secretly paid you to strike out for her, would you do that for me Floyd?)
The Finalists run into the kitchen and the Masters run out. Lindsay is disoriented and doesn’t get the three scallop preparations. Street Food is a little bummed when he sees the geoduck because it’s an acquired taste. With a mascot like this I’d have to agree http://www.evergreen.edu/athletics/geoduck.htm. Sarah Smile realizes Floyd was making a curry and she has zero experience with it. Good!
Anita is happy that Lindsay sauteed Chinese sausage; Floyd is thrilled with Sarah’s progress, it’s exactly what he wanted. Sarah Smiles at Street Food: "He picked the giant clam?"
Sarah Smile: "Oh my God I'm so glad I don't have him."
Street Food and Lindsay’s Masters have already started one plate so they know what it’s supposed to look like. Sarah Smile says she just wants to beat Street Food. And everyone else. Mostly the people in high school. And Baby Face Bev. Before she and Heather B. eat Bev’s child.
Lindsay presents she and Anita’s dish-
Anita explains the dish she intended: a scallop in three parts: mantles raw, fried roe and then with sausage. Lindsay’s dish was little different but Anita points out Pads ate the entire thing. Pads says there’s some really nice flavor.
Sarah Smile doesn’t know the greens in the curry she and Floyd made were amaranth but Floyd says she did exactly what he wanted. Mind you, I think if i'm prepping something in the kitchen and you see curry paste or spice, it's pretty easy to guess I'm making a gd curry. Just saying'...
Takashi says Street Food did what he intended too, “straightforward, let the ingredients shine.” BAM asks about the heat. Street Food put a little chili in there ven though it wasn’t Japanese. Pads says she and BAM both like a lot of chili “but that’s a lot of chili.” Street Food drops his cute head.
There’s lots of love for the dishes but BAM announces that Lindsay’s Chinese sausages were a little overpowering; Sarah Smile’s dish could have used more acid; and Street Food’s had too much chili. The dish that has “all the notes of Asian flavors is...”
You guessed it...
Sarah and Floyd.
Let’s hope she spends that 20k on upper lip replacement surgery.
The Elimination Challenge
Pads: “Now that you’ve beaten the heat in Texas and survived the cold in Whistler, we thought it’d be fun to bring the two of together.”
Um, just because now nothing makes sense anymore?
The chefs must throw a Fire & Ice party the next evening.
[Sidebar: Have you ever eaten at Fire & Ice in Boston or Cambridge?! It’s like eating in pinball arcade! And not in a cool way. The carpet is black with fireworky splashes of blue and pink and yellow. The lighting is neon. The space is too big and echoes. And the food is straight up Panda Express, including the plastic tray. Shit makes P.F. Chang’s Michelin starred.]
Pads says they must each create one dish and one cocktail (annoying!) for the F&I Party and the dish must contain a hot and cold element. They gotta keep the hot side hot and the cool side cool, the McDLT is back, ya’ll.
They’ll be serving 150 people (yipe) and the winner gets a trip for two to Costa Rica.
BAM: “Chili with a scoop of sour cream isn’t going to cut it.” Then BAM promptly leaves the restaurant and goes right to Craft Services and eats a vat of chili with sour cream.
45 Minutes/$1,200 to shop at Whole Foods!
Street Food wants to do a play on lobster bouillabaisse; something that feels like it’s cold and has shaved "Pernod snow" but then you eat it and it’s hot. Sarah Smile goes for baked pasta and then to cool it off, a ginger mousse. She’s never made this before. Hm... Lindsay feels like what Sarah and Street Food are doing is gimmicky and it’s not how she cooks. She isn’t sure whether or not to take the challenge literally and buys...halibut. Okay.
Now it’s time to- eat dinner?
Lemme tell you something, I’d be right in that hotel in my MFing bed, okay? I’d be like- you can film me sleeping. No, g’head, turn on the lights, I can sleep in a fully lit room. I can sleep standing up on the train in a sea of screaming babies. Try me!
Lindsay toasts to Sarah’s 20k and Sarah reveals (To Camera) that her family let her drop out of high school in her junior year to pursue cooking. OHHHH, that’s why you act like that. You truly are still in high school.
The next morning she tells us that Lindsay and Street Food second guess themselves all the time (oh really?) and that though she’s making a dish she never made before, she believes in herself.
See what money does to people?
5 Hours to Prep!
Street Food rips through 30 pounds of lobsters to make his lobster stock: “I’m in the zone.”
I gotta zone for you to be in.
Sarah Smile makes pasta “from scratch, for a 150 people.”
Sarah Smile: “I haven’t seen pasta like this since I was in Italy.”
Okay. I almost put a photo here of myself giving the camera the gas face. I mean, really, Dood. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.
Lindsay preps a bloody mary by grating fresh tomatoes. Sarah Smile thinks she needs to do something a little more unique “she’s definitely playing it safe.” Uh oh, here comes trouble...
Street Food explains his Pernod ice cube that’s shaved like lemon snow and how you’ll pour the lobster broth into his dish so it melts together. Colicchio asks Street Food why he didn’t win the Quickfire.
Colicchio: “Is the competition getting to ya?”
Gasp! Leave my bf alone!
Street Food says these two ladies are badass because that’s what nice guys do who are completely exhausted.
I’d like to talk to Street Food for a minute here if you please: Hi. Hi, Street Food. Um, honey, I know you’re supatired, so next weekend I’ve decided that we should forgo the parties and sleep in the whole weekend and eat cereal in bed when we’re not having relations or watching cartoons or watching cartoons while we have relations or watching cartoons have relations while we eat cereal. Deal? Deal!
Not one to leave anyone out, Colicchio accosts Lindsay after she explains her halibut over a celery root remoulade and fresh tomato nage (reduced essence of tomato.) He asks if she’s cooking halibut to set the record straight because Bev cooked it for her in Restaurant Wars but it may have been the way she “taught her to cook it”
Lindsay says it might come back and haunt her but she likes to make sure what’s hot is hot and what’s cold is cold. Um, beg pardon? I was just kidding about the McDLT reference.
Then Colicchio gets to Sarah Smile. (I can't wait for this verbal beatdown!) Sarah Smile: “I’m making a cannelloni and I’m filling it with a mixture of five greens, flavoring that with a bunch of red chilis, toasted garlic and anchovy...” Colicchio interjects here saying it’s Calabria because that’s the only place in Italy where they make chilies (?? I rewound this several times, Sarah Smiles and agrees it's Calabria ??) then he asks what the cold part of the dish is... (Okay, here we go!)
Sarah Smile: “A spiced mousse or sformato. It’s gonna go in the freezer and that’s gonna go on the pasta as it’s hot and kinda ooze down and make the sauce. I think I have some nice ideas and I really wanna cook for you in the last challenge."
Then he walks away.
What goes on! Grill her too! Make her feel all vulnerable and crappy like you did everyone else!
Okay!? That’s like telling her she got it already! WTF is happening here?
One Hour Left!
The servers come in and Street Food immediately asks who’s serving drinks and starts to describe how he wants service to proceed. Lindsay wonders if she used enough salt and asks Sarah while wondering if she can trust her fellow chefs to tell her the truth. (Why are you asking them at all? Hm, I guess you do 'second guess' yourself as Sarah Smile said- Ugh I hate it when she's right!) Street Food makes a thai chili foam for his drink that looks like snow. (Awesome!) Sarah’s anti-griddle totally deep freezes her mousse and she’s “freaking out!” because she’s a massive pain in the sac.
Here come the Judges!
Oh, apparently PETA doesn’t exist in Vancouver.
Pads asks if there’s a secret Last Chance Finale Kitchen that Colicchio is going to run off to.
Colicchio: “Last Last Chance Kitchen.”
Gail: “Bev’s coming back.” BAM: “She’s under the table right now!”
Just before his dish is served, Street Food says he doesn’t feel on top of his game.” Nooo!
Colicchio says there’s tons of lobster flavor in the broth, BAM likes the heat but then Colicchio doesn’t like the arugula on the dish “it doesn’t serve a purpose.” As for the cocktail:
Colicchio says he’s usually not a fan of alcohol paired with food- UMMMM, HOLD UP! You’re a producer of this show. Did you not help decide what the Elimination Challenge would be here? Maybe you were getting your head waxed, perhaps by Sarah Smile, but that’s what this is, Dood, a food and cocktail pairing. Get familiar!
Colicchio does like the drink Street Food made and the egg whites whipped to imitate snow. BAM says he can taste the chili in the drink. Pads: “It could use even a little more heat.”
(Thankfully) BAM: “Keep in mind, yesterday, we killed him about the heat.”
Pads: “I know.”
Do you know? Do you really?
Because I’m telling you, right now Bravo, with Colicchio not saying shit to Sarah Smile while breaking everyone else down and this “I could use more heat” crap, it seems like you’re setting up Sarah Smile to win the whole thing. And if you do that, Bravo, I will Stop Watching. Just like I did when mealy-mouthed Gretchen won on Project Runway with those clothes that looked like a cross between the wardrobe from COMING TO AMERICA and the Square Pegs TV series starring Sarah Jessica Parker.
Do Not Invoke My Reality Show Wrath!
Meanwhile in the kitchen Sarah Smile, is freaking about her mousse that was supposed to melt over the pasta and form the sauce.
(It's actually a cool idea. Too bad it didn't work.) She responds by instructing (yelling) for the servers make sure the guests are eating the mousse and the pasta in the same bite “They need to eat it together...that’s the concept of this dish!” How about if the servers feed all the guests? Would that help?
Finally it’s served.
Gail: “Is this sformato supposed to be sooo...
Gail: “Tough to cut into?”
Coliccho says he thinks she wanted it to melt but the flavors are great. Come on! You’d NAIL Street Food if his spormato didn’t melt!
Everyone agrees her drink would be better if it were summertime and they were in Texas.
Yeah, the whole point of the show would have been better if you stayed in Texas. Hello?
Meanwhile Lindsay is nervous that she didn’t take the Fire & Ice challenge literally and adds a spoon of shaved tomato ice to the serving tray.
Yeah. That’ll do it.
Gail thought her dish was pretty fiery.
Colicchio didn’t and also didn’t understand why the kale was raw but he thought the fish was nicely cooked. BAM says he feels the heat (but then he always does) and likes her cocktail with the dish...
...but on its own it’s very flat.
In the Stew Room, Lindsay remarks that today was the first day they didn’t explain their dishes to the judges. Street Food says so many things could have gone wrong. Then-
Someone gets fired for not dressing that fire extinguisher to the left! Dood!
Annnnd Pads is tipsy: “Pawl, let’s start with youuu.”
Colicchio attacks the arugula and says it seemed like an afterthought. BAM says the spice was nice and Pads says it could have had more heat.
Gail tells Sarah Smile her mousse was so frozen it was hard to eat with the pasta. Colicchio says it was brave (you never call anyone brave, Tom! And I never call you Tom either!) and pushing her out of her comfort zone but admitted it was too cold.
Colicchio says out of all the dishes Lindsay’s worked best with her cocktail but it was almost as if she didn’t need the fish because the tomato and remoulade was so good on its own.
They go back to the Stew Room and Sarah Smiles and says they all did well they just needed to make little adjustments.
Yeah, like if you crawled your ass into the oven and stayed in there? That woulda been an awesome adjustment for everyone!
At Judges’ Table, Colicchio continues to harp on Street Food’s arugula, then he says Sarah Smile’s was much more creative plus it all became one dish. Gail (my girl!) jumps on his back and thumps him good: “That doesn’t excuse, to me, the FROZEN spiced mousse.”
Colicchio: “It was still part of the challenge to make hot and cold and so she did it, so it’s kinda hard to fault her for it.”
Gail: “But she meant it to be a sauce on the cannelloni and it wasn’t!”
Hit him hard, Gail! (Also you look great but you gotta watch it when the stylist puts you in those tops with the sparkles on the shoulders, they cast reflections on to your face. How the hell do you wash those tops anyway?)
Colicchio didn’t think Lindsay was creative but Gail says she didn’t make any mistakes. Honestly, all I wanna know is when did Colicchio get on the Sarah Smile wagon?
Album Cover Time!
Colicchio runs down the bullet points, yadda yadda yadda. Then, Pads tells...Sarah
...to move on to the finale!
And then there were two. My boyfriend, Street Food; and my pick, Lindsay.
...to pack her knives and go.
Lindsay: "Thank you, it’s been an awesome opportunity." Then she just jets! She doesn’t even shake anyone’s hand, she just bats ass outta there! She mayad!
She goes right to the Stew Room and Sarah sees her and stops smiling.
She sort of looks at her like- 'What happened to the gained dragon fruit you were supposed to put in Paul's oatmeal so you and I would get to the Finale?'
But what she really says is: Lindsay: “You and Paul are gonna do awesome.” TRANSLATION: You WILL share some of your winnings with me or you’ll never come to a slumber party at my house again!
Meanwhile Paul finds religion...
...and we win a trip to Costa Rica! Wooooooo! We won! And we’re gonna need that vaca. It’s been tough with him slaving over a hot stove and me slaving over a hot craptop. When Street Food gets to the Stew Room Lindsay hugs him and says again they’re gonna do great. I think she’s in shock.
After she's gone, Sarah Smile: “It makes me really sad that Lindsay had to go home but at the same time I always knew it would be me versus Paul because Paul is a great chef.”
And that means you are? Just because you caught fire a little bit in the final eps and stopped deep frying shit you're a great chef?
Seriously, work on your words! You KNOW you’re going to be interviewed. Just think ahead of time!
The final two toast. Sarah yells: “The two Texans!”
(For reals, tell us what that’s about, Bravo.)
In the classic knife-packing sequence, Lindsay says Top Chef becomes your reality and it feels like your life is gonna end when it’s over but she knows something great will happen.
Her neck will get thinner? I dunno.
What I do know is that, unfortunately, Mo; Kristen K.; Stripes and My Own Damn Self will be packing our knives and leaving too.
If one of the Mean Girls had to go, I wanted it to be Sarah Smile first. Now she’s one of the final two. Sigh. Well at least we don’t have to se- OMG HEATHER B. IS BACK NEXT WEEK??!!! I might have to pull out my old timey paperback thesaurus to tap adjectives for her ass! Until the next Finale, Poolers.
TOP CHEF TEXAS!
ELLIE Street Food and Sarah
KAT B Sarah
MERIDEN Street Food
ED K Street Food
BROWNIE Street Food
GBG Sarah and Street Food
JET Street Food
DAISY Street Food
NIKKI M Sarah and Street Food
LUCY Street Food