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'Top Chef: Texas' episode 15 recap

Two Chicago chefs battle in Whistler, and Padma wears a big fur hat

February 16, 2012|By Lisa Arnett | RedEye

For the showdown before the finale, the chefs head to Whistler, the site of the 2012 Olympic winter games to compete in their very own culinary games. The winner of each of three event wins $10,000 and secures a spot in next week's finale. And of course, Padma's wearing a big fur hat! The trio of challenges are as follows:

First: Cook a dish on a moving gondola, making a stop to choose an additional ingredient. Lindsay wins and secures her spot in the finale.
Second: Free frozen ingredients from blocks of ice and cook a dish with them in one hour. Paul's brute strength nets him the most ingredients the fastest, and though he helps Sarah and Bev out, he still comes in first, leaving them in a Chicago versus Chicago battle for the last spot in the finale.
Third: Complete a culinary biathlon. After cross-country skiing, the chefs must hit designated targets with a rifle in order to acquire ingredients to cook a dish for the judges.

-Sarah resolves to “Stay calm and be a really nice person” in this final stretch. How aspirational. +1 point.
-Then she interrupts Bev's reflection to exclaim how big a tree is outside of the car window. -1 point.
-During the gondola challenge, Sarah spouts off an impressive 4 bleeped-out expletives in the first few minutes. Her hands are too cold to open the wine or any other bottles. -1 point.
-She chooses prune juice to add sweetness to her chorizo dish with pickled mushrooms, gooseberries and almonds. Though Tom says the prune juice flavor didn't come through, the judges seem to like it on the whole. +1 point.
-Maybe the clips are shown out of context, but shots of Sarah's expressions are deliberately shown in what looks like a reaction to the judges' comments about Bev's dish. She's all smiles when the criticize her and semi-scowling when they spout praise. -1 point.
-She calls Beverly a “silent horse.” Is that a hybrid of “silent killer” and “dark horse”? 0 points.
-“You're my bitch,” she says to a packet of veggies she has just about freed from the ice. +1 point.
-Frozen cream causes her pea and spinach soup to break, like “split-pea soup gone wrong,” she says. -1 point.
-“My dad used to take me practicing shotgun with tin cans in the country,” says Sarah. She misses her first five shots in a row but then secures rabbit, cabbage, hazelnuts and cherries. +1 point.
-She tries to be nice when Beverly insists on using the electric outlet at her station for her blender. She utters a “Bev, really?” under her breath rather than blowing up at her, which I guess can be considered nice. + 1 point.
-The judges think its risky for her to have braised rabbit and made sauerkraut in such a short amount of time. Though her rabbit meat is a bit tough, her dish wins her a place in the finale. +2 point.
TOTAL: 3 points. She's headed to Vancouver for the big finale next week!

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