Padma’s Gotta Gun: The Top Chef Texas recap

Pick me!


They’ve gone through over two months of grueling competition, they’ve cooked their asses off, prepared everything from pork ribs to foie gras, and, one by one, they’ve defeated their culinary foes. So what’s the best way to choose our Top Chef finalists? Cross country skiing and target shooting, of course!
Shoot me now. (But not literally.)
Look, I’m not the first to say that this season of Top Chef has kind of lost its way. But here’s some unsolicited advice to Padma and friends going forward: Less forced product placement, less gimmicks, less challenges that have more to do with physical prowess than culinary skills, and get back to basics. There’s no shame in recycling some of the old Quickfires (I, for one, miss the blindfolded taste test), especially when the ones you come up with involve moving gondolas and blocks of ice.
So yeah, we’re in British Columbia now, for reasons not quite made clear.
Some time has passed, all the contestants have grown their hair—as they do.
Paul has packed on a few pounds, but still looks cute. And with his bratty school boy haircut, he looks a bit like the Asian Chuck Bass.
(However, the less said about his neon orange pants and matching suspenders, the better.)
They all greet each other warmly, but Sarah and Lindsay are cool to Bev.
“Paul, Sarah, and I have a bond,” explains Lindsay. “We’ve been through this since day one. It’s a little weird seeing Beverly show up.”
Yes, because she missed two whole episodes.
As the cheftestants drive to their challenge destination, Paul asks Bev about Last Chance Kitchen.
“Oh, it was pretty awesome!” gushes Bev, so glad that someone finally bothered to ask. “I.  .  .”
Look at that tree!” blurts out Sarah, in what is quite possibly the least artful sabotage of a conversation I’ve ever seen.
Beverly rolls  her eyes and simmers quietly, Beverly-style.
(By the way, did anyone catch Bev get the honey badger treatment on Watch What Happens Live last night? So good.) (And snazzy jacket there, Bev.)
They go to the top of a mountain, where Padma and Tom are about to be blown out of the frame, like this guy from the Weather Channel. 
So apparently, this was the same mountain where the Winter Games took place and we’ve got a completely reasonable Olympic theme to tonight’s show. Because the Winter Games are coming . . . in February 2014.
“Welcome to the Culinary Games!” says Padma, living out her Suzy Chapstick fantasy.
There will be three events. Each event offers a prize of $10,000 and a trip to the finale.
For the first event, the cheftestants have to prepare a dish on a moving gondola.
Here are a few things that might stand in the way of them making an ideal dish:
It’s cold as shit.
Paul gets motion sickness.
Food defrosts slower in the cold.
Water boils faster at high altitudes.
The gondola is moving.
“It’s very nauseous in here”-Sarah.
But besides that, it’s all about the food.
Guest judge is noted foodie and Olympic snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler. (I wonder if her fans are called Beleilers, Justin Bieber style. . .)
In the end, miraculously, the judges like all four dishes, but they are partial to Beverly’s clever salmon tartare and Lindsay’s salmon and chorizo.
And Lindsay wins! She’s our first finalist.
After, Sarah assesses Beverly with a series of baffling animal metaphors: “She is that silent horse. She likes to be meek and timid and then she likes to attack like a tiger.”(Why does everyone feel compelled to compare Bev to a woodland creature? Discuss among yourselves.)
Round two, where food is packed into enormous ice blocks. So they have to get to their food, thaw it, and then prepare it.
They are given ice picks, and all start hacking away like Jason in Friday the Thirteenth, if Jason had a culinary degree and an impudent way with a buerre blanc.
The ice picking—and all the Olympic-style competition for that matter—brings out the crazed, Honey Badger side of Beverly. She looks positively demented.
But of course, she’s not that strong. And neither is Sarah, who’s clearly not the jock of the bunch. They start whacking at their ice blocks with frying pans. It’s not a pretty sight. (It’s like the Pine Barrens episode of The Sopranos, for those who get the reference.)
Paul releases his ingredients first. And even he knows how idiotic and irrelevant to cooking this exercise is. So he helps Sarah and Bev break their ice blocks, too. (Love. Him.)
In the end, it all works out for the best.
Paul wins this round with his King crab and mango chivalry (I mean, uh, chutney).
So, as it must be, I suppose, it’s down to Sarah vs. Beverly.
They meet Padma at the top of another mountain.
“Oh my God, she has a gun,” Sarah says when she sees Padma. (I had a nightmare like this once—except it was both Heidi Klum and Padma with guns and for some reason I was dressed in bearskins).
“This is your last shot to move into the final three,” says Padma. (Anyone who reads my The Bachelor recaps knows that my intolerance for bad puns is at Defcon 1 at this point. So Padma is treading on thin ice.) (Ohmygod, it’s contagious.)
This final challenge is the culinary biathlon where you have to cross country ski and then shoot for your ingredients.
(I’m pretty sure Chef Ripert also had to do this before he opened Le Bernardin.)

Bev has never cross country skied or used a gun in her life.

Sarah, however, used to shoot tin cans in the woods with her pappy. (Is that a real thing? My hand to God, I thought it was just something fake rednecks did in movies.) #EastCoastgirl
Advantage Sarah?
You might think so, but then you’d be underestimating the Honey Badger.
Beverly gets on those skis, and with a Bev look of Bev determination that only Bev can muster, Bevs her way around the course.
There’s a moment where Sarah wipes out on Beverly’s skis—and of course, Sarah seethes at Beverly, as though she did it on purpose. (Beverly can barely ski in a straight line, but she has the diabolical know-how to use her skis as a weapon? I think not.)
Eventually, they both make it to the end of course and start shooting for their ingredients.
Bev proves to be a halfway decent shot, at least as good as Sarah.
They both get the ingredients they want, so we are finally done with this nonsense.
The judges like Beverly’s arctic char with celery root, beets, and black truffles and are impressed that she got out of her Asian comfort zone to produce something earthy and rootsy.
Quibble: Her fish is slightly overcooked and the whole dish was not quite seasoned enough.
They also like Sarah’s rabbit with black cherries and hazelnuts. It’s a very flavorful and well thought out dish.
Quibble: Rabbit a little tough.
“You made two very good dishes,” says Tom. “You’re not making it easy on us. So thank you.”

Padma breaks the news: “Beverly, please pack your knives and go.”

What follows is a show of hypocrisy that “is very nauseous,” as Sarah might say.
All of a sudden, everyone is hugging Beverly and loving her spunk and telling her how awesome she is. It’s a freakin’ lovefest.
“You kicked ass,” says Paul.
“You kicked hardcore ass,” says Lindsay.
“I’m so glad we got to cook together. You’re amazing,” says Sarah, hugging Bev. (Aaaaand I just threw up a little in my mouth.)
And then Bev pulls out her trusty ice pick and stabs them all repeatedly in the eye.
The End

One thought on “Padma’s Gotta Gun: The Top Chef Texas recap

  1. It seemed to me that Sarah definitely spent some time with a PR firm on her break. She even said at the beginning that her goal was to be nice (!). She also went on and on and ON about how BA Beverly was, which is a complete turn around from the rest of the episodes. Very interesting.

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