Just whistle while you work (de-de-de-de-de-de-deeee!)
And cheerfully together we can tidy up the place
So hum a merry tune (de-de-de-de-de-de-deeee!)
It won't take long when there's a song to help you set the pace
Oh. Wait. We're not supposed to whistle! The chefs are in Whistler, BC. Silly me. :-) And we're at the beginning of the end - a pre-finale, so to speak.
The chefs arrive in Vancouver, and Sarah says the different Sarah who showed up in Vancouver is going to be a "nice Sarah". So she obviously knows she was a beeyotch in Texas! LOL They get into the Toyota and find a letter from Padma telling them to head up to Whistler and meet them up at the top of the mountain.
While driving, Paul asks Beverly how LCK was....and when she begins to describe it, Sarah calls out "Look at that tree!" Totally disrespectful. Guess that nice Sarah was left at the airport, huh?
They take a gondola up to the top of the mountain; it's windy and cold - 5 degrees! Padma and Tom are shown practically being blown off the mountain. Tom notes that Whistler was a prominent venue in the 2010 Winter Games. So Padma notes that it's an appropriate place to have the Top Chef Culinary Games. Only three will move on to the final round.
Three events - each event's winner gets $10,000. First event will be to create a dish while on a moving gondola from peak to peak. Paul says he gets motion sickness and he's concerned. When the gondola reaches the other peak, they'll have to jump out, get a new ingredient, and use that ingredient in their dish. They'll serve at Steve's Restaurant in Whistler.
They hop into their individual gondolas and find the ingredients with which they get to cook. Paul goes with lamb chops, Sarah doesn't know at first but later we find out she's using chorizo, Beverly's going with a salmon tartare, and Lindsay realizes that cooking at a higher altitude is more difficult, but goes with salmon.
Paul jumps out to get an ingredient - he takes wasabi paste. Sarah takes prune juice for a glaze; Beverly takes horseradish, and Sarah also grabs the horseradish. Paul's gondola arrives at the place to serve, and he's not happy with his dish, but he's got to go with it.
Padma introduces the guest judge - Gretchen Bleiler, professional snowboarder, Olympic Silver medalist. Tom and Gail are there with Padma and Gretchen.
PAUL - Seared Lamb Loin with Curried Mushrooms & Wasabi Crème Fraîche with a Juniper Gastrique
SARAH - Chorizo Sausage with Onions, Prune Juice, Gooseberries & Pickled Mushrooms and Almond
BEVERLY - Salmon Tartare, Anchovy Horseradish Crème Fraîche & Crispy Capers
LINDSAY - Seared Salmon over Red Quinoa "Risotto" with Chorizo and Horseradish Vinaigrette
The judges reviewed all of the dishes; Paul's meat was a bit unevenly cooked, but Gretchen liked the wasabi with the lamb. Sarah's dish didn't have enough prune juice, but Padma liked the gooseberries. Gretchen liked the crunchy capers, Tom liked the horseradish with the tartare (and a look from Sarah at the compliment), and Gail liked the knifework. Lindsay's salmon was well received by Tom and Gretchen.
The judges grade the dishes, and Padma reminds them that the winner will win $10,000, but ALSO they'll be the first person in the final round - so they won't have to cook in the next two rounds. Paul came in last; Sarah took third place. And the winner is? Lindsay. (And Sarah is VERY pleased for her, of course!)
They head to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, and discuss what is needed to win. Sarah claims that she doesn't underestimate Beverly. The next morning, the three of them go to the Whistler Olympic Park. Padma introduces John Montgomery, the Canadian Olympic Gold medalist in Skeleton. In this event, they'll have to move quickly, just as those who compete in Skeleton do. Their pantry is encased in blocks of ice!
They have one hour to thaw the ingredients and make it into a dish. They have ice picks and they're off to try and chip out the ingredients. It's funny to watch them chipping away - both Beverly and Sarah realize it's very Psycho-like. Paul gets the crab legs, and Beverly gets scallops. Paul ends up helping to break the ice blocks for Beverly and Sarah - he says "This challenge is about the food and not about the number of ice blocks you can smash." Beverly ends up spending almost 30 minutes to loosen her ingredients.
SARAH - Pea and Spinach Soup with Turmeric, Almonds & King Crab - they like the flavor, but Gail thinks the almonds are a bit heavy since the soup is so thin.
PAUL - Poached King Crab, Toasted Almonds, Mango Chutney with Orange Marmalade - Gail liked the mango/crab combo, but the mango was a bit frozen.
BEVERLY - Seared Scallop with Red Wine Reduction, Bettered Peas, Corn and Couscous - John Montgomery asks if Beverly was thinking about any of the other cheftestants - Gail said "I'll bet she can think of 1 or 2 people!" LOL Gail was impressed with the sear on the scallop, but the sauce was heavy. Padma said the couscous was done correctly.
And PAUL WINS the 2nd round!!! Woo hoo!!!! So it's Sarah against Beverly - which is what Sarah was concerned about!
The next morning, Sarah and Beverly head out for their final competition. Beverly notes she was bullied throughout the competition, so it feels right to go against Sarah in the final round. They walk up to see Padma with a gun in her hands. Padma introduces the guest judge - Olympic Gold medalist and one of the first women inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Cammi Granato.
They are in a culinary biathalon. They will have to cross-country ski along a course through the trees before they return to the shooting range where they shoot for their ingredients. They get 10 bullets to get their ingredients. Once an ingredient is shot, it's no longer available. As soon as they've got their ingredients, they will cook and serve their dish. Padma asks them if either have shot a gun; Sarah has, Beverly hasn't. Nor has Beverly skied either.
They run to strap on the skis and head out. Beverly gets into the lead very quickly, but then starts falling as her skis cross. Beverly gets so far ahead that she's already turned around on the course. Sarah takes a few headers into the snow, but Beverly reaches the shooting range first.
(NOTE - the skiing biathalon part? Just completely STUPID! This entire episode was STUPID! Just have them COOK, for crying out loud! Bravo? Magical Elves? Tom Colicchio? Please STOP with the stupid challenges and get back to JUST COOKING!!!)
Beverly's ingredients are Arctic Char but then misses her next 4 shots. She then gets Celery Root, spends 2 bullets for Winter Truffles and Fennel. She finally gets Beets on her last bullet.
Sarah misses her first 3 shots for Rabbit and finally gets Rabbit on her 5th bullet and gets Cabbage next, and then Hazelnuts, and lucks out and gets Cherries on her final bullet.
They both run into the kitchen and immediately start cooking. Sarah realizes that Beverly's on her game, having won LCK. Beverly is concerned that the kitchen doesn't have coconut milk or lemongrass, her usual flavors. Sarah gets pissed off that Beverly comes over to use *her* electrical plug for the blender. "Beverly, really?" They both finish plating in time and bring their dishes out to the judges.
BEVERLY - Slow-roasted Arctic Char with an Onion & Beet Compote, Celery Root Truffle Purée, and Fennel Salad
SARAH - Braised Rabbit Leg and Heart with Cherries, Hazelnuts & Sauerkraut Purée
Both chefs remain in front of the judges while they try their dishes. Tom asked Beverly her thought process on the evolution of the dish. He liked the flavors, but thought it was slightly overcooked. Gail thought the earthy flavors were perfect. Tom said to Sarah that everything worked nicely, saying that the braising of the rabbit leg was a risky move. Cammi said it was full of flavor, while Gail thought the rabbit was a bit tough.
They leave the dining area, and the judges deliberate. Sarah's dish was well received - they could taste the cherries and sauerkraut purée, Tom liked that she included the heart, Cammi liked the simplicity. Gail said that Beverly's dish was smart pairing the seafood with earthy flavors; Gretchen liked the beets and onions with the fish; Tom thought the char disappeared because it wasn't seasoned enough.
So - slightly tough rabbit vs. slightly underseasoned char. I have a feeling it *might* be the underseasoned char that does Beverly in.
In the "in-betweener", Paul and Lindsay come into the kitchen before final judging to congratulate Sarah and Beverly on their last round. Lindsay notes that she and Sarah have a special bond and she hopes that they're together in the finale. Paul says he loves how Beverly just won't go down, that she's fierce.
(And Sheila D. from Lexington, KY wins bonus points for her Fan Favorite yet AGAIN! LOL)
They're back in front of the judges. Tom reviews both dishes, and Padma announces that Beverly is asked to pack her knives and go. DAMMITALL! Sarah gets into the finale. She and Sarah give a hug, and Padma seems REALLY upset to see her go, and Tom also is slightly teary-eyed to see her go.
Back in the kitchen, Sarah gives Beverly a big, long hug as she's leaving, telling her that she's amazing; she's glad she got a chance to cook with her, and that she'd see her in Chicago. So perhaps they ARE somewhat friends and the damn Editing Elves were leading us all along!
Previews for the finale show Anita Lo as one of their special sous chefs (my assumption), and Padma noting that only TWO of them will move on to the finale! So they won't have a 3-person finale this season!