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Top Chef Texas Finale Part 1 - Ep. #16 - 02/22/12 (Spoilers)

LindaWhit | Feb 22, 2012 07:29 PM

We're coming up to the end of a pretty lackluster season. Sarah said she thought Paul and Lindsay would be in the top and she thinks she belongs there.

The cheftestants leave Whistler and head back to Vancouver for their final Quickfire. They play some type of word game in the car ride back; Paul notes that the three of them have become friends, except when they're in the kitchen. They arrive at the Fairmont Vancouver but immediately get ready for their next challenge. They meet Padma and Emeril at the Bao Bei Brasserie in Vancouver's Chinatown. Sarah's glad that Beverly is gone, as she would probably have rocked the challenge.

Three Asian Master Chefs join them - Anita Lo, Floyd Cardoz, and Takashi Yagihashi. Sarah's all excited to see Takashi, as they're friends back in Chicago. The cheftestants draw knives - the match-ups are:

Lindsay & Anita Lo
Sarah & Floyd Cardoz
Paul & Takashi Yagihashi

Each team will create an Asian-influenced dish, with 40 minutes to cook, taking turns. Every 10 minutes, they will tag their teammate out and the other team member will cook. The winner of this Quickfire will receive $20,000.

Masters start first; Sarah notes that the first 10 minutes is the organization part. The Masters all scramble for their proteins. Padma and Emeril all peek into the pass window to see how the Masters are doing.

They switch after the first 10 minutes, and Lindsay is a bit confused with what Anita has left. Takashi has chosen geoduck for Paul to work, and Sarah says her comfort level with curry is practically zero. They switch again, and Takashi notes that Paul was starting a dashi broth, so he'll use that as a sauce for the geoduck. Floyd said that Sarah got his vision for the curry, and Anita sees that Lindsay has made a sauté of Chinese sausage that will go great with the scallops.

They switch *again*, and the cheftestants are back for the final 10 minutes to finish cooking and plating. All of the Masters have set up the plates for their cheftestants to finish the dishes.

LINDSAY & ANITA - Scallop Two Ways: Crispy Bok Choy & Orange & Chili, Fried Roe with Sausage & Water Chestnut . Padma asked Anita what she had intended, and while Anita had thought of scallops three ways, the rest of the dish they collaborated on came out the way she envisioned.

SARAH & FLOYD - Pan-Seared Cod with Coconut Curry, Crab Salad with Clementine & Amaranth. Floyd said that Sarah did exactly what he wanted.

PAUL & TAKASHI - Mirugai Sashimi with Yuzu Dashi, Japanese Cucumber, Fried White Fish, Scallions & Chili. Takashi said Paul got exactly what he was hoping for. Padma said that Emeril and she like a lot of chili, but *that* was a lot of chili. (Paul was concerned about that as he finished plating his dish.)

Padma and Emeril reviewed Lindsay's dish - the Chinese sauces were just a bit overpowering. Padma told Sarah her dish was excellent, and she liked the amaranth. Emeril liked the crab salad with the fish, but it could have used more acid. Padma thought Paul's dish was great by letting the flavors stand out. Emeril noted that he was impressed using the protein, but too much chili.

I think it's going to be Sarah winning this...Emeril said that the dish that had all of the notes of Asian flavors is.....SARAH. And Floyd says he's finally won his first Quickfire (despite winning Top Chef Master Season 3, he had never won a Quickfire! LOL). The Master Chefs leave the kitchen.

And we're on to the Elimination Challenge, Padma said now that they've beaten the heat of Texas and survived the cold of Whistler, they thought it would be fun to bring the two together. Tomorrow night, they will be throwing a Fire and Ice cocktail party. Each chef will be responsible for one dish and one cocktail. Each dish is required to have both a hot and cold element. They will be serving 150 of Vancouver's "culinary elite at the Village on Falls Creek" (REALLY BAD voiceover by Padma!) The winner will win a trip for two to Costa Rica. And obviously a place in the Finale.

The cheftestants start thinking about what they can make, and head off to Whole Foods. Paul goes for the king crab, and Sarah's going with a baked pasta, and Lindsay's going with halibut. She knows it will be difficult to cook for 150 people, but says "luckily this isn't Restaurant Wars. I have control over it." She also notes that Sarah and Paul are going a bit gimmicky with a "snow" aspect to their dish, and she doesn't cook that way - she thinks staying true to yourself will bring you out on top.

They head over the next day to the Village on Falls Creek and begin prep. Paul goes to town on about 30 lbs. of lobster for his seafood stock. Sarah is cracking 80 eggs for homemade pasta for 150 people, and Lindsay is hand-grating lots of tomatoes for her tomato water for her take on a Bloody Mary. Sarah thinks she's playing it safe.

Tom Colicchio walks into the kitchen to ask each what they're working on. (won't bother going into the questions and answers). They continue prep and with 1 hours, each of them is saying they're all in the weeds. The bartenders and cocktail servers come in and learn about the drinks that the cheftestants are going to have made.

The guests arrive as final plating happens. The judges arrive - Gail, Emeril, Tom and Padma. They're in what seems to be an outdoor area to eat - everyone remains bundled in their coats.

PAUL - Cocktail: "The Pan Am" with Kaffir Lime, Thai Chilies and Rum
PAUL - Dish: King Crab with Lemon Snow and Seafood Broth

Tom didn't like that arugula was in Paul's dish with no purpose. But he *did* like Paul's drink paired with the dish. Padma noted that she could have used more heat, but Emeril said that yesterday they came down on Paul for too *much* heat.

SARAH - Cocktail: "Agrumi" with Gin, Kumquats and Mango
SARAH - Dish: Five Greens-Filled Pasta with Garlic, Chili and Spiced Sformato

Gail notes that the Sformato is very frozen, but Tom said the flavors are great. Emeril likes the pasta. Gail and Tom say that the cocktail is great, but doesn't go with the dish.

LINDSAY - Cocktail: "Encendido" with Vodka, Tomato & Horseradish
LINDSAY - Dish: Halibut with Fiery Celery Root Salad with Tomato Nage

Emeril and Gail both think their dishes are very hot/spicy. Tom doesn't seem to think it's spicy at all. Tom also notes that halibut is well cooked, the sauce is good, but the kale is raw. Gail like the Tomato Nage, saying she's never eaten a piece of ice "so well seasoned." Emeril likes the cocktail with the dish, but on its own, it was very flat.

The camera catches some of the Vancouver diners critiquing the dishes. Tom is uncertain where he's going with his choice, and Padma notes how difficult the challenge was. Lindsay says this is the first time they didn't go out to explain their dish to the judges. Padma asks them all to come into the Judges Table.

Emeril tells Paul the dish and cocktail was great. Padma notes it could have used a bit more spice. Tom liked the whole idea, the broth was delicious. He asked about the arugula, and Paul wanted a bit of peppery spice. Tom said the ingredient should be made part of the dish; it seemed to be added just because color was needed on the dish.

Gail asked Sarah about the idea of "fire or heat" was supposed to come from. Sarah said that the baked pasta was supposed to be the heat. Gail loved the pasta; but the frozen mousse was so difficult to eat with the pasta. Emeril said her cocktail would have been much appreciated on the hot days in Texas.

Gail told Lindsay that her dish worked well together. She loved the tomato soup, and Lindsay said when she thought about fire, she thought about warmth. And tomato soup means warmth to her. But Tom thought the tomato remoulade and tomato soup overpowered the halibut. Emeril said the fish was cooked perfectly, but the cocktail separated a bit. Tom said out of all of the dishes, Lindsay's cocktail worked best with her dish.

(NOTE: I just re-read my recap above - didn't both Gail and Tom said after tasting Lindsay's dish that her cocktail *didn't* work best with her dish? That's what I wrote above, and I *know* I stopped and rewound a couple of times to get specifics of their dish tastings. Anyone?)

The judges deliberate. They were good, but none were flawless, per Padma. Paul's dish was only warm - Padma didn't have the contrast of hot or cold. Emeril's favorite cocktail was Sarah's. Gail loved the pasta, but the spiced mousse, which was supposed to be a sauce on the canneloni, didn't work. Lindsay's dish didn't give Emeril any heat, and Tom didn't find her dish interesting.

And they're back in front of the judges. Tom reviews each dish again. He then looks to Padma who tells Sarah that she's moving on to the Finale. DAMMIT. And the other person moving on AND the WINNER? It's PAUL! Woo hoo!!!!

And Lindsay is asked to pack her knives and go! I'm *SO* glad that Paul has made it through! Sarah is upset Lindsay didn't make it, but Sarah said she always knew it would be her and Paul - the two Texans.

Previews for next week's Finale-Part 2 show many of the former cheftestants coming back to help as sous chefs, and it looks like family is there to dine on the Finale food.

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