Top Chef Texas – Culinary Games

Top Chef Texas - Culinary GamesWe return this week not in Texas but in Canada – Vancouver to be exact.  That’s pretty far from Texas.  The chefs all rejoin in Canada – as always some with different hair and things going on.  People are even somewhat happy to see Bev.  Another Toyota mention.  Thanks – I had forgotten, what with all the product placement and ham fisted references.

Chef’s get a message to head up to Whistler – big mountain that.  We get plenty of time to look at the inside of Toyota’s van on the way.  Thanks.  Whistler Olympic Park is bustling – and snowy.Top Chef Texas - Culinary Games

There is crazy wind and snow blowing.  Tom and Padma are fairly blowing off the top of the mountain.  Padma looks like a Bond girl.  Two events – first one is cooking a dish.  On a gondola.  It’s kind of a gondola relay.  Grab an ingredient as the gondola stops.  22 minutes to cook.  Fairly ridiculous.  Oh and it’s at altitude.  7000 feet.  That makes cooking more difficult.  Looks like a bit of nightmare.  Seems like a fire hazard waiting to happen.  But they’re using induction burners – they said this right after I was hoping for some sort of fiery crash just to keep things interesting.  Oh well.  A bit gimmicky if you ask me.  I was hoping for some serious cooking.  This is just fluff.

Each chef is having a bit of issue with altitude, motion sickness, or wobbly cooking surface.  It looks like a nightmare cooking scenario no-matter what.  Included in the judges panel is a snowboarder.  Cute.  We don’t get to see the reactions each of the contestants get from the judges.  It’s a quick in and out sort of affair.

Top Chef Texas - Culinary GamesEveryone seems to do fairly well given the conditions.  A difficult decision for the judges I guess.  They’re writing notes and votes clearly.  The winner gets and automatic in to the final and ten grand.  Wow.  That’s a hell of a prize and a hell of a twist.  Paul comes in last.  Sarah is third.  Lindsey and Bev are left to duke it out.  Lindsey’s in the final, Bev is back in competition.

Two more competitions to go before the final.  What a crazy beautiful mountain – just for the record.

The three remaining chefs return to the mountain for competition.  In this very goofy event all the chef’s pantry items are encased in giant blocks of ice.  Giant blocks.  One hour to thaw ingredients and make a dish.  Guest judge is another skier with a gold medal.  More fluff and over the top contests – less with the serious dishes.  I fail to see how this makes an actual Top Chef.  Whatever.

Top Chef Texas - Culinary GamesWhat a disaster.  Much psycho ice picking ensues.  By the time everyone gets cooking there’s 20 minutes or less on the clock.  It just looks like a disaster all over again.  Each chef, bar Paul, is having quite a time.  Everyone gets food plated and is seems quite good, all things considered.  Paul is the winner.  Which is nice since he gave everyone a helping hand.  Yay!  Paul gets to head in from the cold and it’s Bev Vs. Sarah.  NICE!  CAT FIGHT!  Sarah was not looking forward to this.  The preview for after the commercial shows Bev with a rifle.  WTF.

Bev and Sarah show up for the last competition, again in much snow.  Padma – again Bond girl – is holding a giant rifle.  Another lady olympic medal winner – for hockey no less – is guest judge.  It’s culinary biathlon.  Skiing and shooting.  You have 10 bullets to shoot a flag with your ingredients.  Bev has never skied and never shot a gun before.  Sarah is from Texas.  So there’s that.  Not quite the direction I was hoping for this episode but whatever the case, I’m involved so I might as well make the most of it.

Top Chef Texas - Culinary GamesThese two on skis has to be the funniest thing I have ever seen.  Clearly neither have ever set foot in a ski boot before.  Bev gets up to the rifle and blasts away bulls-eyes right from the start.  Not so much after the first shot.  Three misses for Bev.  Four misses.  Sarah racks up three misses in a row.  She finally hits rabbit on the fifth bullet.  Bev does fairly well for never having held a gun before.  Sarah not so much – especially for someone raised around guns.

The two ladies enter the kitchen and start cooking – one hour start to finish.  There’s a bit of sniping in the kitchen but both ladies get out very nice looking plates.  Bev makes an arctic char dish, Sarah a braised rabbit leg.  Judges have on game faces. Bev’s dish works well – slightly overcooked, however.  Sarah took a lot of risks with her dish, seems to have worked out well for her.  The rabbit was a bit tough, so it’s between tough rabbit and overcooked char.  Another tough choice for the judges.  Who’s it gonna be??

The two girls are back.  Stony faced judges.  Scary.  Here comes the part where the judges say some nice things before they crush your dreams like a 20 year old car.  Bev is going home again.  Padma is crying.  I’m close to it.  Sad to see Bev leaving – she’s quite the fighter.  I’m sure we’ll see Bev again somewhere, sometime.  She’s a talented lady.  So it’s Sarah, Paul, and Lindsey to the death.  But wait – in the end “Here’s What’s Coming Up” we find that there’s going to be two more shows.  Next week and then a competition between the last two the following week.  Interesting if not just another way to keep the franchise going.

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