Top Chef Episode 15 – I thought it was the Finale

I was so excited for Top Chef last night.  You read that correctly: Excited!  Mostly because I thought it was the big final and we’d get a winner and be done with this train wreck of a season.  I was wrong.  Cheryl kept asking if I was sure this was the final episode.  Yes, yes, of course it is, they’ll have one elimination to get rid of the fourth wheel and then it’s final challenge time.  Bing bang boom, we have a winner.  Nowhere near close to what happened on the show. 

My mistake was thinking they’d do what they’ve done in the past.  Yup, silly me.  They’ve been changing things up all season so you’d think I’d realize this.  Nope.  How’s that saying go?  Fool me ten times…?  Regardless of them changing things up I actually liked the episode.  3 chefs, 4 challenges, win one of the challenges and you get to stop cooking and move on.  And by this time the chefs left standing are all making good stuff so it’s tough.  The producers made it tougher on them by making the chefs weather the cold at Whistler Blackcomb.  From Texas heat to snowy Canada.

First and foremost, let me just comment on one tiny thing.  Is there anything Padma can wear and not look really, really hot?  Even on top of a snowy, windy mountain she looks awesome.  Granted she was wearing some tight ski pants and fur hat, but I bet she could wear a burlap sack and still pull it off.  And yes, I told Cheryl this.  She agreed.  Ok, so as it turns out this episode was an elimination one to set the final 3 where the chefs would compete in 3 Olympic style challenges (for those who aren’t Winter Olympics fans, Whistler is where the skiing events took place for the Vancouver Winter Olympics, there’s your tie-in).  First up was cooking a dish in a gondola set up with some induction burners and ingredients.  The twist was the chefs had to grab an extra ingredient at the halfway station and incorporate it into the dish on the return trip.  Can’t imagine cooking in a gondola and those things aren’t usually heated so the chefs all looked pretty cold.  All the dishes looked good, tough decision, it came down to Bev and Lindsay…and Lindsay won.  Her place in the final 3 is secure.  The rest of them have to come back the next day to cook for the remaining spots.

And back they come!  To a snowy spot with big blocks of ice.  Encased in the ice were the ingredients they had to use to cook their dish, but they had to chop them out first.  This was annoying.  Make them cook in an igloo or ice house or give them frozen food but having them chop their ingredients out of the ice is a little much for me.  I cringed watching Bev use the ice pick.  Kept waiting for her to spear her hand which was always placed right next to where she was chopping.  Paul finishes first and eventually helps the other two get ingredients as well as share some of his with them.  Probably because Bev and Sarah wouldn’t have finished their dishes, they wasted so much time chopping ice.  No surprise here when he wins and joins Lindsay in the final 3.

So we’re left with Bev and Sarah.  Sarah is sweating about potentially losing to Bev.  Guess you should’ve been a little nicer eh Sarah?  In this last challenge they have to shoot for their ingredients on the biathlon course.  Cross-country ski to a turnaround point then ski back where they are given 8 bullets (or was it 10?) to shoot targets of ingredients.  I like this.  I think it’d be way better if they had to actually shoot a rabbit or deer but somehow I imagine there’d be a certain segment of the population who would be very against this.  I am obviously not in that certain segment.  Cue the clips of Sarah saying she’s shot a gun before because she’s a Texan and Bev saying she’s never shot a gun.  You know what happens next.  Bev shoots more targets/ingredients than Sarah.  All for naught though, Sarah ends up beating Bev in the big showdown with her braised rabbit beating Bev’s arctic char.  So we’ve got Sarah, Lindsay, and Paul left.  Still Paul’s to lose.

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