Burning Questions

The Top Chef: Texas runner-up dishes on her finale prep and how she handled Tyler Stone as a sous-chef.

Mar 7, 2012

Bravotv.com: There was a break between the last Texas challenge and going to Canada, did you do anything special in that time to prepare?
Sarah Grueneberg: Oh yea, absolutely yes. I staged with a few different chefs around the city. I worked with my pastry chef on some techniques including liquid nitrogen. I went to a pastry class at a chocolate academy here that was taught by one of our local chefs, Patrick Fahy, who’s really talented. I staged with Chris Shepherd -- he’s in Houston, Texas and he took me to three different Asian markets in Houston. I didn’t realize there are such great markets there. And then I worked with Bill Kim who’s an amazing Korean chef here, and we staged at his restaurant and he took me to the Japanese market, Korean market, and the Vietnamese market to show me the differences. I really wanted to be prepared if I was thrown into an Asian cooking challenge because I researched Vancouver and saw how amazing their Chinatown is, so I thought I better be ready!

Bravotv.com: And that really paid off when you were paired with Floyd. He’s the nicest man.
SG: He’s so amazing. Oh my God I love him. I saw him this past week at his restaurant -- it was so good. The menu looks very simple and delicious and then you get it and you’re like, “Oh so good.” 

Bravotv.com: In the last challenge, you and Paul have to select your sous chefs based on the food that they create for you. You pulled Tyler, and part of it was that you legitimately thought what he made was Heather’s dish. Did you just select it because you thought it may have been her dish or did you actually like the way it tasted?
SG: I started second-guessing myself and thinking that. You know, I thought my scallops were cooked nicely but it wasn’t even a thing until a second before it was my turn to say something and that shot up to my brain. It’s the irony -- it’s like the producers had my mind in control and they wanted someone to pick him. 

He did a great job -- he’s very young. I was extremely patient with him because the girls were about to eat him alive. They were going to pounce like lionesses, like little tigers.