Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons breaks down the dishes offered by the final four in the first Canada challenges.

on Feb 15, 20120

So Lindsay leaves, and then Paul leaves, and then we decide to give Beverly and Sarah guns. First they have to ski around a course which took about a half hour. They are strong chefs, but they are not strong athletes. The most amazing part was that they were doing this in front of actual Olympians in each of the challenges. Cammi was a really great sport. In fact, all three of our guests on this episode were amazing. We talked to each of them about competing in the Olympics and winning their medals, that is just a whole other kind of remarkable skill. Cammi’s in the Hockey Hall of Fame -- she was the first woman ever inducted. She is bad-ass, but she’s also super soft-spoken, and beautiful, and kind, and really into food! She was so excited and nervous to judge the food but she did a really great job I thought. Watching the chefs with their rifles was really frightening. Let me just say Beverly has a good shot. She got like five bullseyes! She killed it literally and figuratively. Word to the wise: Do not mess with Bev and a gun. 

The two final dishes were both really strong and as Tom said several times in this episode, it was a very difficult decision. The flavors and combination of ingredients that they managed to shoot and use was excellent from both sides. Bev’s celery root, truffle, fennel, Arctic Char, and beets were all really lovely, earthy, and perfect with the fish. Except that they were very strong flavors and the fish was slightly overcooked and overpowered, which is why ultimately Beverly went home. Sarah’s dish was very hearty. The rabbit leg and heart, cherries, cabbage, hazelnut were all so great, that kraut she made and then pureed gave it a strong tang that cut some of the fattiness in the rest of the dish. It was inspired and felt so appropriate to that location, to that wintery night. In the end, Sarah won the episode. The other thing you didn’t see, is that Beverly had cooked her Arctic Char over lemons, and she -- by complete accident -- put one of the lemons with the Arctic Char on the dish that I got. So there was this inedible big slice of lemon under my Arctic Char. It wasn’t what made her lose, but it was a moment of carelessness in her plating. Otherwise, I’m really proud of both chefs. They fought hard and most importantly, I think Sarah came out of it with an appreciation for Beverly and the knowledge that you cannot underestimate her. I’m sad that Bev’s leaving us, for the second time. 

On to Vancouver! Where I ate a lot of great Chinese food.

P.S. Did you know that Taylor Kitsch, from Friday Night Lights and the new John Carter movie is Canadian? Just an awesome little piece of trivia I wanted to share. 

 

187 comments
Reggie Davis
Reggie Davis

I have the distinct impression that viewer comments have no real bearing on decisions made regarding the show. I think that the negativism displayed on this season by some of the contestants is irreprehensible. Let's get back to judging this cooking competition on the creation of great food, and not on all the extraneous variables that seem to have come into play in this competition. I, for one, don't care if there is never another episode where the cheftestants have to cook for a gang of people. One mass cooking is ok! There were far too many this season!

Bad Episode
Bad Episode

I hate when top chef goes with challenges like they did in the episode. Please I want it to be about the cooking, not about how quickly they can get something out of ice. Top Chef is the only reality tv show I watch, and now that it has sunk to the lows of the other reality tv crap with episodes like this I doubt I will continue to watch. My fav season was with the Voltaggio bros, where it seemed to be about the cooking.

Lame Season
Lame Season

YOU ALSO NEED LESS CHALLENGES WHERE THE CHEFS HAVE TO COOK FOR A MILLION PEOPLE.

Kid
Kid

I know this is not related to Canada but I keep seeing this in almost every cooking competition-- concerning salt content of a dish. I think Judges are too critical about the salt content. So many people today must reduce daily sodium content. So the message that comes across is -- unless you use salt in a dish it won't taste good. What I would like to see in a cooking contest show is an episode making a dish without salt. Top Chef has done episodes on healthy cooking. How many times I have been out eating when I ask for a low sodium dish -- it comes out dry and no taste. Please in a future series have a section on making a dish without salt. This is something I face everyday... how to make a wow dish without salt.

danastar
danastar

This is a drag watching these two chicks compete. Sarah is still bashing Bev, even though she's gone, and Lindsey is a whimp...they both suck. Paul will win!

adudenamedrob
adudenamedrob

Im not watching the finale. I can't stand Sarah, and both she and Linsay were nothing but hateful bullies towards Beverly. I know it's about the food, supposedly, but it's not really. These shows are about and encourage the kid of mindless, thoughtless bullying that Bev endured at the hands of these really unprofessional and mean-spirited people. I can't fault the judges decision, because the minute Bev said she'd never made this dish before you had to know what would happen (when in the history of Top Chef has this ever worked at this stage of the game?). I'm not watching because two of the final three are despicable human beings who don't deserve any support or any of my time. My best wishes to Paul, who is clearly the favorite to win. And I hope he does. I hope Sarah and Lindsay enjoy being the most hated women in Top Chef history. They have earned it. And that's not something anyone should be proud of.

mrguy
mrguy

time to take that "you are top chef winner blah blah blah" note off your dream wall bev. as kenny powers says "YOU'RE $^&$&N OUT!".

EBMizelan
EBMizelan

It's certainly unfortunate how the TC producers have decided to now join other ridiculous reality shows and dive headfirst into the lowest common denominator pool. Congratulations - I believe you have lost me as a viewer.

harrison13
harrison13

i have no desire to watch the finale with beverly gone. top chef needed a skilled winner with heart, now you're left with paul and those despicable women... leaves a bad taste in my mouth!

Schlongtavious
Schlongtavious

THE WORST SHOW EVER DURING THE WORST SEASON EVER.

Paul is the lone chef deserving of victory. Too bad there are not three Asian chefs in the finals.

waywithwords
waywithwords

You know, Sarah and Lindsay are mean and horrible, but I can't stand Bev either! I will never ever forget the very first episode where she stood at the meat counter and said: "I'm the most important" in her whiny baby voice. That was the most selfish, arrogant, petulant thing I have possibly ever seen on this show (with the exception of Marcel, of course). I wish it had been Paul and Ed in the finals!

ricegirl13
ricegirl13

I will never watch Top Chef again. How slightly overcooked fish and some flavors that didn't go together beat out a virtually inedible piece of rabbit is beyond me. I think it's fixed.

Elsa T
Elsa T

I've always fervishly followed Top Chef through its various seasons. This one has been the worst, where I've barely seen contestants cook. The last episode made no sense, and even Beverly v Nyesha in Last Chance Kitchen made for more cooking excitement than this episode. It has also been quite unbelievable that contestants who have been at the bottom (more than once!!!) for underseasoned food can actually end up in the finals. I'm rooting for Paul but if I were him I'd feel that my win was actually not credible.

justconnect
justconnect

I regularly read a forum of Top Chef's most fanatic fans -- the CORE of the viewership, viewers who have watched for years, know all the people, all the history, all the secrets, who love cooking and chefs -- and after this episode, there are 15 PAGES of entries, every single one of which, unanimously, pan this episode as the worst in all seasons.

Where is the cooking? These sort of ludicrous -- not to mention potentially dangerous -- challenges turn your viewers off! How to kill an otherwise wonderful franchise...

FanFare57
FanFare57

Gail, Thanks for taking the time to provide comments. Here's my take on things: This was the most assinine semi-final in TC history. What happened to letting the food speaking for itself? The result was ridiculous. Bev was ahead of Sister Sarah during every challenge. Then you judges declared that tough rabbit was better than slightly overdone fish? For Shame! This is the worst season of Top Chef ever (including the loathsome S-2). The LCK lengthened but didn't heighten the season. Some guest judges (ex. Pew Wee) were dubious at best. The tricks and gimmicks overshadowed the dishes in this cooking competition. I can't remember one single dish more than the idiotic gimmick it took the mediocre chefs to overcome to make it.

ND
ND

Most of us got hooked on Top Chef because it was not like other reality TV. It was about the artistry of cooking. Period. People loved the Voltaggio season for instance because it was a season of professionalism and respect for the craft.

This season, though, has a run of ridiculous reality-TV crap. The Charlize Theron episode was the only decent one because the chefs were able to just COOK. The twist given to the chefs helped them create some amazing stuff rather than put them into a stupid situation that would make any chef look like an ass.

I used to get excited about new Top Chef episodes, but I stopped watching this season a while ago.

Pike
Pike

I have to agree with the other fans who have posted. I have loved Top Chef since season one and it has been my favorite show on TV, but this season was just bad. Lindsay and Sarah were mediocre the whole time and definitely seemed protected. The ice picking was so unfair to the females, it should have been addressed at time. Paul was great to help them, but that was after he got what he wanted. I'm not sure I'll continue watching... not out of anger, but lack of interest.

Mariana vargas
Mariana vargas

i have no problem with all the silly competition this season, i think sarah is like marcus samuelson on top chef masters 2 , just self fish, hypocrite and narcissic, neither of them should be in the finale of top chef on their season (top chef master for marcus S) is there a problem for the production to put to chinese people on the finale ?

and for all canadian haters.. you should go eat to susur Lee restaurant in toronto.. amazing !!!

for me the real winner is bev

Barossa
Barossa

I would much rather watch a cooking show that actually allows the viewers to watch how dishes are prepared than watch the silliness that is "Top Chef." Each year this show has moved further and further from the show it once was, which was a cooking competition. Producers...take note. You will lose your viewers.

LM17
LM17

It is mind blowing to think that this show won the Emmy for Best Reality Show a mere two years ago. How far the mighty have fallen. It's tragic that a chef like Paul Qui, who has proven himself to be amongst the best contestants this show has ever seen, has to be associated with this farce. He is the only reason to keep watching the remainder of this retched season, and is the only hope for this show to retain any credibility. Please, Bravo, get back to what once made this show the best cooking program on television. This season has been a sad embarrassment.

ralpho
ralpho

The gimmicks were and are overpowering, not Bev's Arctic Char.

omgbacon
omgbacon

Maybe if Beverly had a famous mentor she'd be in the finale.

ComeOnGuys
ComeOnGuys

I also have been a big fan of Top Chef over the years but have never been so disappointed in a season. The challenges were unfair not only for the reasons others have discussed (I agree that no one would have had the Voltaggio brothers do some of these things!) but for causing Nyesha to lose twice for someone else's mistakes. It was also boring. The contestants (except for Grayson and Ed) were boring, Hugh Acheson was boring, the fact that no individual winner was declared in a couple of episodes was boring; the tameness of the judges in their comments to the contestants was boring (I could never tell by the judge's comments whose food they didn't like but then realized most of the time I really didn't care). I fell asleep during two episodes and rarely looked at the blogs -- for the first time, I just wasn't interested in recaps. I really hope the producers look at these comments because I'd like my old Top Chef back again!

Viewer12324
Viewer12324

Sucks that Bev lost. Top Chef is certainly making a statement that it's about the food, not the qualities of the individual. Lindsey and Sarah's attitude towards Bev, call it bullying at least and blatant racism at worst, came through loud and clear through the production of the show. I am curious how real this was or whether the show's producer's encourages it. Either way, I hope neither of these two win as it sends a bad message of intolerance and bullying to the public. Shame.

KR
KR

Wow, I was going to say how ridiculous the challenges have been this season, but I see a few dozen people beat me to it. ;)

So, I will just agree and suggest that in season 10, you focus more on cooking and not killing your chefs in extreme heat and cold. Or having some sick person who likes to expose himself as a featured guest.

KowKow
KowKow

Honestly, Sarah was picked for chewy rabbit's heart over slightly undercooked, yet earthy arctic char?! And yet you still call the dish hearty? If Paul doesn't win this season, I honestly will tune out Top Chef for good. Just like when I stopped watching a certain former Bravo show when unprofessional Gretchen won.

James R
James R

Ritchie: "Hey Potsie, tell Fonzie the news! He's off the hook, Top Chef just jumped the sharks....in Vancouver!"

housemouse
housemouse

I never comment on blogs, but I have to add my two cents on this one. I didn't enjoy this episode at all. I can see limiting the chefs food choices, make them cook from food out of the vending machine, or a gas station, but making them physically compete for ingredients is ridiculous. This isn't gym class or Survivor. It isn't fair to the chefs that aren't as physically fit. It is a lot more fun to watch when the playing field is level. I watch Top Chef to see chefs cook, not to watch faux Olympics.

insulted foodie
insulted foodie

I thought in past episodes the product placement was tacky but then...Remember the tacky rich people early in the season. Chocolate covered corn dogs and slushies would have made them happy. I thought that was a low point. Then I was sure it was the Pee Wee Herman episode. Nope. It was the Olympic episode. It was just awful. And when Sara won out over Beverly. Ick. This show is officially overcooked. You had a interested and loyal audience, but you decided to pull in the young, mindless Survivor group. That's really tacky. The end.

Viewer79
Viewer79

You would think that Sarah also read up on all of the negative comments in addition to seeing how they looked on TV before the finales. Yet she was the same rank person she'd been all season. Was it necessary to shoot Bev dirty looks?

Lindsay seemed to make a tiny effort to adjust the world's peception of her.

You gotta wonder if the fix was in for Bev, because Sarah and Lindsay's mentors have strong ties to the Top Chef franchise. I'm just saying.

Paul, win this thing and restore some dignity and legitimacy to the show!!!

bananasplit
bananasplit

Top Chef should change to Tough Chef. BBQing under the heat over 100 degrees weather not including the heat coming from the pits. Not even KoolAid be able to help them. How about the cold weather? They want the chefs to be like Jamaicans from the movie Koolrunnings. We all know chefs got to be sport. Its part of having fun in TC. But its not fun anymore, if you broke a bone and accidentally stab yourself using an ice pick. The next season, chefs has to swim from San Francisco to Alcatraz to cook for 30 minutes. I'm on the final 4 and I can't swim? Its like final 4 Fabio, Stefan, Hosea, Karla and LCK Jeff, they have to cook gumbo. Karla won she has the advantage coming from the south. Fabio (Italian), Stefan(Finland) weren't so lucky.

K. Vazquez
K. Vazquez

I was truly disappointed when I discovered the Final Four would have to do elimination challenges in order to continue on. I tune in to Top Chef to see chefs whip up amazing plates of food. I don't care if they can run, ski or shoot. This episode was utterly ridiculous and I was thisclose to picking up my remote and fast forwarding it until the end to see who makes it to the Top Three. It's disrespectful to the chefs. Also hearing "oh it was a great plate of food considering the conditions" is so annoying especially since the conditions were created by the production team. Please stop the madness!

Mary R
Mary R

It was a lackluster season. A bad choice to play Chef Extreme. No chefs except Paul and Ed to rally behind. So tired of the Bev victim. She was oblivious to the other chefs and just did her own thing even if she got in someone else's way. she was playing games all through the show. I hated the second chance thing. If you are voted out, you are voted out!

Not surprised
Not surprised

So many complaints:

As the season progressed, we could predict that Lindsey and Sarah would make the final 3. It was clear that they were Tom's favorites throughout the competition, being given passes on mediocre dishes or gross errors, such as under-seasoning (Sarah), or colossal front of house screw-ups in Restaurant Wars (Lindsey) which sent people home without question in previous seasons.

As for the last few shows, I used to watch this because it was a cooking competition, not a Survivor wannabe.

And finally, do you really think that the producers wanted two (or even three) Asians in the final three? Was it coincidence that there were no Asian-style ingredients in the kitchen for the final challenge? Looked like the fix was in.

Top Chef has lost me for good.

MsDisgruntled
MsDisgruntled

I respect you and always enjoy your appearances on Top Chef. I IMPLORE you to do whatever you can to get the producers to read these comments and see that they are coming from people who genuinely love this show and don't want it to descend to the mindless depths of the other Bravo shows. We want challenges that make sense, that have do with cooking and not athletic prowess (or brute, caveman-strength), and that enable the cooks to do what they do best. Why was the Evil Queen episode the best, hands-down? Because the chefs were tasked with COOKING - letting their imaginations run wild, and not having their hands tied behind their backs in order to drum up fake suspense.

Top Chef needs a reboot!

Southern MD
Southern MD

I agree with the majority of comments that this particular episode had little to do with cooking. It was more like Amazing Race...just let them cook! And the two remaining women are mean, nasty people. I hope Paul destroys them both!!

Soldiergal
Soldiergal

Now that thus season has really jumped the shark with biking, ice picks, and novice skiing, I doubt you'll get chefs the caliber of Blais, Izzard, or the Voltaggios. You've turned this into the same reality show on every other network, sometimes with cooking, for people who will just want to be on tv. And you're losing viewers like me, who care about the FOOD.

angelmilan2012
angelmilan2012

All season, Lindsay and Sarah's food appeared very mediocre and unoriginal. Nothing was exciting or relevant. Contrast that with Paul's and Bev's cuisine, which was colorful, vibrant, and so interesting to look at. So how did those two overrated girls get to the final? It just doesn't add up. Even if one of those nasty bullies ends up winning Top Chef, they won't go very far with the stigma that is attaching to them. They are not culinary leaders. Leaders don't have to belittle others to stand out.

revolted
revolted

agree with everyone else's dislike of biathlon in this week's episode. movie theme-inspired challenges seem more fitting than winter cooking olympics! producers out there...taking note!!???

FanFare57
FanFare57

Gail, Oh Puh-Lease! This semi-finale was ridiculous from start to finish. The tests were tortuous and dangerous. If they had altitude sickness or fear of heights, that wasn't sporting of the idiotic producers who came up with the gimmick laden challenges. In fact the athletic events overshadowed the food. I couldn't recall one thing created until you discussed it. For a cooking competition, that's not a good thing. Maybe, they should have been informed to some fitness training prior to the end. As for Sarah gaining introspection; that was in word only. She interrupted Beverly in the car and only hugged good-bye because she was happy she won. Had the result been reversed, Sarah would have pitched a big fat hissy fit.

JLHaspels
JLHaspels

I thought Sarah was trying to be nicer. The producers are cutting and splicing the footage for more drama. I have a feeling Bev tends to ramble and give long drawn out answers to simple questions. I wasn't surprised to hear Sarah cut in. It's the only way to make someone stop. Anywho, I too thought the physical challenges before the actual cooking were reminiscent of Extreme Chef. How do chefs keep food warm in the freezing outdoors? It had to be miserable cuz you can't wear mittens and gloves and cook at the same time. Really? They made them cook right after a biathlon? They'll have to re-name the show Survivor Chef: Outlast, Outplay, Outcook.

Jasmine70
Jasmine70

What happened to the cooking in the season? I’m a huge fan of top chef. It’s very disappointing that it’s gotten all gimmicky. I’m not watching this show to see a rehash of the Olympics. And if the 2 obnoxious bullies make it through to the finale, this is the end of Top Chef for me.

Jasmine70
Jasmine70

What happened to the cooking in the season? I’m a huge fan of top chef. It’s very disappointing that it’s gotten all gimmicky. I’m not watching this show to see a rehash of the Olympics. And if the 2 obnoxious bullies make it through to the finale, this is the end of Top Chef for me.

Mike b.
Mike b.

Oh Gail maybe this one will get posted. I hope the producers are taking note as you obviously have no say about anything in the show.

Jen P
Jen P

I agree with most of these other posters...what is up with Top Chef? This season has been so disappointing. My first real issue was when Nyesha was eliminated through no fault of her own. Then...the gimmicky challenges. Cross country skiing? What does that have anything to do with anything about cooking? I watch Top Chef because I like to see new or up-and-coming chefs get a chance to exercise their cooking abilities and compete against their peers.

To have a challenge in the final four that wasn't solely about cooking is really sad to me, and I don't think the outcome of a lot of the challenges this season really have necessarily showcased the most talented chefs. How could they, when a chef's "allotted" time must be spent ice-picking and skiing? Or bicycling through a city?

If there is a season 10, please please please bring the focus back to food and cooking!

PHTB
PHTB

All I thought while watching the show was, "What does this have to do with cooking?" I think these stupid challenges humiliated the chefs and made them into laughingstocks, let's watch them stumble around and fall, miss shots, and try to hack food out of blocks of ice, which looked very dangerous. I remember past seasons where chefs had challenges testing their techniques and their palates, using their sense of smell and taste to identify different ingredients while blindfolded. This season we get to watch blindfolded chefs wander around the kitchen (with lots of shots of Bev hitting her head for comic relief) and try to find ingredients, half of which were sealed in plastic and unidentifiable, so some of it was just luck if they got a good ingredient. Producers, take note of the comments and stop these ridiculous challenges (including the Alamo bike ride). Look at a show like Chopped where chefs have to use their talent, ingenuity and creativity with a mystery basket. They may throw in a gimmick like only being able to use a grill pan, but that is still technique-related. I don't see how cross-country skiing has anything to do with cooking and the show just made the chefs look foolish. I also hope that Lindsey and Sarah (and Heather) get a good look at themselves when they watch the show play out and maybe decide to be better people, the way Tiffani did from season one after seeing herself on the show. If Paul is not in the final two I also could not stomach watching the two of them in the finals since I will not care which one wins.

Dikatz
Dikatz

I have been an ardent fan since Top Chef 1 and can honestly say that this has been the worst season ever. Not only were there too many team challenges, buffets for 200 and ridiculous gimmicks, the chefs were not showcased for what they do best---cook! I could care less if a chef can ride a bike, ski, shoot or pick ice; what I do care about is how well he/she can cook!

I hope that Paul wins; he is the only one of the final three that has shown professionalism, integrity and skill throughout the season. At best, Lindsay and Sarah seem competent; however, they were mean spirited and totally classless, neither deserves the title of "Top Chef."

Coco3
Coco3

I have been very disappointed this season, as have most other commenters, because of all the ridiculous physical demands imposed on the chefs. Cooking outdoors in extreme heat over barbecue pits in the middle of TX summer? Biking to the Alamo? Now this... I was scared during the gondola challenge -- with all the wind and the rocking -- that someone was going to be burned by their pots moving around. I was scared that someone was going to stab herself with an ice pick. I was scared that someone was going to break a wrist falling during the skiing challenge. I like Amazing Race, but when I want to watch Amazing Race, I watch Amazing Race. I am sure someone suggested making the chefs ride the bulls during the rodeo but the lawyers probably negged that one. Come on! It should be about the food, not about humiliating people. However, kudos to Paul for having the decency to help Bev and Sarah get some food out of the ice blocks. As he said, he wants to outcook the competition, not win by default. Go, Paul. For the win!

Jay Veerayano
Jay Veerayano

It was kinda entertaining seeing these ridiculous challenges. It didn't have much to do with cooking though, I thought. And I think Beverly got screwed..... She came 2nd in 2 of the 3 challenges... It was kinda not fair. I'm just saying...