Gretchen Bleiler and Gail the Canadian are the guest judges. I was usurped by a multi-medalled Olympian. Whatevs. They eat Paul’s lamb with enoki, juniper, and wasabi, and we get like no reaction. Sounds like a juggling act of many, many powerful flavors. We are right back to Sarah. It’s a chorizo dish with prune juice and gooseberries. It’s like Spanish food for old people with an out-of-season fruit. Bev is menu planning for the future. She loves the dish and the thought of creating all menus on a moving metal crate in the freezing cold. She is having one installed back in Chicago. Sarah can use it when she asks really nicely and apologizes for all past meanness. Bev has made a salmon tartare with anchovy, horseradish crème fraiche, and crispy capers. This is straight out of the 1992 playbook, which yes, I am guilty of using as well. Lindsay is cooking for a trio of people when she is facing a quartet. She has not caught any f--king gators on this miserable trip. Her dish is a salmon with quinoa, chorizo, and horseradish vinaigrette.
Paul gets a passable. Gretchen loved the wasabi. Sarah gets a nod because gooseberries gave it some acid. Bev gets hugged for knife-work. Lindsay’s salmon was beautifully cooked. It was a gondola, people. Again, Lindsay thinks she sucked, and lo and behold, they loved it. She wins, and hopefully gets some self-assurance. You are in the final round of Top Chef. Realize you rock. You rock. Enjoy.
Hotel moments at the fabulous Fairmont. The Fairmont has all the old CN hotels in Canada and they are beautiful spots. Go to the Banff Springs hotel someday. Sheer bliss. Stayed at the one in Vancouver, and it was the lap of luxury. Don’t tell the producers that I am happy in a broom closet. As long as there is running water, a Twister game, a framed picture of Ken Dryden, and two packs of those colored Nat Sherman Fantasia cigarettes like my aunt used to smoke, my rider has been met.
Beverly should have passed to the Finals over the 'Risotto & Soup' chef that self described herself as an 'amazing' chef. Apart from that, we found it silly that at this point of the competition, that they were expected to ski and shoot a gun which had nothing to do with their cooking abilities.
Glad Beverly is off of T.C. Couldn't stand her. Her crying, and me aganist everyone attitude. Paul should go on to win. He definately is heads above the rest. In fact he is the best against all. Superior cook. Sarah, and Lindsey are no match. I expect paul to win. Unless the producers pull some kind of crap. They have managed to turn T.C. INTO A REALITY FARCE. They don't understand, the real fans know it's about the food.
At least this episode makes it easy to root for Paul to win since it's him versus two total jerks in the finale.
Wasn't this suppose to be about cooking? I really don't think we care about the Athletes. Come on now.......bring in all the football, baseball, soccer and basketball players and have them talking about there accomplishments. Rather boring. I am an American and know we want to hear about the cooking.
Hugh is wonderful. How awesome would it be to go on a skiing holiday with him and then play twister after a long day on the slopes? That's not even meant to be sexualized. I just think playing twister with the man would be an awesome good time.
Could the challenges get any worse? I can handle a gimmicky Quickfire, but gimmicked up Eliminations (especially this late in the season) are ridiculous and turn me off of the show. I came to see good chefs cooking the best food, not ice block chopping and "hilarious" ski pratfalls. It's like going through the NFl season, then having the Super Bowl played inside a bounce house with live kittens instead of a football.
Love, love, love your blog. Difficult seeing the episodes in anything close to real time due to my location and horrible Web speed, so I watch them through your blogs (with the added bonus of your humor). Thanks for writing!
After watching this show I don't see how any judge can say with a straight face "It's all about the food". This episode was a cross between cooking, an arctic survivor series and a Japanese game show. To have this follow up a season of near endless team challenges c'mon is it that tough to make a cooking challenge show interesting. I can see next season the chefs will haved to prepare sushi dishes under water in scuba gear after spearing their own fish. Let's get back to being all about the food.
What a weird cross between cooking, arctic survival, and a japanese game show. Next season chefs will have to free dive, spear their own fish, and then prepare sushi underwater in scuba gear. Judges,say it with a straight face "It's all about the food" yah right.
Hugh, love your blog and it really is almost better than watching the show. To the producers I have a complaint, however. This is the finals. We the viewers are interested in seeing awesome food, not gimmicky ridiculous challenges like chopping your food out of ice blocks and cross country skiing for amateurs. I sincerely hope that next week's show will be all about the best food these chefs can make, rather than who wins the luge race to get the best ingredients. Cooking in a gondola? Seriously?
I can't believe you missed the comment Gail made during Round 2 when she told Bev that she could think of "1 or 2" people Bev could use the ice pick on LOL. The best line of the entire episode!
I think the three challenges should have been judged as a group, rather than sudden win/sudden death. In other words, Bev was screwed by the rules. She had two second places before the last challenge, versus Sarah with a third and a last, yet Sarah gets the spot in the finals because her tough rabbit was rated a little higher than Bev's char. Or Paul, or that matter, who was in last place after the gondola. They each cooked a bad dish; Bev cooked three strong dishes, but didn't make it in. NOT FAIR!!!
I don't know if Chef Hugh has done a blog in seasons past or not, but reading his blog each week has been my favorite thing about this season, which, as a proud Texan living in Dallas, has been somewhat disappointing (San Antonio and Austin locales were approached with respect and an eye to heritage, but the Dallas episodes were full of all the worst stereotypes of Dallas, it really hurt my heart.) I nearly went into full-blown DTs last week with no blog posting from the Great Hughnibrow. PLEASE keep writing about Top Chef episodes, your humor and heart inform each episode with such wonderful perspective.
Your recap of this episode was so much better than the actual episode, which frankly, stunk! Enough with the gimmicks, Top Chef. I'm sick of hearing, "This isn't bad considering the conditions." Stop creating conditions that result in not bad food and let the chefs cook something amazing, which is what we want to see!!!! Please?
Ahahahahaha...thanks a crapload for Corey Hart and Bryan Adams.
Hugh - you rock! Great sense of humor; witty and keen observation. Made this season more enjoyable. Hope to see you more on Top Chef in the future!!
Thanks for making this season humorous -- certainly it has been a tough one. Very sadly, we have witnessed women acting like unprofessional chefs -- you just don't treat peers (fellow women) this way. Perhaps it is just part of the food culture...since it is still male dominated.
Rooting 100% for Paul at this point. He's earned the right -- and proven that you can do good and fair things while still playing a mean ass game.
I agree with previous posters: reading your recap blog is better than watching the show. You have a wickedly fun sense of humor. Looking forward to your recap of the finale. Oh and please recap the reunion show. That should be a hoot!
I love reading your blog, especially the part about Bev's elimination making Padma cry for the first time. There have been some unpleasant characters on Top Chef and other reality shows, but Sarah is the only one that makes me NOT want to watch the remaining episodes. She is thoroughly disgusting inside and out.
Witty and so entertaining! Love your blog Hugh! I don't know about Heather kicking you ass though.. she's all bark.. you can take her!
"dam yankee" .... next week's episode and all of the season is fully recorded before they even broadcast the 1st week of the season so nothing can be changed at this point. AND I think I saw from the preview to eliminate the 3rd chef next week's episode has a 150 dish cooking challenge. So embrace yourself for another mass cooking!
Please, please, please may Paul win....since Sarah is a monster (and I am sure that comes thru in the food) and Lindsay has the personality of a drowned lab rat. LOVE your blog, Hugh!!
Hugh rocks!! Love your take on everything. When Bev and Mean Sarah passed each other on the cross county trail, did anyone else think Bev's ski pole tip caught Sarah's pole and made her go kerplunk? Good job, Bev! Team Paul all the way!!!!
Hugh, great blogs, thanks for keeping us smiling all season. Unfortunately, this has been my least favourite seaons of Top Chef, like so many other people here, I've had enough of the gimmicks. Tom seems checked out most of the time on the show. Sarah was the most wretched contestant I have ever seen on this show (Lindsey being a close second) I hope and pray she gets called out for that during the reunion. I was going to scream if I saw Sarah giving Beverly the evil side eye one more time!
Hugh, as many have already written, your blog is so entertaining and way better than the episode itself. I was a little peeved when it looked like whoever could shoot a gun best would win. So glad it didn't go down that way. Hope you get to write a book or something, Hugh.
Hugh, You are the best thing about this season and I agree with the comments that your blog is better than some of the episodes. Why have you not been on more?. Tom seems to be just phoning it in this season and Padma is well ...Padma. I hate the gimmicks especially when you are down to final four. I have been rooting for another woman to win Top Chef ever since Stephanie,but this year ugh. I am hoping Paul wins. In my opinion he is the only one who deserves it and I can't stomach Lindsay or Sara.
Ken Dryden!! and how about Cammi Granato?! Is there any chance that you could get Darren Pang to provide color commentary on the show???? Love your blog - actually am enjoying it more than the show. But what is with these ridiculous non-food/cooking related challenges? I watch the show because I love watching creative chefs cook. I am not interested in watching them hack ingredients out of ice, try miserably to ski or shoot, bike around their food, or other wacky gimmicks. I loved watching the Voltaggio brothers cook amazing food and I don't care that they probably can't skate backwards while doing it. I feel ripped off with the current focus on gimmicks. Maybe the producers felt the current chefs weren't as good as previous contestants and so it's ok to treat them like trick ponies instead of chefs??
This has been the lamest, dumbest, most difficult to watch season of Top Chef ever. Last night was just the "ice" on the cake, in a manner of speaking.
I don't know if they changed production teams or what happened, but turning TC into a cross between Survivor and Galloping Gourmet makes it not worth watching.
Just 3 seasons ago they had the most outstanding collection of young kitchen talent they ever assembled. We've had challenges in past years involving making a dish using a chicken, potato and onion at the FCI in front of the legendary teaching staff. We had the challenge asking them to make the "Last Meal" for culinary giants, including Jacques Pepin and Lidia Bastianich; we had the contest involving preparing a presentations platter for Bocuse d'Or in 24 hours, which they served to Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, and Jerome Bocuse, among others; we had the All-Star season where they cooked at Rao's; and I could go on and on.
This year we had Pee Wee Herman's great Bicycle Race, a 200 hundred guest steak dinner, and a chili cookoff. I know that one of the best pots of chili I ever made came from me just dumping random assortment of ingredients and spices in a large stock pot and turning it on low for about 12 hours.
Maybe they knew at casting that they had a particularly weak set of candidates, and it would show if they just had them cook straight-up. Instead we get all these stupid gimmicks that just get in the way of the cooking, where the contest is all about who can overcome the handicap the best.
Unless they revert to form, I won't be paying much attention in seasons to come.
I agree with the other posters, and am only adding my comments so that the producers hear it again: HATED this episode. I know it is hard to come up with new ideas each week, but at this level in the competition it is disappointing to see so many non-cooking curveballs. Motion sickness (gondola), strength (ice blocks), athleticism (skiing and shooting) have NOTHING to do with cooking ability. Even Paul seemed mildly annoyed at these challenges, and showed grace in helping the others out. Aside from being a nice guy, I imagine he also had no interest in winning based on how fast he could chop food out of blocks of ice. Know your fans Bravo!
always enjoy your blog. They should have axed the Olympic champs for an Athens master chef. you're a lot funnier. The gondola, ice picks, and biathalon were stupid gimicks. Let them cook. And why go to Canada on a Texas series. What's up with that? by the time they filmed that, the Texas summer heat was long gone. I can not understand why this is the only show I make sure I catch. Maybe not if the zany shenanigans continue.
why is top chef becoming more and more like a circus each week and not about the chefs' talents? soon, they have to start doing cartwheels across football fields and cooking food at the same time. I mean come on. This show is starting to lose its credibility and to have such a ridiculous round so close to the finals is just pure gimmick. I hope top chef returns back to its former glory where food is the real star of the show and not just circus acts. top chef, please know that we watch because we want to see real talent. you have to start learning who your audiences are again.
Jeez some of the challenges this week seemed cruel just for the sake of entertainment! I don't know what extracting food from ice blocks has to do with how good of a chef you are. I like the challenges that really inspire the chefs, like the mentor challenge or the evil queen one.
Hugh, I love to read your blog. As others have said, they can be better than the show. By the way, is the name of the show "Top Chef" or "Girls Behaving Badly?" I tried to catch up and watch the show on On Demand. After the "girls" started being rude again I realized I didn't care, and I turned it off. I'll read your blogs without watching the show. It's better entertainment.
I hope Paul wins. He seems like a good person as well as a good chef. There is value in that.
OH, My Hugh. I love your blog! I was so spazzy excited about you including Pres. Polk. Also, this was the stupidest episode and what in the h*ll does skiing have to do with being a chef? SOOOOO boring. i didnt even watch the whole thing, i fast forwarded the dvr (to the end) to watch the inevitable elimination of good ol' Beverly... cause its been less about cooking and all about mistaking kindness for weakness and beating down Beverlys every attempt to be positive. Also, Lindsay, CONGRATULATIONS on being your prom queen. and no one will admit it, but did anyone ever REALLY like their prom queen. come on now, be honest.
MY OPINION, but the prettier you are, or more cheerful, or God forbid different, or the better that you get along with a team of men at work, the more the 'mean girls' give you grief. Men argue with you, but as soon as they see you working and pulling your weight, they let it go. Much easier to build a happy workplace that way. and Sarah, GEEEEZ, do you have to complain about EVERYTHING. Reallly SARAH, REALLY? I mean come on SARRRAAHHHH,,,,,,,, REALLLLLLY???? If you talk to people like that in your kichen, like... if someone is using your electric outlet, do you have to make them feel like a jerk? You could try "hey, greedypants, move your dang blender" Artsy people are wacky, it makes the world beautiful.
Season 1, when Harold won, it was said over and over that he could lead a team, people respected him, and treating people well was part of his comanding of a kitchen. He wasnt mean, he didnt have to be. I just could care less about the last episodes this season, and if paul doesnt win, i cant imagine why. The best part of the whole show has been "last chance kitchen", and "watch what happens".
I feel sorry for these poor chefs who had to go on a frozen holiday and put up with absurd challenges (but it was entertaining, I have to admit.) But the ice block challenge was downright unfair as men have so much more upper body strength. I'm mystified at the cattiness of the two remaining women chefs, Beverly may have violated chef protocols in the kitchen but she never did anything mean like they did. Cutting her off so rudely Sarah? I thought you were going to be a nice person. Go Paul.
Ilove your blog. It's funny, witty and truthful. "Splitting hares." OMG, make me LOL too much. BTW, you Canadians can take back Celine Dion.
Hugh, your blog is the reason I ever logon to the Top Chef website because its better than the show for much of this season.
I've been telling my casual viewer friends that this season is Top Chef - Survivor edition, so I'm guessing next season is Top Chef: Chef vs Wild or Top Chef: Apprentice edition?
What can I say, there is continuous blast of Beverly doing Asian, it hardly seems fair (unless its all been edited out) that Sarah makes 5 versions of risotto, ravioli, or soup alternately the whole season. At least Asian encompasses a continent with almost 50 countries, Italy is boot sticking out of Europe. I'll need to get over that bit.
Also, Bev actually participated in more challenges than Sarah. I do recall Sarah heatstroking out of one the team challenges only to feel better in the knick of time to serve the judges then fall ill right afterwards. She also elected automatic advancement in the pre-finals challenge when she won that quickfire for soup....
Top Chef has been one of my favorite shows but the bullying that has gone on this season is disgusting. Heather, Sarah and Lindsey should have been eliminated on those grounds alone. Ugly, ugly performances. And then the show itself goes on a bullying spree and asks two women who've never been on skis to fall all over the ice and snow. Broken legs? Broken ankles? Any minute now. Bev was so bruised she was purple. Too much bullying Top Chef. It's tough in the kitchen but this performance was a really badly conceived dish. Low marks all around.
I'm such a baseball nerd that my first thought about Corey Hart was of the Milwaukee Brewers' outfielder. And my second thought was "he's Canadian?" My third and final thought is that I adore your blog. Keep your stick on the ice.
Please, Please, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!! Cut the gimmicks next season! I want to watch a cooking show, not this garbage that was put on this season. I TOTALLY agree with "shipwreckedcrew"'s comments. Where are the displays of culinary genius we witnessed on previous season? Why have the producers of Bravo lowered their standards? Top Chef started as a classy, intelligent and entertaining cooking contest. Now it is turning into a nearly classless, weak premised attempt for ratings. Tom seems disinterested and Padma is being given corny lines to deliver. Where are the reputable chefs who used to appear and offer intelligent critique? I truly miss the old BRAVO.
I can't wait to see the Toxic Twins, Sarah and Lindsay, taken down one by one in the last episodes. Sarah's resolution when she arrived in Canada to be "a really nice person" fell apart in the car, when she interrupted Bev's answering Paul about LCK by saying, "Look at that tree!" And then she and Lindsay snickered with each other over Bev's head. It just went downhill from there (No pun intended.)
These two belong in a fast-food chain with other teenage employees with Attitude. They are NOT professionals; they are immature and spiteful and don't deserve the Top Chef title. Go, Paul!