Team Top Chef's Senior Editor worried for Sarah.

Feb 23, 2012

Brrr, it's cold in here. I said there must be some Top Chefs in the atmosphere! We're in Vancouver! I thought this week's Quickfire was pretty exhilarating, but that could be because Floyd Cardoz and Anita Lo are two of my faves -- seriously, two the nicest and most generous people on the planet. I don't know Takashi yet, but I'm sure he's equally as nice! For the Quickfire Challenge, the chefs were paired with Masters of Asian cuisine and basically had to tag-team dishes. I'm not ashamed to admit that I was completely unaware of Vancouver's huge Asian population. While researching Vancouver to come up with those "clues" the judges tweeted to reveal the finale location, I think i was most fascinated to learn that Vancouver is home of the Chinese buffet! Not sure whether to thank them or not for that one, but still interesting. As many have said this season, "Asian" cuisine covers an entire continent, so these dishes could have gone a lot of different ways. Sarah almost lost it when she saw her friend, Takashi, but alas, the Japanese chef was paired up with Paul, and Sarah was paired up with Floyd. And you know what? Sarah and Floyd won! I don't think the irony of Sarah winning the season's Asian challenge was lost on anyone, but I think it shows what a diverse chef Sarah can truly be. She kicked that curry's arse and worked well with her partner. Anita started a scallop dish three ways for Lindsay! And Lindsay figured it out! Although Lindsay added some things that weren't well-received, I think she should be commended for solving Anita's mystery dish. Takashi chose a difficult ingredient -- the geoduck or giant clam -- and although Paul didn't go in the direction Takashi envisioned, the dish could've worked. Unfortunately, Paul went a little too heavy on the chiliā€¦ even for Padma, who loves the heat. So, Sarah wins!

On to the Fire and Ice Elimiantion Challenge! The chefs had to make a single dish and cocktail pairing for 150 people. All three tried to interpret the ideas of "fire" and ice" multiple ways. Paul made a crab and sunchoke dish whose only real drawback was arugula. Although it was a legitimate complaint, when a judge is starting to complain about arugula, you could just tell that the dish was probably great and the judges have taken splitting hairs to a new level. I was most concerned about Sarah's dish. I thought her ideas was kinda brilliant -- make a hot pasta and a frozen sauce that would melt upon impact. Unfortunately her sformato was too frozen and never quite had the consistency she was seeking. I really thought this could send her home. Another issue was that her cocktai, while tasty, seemed disconnected from her dish and from the season they were in. She is fortunate that her flavors were good enough and Lindsay's weren't, and so, Sarah stayed.