Top Chef: Texas, Episode 16 Recap

[Sorry this is late. I keep getting distracted because Paul Qui is posting creepy photos of fish here and here on Twitter. Yeeea, Paul, I “sea” you.]

It’s down to the three amigos: Pretty Paul, Stinky Sarah, and Lame Lindsay.

Good thing Bev’s gone because this trio has to cook Asian food inside Vancouver’s Chinatown for the Quickfire Challenge. “Asian food is not my forte,” says Sarah. Naw, really? All I’ve seen you do is make pasta and fish. You are lucky Bev isn’t here to whoop you with some of her braised short ribs.

Jump for more cans of whoop @$$.

Part Uno: Quickfire Challenge

The judges bring in Top Chef Masters Anito Lo, Floyd Cardoz, and Takashi Yagihashi to help the three remaining chefs cook inside Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie (translation: “My Precious Treasure Chinese Brasserie”… horrible, horrible name). Each Asian master is paired with one of the cheftestants, and they must take turns cooking inside the kitchen for a total of 40 minutes without consulting each other on their Asian-influenced dish. Even though Sarah loves Takashi so much that she starts bawling the moment she sees him, she’s stuck with Floyd C., a Master who’s never won a Quickfire challenge. Too bad for Sarah because Paul gets Takashi, which is truly a match made in Japanese food heaven. Lindsay and Anita pair off, but we don’t really care about them…

With an “okie dokie” from Takashi, the teams are off and running. Seriously, could Takashi’s accent get any cuter? I DON’T THINK SO.

Linita (Lindsay/Anita) cook a scallop in three parts with bok choy, chili, and roe. Pashi (Paul/Takashi) decide on a mirugai, which is a geoduck (not a clam, Paul), but the Uchiko execuchef adds too much spice at the end. Sloyd (Sarah/Floyd), the underdogs, are on the same wavelength and whip up a nice coconut curry with crab, even though Sarah’s “comfort level with curry is a zero.” Despite her initial discomfort with the challenge, Sarah ends up taking home the $20,000 grand prize, and Floyd wins his first Quickfire ever. We’re happy for Floyd, but Sarah really needs to pack her knives and go in the next elimination round.

Part Dos: Elimination Challenge

The producers at BRAVO probably got a ton of crap for holding the last Top Chef: Texas episodes in British Columbia, so they decide to incorporate Texas back into the show….gee, thanks. Each chef has to create one dish and one cocktail for the Fire and Ice Cocktail Party where 150 of Vancouver’s elite will gather to try dishes that have a fire (Texas weather) and ice (not Texas weather) component. Within five hours, the cheftestants have to brilliantly whip up a dish that’ll impress the judges AND feed a small country. “It’s gonna be a shit show,” says Paul.

The three amigos are definitely in the weeds. While Lindsay’s juicing her tomatoes, she says, “I think if I literally cut my fingers off, I’d keep going.” Can anyone else smell the desperation? Sarah, though, is off in her corner, making pasta from scratch and smack-talking like the stink bomb she is. Even her closest friend on the show, Lindsay, isn’t safe when Sarah says that Lindsay’s “playing it safe” with her halibut over celery remoulade.

Part Tres: The Judges’ Table

Surprisingly, Sarah turns out to be right for the first time in her life. Lindsay’s tomato-themed dinner didn’t impress the judges conceptually, while Sarah’s Agrumi cocktail did. The frozen sauce on top of Sarah’s cannoli stuffed with five greens, however, prevented her from taking home the trip to Costa Rica for two. Paul’s play on lobster bouillabaisse with king crab wins him (and his girlfriend, probably) a tour of fair trade coffee in South America. What a lucky man.

Everyone’s sad that Lindsay has to go home, but really, Sarah’s quite happy on the inside. “I always knew it would be me versus Paul,” she gushes. Wow, Sarah, you’re the biggest sneak. I hope you also know that Paul’s going to beat your pasta-making self in the finale. Bring. It. On.