Recap: ‘Top Chef’ – ‘Mentors’

02.09.12 6 years ago 7 Comments


Well, our final four is…  not the final four. As we know, the winner of Last Chance Kitchen will be joining the challenges ahead, and then we’ll have a final four. After the remaining chefs get the good/bad news about another chef rejoining the show, Ed has a pack of cigarettes saying it’s Bev. Sarah is willing to put money on Grayson and will raise him a banana. I’m with Ed. Although I don’t want the cigarettes. 

Finally, it’s time to unveil the winner, who is… Bev! Sarah is not happy. Sarah should just shut it, as there are no more team challenges and she should just keep her eyes on her own workstation at this point. Really, is it possible for her to be any more of a mean girl without shoving Bev into a locker? 

The Quickfire Challenge will require all of the chefs to use all of their senses. Don’t they always? Anyway, a blind pantry raid will be how they get their ingredients, and every item must be used in the dish. The winner gets a Prius V or a guaranteed spot in the final. Oooh, take the car! 

Sarah won’t lose to Beverly! She won’t, because she doesn’t like her! Boo, hiss! Again, SHUT UP, Sarah. 

Paul wants the car if he wins, because Paul is confident and he doesn’t want to skate by. This is important to remember (hint: someone isn’t taking the car). 

Bev – Striped bass with avocado, lime and jalapeno

Padma points out that the fish is undercooked. Oh, Bev. She spent too much time on avocado and not enough on her fish. 

Paul – Sauteed prawn with Thai-style tomato salad

Tom asks if it’s undercooked or just the way Paul likes it. Paul says this is how he likes it. Well, what else is he going to say? 

Edward – “Udon” with ribbons of zucchini, mushrooms and scallions

Padma thinks Ed did a good job on the pork casings, which he’d originally thought were pancetta. Too tough to eat, he uses them to make broth. Pretty brilliant, if you ask me. 

Sarah – Corn soup with onion, red chili, roasted mushrooms and peaches

This sounds absolutely disgusting. Padma asks if Sarah’s combined mushrooms and peaches before. No, she hasn’t. I have to think this is not a tasty combination. I mean, if Tom can’t even handle tomatoes and butternut squash, this seems like a flavor don’t. 

Lindsay – Fish with bulgar wheat, mascarpone & broccoli rabe

This looks fine. At least better than peach and mushroom soup. 

Tom thinks Ed chose the most difficult thing, but his broth was flavorful and it was really nice overall. He liked Paul’s dish, but felt the prawn was undercooked. He thought Bev’s avocado was the best part of the dish, but still, undercooked fish. He liked the bulgar wheat in Lindsay’s dish. He thought Sarah’s weird combination of crap worked. What?

The finalists are Ed and Sarah. Wait, Sarah? The winner is… Sarah. Are you SERIOUS? Peach and mushroom soup? She picks the guaranteed spot instead of the car. Dammit! She must be a good chef, because man, she’s a hateful person. Ed thinks it shows she lacks confidence to take the easy way out. I think it just shows you what kind of person Sarah is, honestly. 

Time for the Elimination Challenge. First, the chefs will be seeing some people who have played a small hand in their success. Bev is hoping she gets to see her kid. No such luck. They’ll be seeing their mentors! 

Sarah’s is Tony Montano of Spiaggia.

Lindsay’s is Michelle Bernstein of Michy’s.

Bev’s is Sarah Stegner of Prairie Grass Cafe.

Paul’s is Tyson Cole of Uchi.

Ed’s is Frank Crispo of Crispo Restaurant. 

The challenge? A dish that fulfills and even exceeds their mentors’ expectations of them as a chef. The winner gets a Prius V, which is now leftover from the Elimination Challenge. Sarah doesn’t have to compete and can instead hang out with Tony. At least we won’t have to see her. That’s something. 

Look! It’s a Prius V! Shot in loving detail! For quite a while! The chefs will be driving it to Whole Foods and commenting on the ample head room.

Everyone runs around, which is nothing exciting. Until… they don’t have fresh oysters, so Ed buys smoked oysters. The flavor’s just fine, Ed says. OH MY GOD HAS HE NEVER WATCHED THIS SHOW BEFORE? Anyone who EVER buys canned or processed or ANYTHING instead of fresh GOES HOME. I would like to take Ed and shake him, but he probably smells like smoked oysters and I wouldn’t want to get too close. 

Bev runs around the store like a spastic rabbit, but she is back and kicking ass. Plus, she still has that slip of paper that says she’s the winner of Top Chef season 9. You go, Bev! Just please, please, beat Sarah. 

Lindsay says if she screws up, she may not have a job when she goes back home. Oh, come on. I’m guessing Lindsay’s trying to get some sympathy, because no one is passing on the good press of having a “Top Chef” contestant in their kitchen. 


Gulf shrimp & BBQ pork Singapore noodles

Bev knows they won’t be impressed by how it looks, but they’ll love the taste. I don’t know, it looks tasty to me. Sarah thinks she cooked from the heart. Tom’s impressed she cooked in a wok for so many people. 


Seafood “stew” over toasted couscous & broth with emulsified cream

Michelle just wants Lindsay to be happy. Tom think it sounds like she’s breaking up with her. I will say they had the most emotional reunion of all the chefs, so maybe she is. Lindsay seems worried about the cream. Even Michelle thinks everything was perfectly cooked, but she didn’t get the cream. Hugh thought it was a good job all things considered. That seems like faint praise. 


Chilled sunchoke and dash soup with summer vegetables

Hugh thought it was balanced. Tom thought it was totally different than what Paul had made previously. Michelle thought it was salty at first, but it was actually perfect with the veggies. 


Braised pork belly & smoked oyster crema with pickled vegetables

Gail thinks the plate is packed with flavor. Tom doesn’t like the oyster sauce.  DING! You cannot get a smoked oyster past Tom Colicchio, Ed. Michelle would buy the pickles. 

Tom thinks everyone did a great job, though there were little mistakes here and there. At this point, it’s all about the little mistakes, and those are the things that get you sent home. 

Padma calls everyone back except Sarah, who’s happy and well-rested and thoroughly annoying.

Tom gives them kudos for great food. He tells Paul that he showed great restraint with his soup, which is usually the mark of an older, more experienced chef. Gail calls Paul’s dish well-prepared, thoughtful food.

Tom tells Bev her wok cooking was risky for many, many reasons. But Gail says the flavors were clear and it was well-cooked.

So, Bev and Paul served the favorite dishes of the evening. The winner is… Paul. He gets a car! But he’s so happy to have made his mentor proud. Bev cries, because she’s back! And at the top! Lindsay looks like she’d like to kill Bev. Ah, yes, I forgot there were two mean girls still in the competition, though Lindsay is definitely the lesser of the evils. 

Bev and Paul head back to the stew room. Sarah is so worried about Ed and Lindsay! No, she’s worried about Lindsay. Because they’re, like, totally besties. 

The bottom two receive their comments. Gail tells Lindsay her dish smelled intoxicating. But the cream, not so good. Hugh tells her the dried herbs were too much. Tom tells her the herbs were a mistake. Lindsay starts crying. She’s had so much fun and met such incredible people. She’d love to move on but if not, she’s okay with it. I have to say, Lindsay’s dish does seem to have a lot of problems. But not one of those is smoked oysters. 

Gail tells Ed his pickles were amazing. Tom, of course, didn’t like the smoked oysters. Hugh thought his meal was too busy. Gail tells him Frank loved his dish. Ed says he’s learned when he’s been on the bottom and he’s a better chef for it. Ed doesn’t cry, as he’s an adult and not a high school student.  Gail thinks both Ed and Lindsay overthought their dishes. 

Ed is told to pack his knives and go. No!!! Ed takes it on the chin. He thinks he should have gotten to the finale, but he’s just going to use this as inspiration to be a better chef. Ed’s pissed to have lost his spot to Bev, but I can’t say I’m surprised he got the boot. As good as everything looked that he’d cooked up to this point (more or less), the smoked oysters were just going to ruin him. I have to think he just got nervous and didn’t think it through. Still, sorry to see him go.

What do you think of the final four? What do you think about the finale being in British Columbia? And why don’t you think Ed revised his recipe?

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