I apologize for the delay in this week’s Top Chef recap. That being said, here are my thoughts on this week’s Canadian journey.

Last week, Ed got sent home in a humiliating double loss of not only a chance at being in the finale, but also of a Prius. Sorry Ed, but canned or frozen food does not fly in the Top Chef kitchen.

We open this week with the gang meeting up in the parking lot of the Vancouver airport, all looking refreshed and like they’d finally had something to eat and drink, besides Shiner Bock and barbecue. Sarah talking-heads that she’ll be nice now, and that she’s a totally different person.

And then Beverly gets there. No one is especially mean to her, but it is awkward for Lindsay, Paul, and Sarah, who are war buddies, to even act warm towards Beverly. They pile into the Toyota, and Sarah immediately interrupts Beverly after Paul asks her about Last Chance Kitchen.


The crew is in Whistler, at a ski resort, where they meet a very bundled up Tom and Padma. Their first challenge is to make a meal in a gondola. Paul immediately looks pissed and admits to motion sickness. There’s no puking on Top Chef!

The chefs all get to work; Beverly decides since it’s cold in the gondola, she’s going to do a cold dish. Apparently the altitude affects brain function. I’m getting dizzy watching everyone cook as the gondolas move back and forth, so I’m going to trust that you know what happened in them.

Paul is first out of the gate with his seared lamb, and we see our guest judge, Gretchen Bleiler, a professional snowboarder who’s wearing a giant hat from the Ashley Holmes collection. Sarah is next with pancetta, Beverly goes third with a salmon tartare that Padma and Gretchen mysteriously share (I noticed that all the dishes were being shared, but I thought the chefs brought out four plates. Am I blind?). Lindsay’s salmon is last and realizes she doesn’t have enough, so she cuts her fish in half. As long as it’s not her dreaded halibut, it should all be okay for Lindz.

The time for everyone’s self-esteem to take a hit has come! Gretchen says that Paul’s food doesn’t taste like it was made in a gondola, which is surprising since most gondola food has a dizzy aftertaste. Beverly’s cold tartare goes over well, as does Lindsay’s salmon, and as usual Lindsay looks on the verge of some kind of breakdown. Padma announces that the winner of this event will get to skip the next two events and coast into the final round. The winner of this honor is Lindsay, who gets to lay in a bed of $10,000, as well as not having to do anything for the rest of the episode.

Our next challenge is particularly cruel and I’d love to see the mean producer who came up with it. Paul, Sarah, and Beverly have to make a meal from food they literally pick out of ice. First of all, is that even sanitary? And second of all, what if you can’t get any food out of the ice? It boggles the mind. Luckily, the very sweet Paul decides to help his teammates out, and after working together, everyone has food to make. Now, for the old school Top Chef fans, imagine if that had been Marcel in this challenge.

I’m so jealous of how hot the judges look in their winter gear. Finally, after braving the elements: food is served. Sarah made a bone-warming pea and spinach soup. Paul poached crab with mango, which the judges, plus token winter sport player, all loved, and Beverly made couscous and scallop. Padma declares it best couscous ever! Paul predictably moves on to the next challenge, with our besties Sarah and Beverly, fighting it out.

The women move on to some other area of the ski resort, where Padma awaits them with a gun, Tom, Gail and hockey bad-ass, Cammi Granato. The women will have to cross country ski, and then shoot for the ingredients with 10 bullets in their guns. It seems a bit biased towards Sarah, who grew up shooting guns. Beverly looks mortified, and rightfully so. Sarah with a gun is not anywhere I’d want to be.

The silly music plays while Beverly stumbles on her skis, but she’s still going faster than Sarah. Beverly gets to the range and hits her first shot, but fails at the next few, which might leave her with a dish consisting solely of arctic char. Finally, she get some celery root. Sarah, for all her huffing and puffing, doesn’t do much better, and misses her first four shots, but still ends up getting an adorable rabbit, because she’s a monster. With one shot left, she starts to whine that it looked like Beverly had more shots than her, except that’s just a figment of her paranoid imagination.

The ladies finish and get to cooking. Finally, they can cook indoors! Beverly with her arctic char and Sarah with her rabbit. The judges, all dressed in white sweaters, except for Padma who strikes out with her yellow turtleneck, all sit down in the retro lodge surroundings of the Whistler Conference Center.

At this point in the game, all comments are mostly abstract and there are no huge blunders. The judges seem to all like both dishes, with some minor criticisms and questions. Paul and Lindsay come in for support, and Lindsay talking heads that she and Sarah have a special bond, which is a great opportunity for a ladypond joke, but I’ll just leave it there.

In the end, there can only be three in the finale, and Beverly is the one to go for the second time. Padma looks genuinely upset to see her go, which makes me upset. Everyone cries, including Sarah, but it’s hard to say whether it’s from joy or elation that Bev is finally gone for good. Until she comes back after the creation of a new web show, Last Last Chance Kitchen! Sarah tells Beverly she is amazing, and to get the hell out of her kitchen.

Next week: We continue our crawl towards the finale, and get more cold cooking competitions.



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