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Top Chef Texas Finale Part 2 - Ep. #17 - 02/29/12 (Spoilers)

This is it. The end of the TC9 season. Paul vs. Sarah...with help from previous cheftestants competing to help as sous chef. As Paul said - there have been a lot of battles won; but it's all about winning the war.

They are to create a four-course tasting menu at the restaurant of their dreams, per Tom, and will cook at Black and Blue, and Coast - with "outstanding sous chefs", per Padma.

Paul and Sarah talk about who they'd like to see as potential sous chefs. Meanwhile a large group files into the TC kitchen to compete - some of them were actual cheftestants, and some just missed the Final 16. They are joined by two great chefs - Barbara Lynch - No. 9 Park, Boston and Marco Canora of Hearth in NYC. ALL will be competing to be sous chefs for the two finalist. They have 45 minutes to create a dish.

The horrible butcher who was cut by Tom, Tyler Stone, is there as well. Heather and Chris Crary are getting all gushy in the kitchen. Ick. Barbara Lynch and Marco Canora just buckle down and get their dishes done.

Paul and Sarah show up, and they are to taste 11 dishes. They are to each pick their favorite 4 dishes, and those dish creators will be their sous chefs.

Paul picks first: Dishes from Barbara Lynch, Ty-Lor, Chris Crary, and Keith.

Sarah's picks: Dishes made by Nyesha, Tyler Stone (Baaa haa haa!!! Even Sarah said "I'm not letting you butcher!" LOL), Heather, and Grayson.

Turns out Marco will be joining the judges for dinner. Paul and Sarah have 6 hours to prep and cook in their restaurants, and then have 3 hours to finish cooking and plating tomorrow before serving for ONE HUNDRED guests and judges arrive. Sheesh.

Paul and Sarah both work with their sous chefs to describe their menus. Barbara Lynch offers suggestions to Paul, and while Paul's honored to cook with her, he won't let her take over. Meanwhile, Sarah's concerned with Tyler suggesting things that Sarah's not done before. She says that Tyler has a LOT of balls when he didn't even make it past the first cut.

They head off to Granville Market to shop. Sarah's trying to direct Tyler with very specific tasks; making sure he feels like he's part of the group, but not letting him know she doesn't really give a shit. (her words!) Barbara Lynch tells Paul's group to "stick to the plan! Now's not the time to change your menu!" Then off to Whole Foods to finish shopping.

Sarah gets the Black and Blue restaurant, and Paul gets Coast. All of Paul's sous chefs don't really know his style of cooking, so he'll have to make sure he watches them closely. Sarah deals with Tyler constantly asking questions when she just wants him to "chop the celery!"

Paul and Sarah then go to meet Emeril and Tom Colicchio to pair their dishes with various wines. Tom asks if they've had any experience in pairing wines, and Sarah said she likes to drink, and Paul has less experience than Sarah. Paul chooses a Chardonnay, and Sarah takes a Cabernet. Sarah asks for advice for them, and Emeril suggests they "take a snapshot of Restaurant Wars." Paul realizes he didn't lead as he should have done at RW.

Sarah is shown speaking to her fiancé on the phone later that night.

They all show up at their restaurants the next morning. Sarah notes that Tyler is in dress pants and dress shoes - WHY? Heather said about Sarah that she runs a great restaurant at home, and she thinks they'll pull this out for her. Meanwhile, Paul assigns stations to his sous chefs. Barbara Lynch is impressed with him and she's glad to be working with him. Unfortunately the crab that Paul was going to use got a bit funky, so Keith says to the camera that they'll have to change the game plan.

Paul was smart to have picked up spot prawns at the market "just in case" so he puts Keith on peeling them as his backup dish.

Meanwhile, Tyler argues with Sarah about how to prep something, and she lets him do it his way. Grayson said Tyler's working at his own pace, so the rest of them will "jam out" with what they have to do, and let Tyler do what he's doing.

Guests show up at Coast first. Paul's restaurant is called Qi. Tom Colicchio looks really cool in his striped suit and dark-framed glasses. :-) The judges are Marco Canora, chef of Hearth in NYC; Mark McEwan, head judge of Top Chef Canada, Cat Cora, new co-host of "Around the World in 80 Plates" on Bravo, along with Gail and Tom.

PAUL'S FIRST COURSE: Chawanmushi, Edamame, Pea Shoots and Spot Prawns. It gets rave reviews.

Paul is called out front before his second course, and his Mom and Dad and his girlfriend are there! He starts crying, but also puts him at ease. :-)

PAUL'S SECOND COURSE: Grilled Sea Bass with Clam Dashi, Pickled Radishes & Mushrooms. Gail said "Beautiful" when the plate is put down in front of him. Everyone loved it.

PAUL'S THIRD COURSE: Congee with Scrambled Eggs, Uni, Kale & Smoked Albacore - Tom wasn't as thrilled with this dish, and Cat Cora said while it was good, it didn't seem to fit with the rest of the menu.

PAUL'S FOURTH COURSE: Coconut Ice Cream, Puffed Rice, Kumquats, Mangosteen, Thai Chili Foam and Jasmin Gelée - the first mouthful is a "power punch", but well liked. Tom said that Paul knocked it out of the park.

Meanwhile while Paul's serving his judges, Sarah is serving Padma, Emeril, Hugh and Bill Terlato, and David Meyers, Chef of Comme Ca, show up at Monte Verde, Sarah's restaurant.

SARAH'S FIRST COURSE: Squid Ink Tagliatelle, Spot Prawns & Coconut - also well liked by the judges.

SARAH'S SECOND COURSE: Rye-Crusted Steelhead Trout with Fennel Sauce, Pickled Beets and Gras Pista - the beets seem almost raw.

SARAH'S THIRD COURSE: Braised Veel Cheek with Crispy Veal Sweetbreads - Padma loves the veal cheeks; Hugh loves the polenta underneath.

SARAH'S FOURTH COURSE: Hazelnut Cake with Candied Kumquat and Roasted White Chocolate Ganache - the "roasted white chocolate" was well liked, as she had turned it into a caramel. Emeril seems to think the dessert was the best dish from Sarah.

Meanwhile, Sarah doesn't like the texture of the polenta and buckwheat, so she tweaks the chunky persimmon, and adds a touch of cream to smooth it out. She seems happy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Annnnd.......Verizon Fios has decided to screw up on me again! I can't use the mini fast-forward, so I'm trying to get to a point where I last dropped off by full-fast forwarding to watch the rest of the show straight through without stopping it and try and get stuff down in writing here. DAMN THIS REMOTE!
~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Can't see this portion yet because of recording issues - will re-fill when I can)

OK, I think I'm back.....

The judges switch restaurants. Sarah is asked to go upstairs. She sees *her* family - fiancé, his mother, Sarah's mother and her best friend. Each set of judges go through the dishes; Sarah's fiancé quietly notes to her that his salmon had a bone in it - she rushes back to see if she can pick it out.

Meanwhile, Paul realizes the second batch of Chawanmushi was overcooked, but had to serve it because he didn't have any more eggs to make new dishes. (Thanks ghg for catching that during my DVR'ing mishaps!)

Sarah serves her first course. The judges like it a lot. Paul serves *his* first course, but the judges don't like it at all, due to it being overcooked.

Sarah's 2nd course is enjoyed, and her veal cheeks was *very* well received. Meanwhile, Paul's 2nd dish is loved - deep flavor of the broth, the fish is perfect, the skin is crispy. His 3rd course is highly praised by Bill Terlato, saying he's never tasted anything like it before. Sarah's dessert is well received, as is Paul's.

The judges head back to Judges Table and Sarah and Paul show up. Tom said it's the best finale food in 9 seasons of Top Chef. Gail said there are moments when you're eating a meal and come across a dish that you can't believe it wasn't thought of before, and Sarah's pasta dish was that dish for her. The veal cheeks were perfect, per Tom, but the sweetbreads were too dry. Hugh said Sarah's dessert was the dish of the night. Padma said she hates white chocolate.....but said it was probably the best dessert she's had throughout her experience on Top Chef.

Paul's Chawanmushi was loved with the first round of first courses, but roundly disliked by the 2nd set of judges. His fish was perfect, Hugh said everything sung on that dish, and Emeril loved the broth. Padma liked the congee for the 3rd course. Tom liked his dessert, since he doesn't like sweet desserts, so he enjoyed this savory dessert and said it was *his* favorite dish of the night.

Sarah and Paul leave so judges can deliberate. Tom said they both peaked at the right time. They continue to discuss each dish via each course. Gail said what they saw from Paul was what he does every day, but Sarah took risks. (THAT'S scary to hear, even now, so I'm *glad* I wasn't writing this without knowing what I already know, as I'm writing this a half hour after the show actually aired and I saw the ending first and I'm just filling this part in! LOL)

[ WHOA! Preview of the Top Chef Reunion for next week shows Heather shaking her head and saying "I do not owe Bev an apology." Really, Heather? REALLY? That'll be an interesting reunion show to watch! ]
~~~~~~~~~~~

We're back. Both chefs are in front of family and other cheftestants. All of the judges are there. Padma tells them that one of them will take home the title of Top Chef. Tom tells Sarah that she took a lot of risks and it paid off tonight. Paul was consistent throughout the competition, and he said it was as close as it could get for their final decision..

And Paul is TOP CHEF!!!!!!!!!!!!! Woo hoo!!!!!! Yay, Paul - MOST deserving!

Annnnd another season of Top Chef recapping is DONE. Hope everyone enjoyed. I get tired of doing this by the end of the season, so I do have to say I'm *really* glad the season is done. :-)

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  1. Have to feel for Sarah getting stuck with that idiot Tyler.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Withnail42

      Right?

      I was happy Grayson was picked. Nice to see her in the show a bit more. Nyesha, too.

      1. re: Withnail42

        she only got him because she was trying to get Heather so I don't feel bad and she seemed very hapy with her dishes.

        1. re: tjinsf

          "she only got him because she was trying to get Heather"
          -------
          Yes, it seemed like she was fishing for "Heather's dish" and apparently "recognized" that dish as something Heather had on her menu so selected *that* dish (did she even like the taste of it? We don't hear anything about what the dishes tasted like) just on that basis alone, it seemed. But - ha! - it was Tyler Stone's dish. :-)

          1. re: huiray

            I thought that was a fairly good strategy to use, even though it backfired. There are people you are comfortable working with, you try to figure out which dishes belong to them. Smart in theory, apparently tough to execute accurately.

            1. re: debbiel

              I "only" watched it once, but it seemed like there was some smirking among the potential sous chefs going on at that point. I thought I saw Heather say something. I almost wondered if it was a set up; that someone purposely made something that she wouls think Heather had made.

              1. re: debbiel

                Have to agree can't blame her for trying to get a chef she knows and trusts.

                But what I am curious about is how the dish taste? Did she even care and chose it purely of the assumption that it was Heathers?

                Paul on the other hand seemed to go purely on the dishes that he liked.

                1. re: Withnail42

                  Yeah I know that there were time constraints, but I kind of wish that they showed more of the dish tasting and picking. Did they pick for flavor? Technique? Or like Sarah, for a certain chef?

                2. re: debbiel

                  What a well-respected poster on TWoP said:
                  "I laughed when Sarah picked Tyler. Truly a delicious moment. Apparently there isn't much difference from Farm to Table Heather's dish and a dish made by a crazy man. One more reason not to go to Heather's place."
                  (http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.c...)

            2. re: Withnail42

              Really, poetic justice came to my mind. In the end, the desert for which he contributed in a big way was a hit. He is quite the tool though.

              1. re: Withnail42

                Funny thing is, they didn't bring everyone back so you know the elves brought Tyler back hoping against hope that someone would pick him!

                he may be a good cook, but he's got a long way to go to become a real chef.

                1. re: LurkerDan

                  Or a reasonable facsimile to a human being.

                2. re: Withnail42

                  He is not respected in Sacto....Tyler. We do have fabulous chefs here...fabulous. They are busy running their restos!

                  1. re: melly

                    Thanks for a bit of "local info" on Tyler Stone, melly.

                3. sarah was so mean in the way she treated that guy and said over and over and over the girl power cheer leading.

                  paul'd team was professional. barbara lynch is a team player

                  70 Replies
                  1. re: Bellachefa

                    Paul fan here, but really? Sarah was mean? In what way? She was excited to get pick three women she was comfortable with and whose cooking she respected. She said, "Restaurant Wars again", realized her mistake, then said something like and with one guy this time. Second day, said something about let's cook ladies and gents. And somehow managed to not kick him in the arse for his slow work, his questioning, etc. Maybe I wasn't watching very closely, but I just did not see the mean.

                    1. re: debbiel

                      I thought Sarah bent over backwards to make the most of things with Tyler, no matter how much she regretted "choosing" him, albeit accidentally. She praised him several times, despite his incredibly annoying behavior, let alone his poor skills. My partner, who never learned to cook, cuts celery faster than he could. I blame the producers for including that idiot among the potential sous chefs. How typical of the immaturity displayed all too often by these producers. As far as I'm concerned, the judges really chose Sarah as the winner, but as usual, were overridden by bullying, misogynistic Tom. Paul also did an amazing job, but he made rather predictable food and committed more basic errors. After last night, I'm absolutely finished with TC. I refuse to keep wasting my time.

                      1. re: terrierboy

                        Whoa, you had me up until "...the judges really chose Sarah....bullying, misogynistic Tom."

                        Do you really feel it was such a blowout win by Sarah that you could know this without having tasted the food?

                        1. re: debbiel

                          The editing of TC has always been suspect; I've read some articles about the way the other judges would select one person, then have their votes ignored by Tom as head judge. Tom has shown himself to be misogynistic on many occasions. He's a hypocrite, who does bully anyone who stands up to him, especially when that someone is a woman. Those are also my observations from seeing him interviewed. I don't think either chef scored a blowout; I can only judge by the comments I heard and body language I observed. I've also had many of my comments ignored by Tom on his Bravo blog whenever I disagree with his opinions. He seems rather thin-skinned for someone in his position. I didn't like some of Sarah's behavior during the season, but she seemed to have worked on her behavior between the original competition and the finals. I have nothing against Paul, but it's really hard to believe there has only been one female worthy to be called TC in all the regular competitions.

                          1. re: terrierboy

                            Do you have any examples of Tom Colicchio's 'misogynistic' behavior?

                            1. re: terrierboy

                              perhaps you should consider that the nature of the show and competition might reduce the number of women candidates -- the contestants are taking extended leaves from their jobs with the support of their employers, and for chef/owners the financial risks could even be more onerous. the contrived nature of many of the eliminations also means that the best chefs don't necessarily win ; winning seems to need a combination of skill, luck, adaptability, competitiveness to reach the semi-finals, and then the knack of producing one's best under immense pressure (compounded by cross country ski racing or other stressors).

                              1. re: terrierboy

                                I don't know about Tom having a particular bias against women. In LCK, starting with Nyisha, all he choose were women. In addition to the nature of the challenges as stated above there's the basic statistics to point out. 25 years ago 90% of culinary school grads were men. At the CIA today, 70% of culinary students are men. Those numbers alone would mean that between 70 and 90% of all chefs out there today (let's say 80? %) are men. Interesting in that 50% (8 of 16) of those who made the show were women. That would point towards an unfair bias by Tom, the executive producer towards women. 3 of the 4 finalists were also women so I really don't think the gender bias holds water.
                                Where I do agree with you is that Tom's opinion does appear to hold much more weight than the other judges. Had Tom been served the overcooked batch of Paul's first course the outcome might very well have been different. I also think he, like EVERYONE else watching throughout the season believed Paul to be the top chef and barring a fatal error, he was going to win. IMO, if Tom had a bias in the finale it was based on who he thought was the better chef and not gender. I still believe the finale should factor in the rest of the season as in "if there's a tie it goes to...".

                                1. re: terrierboy

                                  I've also had many of my comments ignored by Tom on his Bravo blog whenever I disagree with his opinions.
                                  ~~~~~~~

                                  Umm, Tom doesn't respond to every single blog comment that is made. In fact if he responds to any, it's usually when a good number of them are similar and he responds in his *next* blog posting to all - not in the comments section.

                                  I think he's got a bit more on his plate then to respond to every dissenting comment on his Bravo blog, don't you?

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    When you consider that most of the conspiracy theories are about his efforts to throw the title to Sarah and his alleged favoritism toward her, it's hard to imagine him feeling compelled to respond to charges of misogyny.

                              2. re: terrierboy

                                LOL, and I was just criticizing Tom in the last episode for defending Sarah without merit.

                                1. re: terrierboy

                                  Did we actually ever see a shot of Tyler cutting celery? I remember only a 1/2 second shot of him with the celery, and you really couldn't get much of a feel for his knife skills from said shot.

                                  Agreed that Sarah handled him reasonably well in the kitchen, though I don't think bashing him in the camera confessionals was really necessary.

                                  I did not find Paul's food any more predictable (conceptually) or error prone than Sarah's meal, and I wonder what gave you that idea.

                                  I have absolutely no idea why you characterize Tom as bullying or misogynistic or what you think is evidence of that.

                                  You're not Heather, right?

                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                    Did we actually ever see a shot of Tyler cutting celery?
                                    ~~~~~~~~
                                    we did, and his technique very awkward. if i saw that clip without knowing who it was, my immediate assumption would be that the person really lacks confidence in their knife skills.

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      What was he doing and how was it awkward? All I remember is a half second shot of him cutting the celery lengthwise, presumably before a dice. He wasn't blazing away at it, but it was only one knife stroke - it just doesn't tell you that much.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                        IIRC, it just seemed like he was kind of poking at the celery with the tip of the knife, and just generally looked awkward. Contrast to Paul taking down an onion in the Asian tag team last episode.

                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                          His knife technique was amateurish. Tyler was holding his chef knife with his index finger extended along the top of the blade. My BF's been cooking professionally for 15+ years and about died laughing at that clip.

                                          1. re: BecaC

                                            That's considered fine technique for some knife strokes among the Japanese, who, generally speaking, put Westerners to shame with their knife skills. Even Westerners who've been cooking professionally for a while. Just sayin.

                                            I'm not saying Tyler was definitely using an elaborate Japanese technique or anything. But seriously - anyone can look bad at using a knife if you take a one-second shot of them distractedly cutting something. Grip is not a great way to evaluate how good someone is with a knife, because there are a lot of people with excellent skills who don't use a pinch grip, and many people with poor-to-mediocre knife skills who do use one. Unless there was another shot that I missed, we just didn't see enough of him to evaluate his knife skills.

                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                              his grip style wasn't the issue for me. it was his general clumsiness and lack of finesse/confidence...and the remaining piece of celery he was attempting to wrangle so he could finish chopping appeared to be pretty hacked up.

                                              but yes, it was a brief shot, and perhaps we're all reading a bit too much into it or being unnecessarily critical :)

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                If you watch the video submission for Tyler that Hugh has in his blog, his knife skills are clearly better (if not up to Pepin status) than what we see of his celery work on TC in the finale, which was brief and kind of fumbling. Plus, the whole video is so shallow and telling that it honestly appears that they chose to include him only as an object of derision, not based upon any chefly accomplishments. Another mark against the producers, IMO, this season.

                                                1. re: mcf

                                                  "Plus, the whole video is so shallow and telling that it honestly appears that they chose to include him only as an object of derision, not based upon any chefly accomplishments. Another mark against the producers, IMO, this season."

                                                  Regardless of the reason he was originally included, he certainly was included last night as the ultimate boobie prize. 2 big prizes (the masters), some other prizes (the other chefs you know), some not so good prizes (the chefs who never made it to the show) and him. And yes, that could be a mark against the producers, though I kinda thought it made for good TV. :shrug:

                                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                                    As obnoxious as he is, I still hate to see him included only as the inevitable object of derision. Or anyone, for that matter.

                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                      "As obnoxious as he is, I still hate to see him included only as the inevitable object of derision. Or anyone, for that matter."
                                                      Absolutely. It was gross. Kind of like the kind of shit they have on those awful Bravo reality shows......

                                                        1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                          no question he was put there as a "booby prize" (and the two other "boobies"-- the people who never made it on the show-- didn't get picked-- was that due to the fact that they really weren't that great after all) but Tyler agreed to come on the show, so "shrug". Unless perhaps their contract required them to show up if requested....

                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                            I think that's pretty much it - you're "owned" by the show until it's done.

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                              +1 Linda... I am sure they are going where told until end of contract, and all editing is still a "mysterious elves' edit situation, that no chef-testant can control...

                                                              Really, kind of sad to bash the also-rans so thoroghly here. They just have to show and do as best they can, perhaps even to save face?

                                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Thanks for the agreement, ghg. I saw poor knife skills with the celery; if some of you didn't, then let's agree to differ. I'll ignore cowboyardee's insulting reference to my being Heather. See my reply to another post above for my rationale for characterizing Tom in a less than favorable light. Several of the judges called Paul's food predictable, so I was recollecting their statements. Given the fast and loose editing style on this show, it's hard to know whether such "attacks" really happen. Again, what sort of professionals would invite a person who didn't survive the first night because of his poor butchering skills to be a sous chef in the finale? That sort of stupidity makes TC increasingly difficult to watch. There just feels like too much Andy Cohen childishness behind so many production decisions. I prefer Next Iron Chef on Food Network to TC these days. By and large, those chefs behave like adults.

                                            1. re: terrierboy

                                              The Heather thing was intended as a lighthearted joke. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings and apologize if I did. I didn't mean to imply that you shared her characteristics or demeanor, even though I realize now that it comes off that way. Instead, your opinions came off (to me) as biased toward Sarah and against the judges in a way that was reminiscent of someone with personal relationship to her and the show, hence the joke. Mainly, I just don't see what would bring you to some of the judgments you did, namely that Tom C is bullying or misogynistic. Making that kind of accusation without really solid evidence is always going to be a little contentious. It's not that different from accusing someone of being racist - it gets people riled up.

                                        2. re: terrierboy

                                          As far as I'm concerned, the judges really chose Sarah as the winner, but as usual, were overridden by bullying, misogynistic Tom
                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                          Please give an example how Tom is/was misogynistic.

                                          I don't think you'll be able to, but if you really feel that way, please read his blog on the Bravo site. He loved Sarah's food. Loved it!

                                          1. re: Bart Hound

                                            Read further down this thread, terrierboy doesn't accept the blogs as source for correct information.

                                          2. re: terrierboy

                                            You might be the only one who believes Tom was anti-Sarah. Everyone else is still astounded about how he fought for her and excused her PYKAG worthy error.

                                          3. re: debbiel

                                            I agree, Debbie, I didnt see any mean from Sarah either, and in fact, I thought she seemed more...what's the word I am looking for "humble"? Or allot less bossy than she had in
                                            during the season,...more open to others suggestions etc... and was quite surprised by it.

                                            Maybe she only treated Beverly so harshly?
                                            I can't remeber if she was really bossy to others during the season.

                                          4. re: Bellachefa

                                            Sarah is an asshole!

                                            I feel bad for Tyler whose friends and family ate probably gathered around a table or bar watching this.

                                            Shame on her.

                                            1. re: C. Hamster

                                              Well, if Tyler didn't realize how his actions would play on TV, that's his bad. His episode where he had been kicked off had aired before this finale was filmed, so he could very well have read what people on blogs thought about him. I just don't think he thinks he's wrong in anything he does...that's his downfall. Don't forget how he spoke to Tom C. during that butchering on Ep 1. He was right, Tom was wrong. Uh-huh. :-/

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                Tyler doesn't listen to feedback..."everyone is just jealous". He's from Sac. Ugh.

                                            2. re: Bellachefa

                                              She had a reason to play the heavy and keep him in line

                                              Did you happen to see how much of an a** he was on the first episode?

                                              1. re: Withnail42

                                                Forget what an a** he was in the first episode. He supplied more than enough new examples in this episode. Every time he opened his mouth, it was to suggest a way to cook using some sort of toy when the situation didn't require it. And, worst of all, from the competing chef's point of view, he could barely manage to execute the tasks he was given. Can anyone say "questionable knife skills"?

                                                Over the years, there have been two instances of camera men deserving a bonus. One was an incident years ago in which the team forgot to pack the protein they had prepped the day before. (Some else will have to supply the specifics.) The camera noticed the abandoned meat and zeroed in for a tight shot that was effectively edited into that week's show. Last night, the camera zeroed in on Tyler cutting up celery. His slow and timid cuts were not the knife skills of a professional.

                                                When Tyler suggested that Sarah sous vide something, did anyone else have a flashback to the final in which Casey recommended that Carla sous vide her meat? We all know how well that turned out.

                                                I have thought Sarah displayed lots of unflattering behavior on the road to the final, but last night, I think she avoided more of the same. She identified the way in which Tyler could do the least damage to her cause and followed her vision of her meal despite his constant nattering about this piece of equipment and that piece of equipment.

                                                1. re: Indy 67

                                                  I *definitely* had that sous vide flashback to Casey/Carla! At least Sarah knew enough *not* to do something new she'd never done before.

                                                  1. re: Indy 67

                                                    Last night, the camera zeroed in on Tyler cutting up celery. His slow and timid cuts were not the knife skills of a professional.
                                                    ~~~~~~~
                                                    yes! my first thought when i saw that tight shot of his technique was that the kid needs to work on his knife skills and learn how to use them confidently. i don't think we can blame a dull blade a la Casey Thompson for this one.

                                                    and indeed i did experience a bit of deja vu when he kept trying to get Sarah to sous vide everything. i'm not sure if Heather was alluding to the same occurrence, but she gave Sarah a knowing look when she said that it was NOT the right time to be trying a technique with which you're not familiar.

                                                    1. re: Indy 67

                                                      You're a helper for God's sake. It's not your show, it's not about you. So put your head down and do your best for the chef. That kid Tyler just kills me. Made me want to reach into the screen and whack him upside the head a few times. And I wasn't even rooting for Sarah.

                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                        i thought sarah treated tyler poorly from the jump. welcomed him with an insult, marginalized him from the beginning.

                                                        1. re: linus

                                                          I disagree. I think his lack of basic skills that were clearly on exhibit last evening showed he was out of his element on the show in the first place.

                                                          Wonder whether the elves chose him for the original 29 to show that in the first place. He clearly didn't have even entry level knife skills. Most home cooks I've worked with are better than that.

                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                            this from a second and a half edit of him chopping celery?
                                                            he also did the dessert, which was universally praised, and made a suggestion about the beets that might have saved them(or might not have, for sure) from being singled out as failing.

                                                          2. re: linus

                                                            She had to. Perhaps you don't recall but he was thrown out of the kitchen by Tom on the very first episode after only a few minutes due to his horrific knife skills and bad attitude. Can't blame her for wanting to keep him in check before he did something stupid again.

                                                            1. re: Withnail42

                                                              i thought sarah's behaviour was mean spirited and unnecessary.

                                                              1. re: linus

                                                                Ironic isn't it...

                                                                No she had to take charge of someone with questionable skills, yet extremely arrogant/narcissistic. It was her night. She had to run her kitchen and staff in her style as she saw fit. In fact she made sure to include him and compliment him.

                                                        2. re: Indy 67

                                                          The first camera shot you have pointed out was from TC4, part 1 finale in Puerto Rico and some pork was left under a prep table and did not make it into the refrigerator. The next day Stephanie Izard took it well and simply prepared a different dish. Richard Blaize won the challenge that day and Antonia was sent packing for crunchy pigeon peas.

                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                            That was it. I thought it might have been something Hung worked on in his season, but it was Stephanie's pork being left out of the fridge. And it was Dale Talde who accidentally left it out and was beating himself up about it.

                                                          2. re: Indy 67

                                                            His knife skills may be rusty because, according to his bio at www.cheftylerstone.com he graduated from a "local culinary academy at the age of 13" which has got to be at least 3 or 4 years ago. I'm guessing it was the Boys and Girls Club Spring Vacation Cooking for Tweens Academy (parents need not worry. We do not let the children use knives).

                                                            To be fair we should not be knocking him until we've tried his personalized line of food and cookware (ironically including knives) available for purchase at www.cheftylerstone.com.
                                                            WARNING: going to this web site might have a similar effect as drinking ipecac. In fact, if someone in your home swallows poison and you do not have ipecac to induce vomiting you can quickly go to www.cheftylerstone.com and have the victim start reading. Just as effective.

                                                            In all seriousness (not really) did anyone else have the same feeling that it was like a Thanksgiving dinner where your well meaning cute 7 y.o. nephew Tyler wants to help in the kitchen and you try to think up things for him to do that may seem important to him but basically keeps him out of the way? "Hey Tyler, you can arrange the celery and carrot sticks orange, green, orange, green and so on. Then you can help stir the ice cream. Yes, you can wear your Star Wars goggles but use this wisk instead of the light sabers. I can't wait to tell your mom what a great help you've been to auntie Sarah"

                                                            Anyone who thinks that having Barbara Lynch might have been tough for Paul to deal with compared to Sarah having Tyler.... I really don't know what to say. There an article with an interview with him - you'll have to Google him - after he got cut in the first episode where he actually has the nerve to criticize Tom and Emerill. Kid's got balls.

                                                            1. re: bobbert

                                                              is that the right web address for him? That leads to some older marketing guy...

                                                              1. re: kubasd

                                                                oops, it's www.cheftylerstone.com Go figure. I left out chef. Thanks, I'll edit the post.

                                                              2. re: bobbert

                                                                It is interesting that people are criticizing Tyler's input in the final by suggesting that he wanted to use technology in the kitchen without really understanding the basics first. . .

                                                                and then you go to his website and he has his QR code on his homepage . . . . which is essentially using new technology without really understanding why people use that technology . . . .

                                                                just saying, kind of a theme

                                                                1. re: thimes

                                                                  Just having a little fun at his expense even though he's so arrogant it wouldn't bother him anyway. I'm sure he's a very talented young chef. In fact, my guess is that the worst chef on the program is probably better than 90% of all chefs out there. It's just a little difficult to have a 22 y.o. personal chef (word is he's a very good personal chef) who, from what we know, has never worked in a real restaurant kitchen (as his chef outfit - dress shoes and slacks will attest to), come in and start making all kinds of suggestions while the other "hardened" chefs who have paid their dues and earned their rights to maybe speak up seem to understand their roles as sous chefs. I wonder if he even knows what a sous chef is.
                                                                  One would think he would keep his mouth shut, his head down, bust his butt and be honored that he was given the opportunity to work with such great chefs. It must be a generational thing as I've seen many younger people come into a new workplace and on day one think they should be running the place. Most of them figure it out after a few months. Some never do.

                                                                  1. re: bobbert

                                                                    <word is he's a very good personal chef>>

                                                                    The kid has a good PR agent. If you know of some other "word" that he has chops, do share it, but I've seen nothing that would support that word.

                                                                    1. re: bobbert

                                                                      " (word is he's a very good personal chef) "

                                                                      His word, yeah. Anyone else in a position to be objective?

                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                        OK, OK, I was trying to say something nice after all the not so nice things I wrote about him. Googled him again and the first 4 pages, which were all I could get through, were publicity about him. He knows how to manipulate his Google. I rescind any nice things I said about him. He's a hack.

                                                                        1. re: bobbert

                                                                          So what's the over/under on how many months until he gets his Food Network show? :)

                                                                          1. re: debbiel

                                                                            I say they are filming pilots now.

                                                                            You can't say he isn't trying - and trying hard. While I may not admire his culinary chops, I have to say I'm impressed with his attempts at building a brand out of literally nothing. That isn't easy.

                                                                            And honestly, its been years since the food network has cared about culinary skills really. So why shouldn't he have a show when you look at the rest of the hosts on that channel.

                                                                            1. re: debbiel

                                                                              Damn. You beat me to that question so I'll go with 6 months.

                                                                    2. re: bobbert

                                                                      Interesting website seems to have been doing a great deal of not much.

                                                                      Interested how there is not a word about Top Chef. Just sayin...

                                                                      1. re: bobbert

                                                                        Hahaa bobbert. Tyler=Ipecac. Priceless!

                                                                        1. re: bobbert

                                                                          One need go no further than the home page to experience nausea...

                                                                        2. re: Indy 67

                                                                          Does anyone know what Tyler wanted to sous vide? Was it the meat course? I didn't catch it even the second time watching. Also, what did the master chef on Paul's team want to put sesame seeds on? As I recall there weren't any sesame seeds in any of the dishes.

                                                                          And was that thing that Tyler was refusing to put in the mixer the poorly-reviewed polenta? Was that what Sarah ended up "fixing" for the second seating?

                                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                                            tyler wanted to sous vide the beets. Tom C. says she should have maybe listened to him.

                                                                            1. re: DGresh

                                                                              it has been a while now and I've kind of moved on but from what I remember

                                                                              Tyler wanted to sous vide the beets - which actually the judges thought were too raw - so one could argue that would have been a good suggestion.

                                                                              I don't remember where she wanted to use sesame seeds but I don't think the judges indicated that they wanted that flavor in the final dish.

                                                                              I think Tyler was doing one of the dessert components by hand to make it "creamy" but Sarah had indicated that she does it in a mixer and it comes out fine and faster. The judges loved her dessert so while it might have come out the same in a mixer, however Tyler did it came out well, as well.

                                                                              So no, that wasn't what Sarah ended up fixing for the second seating. That was her polenta component.

                                                                        3. re: Bellachefa

                                                                          Sarah is no peach at time and she was bit snotty when she first picked him but Tyler is my opinion a chef that really needs to stage and learn from other chefs. Also sous vide is great but first you need to learn the basics like butchering. I think she had every right as the head chef to keep him in line.

                                                                          1. re: tjinsf

                                                                            I'd bet dollars to donuts that Tyler Stone disagrees with you on putting him in staging mode. ;-)

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              I have a feeling he would try to teach Ripert or Patterson "how to cook". I can't imagine he working a station or line.

                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                he'd be happy to have people stage with him.

                                                                            2. re: Bellachefa

                                                                              If Sarah didn't manage Tyler properly we'd all be sitting around saying what a wimp she was and how she should have exerted her say over what he did and how he did it. She acted like an executive chef with a weak member of the team in the kitchen and she did it with class. You may think she's "mean," but she did what she needed to do and she did it appropriately.

                                                                            3. Midway through judge's table. I'm getting very very nervous

                                                                              ETA: The look on Gail's face when Hugh disagreed with her on the progression of Paul's menu was pretty funny.

                                                                              1. Perhaps I'm reading too much into it but...

                                                                                Just saw a live add for Andy Choens little show. Perhaps I'm reading to much into it but Sarah seemed much more up beat and positive. Paul's body language was much more subdued. And when and mention that one of them had won Paul gave her a pat on the knee.

                                                                                To me none of this bodes well for Paul.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                  Luckily you're wrong, Withnail! :-D

                                                                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                    See, I noticed the same things, and interpreted it as, "Sarah lost, and is trying hard to show good face." Easy to say in hindsight, but really ;-)

                                                                                  2. Oh yay. I was worried there for a bit. I never developed the Sarah hate that was so common on these threads, but I sure did have the Paul love. So very glad he won. Might just be my favorite Top Chef yet.

                                                                                    19 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: debbiel

                                                                                      It wasn't hate for me re: Sarah and Heather. Just dislike the way they felt they had to put others down when it wasn't necessary - whether it was in the confessional OR in front of the person they were putting down.

                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                        Oh, I didn't mean you LindaWhit. There just seemed to be some voices on past threads that seemed to spill into hate, or at least extreme dislike leading to, well, meanness.

                                                                                        1. re: debbiel

                                                                                          I know you didn't mean me. Or at least I hoped you didn't. :-) Just voicing my opinion on the two of them and my dislike of how they treated others. Hence my incredulousness at Heather's comment at the reunion next week (noted near the end of my recap).

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            Yes, but we don't know the context for that reunion comment, and perhaps it alludes to all sorts of stuff during the season we did not see. On WWHN, which you probably don't watch because you're not as pathetic as some of us, Andy said of the Bev and Others drama something like, "I thought the conversation at the reunion about this was very interesting. I'm looking forward to other people seeing it."

                                                                                            1. re: debbiel

                                                                                              But he was referring specifically to Sarah/Bev, I believe. Sarah had just said that "Bev is a very good friend of mine."

                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                It was in response to Sarah's comment, yes, but it wasn't clear to me that the conversation he alluded to was only about Sarah/Bev.

                                                                                                1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                  You may be right, will just have to wait and see. That was just my inference.

                                                                                                2. re: mcf

                                                                                                  I could actually believe it. I see them getting along outside TC because Sarah, at the end of the day, respects Bev's abilities as a chef. Heather on the other hand, never respected Bev.

                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            Linda, did you have the same opinion of Michael Voltaggio? He was putting people down all the time. I can remember even one time when he said Kevin Gillespie's food was what he prepared at home for lunch. (He wasn't smiling when he said it either, he meant it as an insult).

                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                              Yes, absolutely, John. I thought Michael V. was better than that, based on the food he had put out by that point. The comment about Kevin's food was one of the worst he made, IMO. It gave off an "I'm so much better than Kevin" attitude that ticked me off. Michael V. is an amazing chef, but that kind of smugness to put someone down is just uncalled for at his and Kevin's level.

                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                I thought that comment was offensive and inappropriately derisive.

                                                                                              2. re: John E.

                                                                                                I wonder if we have more tolerance in general for men behaving that way than we do when women do it. I think there's still some expectation that women are going to be "nice" or "sweet" or at least pleasant and when they're not we judge them more harshly than we do men who do the same thing.

                                                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                  I certainly don't. Bad behavior is bad behavior. FWIW I see it more from women than men.

                                                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                    ... or Heather and to a lesser extent Sarah were just far more mean-natured and vitriolic than M. Voltaggio, who at worst made a vaguely insulting but sort of true comment about Kevin's cooking and yelled at Robyn never to curse at him in the kitchen.

                                                                                                    Marcel, Ilan, even Hosea - did all of these guys get away with bad behavior because of their gender? You do remember seeing the occasional negative comment about them, right?

                                                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                      NO. Some of us don't. The difference in this case was that it wasn't non stop harassment of the person directly throughout the competition, it was an obnoxious remark that aired later.

                                                                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                        Well, first of all, I wasn't stating anything as a fact. I was wondering "aloud."

                                                                                                        Second, I wasn't condoning anyone's bad behavior

                                                                                                        Third, I was referring to how we viewers interpreted and reacted to what we saw broadcast, rather than what actually happened - and I'm not sure that the response here so far isn't also part of that same interpretation. Again, not as a fact, but as a possible way are minds work.

                                                                                                        1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                          I don't think it has anything to do w sex, I think people accepted his arrogant behavior because everyone knew he had the chops to back it up, whereas, I don't think anyone here really has believed in Sarahs skills.

                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                            Thanks for your thoughtful response Nelly. That makes more sense than anything else I have read so far.

                                                                                                            And that being said, that while I know that she is an executive chef at a restaurant that produces extraordinary food, she did show up on my little screen as both a little hesitant and limited in her cooking and as well as defensive around others. Who knows why? Personal barriers? Elves editing?

                                                                                                          2. re: chicgail

                                                                                                            Chicgail, I agree. I have off and on been a chef in a kitchen mostly full of men for 25+ years, and they always say 'shit" to each other all the time, when I did it, often it was like ' oooh! look at the lady trying to talk shit!" when it was no different in tone or quick response than they did, just off the cuff, and normal. Kitchens can be piggy, brutal places, not that there are not master-creative people there, it just gets kind of raw sometimes, after/before 14 hours to come...

                                                                                                            Same happens in politics, corp. biz from my experience and observation. A man is tough, in control, and sets you in your way if he is in charge. A woman does that, and she is a bitch, a control'freak, or such.

                                                                                                            Tho, I will say, women need to watch TONE. Sarah has an issue with tone. She sounds like she is bitching at the mall about someone's outfit she doesn't like sometimes when she complains about behavior, rather than an executive chef who needs to correct technique or timing issues. Tone and authority (sometimes paradoxically) go a long way....