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Top Chef S9-16: Fire and Ice

Updated on February 28, 2012

Fire and Ice

Top Chef Texas is on its 16th episode and we have 3 cheftestants battling it out for the title of Top Chef.

The Last Chance Kitchen is over with Bev coming back and leaving again right before the final 3.

Don’t forget, if you don’t want to be spoiled about this episode, get out of the kitchen now!

Still at Whistler, Sarah is happy Bev is gone. She thinks the combination of Paul, Lindsay and she was how it should have been the whole time. I guess she forgot her former bffs Ty and Heather.

The three drive to Vancouver playing the name game on their way there. They arrive at the Fairmont Hotel, rest up for a bit then head right back out to the next challenge.

Lindsay, Sarah and Paul
Lindsay, Sarah and Paul
Padma, Emeril, Floyd Cardoz, Anita Lo and Takashi Yagihashi
Padma, Emeril, Floyd Cardoz, Anita Lo and Takashi Yagihashi

Qucikfire Challenge

The three cheftestants go to Chinatown and Sarah is even happier that Bev is gone. Padma is there with Emeril. She invites three chefs to join her: Top Chef Master Anita Lo, Season 3 winner of Top Chef Masters, Floyd Cardoz and elite chef Takashi Yagihashi.

The challenge is to create an Asian influenced dish in a relay where the chosen master chef will be handing off their work to the cheftestant in 10 minute increments. They will go back and forth for 40 minutes. The master chef will start the ball rolling.

The winner will get $20,000. The pairings are as follows: Lindsay with Anita Lo, Sarah with Floyd Cardoz and Paul with Takashi Yagihashi.

Lindsay and Anita: scallop 2 ways: bok choy and chili fried roe with sausage and water chestnut. Padma thought the dish had nice flavor. Emeril thought the sauces were a bit overpowering, but loved the sear on the scallops and the roe.

Sarah and Floyd: pan seared cod with coconut curry crab salad with Clementine and amaranth. Padma thought it was a beautiful plate of food and loved the greens. She asks what it is, but Sarah doesn’t know. Floyd said its amaranth. Emeril thought the dish could have used some acid.

Paul and Takashi: mirugai shashimi with yuzo dashi, fried white fish, scallions and chili. Both Padma and Emeril thought the dish was nice, but there were too many chilis.

The winner is Sarah and Floyd.

Personal Rant

There seems to be a real problem with the way this challenge was laid out. The issue lies from the master chefs started everything off. This really made the cheftestants sous chefs and their dish wasn’t really their own.

Sarah won because of a sauce and greens that were entirely that of the master chef, Floyd. Lindsay played off of Anita, but added very little to her own dish minus the sausage. Paul was the most thrown off since he was saddled with a difficult ingredient.

For a challenge with so much potential, Top Chef really dropped the ball on this one. Not only should the cheftestants started their dishes off, they should have completed it as well, with the masters coming at some pre-determined time in the middle. Like Tom always says, “This isn’t Top Sous Chef”.

Where the cheftestants sous chefs or do you think the masters were?

See results

Elimination Challenge

Padma tells the cheftestants that the next challenge would be about fire and ice. They have to create one dish with a hot and cold element and a cocktail for 150 guests. The winner gets a trip for two to Costa Rica.

Sarah thinks that Lindsay and Paul second guess themselves too much. She lives and breathes her job and has since her mom let her drop out of high school to go to culinary school. (Wtf? On The Voice educator parents let their daughter drop out of school to pursue a singing career and now this. Well, at least this is a career that has a guaranteed future.)

Lindsay thinks that Sarah and Paul are being too gimmicky. She’s just going to stay true to herself without going too far from what she knows.

Sniff and Sneer

Paul is killing a whole bunch of lobsters for his stock. Sarah’s making pasta by hand like a machine. She’s fast and efficient while making it look real easy. Lindsay is softening her shallots, garlic and tomato. They all have a lot to do for such a short period of time and though they’d like sous chefs to help them out, it’s just not in the cards.

Tom comes around and asks Paul what happened in the Quickfire. Collichio wonders if the competition got to him. Paul doesn’t seem rattled at all and replied that his competitors just made better dishes.

Tom sees that Lindsay is making halibut and mentions restaurant wars. He wonders if she feels that she must redeem herself for her dish’s poor showing, especially since Bev made that dish. She admits that she thought of that, but tells him she’s out to make the best dish possible.

Tom goes to Sarah’s prep table and knows immediately she’s making pasta. Sarah explains her concept on her dish along with her idea of frozen sauce and all Tom can muster up is a good luck.

Emeril, Padma, Tom and Padma. They really do look cold.
Emeril, Padma, Tom and Padma. They really do look cold.
Hey Bev!  Where are you hiding, exactly?
Hey Bev! Where are you hiding, exactly?


The judges are Tom, Padma, Gail and Emeril who are all very cold. The venue isn’t outside, but with few heat lamps and a wide open door it might as well be. They are all anxious because the competition is really close to the end. Padma jokes that this is the end, unless Tom has another, “Last, Last Chance Kitchen”. Gail declares that Bev’s coming back while Emeril jokes that she’s actually under the table right now. Hysterical and made me miss that little firecracker Bev.

Paul serves King Crab with lobster broth and lemon snow. His cocktail is a “Pan Am”: Kaffir lime, Thai chili and rum.

Tom is NOT happy with the arugula garnish. He did like the cocktail, which was a little sweet, but nice. Padma says she could use a little more heat and Emeril reminds her that yesterday they scolded Paul on his excessive use of heat, so you get what you ask for. Cut to a guest who says that the hot broth on cold garnishes turned it into a warm soup.

Sarah serves 5-green filled pasta with garlic, chili and spiced sformato. Her cocktail is a “Argrumi”: gin, kumquats and mango.

Gail tries to cut into her sformato, but it’s frozen. Tom thinks Sarah wanted it to melt, but though the flavors were great, it failed. Gail really loved the drink, but didn’t think it went well with the dish. Tom though the dish would have been great on a hot day in Texas.

Lindsay serves halibut with fiery celery root. Her cocktail is an “Encindido”: vodka, tomato and horseradish.

Tom likes the halibut, which is nicely cooked, but the kale is raw. Gail says her dish is really fiery while Tom says that his dish has no heat at all. Emeril liked the cocktail with the dish, but alone, the cocktail is really flat.

Lindsay, Sarah and Paul
Lindsay, Sarah and Paul

The Judging


Emeril thought conceptually, the dish was there and he really enjoyed the cocktail. Padma thought there was a nice spice to the dish, but it could have used a little bit more. Tom really liked the flavors in the broth, but didn’t care for the arugula, which was more like an after thought


Gail asked where the fire came from and Sarah replied that it came from the bakes pasta. Gail responded that though she loved the pasta, the mousse was so frozen it was hard to eat together. Tom thought the dish was brave, pushing out of her comfort zone, but it ended up being a little too cold. Emeril mentioned he was thinking about hot days in Texas when drinking the cocktail.


Gail loved the tomato soup. Tom thought the tomato overpowered the halibut, but would have been nice without the fish. Emeril mentions the cocktail had a little separation at the end of the meal, but the halibut was cooked perfectly. Tom thought that her dish worked with the drink “probably best”.

The Elimination and Winner

All three cheftestants had some good point and errors in their dish. With some more time to conceptualize and some sous chefs, all three dishes could be real winners. The first called safe is Sarah with Paul and Lindsay left. Padma tells Lindsay that she must PYKAG while Paul is declared the winner of this challenge and gets a trip for two to Costa Rica.

Next week: the final.

Who should have went home?

See results


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    • vmartinezwilson profile image

      Vanessa Martinez Wilson 6 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      Me too Alecia, I think Tom has a bias towards Sarah. He just can't hide it anymore. She served a frozen section of her dish that Gail couldn't even cut through and she didn't get lambasted more for it, but Paul puts a little arugula on his plate and Tom rants about it over and over and over again? Doesn't make any sense.

      What I think is that Tom has to criticize Paul for something, anything, or it will seem like a runaway win. This is because I think Padma, Emeril and Gail have a slight bias towards Paul's more exotic flavors of Asia. Paul has done Korean, Thai, Chinese and Japanese which all have different flavor combinations, though they're all from Asia. Sarah does Italian, maybe a pinch of German. That's cool for Tom, but the others, especially Padma, get excited over well thought out dishes that are more exotic.

      All in all, I thought Sarah should have gone home for serving frozen food, though Lindsay serving dishes that don't push the limits is probably what doomed her. They want exciting and Sarah at least tries to push her limits.

      Should be a good finale!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I agree Vanessa after Charlize Theron, the food definitely went downhill and the gimmicks took over which is probably why I've had a harder time with the episodes. I'm glad it's not a Lindsay Sarah mean girl finale but I think based on the criticisms, Paul should've gone home. However, I think they have started judging cumulatively, making it his game to lose. I'm excited about tonight for sure.

    • vmartinezwilson profile image

      Vanessa Martinez Wilson 6 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      I've enjoyed this season. Food-wise it started out really strong, but had the whole bullying thing that made it unappealing. It seems that after the Charlize Theron episode, the food went downhill and that's kind of sad.

      What's worse is that after the chefs came back from a long rest, the producers made the focus all of the gimmicks (the skiing, shooting, gondolas and picking at ice) instead of the food. That's pretty sad.

      I also thought Sarah would go home with her frozen mousse. But, I think they balanced out her risk taking with the fact that Lindsay didn't do anything risky at all. I think they want something surprising for the final meal and I really hope so. I can't wait to see some good food!


    • thebiologyofleah profile image

      Leah Kennedy-Jangraw 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      I was surprised when I started watching this episode because I thought with three people left it meant one would go home in the quick-fire and then we'd have the final showdown and a winner announced. Speaks to the fact that I am a little underwhelmed with this season since I was upset it wasn't over this week!

      I liked the quick-fire but I agree with you, something was off. It seemed they wanted the chefs to have to figure out what the master chefs started, but you are right in that it came off as though the chefs were sous chefs.

      Based on the judging I thought Sarah would go home, ultimately though I think Paul should win so it didn't matter to me if Sarah or Lindsay went home.