Compared to a stellar last two outings of “Top Chef,” it’s fair to proclaim that the “Texas” version has been a little bit hit-or-miss. While there have been some moments that we have loved (see the entire challenge regarding Charlize Theron), too often the challenges have even focused so much on gimmicks or teamwork that the show has sapped the creativity away from the chefs who excel showing us just what they can do with the right tools at our disposal.
Going into Wednesday night’s episode, there was one way that this whole season could still be redeemed as a solid entry — Paul Qui must stick around. While this is not meant as disrespect to the other two contestants (who have been strong competitors throughout the season), Paul has been a consistent player from the get-go and created some of the most-creative dishes time and time again. He has also never talked down to another contestant (as both Lindsay Autry and Sarah Greuneberg have done to Beverly), and also has handled the pressure by and large pretty well. Moving from the heat of Texas to the cold of Vancouver was also a nice touch to see how the chefs handle being in a different climate — especially on Wednesday night’s episode, which featured all of the contestants having to incorporate a little bit of fire and a little bit of ice into their dishes. However, it was Sarah — and not Paul — who ended up winning the quickfire involving a past “Top Chef Masters” contestant.
Thankfully, Paul did still stick around — and with that, this season can be redeemed! This may be the most lopsided final two ever when it comes to popularity, as the majority of America seems against Sarah after the way she treated Beverly — but you also have to remember that unlike some shows, this is not built up simply so that the most popular contestant ends up winning. With this final two, we do end up saying goodbye to Lindsay and her occasionally-fiery temper.
We want to say we’re as excited as we typically are for every “Top Chef” finale, but we have to admit this year that we haven’t quite been the same since Edward left — and we were hit almost as hard the next week when Beverly was out for a second time. Thanks in part to the show putting 29 contestants on this season, it led to an uneven cast of characters who are not all particularly likable — and while Paul is certainly pleasant enough, dealing with some of the villains this time has not always been easy. We’ve received plenty of competitive spirit — is it too much to ask to also have a little bit more fun?
What is your impression of this season as a whole leading into the finale?