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Top Chef Texas: The finale

Karen Miner is the Food & Travel Assignment Editor for SheKnows, ChefMom and FabulousFoods. She is a freelance writer, recipe developer and is also the cook, author and photographer behind the food blog, Tasty Trials, a collection of ori...

Paul is Top Chef!

All the drama, tears and cooking are over and so is Top Chef Texas. After battling it out in the finale, Paul Qui beat out Sarah Grueneberg and is going home with $125,000.
Top Chef Texas -- Paul

Paul is Top Chef!

All the drama, tears and cooking are over and so is Top Chef Texas. After battling it out in the finale, Paul Qui beat out Sarah Grueneberg and is going home with $125,000.

It all came down to a four-course meal in Vancouver. Paul would be cooking at Coast and Sarah would cook at Black and Blue. But first, they needed sous-chefs who would compete for a spot in the kitchen with the finalists. In the running are Marco Canora and Barbara Lynch, two outstanding chefs. After the would be sous-chefs created their dishes, Paul and Sarah blind tasted to select their team. Surprisingly, Marco Canora was not chosen. With their teams set, they were off to the races.

Into the kitchen

With only six hours of prep time the day before the dinner, the finalists quickly decided on their respective styles of cooking. Paul's would be influenced by Japan and Sarah's by Italy. Menus were formed, shopping was done, and finally, they got to their restaurants to cook the meal that could change their lives.

In a twist, the families of Paul and Sarah are brought in to their respective restaurants, which has everyone emotional and crying. Sarah even gets a little tip from her fiancé that he found a bone in his trout, sending her immediately back to the kitchen to rectify the situation by checking every piece of fish.

Top Chef partners with the first lady for a good cause >>

Who will be Top Chef?

As the finishing touches are being put on the meals, the judges assemble and get ready to make their last decision of the season. Marco Canora, Cat Cora and Mark McEwan join Tom Colicchio, while Emeril Lagasse, Bill Terlato and Hugh Acheson join Padma Lakshmi.

Dish by dish, judgments are made. The overall consensus was positive and it seemed to be a very tight race. Sarah's tagliatelle was a winner, as was her trout (bones removed, of course.) Paul admitted to overcooking his chawanmushi for one of the tastings, but his loup de mer was a huge hit and so was his dessert. From what the judges said, both finalists succeeded in making their tasting menus stand out.

Cook like a Top Chef with this tagliatelle recipe >>

The verdict

After what had to be an agonizing wait, Paul and Sarah return to their places in front of the judges, along with their families, to learn who will be the next Top Chef. And it's Paul!

More recipes to cook like a pro

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Walnut-crusted salmon recipe

Photo credit: BravoTV
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