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Top Chef 3 Miami: Episode 7 - Sayonara Sara

August 16, 2007 By Maria de los Angeles in  | 1 Comment

Cooking in a skimpy shirt with bulldog Howie was demoralizing, according to Sara N.  Looking for show updates? Read our coverage about Top Chef 3: Miami.

Episode 307:  “Guilty Pleasures”

Quickfire Challenge:  Dale
Elimination Challenge:  Tre
Eliminated: Sarah N


Padma Lakshmi and Govind Armstrong of Table 8.  Cool dreads, dude!

Govind Armstrong, chef and owner of Table 8 in LA and Miami presided in this week’s episode.  Only nine chefs remained – one of them the last New Yorker standing – Sarah N.  In this quickfire challenge, the chefs worked with yet another obvious Top Chef sponsor—Coldstone Creamery Ice Cream.  Padma described the ice cream as “one of America’s favorite summer indulgences.”  America?  How about a little nod to Miami, land of perpetual summer?  When can you not eat ice cream in Miami?

Anyway, the challenge they had was so hard, OMG!  They had to create an original, creative mix-in within 45 minutes.  As Govind said, “45 minutes is enough time or too much time for people to hang themselves, I think.”  Luckily, no one chose avocado and bacon ice cream like Marcel in season two, but some of the choices were particularly whacky.  Hung didn’t hang himself, but he was hung low on the bottom even though he was the master of overkill— too much going on with several toppings, including cauliflower.

Butter?  Yum!

Cauliflower?  Yuck!  Hung:  “Any monkey can make fruit berries and nuts and make it taste good.”  Yeah, right.  Try making cauliflower in ice cream taste good!

And we have to wonder if Casey was pregnant! Nothing like a sriracha, poblano, dried apricot and chocolate-covered potato chips mix to satisfy that pickles and ice cream craving for the gourmet in you.  Govind definitely loved the spicy sauce, but not for ice cream.

Govind squirming ever so politely.  What was Casey thinking? Hot sauce and ice cream? Sriracha is made from sun-ripened chilies ground into a smooth paste with garlic.  It’s actually a great sauce to spice-up bland Chinese food.

Favorites were Howie’s scorched and macerated berries in balsamic vinegar and sea salt, which does sound like quite a tasty sweet and savory combination, but Dale won (surprise!) with a simple and straightforward mix-in of down-home cobbler topping with flambéed peaches and Grand Marnier.

Dale’s winning dessert: crunchy, creamy and fruity.

Congratulations, Dale!


CJ: “I’ve been in Miami for who knows how long and I haven’t really seen any of it.”  Yeah, because you know CJ, Bravo TV portrays Miami so realistically!  Let’s go see some ass!

The chefs were first told they’d be off the hook and get to enjoy some Miami nightlife … for real?  What a rip off!  After being sequestered for so long, they got a bum deal.  Padma and Govind were waiting for them at Nikki Beach so they could cook for club goers.  Adding to the challenge:  cooking in two teams of four, with only thirty minutes to shop, a budget of $300 and 1.5 hours to cook.  Dale got a sweet deal for his competition immunity: a private, four-course dinner with Govind the man himself.

Party?  Doh!  No way.  Top Chefs will slave over a hot stove.

Sweatin’ in a cramped porta-kitchen isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of nightlife, but chefs are used to partying WAY after hours, after they’ve fed all of us drunk schmucks.

Life’s peachy.  Dale didn’t whine about being wined and dined by Govind Armstrong of Table 8.  All this for some dolled-up ice cream?

This episode focused strongly on women in the kitchen, er, I mean their “girls,” which even Padma had to agree, wasn’t wholly fair.  But—on the one hand, Sarah M didn’t really give a shit about cooking with an apron just barely covering her tits.  Yet—on the other hand, Sarah N and Casey found it difficult to feel respectable without professional garb.  I think it was Anthony Bourdain who said that misogyny is par for the course in the industry and that you need to have a lot of balls if you’re a woman who wants to succeed in the business.

But my boobs are showing!  Does cleavage come in the way of professional demeanor? Sarah N:  “We felt like idiots.”

Shopping at Fresh Market (ok, so FAKE reality TV show moment—who goes knockin’ at a corporate market so late?) was a true cluster f**k.  No wonder it took so long!  They traveled all across Biscayne Bay to find food!  That’s like a galaxy away from South Beach.  Geez, couldn’t you go shopping at Publix on Purdy Avenue or something?  They didn’t make it back to Nikki until 12:12 am!

The whole challenge was a huge cluster f**k, actually but a genuine, on-the-spot challenge.  Four chefs bumping into each other in the kitchen had to be either a real cooperative team or not at all. 


Team Black:  Sarah M, Brian, Tre, Hung seemed to have it together, even though Sara M’s girls were spilling out of her dress.

In fact, they didn’t mince their words about Howie.

Team Black held out best.  All the hired actors (party animals) from Nikki Beach came out at about 1:45 am hungry as hell, even though most of them would probably not be caught dead eating until 5:30 am at other local joints like the 11th Street Diner, News Café, Big Pink or Jerry’s Deli!  Brian really worked the crowd.  Team Black also did a great job of separating everybody’s expertise in the tight-spaced kitchen.  Adding to their success, the right choice of hangover food.  As Judge Allen noted:  “If you want to make people happy, give them bacon.”

Team Black was loud and fast.  Brian gave the people what they wanted:  “we got tacos!”

They let it all hang out and cooked like they just didn’t care.

Tre ended up cooking in his shirtsleeves, showing off a hunkalicious pair of biceps.  He definitely put some elbow grease into his bacon, shrimp and grits classic, a favorite of Allen and Govind.

Congratulations to Team Black for keeping it greasy yet tasty and to Tre for his, er biceps, bacon, shrimp and grits treat!


Team Orange—Casey, Howie, Sarah N, CJ—seemed to fall apart at the seams, literally.  Sarah N’s shirt was quite flimsy, with an open back.  Her outfit was cute, but she felt out of sorts and uninspired not wearing her proper chef’s uniform.

Team Orange was slow and boring.  CJ, for all his height, couldn’t entertain the audience.  Colicchio also had to wait a long time for each course and Sarah N ultimately received the blame for a her tortoise-speed on the grill.  As you may recall, Brian had already complained about her slow moves in episode 306! Govind noted that Sarah N’s burgers were seasoned properly but didn’t have enough salt.

Pass the buck ... and the salt and pepper. Hey, you second from the right with the boobs, it’s all your fault!

The passive-aggressive finger-pointing was such a hoot to watch!  Howie said that Sarah was the baby of the team.  All could Sarah N do was call Howie an asshole and all Howie could do was admit, yeah that he was indeed an asshole sometimes.  But in a stroke of wise counsel, the judges agreed that both of them were actually responsible for the team losing.  So it came down to this: Howie, got the dunce’s cap and the baby of the team got to go pack her knives and go!

Sarah: “I’m 25 years old and was competing with people who were ten years older than I was. . . .  I think I’m too nice for a competition. . . . There’s a really fine line between being just being competitive and just being an asshole.”

Sarah, take heart.  Just like Micah, competition was not your cup of tea, but don’t let a bulldog chew you up.  You’ve got years ahead of you to prove to everyone you’re a great chef in the making!  Good luck!

Click here to see Sara’s exit interview.


Learn the Wong way to cook Tre’s yummy dish for picky drunks, bacon wrapped shrimp and grits.  Hunky dude with glorious biceps not included.


OMG this sandwich is bigger than my head!  Who are they kidding though, a Cuban sandwich has gotta hit the spot when it comes to hangover food.  We never really knew why Howie’s sandwich wasn’t good.  Seems to me like someone had some explaining to do!

According to Three Guys from Miami the difference is basically in the bread.  The main ingredients—swiss cheese, cured sweet ham, roast pork, butter and sliced dill pickles—are pressed perfectly in either crusty Cuban bread or a sweet loaf, respectively.  Do not be fooled by imitations!  Although roast pork is a key ingredient to either sandwiches, do not let anyone sell you a simple roast pork sandwich as Cuban—that’s just Pan Con Lechón.  Click here to learn all about Cuban sandwiches from the experts!

NEXT COURSE: The remaining chefs battle to create the most “adventuresome” burger in the eighth episode of Bravo’s “Top Chef 3 Miami.” In the elimination challenge, special guest judge Daniel Boulud (Chef and owner of Daniel and DB Bistro in NYC) has high expectations of the remaining contenders as they split into two teams to create a restaurant concept, develop the menu and serve meals to their toughest critics - the public. 

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About the Author: Maria de los Angeles is a freelance wordsmith who loves to write about all things travel in Florida and the Caribbean. She is also the author of the award-winning blog Sex and the Beach.

See more articles by Maria de los Angeles.

See more articles by Maria de los Angeles

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1 Comments on

"Top Chef 3 Miami: Episode 7 - Sayonara Sara"

marire sani says:

We are in Hawaii on vacation and the episode airs in 30 minutes but I had to sneak a peak here first…at least he outlasted all of the NYC chefs! Tre was our pick to go all the way…dang. However, if Tre reads Pegasus News, his consolation prize is free pizza at Campania anytime he wants!

Posted on 01/13/2010 at 11:29 AM

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