The worst season of Top Chef since that smug bully Illan Hall won concluded last night with a reunion, which started with a surprising revelation: After losing to Paul Qui, Sarah Grueneberg told chef and judge Emeril Lagasse to “fuck off.” While reunions usually end with the revelation of the fan favorite, Andy Cohen obnoxiously deferred that to his obnoxious show, where it was revealed “Malibu” Chris Crary’s obnoxious campaign to win had paid off.
Paul, who won $185,000 and a bunch of prizes because he was far and away the best chef this season, was declared the winner after what Tom Colicchio said was “as difficult a decision as we ever made.” In other words, Sarah’s loss wasn’t a condemnation of her talent or skills, even though it was certainly disappointing.
Andy Cohen revealed her reaction with a question that he asked directly, not in his usual bullshit way of deferring tough questions to moron BravoTV.com users (“Chris from BravoTV.com wants to know, ‘Are you really a tax-evading felon slut asshole?’ It’s the card, not me!” One of his actual questions last night was “What’s it like to watch yourself on TV?”) Anyway, Andy asked, “I heard from someone in production that you actually told a judge in the heat of the moment to f off.”
“I don’t believe that,” Sarah said, and then Tom Colicchio cringed, as in, uh oh, she’s lying. Andy pushed her: “You were there.”
“I did not say that. I was really emotional and really sad but I don’t remember saying that, and if I said that I didn’t mean that at all, and I think that it’s really shitty that it’s being brought up now,” Sarah said, crying.
So let’s parse that, shall we? Mean girl Sarah, who can’t stand when things don’t go her way, denied saying something to a not-specified chef, but gets mad that something that didn’t happen was “being brought up” (i.e. it happened and she didn’t expect anyone would ever know), and then said the name of the chef who had not been specified and who she said she did not tell to fuck off.
Sarah added, “Emeril is the chef I grew up looking up to and I felt like through the whole competition he was really, really pushing me. And I love him, I mean.” Emeril, graciously, said, “I love your food,” adding that there was “a complete evolution” in her cooking.
The reunion also focused on the bullying of Beverly, who Andy Cohen called “controversial,” but that’s not even remotely possible. The controversy, if people had cared enough about this season to create controversy, was over the mean girls. When Andy asked the question, Sarah rolled her eyes, although Beverly said that Sarah was one of the only ones to apologize. Heather refused to apologize for her comment about Beverly’s work ethic.
Beverly ultimately said, “That was hurtful, but I’m at peace with whatever happened because I think they respect me; I think I’ve earned the respect.” Gail Simmons had the final word, saying, “I don’t think that many people would handle what you were put through and those emotions with as much grace as you did.”
Besides the usual filler, the reunion did have fun moments, specifically the outtakes with the judges (Charlize Theron to Tom: “Did you touch your penis?”), and the two clip packages, one that was an ad for the made-up “Mediocre Chef,” and one about Gail Simmons that juxtaposed outtakes of her doing things like yawning with emotional and consequential moments. It was hilarious and also a great example of how powerful reality TV editing is. If only this season had been that entertaining.