Although viewers watch Top Chef in weekly segments, the actual filming is broken into two sections. The Texas episodes were filmed on a succession of days during the summer. After the final four chefs were selected, several months passed until they were reunited last month in British Columbia for an Olympic-themed episode that aired last night. It was this lag time, said Chicago chef Beverly Kim, that served to heal old wounds between her and rivals Lindsay Autry and Sarah Grueneberg. (Although you got to hand it to the show's editors who spliced two scenes together, in which Beverly is seen shooting a rifle and then Sarah appears to fall down as if she's been shot.)
There were, in fact, three parts to last night's episode in Whistler: Cooking on mountain gondolas, cooking by retrieving ingredients frozen in blocks of ice, and a culinary biathlon. (The winners of each event do not participate in the following challenges.) In the latter, Beverly went head to head with Sarah—both seemed to have a hard time cross-country skiing. But when it came to shooting for ingredients, Beverly, who never before shot a gun, was a natural (her main component was Arctic char) while Sarah, who comes from a Texas gun-owning family, did less well. As for the actual dishes, Beverly's Arctic char did her in. "Mine was slightly overcooked ... and Sarah's dish [rabbit] was better and it had a good braise," concedes the Aria chef.
As you might expect, Beverly is a fan of Last Chance Kitchen, which allowed her to get back into the race: "You've got 30 minutes to cook, there's so much creativity, it's awesome." Beverly, like former contestant Ed Lee, sees the competition as having a major psychological element. "It's also about persistence," she added.
It took me a moment before I realized I'd interviewed Beverly before—when she was eliminated the first time but before she won Last Chance Kitchen. "But this time, I didn't cry at elimination," she pointed out. Ever upbeat, brushing off the criticisms of her competitors, Beverly remains confident that "I did my best. This is not the end. It's the beginning."
She also seemed so much happier to be back with her 2-year-old son, who could be heard on the other end of the line.