Denver’s Carrie Baird packed her knives at the end of episode 12 of Top Chef: Colorado, which aired Thursday. The head chef of Bar Dough made it to the final four contestants of season 15, winning two elimination challenges and three “quickfire” challenges throughout her time on the show. For this last episode, Baird had to cook Rocky Mountain oysters, and she made a beef stroganoff in honor of her family. The bull testicles were passable and the stroganoff was strong; Baird’s mom got to try it, along with the other remaining contestants’ parents and grandparents who guest-starred on the show.
But it was the beef stroganoff raviolo with buffalo sausage, mushroom duxelle, herbed creme fraiche, and caramelized onions that was Baird’s kiss of death, albeit a light one. The visiting moms and judges responded well across the board — Graham Elliot said he loved it, as did fellow contestant Joe Flamm’s grandma, who oddly said she didn’t expect to. “I just want to be clear, there are no bottoms here today,” Padma Lakshmi said in the final judging. “You guys all gave us delicious dishes.” But Tom Colicchio wished Baird had mixed the stroganoff braising liquid with the creme fraiche, and guest judge Michael Voltaggio seconded the sentiment. The sauce was the missing component.
“I’m going to have some major PTSD when I’m out of here,” Baird told her mom earlier in the episode. But she ended the season on a high note, signing out with, “I am so much stronger than I thought. I am not going out sad.” Baird was an underdog on the show, and the other contestants spoke often of her infamous “fancy toast,” a three-time quickfire challenge winner.
The toast got its start during a breakfast challenge Baird won with eggs, Nutella, strawberry habanero jelly, and hollandaise atop a slice of toasted bread. It peaked a little later in the season with Baird’s lavender, fig, and goat cheese mixture on a toasted slice of bread. And then it made a comeback during her second-to-last episode, this time guised as a “top of the French onion soup” with sarsaparilla deglazed onions and beef stock on top of a toasted bread slice. Baird might be off Top Chef, but she’s still in the kitchen at Bar Dough making pasta and pizza and, hopefully, many new versions of dishes on top of sliced bread.
- Everything to Know About ‘Top Chef: Colorado’ Season 15 [EDEN]
- ‘Top Chef’ Season 15 Showcases Colorado in a Big Way [EDEN]
- Colorado Top Chefs: Where Are They Now? [EDEN]