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Closer to being Top Chef

By Camille Doty
Feb. 15, 2012 at 10:05 p.m.
Updated Feb. 14, 2012 at 8:15 p.m.


Lillian Lau was on the edge of her seat Wednesday night, as she watched her granddaughter's fate unfold.

Her granddaughter, Sarah Grueneberg, advanced to the semi-final round of Bravo TV's "Top Chef: Texas."

Lau was overjoyed and started thinking about Grueneberg's future.

"Maybe she'll win. We're getting close to the end," she said.

After making the finals, the Cheftestant said the finish line was so close she could touch it. "If I don't make the top three I will not be able to forgive myself," she said during the television show.

The 30-year-old Sugar Land native hasn't made the Promised Land yet, but she remains in the running to earn the coveted title.

Grueneberg's journey was fraught with obstacles - extreme temperatures in Texas and Canada, working in high-pressure situations and being labeled a bully by other contestants.

Grueneberg, an executive chef, fought until the last round against fellow Chicago chef, Beverly Kim, to earn a final spot. Grueneberg cooked on a moving gondola 7,000 feet in the air, chiseled an ice block for food, and skied on a shooting range.

Kim and Grueneberg had a complex dynamic in competition. Kim said she felt bullied by Lau's granddaughter. Grueneberg said Kim appeared timid, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

"She's the silent horse . who fights like a tiger," Grueneberg said.

In the end, Grueneberg prevailed and she earned her place in the top three.

She thanked the judges for the opportunity, "I want this so bad and thank you for seeing it."

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