December 1st, 2011
01:29 PM ET
Last night on “Top Chef: Texas” we saw the contestants cook low-end and high-end, and four unlucky souls were tasked with dessert.
But first they packed up and drove to Dallas, where a highway patrolman pulled over their contractually-obligated-to-say-Toyota Sienna caravan. The cop was so clearly a plant that I expected him to ask, “did somebody call...the POLICE?” before ripping off tearaway pants as a groovin’ bass line kicked in.
Alas, it was merely Quickfire time. The chefs had to cook on the side of the road using propane burners and ingredients from a survival kit. And they turned out some impressive stuff, considering they used canned foods you wouldn’t even crack open during a nuclear winter.
In the end, Lindsay won immunity, even though her Vienna sausage soup and saltine sandwich combo looked incredibly sketchy.
This week’s Elimination Challenge was unique, appearing to be a tryout for the “Real Housewives of Dallas.” (The chefs would cook for a progressive dinner party hosted by Dallas socialites. For those unfamiliar, a “progressive” dinner party means neighbors each host a course in their house.)
The chefs were split up by course and each group met their respective hosts, who decreed their food laws. Appetizer house rules: no peppers, no cilantro, nothing that will get stuck in teeth, nothing pungent, nothing adventurous. Sooo, Appetizer Couple basically hired expert chefs to make school lunches.
The entree house prohibited spicy food, raspberries, and cilantro. (If you ever want to be a wealthy socialite in Dallas, swear off of cilantro IMMEDIATELY.) The dessert couple, meanwhile, was bananas for bananas, cupcakes, and giant gummy bears.
Several chefs fretted, but Paul decoded the challenge with his inner Rosetta Stone: make the wife happy, because “the guy’s just gonna agree with her.” Hey, it’s not offensive if it WORKS.
The hosts’ finely appointed kitchens were largely drama-free, except when Beverly hogged ALL the heatproof glazed lava stone counter tops and totally monopolized the Swedish dual cast iron ceramic range.
At appetizer service, the hits included Sarah’s artichokes with date puree and Paul’s simple, inoffensive brussels sprouts and prosciutto. Chris J. took a major risk with his collard green-wrapped chicken “cigar” with cumin-sesame “ash.”
At the House of Entree, we saw the night’s weakest courses. Chuy overcooked his goat cheese-stuffed salmon and Ty-Lor turned out an uninspiring pork tenderloin. Beverly, in a totally Beverly move, made scallops. Scallops are Top Chefspeak for “I don’t feel like trying today, but I’m not ready to go home.”
Now for the desserts. Dakota somehow made bread pudding, mousse, and a milkshake in the allotted time. Edward made an elegant panna cotta with cantaloupe consomme (you know it’s elegant because of all the vowels).
Then, there was Chris C.’s chocolate-frosted strawberry cupcake monstrosity. Immediately after a henpecked hubby declared it one of the best cupcakes he’d ever eaten, head judge Tom Colicchio made his hatred of the dish clear.
As for the rest of the guest critiques, the dilettantes mainly blathered about how colorful the dishes were, or joyfully squealed because their husbands ate their veggies like a big boy. Based on this performance, these housewives shouldn’t hold their breath for another call from the Bravo suits.
But enough judging, let’s get to the judging! At the top was Sarah’s artichoke dish, Paul’s Brussels sprouts, Dakota’s banana trio, and Grayson’s chocolate sponge cake. Nothing mind-blowing, but no glaring weaknesses. Paul won, and thus his prophecy was fulfilled.
On the bottom we saw Ty-Lor, Chuy, and both Chrises. Chris J.’s chicken dish, despite trying its damnedest to rejuvenate Clinton cigar jokes, wouldn’t have been appetizing to even the most avid cigar chewer. However, it was ambitious, which probably saved him from elimination.
Then there was Chris C.’s cupcake. As Tom said, the muddle of chocolate, fruit, Heath bar, and mint ice cream appeared to have been created by a kid at a birthday party. Chris, dude...we’re talking about cupcakes! Once a week people at my office bring in their rudimentary version and they’re ALWAYS delicious.
And yet, in a shocker, Chuy was eliminated for stuffed salmon that betrayed bad conception and bad execution. Aw, no more stories about childhood goat slaughters or his dad, who was apparently a mix between Bob Vila and the Dos Equis guy.
Do you think the right cheftestant went home?
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