December 8th, 2011
12:10 PM ET
Last night’s episode of “Top Chef: Texas” had it all: bickering, classical cooking, steak and a visit to the ER.
For the Quickfire, our chefs pulled knives labeled with one of five froufrou, Frenchy words: veloute, bechamel, espagnole, hollandaise and tomate. We’re told these are the five mother sauces, which I think means they’re the primary colors of the sauce world.
Each cheftestant had to make a dish based on the sauce picked. This season’s supposedly new judge Emeril Lagasse was subbed out again, this time for Dean Fearing - with an emphasis on “fear.”
The guy’s “aw shucks” shtick quickly became a “pompous local golf pro” shtick. Fearing seemed personally offended when several cheftestants failed to use clarified butter or a roux for their sauces, causing him to launch belittling snipes like so many Titleist Pro V1’s.
In the end, Grayson’s ravioli with corn hollandaise won, giving her immunity.
Next was an uber-Texan Elimination Challenge, calling for a four-course steak dinner at the Cattle Baron’s Ball, which is a thing that exists and is called that. Oh, and the 200 steaks had to be medium rare.
Beverly’s kitchen drama struck again last night, as she took five hours to de-shell her shrimp. Heather The Steamroller was none too pleased, and when The Steamroller charges forward, you best get to higher ground because SHE WILL CRUSH YOU. As Dakota said, “Heather’s the most obnoxious person I think I’ve ever met.”
Later, Ty-Lor sliced right through the webbing between his fingers. (Again, I must ask: How much chef blood have I unwittingly ingested in my lifetime?) A mere paper cut on that duck-like vestige is debilitating, so props to Ty for not taking the Jamie route.
Dinner began with Beverly, Dakota and Sarah’s tomato-watermelon gazpacho with shrimp. Then, Edward, Chris J. (a.k.a Pebbles) and Paul presented seared carpaccio with mushroom bacon (put anything in front of “bacon” and I’m sold) and a tomato-asparagus garnish.
Meanwhile, Ty decided to grill the steaks briefly out back before transferring them to the kitchen, where the other chefs would flash cook them immediately before service. Ty, c’mon - never trust other chefs with your baby.
So, de facto leaders Heather and Lindsay jumped the gun, and everyone flashed and plated the steaks a whopping ten minutes before service. Call me a cynic, but I suspect sabotage on Heather and Lindsay’s parts...
After all that, the entree’s standout component wasn’t the ribeye or the potato gratin, but the compound butter. That is not a good thing.
But for once, dessert was a hit. The saboteurs and Grayson wisely served something light: peach cake with shaved peach salad and candied pecan
The judges chose three favorites, including Nyesha’s steak sauce and compound butter which “saved” the disastrous entree (quite the feat after bombing in the first sauce challenge), and Pebbles’ “perfectly cooked” carpaccio.
But the winner of the new Toyota Product Placement Mobile was Heather and her peach cake. The Steamroller may have a new mode of transportation, but I still wouldn’t get in her way.
And yes, cake won a steak challenge. Let’s pretend this never happened.
On the bottom, Ty-Lor was rightfully excoriated for screwing up the steak part of the steakiest steak dinner in the nation. Fearing’s ribeye was medium-well which, I mean, you may as well be eating grilled chicken breast at that point. He told Ty if this were a restaurant, he’d demand a refund.
Whitney’s gratin from that same course was also on the bottom, since the potatoes were uncooked. Rounding out the trio was Ed. When raw tomatoes and salt are two of your dish’s three parts, unless that third component is edible unobtainium, you’re on the chopping block.
In the end, they eliminated Whitney, explaining that if you can’t make gratin in six hours, you have no business being in the competition. (I honestly didn’t even notice Whitney until this week! I can keep track of only so many pale, tattooed brunettes.)
Do you guys think Ty-Lor got the sympathy vote, or did Whitney deserve the ax?
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