'Top Chef: Texas': No place like home
December 22nd, 2011
11:30 AM ET

'Top Chef: Texas': No place like home

There’s no place like home for the holidays, and on last night's “Top Chef: Texas,” the contestants looked back home for inspiration.

But first, the gang drove to Austin, and along the way we learned Paul was a weed dealer until he was 22. So you know he’ll KILL IT when they have that processed food challenge; dude’s surely a mad scientist with some Cheetos and Nutella.

Once in Austin, it was Quickfire time, wherein fans tweeted the instructions to the chefs. The first tweeted rule was simple - cook a dish with bacon. About 15 minutes later, the next rule was announced - cook a hash (“Ha, he said HASH,” Paul giggled, probably).

Things were fairly calm until the final rule came in: use an ingredient picked by another chef. Sriracha was the go-to “screw over my competitor” choice.

On top, hometown hero/dealer Paul and his bacon three ways beat out Beverly and Sarah, giving him $10,000 and bringing his total winnings to $30k. Man, that would buy a lot of– nevermind.

Next, the cheftestants grabbed some cocktails in their hotel lobby. And out came Patti LaBelle, taking a break from allegedly chucking water at babies to belt out “Lady Marmalade.” I shuddered, thinking the Elimination Challenge would involve making and jarring marmalade.

Thankfully, Padma sashayed out, informing us each chef must create a dish honoring his/her cooking inspiration. At which point viewers immediately regretted making that “drink every time someone cries” rule.

With only 10 chefs left, and no teams, there was really no impetus for drama in the kitchen. So let’s get to the tasting. Safely in the middle we had - ohmygod it’s Emeril! He’s alive!

OK where was I? Right, the middle grounders. Paul served up quail adobo with ginger rice and mango salsa which looked and sounded delicious. But he was docked points because Patti LaBelle isn’t a quail fan.

Ty-Lor was inspired by his Japanese nanny’s chicken tenders, so he went more upscale with duck fat-fried chicken tenders with pickled peaches. Lindsay pulled a similar classic-meets-modern move with trout spanakopita inspired by her Greek grandmother.

And then there was Pebbles, whose lemon-pepper steak stayed out of the bottom despite the inclusion of an A1-based demi-glace, which I’m pretty sure he lifted from a TGIFriday’s menu.

Now, for the favorites. Here we had Ed, Beverly and Sarah. Bev made Korean short ribs with edamame scallion puree, and it’s safe to say she bounced back from last week’s encounter with The Steamroller.

Ed placed with an Asian dish as well, making a clean-looking bibimbap with lemon-chili sauce. But in last night’s evenly matched competition, Sarah took the prize with sausage stuffed cabbage. As the judges said, she made the usually heavy dish very light and clean.

On the bottom, Pretty Chris, Grayson and Heather were trotted out. Emeril donned his “serious” face, which was like watching a dog wearing a Christmas sweater: you KNOW it wants to get it off as quickly as possible and start yapping excitedly.

Anyway, Pretty Chris made salmon with carrot puree. The fish was seared too quickly and thus leaked white albumin sludge, as if the fillet had a nasty head cold. Also, his carrot puree didn’t taste like carrots because giant spears of dill overpowered everything.

Grayson made a Fred Flintstone-sized rib eye with potato salad. Not only did she fail to modernize the steak-and-potatoes staple, but the meat was sinewy and spongy. Emeril said he expected a lot more from her. Um, he doesn’t even know these people, he’s been gone all season! He’s acting like the absentee father who comes home for a random birthday and expects the kid to listen. Gotta put in some face time before you can dole out some punishments, Emeril.

Lastly, we had Heather’s beef Stroganoff which was also stringy (this season’s cheftestants REALLY need to learn how to cook meat). Emeril couldn’t even tell what the meat was, to which Ms. LaBelle answered “it’s Bigfoot.” This was not a compliment, because Sasquatch meat is very gristly. In addition, Heather’s dumplings were dry and overcooked, so it wasn’t looking good for The Steamroller.

In the end, The Steamroller got steamrolled. Upon breaking the news to the others, Heather said, “Don’t be upset.”

“NOTED!” the chefs cheerfully exclaimed in unison (in my head).

So, the show lost its villain. Do you think Heather got a dose of karma?

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Filed under: television • Top Chef • TV recaps

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. bob

    Jesse Jackson use to spit in peoples food at Mc D's I wonder what these ya whoes are doing in the omelets? Hmm

    December 22, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sir Loin of Beef

    Of course they do jeff. What else would you expect from someone that can't get any other job than one in the food service industry.

    December 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jeff

    I heard that chefs like to pick their nose and flick the buggers into the cooking food.

    December 22, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Boof

    I can't believe anyone still watches this show. I stopped going out to dinner for a long time because of the fat, disgusting chefs sweating all over the food.

    December 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sarah

    It was a good episode. When they stepped through the star portal and were transported not only back in time but to a galaxy over 8000 light years away I was astounded. That was the most realistic wormhole I have ever seen. Incredible special effects. Then when they encountered SG1 and Tealc greeted them I fell flat on my face! INCREDIBLE! I sure hope the next episode will be this good.

    December 22, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Elizabeth Campa

    I have to say, I'm looking more forward to your blog on Thursdays then the actual show. Please keep the commentary coming. As for Heather, she got was was coming.

    December 22, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. john besh

    oh no! BIGfoot heather might be coming after me, will run and hide.

    December 22, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Leo

    I like when Shane killed that zombie walker. It was awesome. I still think they will vote him off the island though. He just cant sing. Plus when he let all the walkers out of the barn.

    December 22, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      I can completely understand why you'd want to be me and not yourself, but Xbox Live Bro-Dude... You're getting kind of obsessive now.

      December 22, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |

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