January 26th, 2012
01:01 PM ET
Only six chefs remained at the start of Wednesday's “Top Chef: Texas,” and with an even number, you knew we’d see some sort of team aspect.
For the Quickfire, they split into teams of two and had 40 minutes to de-shell and devein two pounds of shrimp, make a pound of fettuccine and shuck a crate (sounds like a precise measurement) of corn. With the remaining time, they had to make a dish using those ingredients, with $10,000 going to the winners.
Sarah and Lindsay finished the mise en place phase first and made pasta with corn milk (who knew?), shrimp and tarragon. Ed and Paul forgot to cook their shrimp, so they got this week’s Beverly Memorial Disqualification Award.
That left Grayson and Pebbles. Grayson spent roughly 30 of their 40 minutes making the pasta. Apparently it turned out fine, because their fettuccine with shrimp, toasted corn and bacon won out.
In the aftermath, everyone was all chummy with their partners, and then BOOM: Padma informed them the teammates would be competitors in the Elimination Challenge.
You just KNOW Sarah was devastated to go up against her hero/crush/stalking target Lindsay. This was her personal “War Of The Roses” (with Sarah reprising Danny DeVito’s role).
Both members of each team had to make their own version of the same dish for a block party. The diners would vote on a favorite from each pair, leaving the judges to award $15,000 to the overall winner.
(Did the show’s prize purse increase dramatically this season? They’re doling out cash before every flipping commercial break! Don’t Healthy Choice and the Glad Family Of Products know we’re in the middle of an economic abyss?)
Anyway, Grayson and Pebbles chose chicken salad sandwiches, Ed and Paul picked Asian barbecue, and Sarah and Lindsay agreed on meatballs. Oh but wait, a twist sponsored by Healthy Choice! The teams had to make healthier versions of their original ideas.
Cue tedious-but-with-quick-cuts-so-you-think-it’s-exciting shopping montage.
To the dishes: Paul was up first with turkey kalbi on a lettuce wrap, with eggplant and peach kimchee. His counterpart Ed made short rib kalbi on a homemade bun, with chipotle puree and pickled veggies.
Grayson made a fairly straightforward chicken salad sandwich and watermelon salad. She made the sandwiches to order, which we learned keeps the bread from drying out (probably from the added chef sweat).
Meanwhile, Pebbles’ not-made-to-order sandwich had tofu “mayo” (what’s grosser, mayo or tofu mayo? GO!) and a watermelon salad with pineapple ice.
Lastly we had
Once the votes of the untrained masses were counted, Paul, Lindsay and Grayson found themselves on top. The judges lauded Paul’s ability to substitute flavor for fat. Tom said his hot sauce was good enough to bottle, and the peaches were one of his favorite components of the day.
Lindsay’s Greek dish was tasty, healthy and original. And then there was Grayson, who only made the cut because she was the better of two subpar dishes.
Colicchio was all “chicken salad, more like chicken BLAH-lad,” and Grayson snapped back, saying meatballs are just as boring. Real talk: meatball always trumps chicken salad in food Roshambo.
In the battle between Lindsay and Paul, Paul won because, again, PAUL WINS ALL THE MONIES.
On the bottom, Sarah was the inverse of Grayson - only there because her very good meatballs went up against Lindsay’s great meatballs.
Next, Ed got lambasted because his dried out buns were just empty calories. His only healthy adjustment was to remove the fat from the short ribs, meaning he also removed their flavor and tenderness.
While Pebbles delivered on the health front, he failed to make his sandwich taste unhealthy (read: “good”). The dry bread and sludgy smoothie didn’t help, either.
Either Ed would go home for a single lapse, or Pebbles would for once again failing to execute his ideas. The judges axed Pebbles, so after overstaying his welcome by about seven episodes, he finally packed up his scrunchies.
Next week: PEE WEE HERMAN!! And some clips of what appears to be “The Amazing Race.”
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