'Top Chef: Texas': Five chefs and a Pee-wee
February 2nd, 2012
01:04 PM ET

'Top Chef: Texas': Five chefs and a Pee-wee

The five remaining chefs on “Top Chef: Texas” entered the kitchen in last night’s episode to a comical number of yard-high pancake stacks -  and the Incredible Aging Pee-wee Herman riding his bike.

It was all part of the "pancakes for Pee-wee" (sounds like a youth football fundraiser) Quickfire. Three of the chefs cooked fairly straightforward flapjacks, but Paul and Ed’s were notable.

Paul made rolled pancakes with black pepper and champagne dippin’ dots (the bubbly of the future?). Meanwhile, Ed made crispy pancake bits with bacon and berries, which Pee-wee decreed worthy of the $5,000 prize.

Now for the Elimination Challenge - which, with Pee-wee and the Alamo, had plenty of possibilities. Would the challenge draw on the egg salad-y picnic scene? The Rube Goldberg breakfast machine? The Alamo corn lesson?

Or maybe since Pee-wee is the ultimate manchild, the contestants would have to make an adult version and a kid version of a dish.

Nope. Instead, the producers latched onto the bike thing.

The chefs had three hours to bike around town to find food and a kitchen in which to cook it, then pedal their meal over to the Alamo. Sounds like a COMPLETELY accurate way to gauge culinary skills.

While searching for their own restaurant kitchens, Paul revealed he once cracked his head on the pavement after a bike crash, so now when he drinks alcohol the left side of his face turns red. (Um, how have we not heard about this yet?! You’re telling me the red face never came up during one of those annoying mini-segments where the drunk chefs are laughin’ and scratchin’ in the stew room?)

Anyway, each chef had to awkwardly ask some restaurant manager if they could bring their sweaty bodies and a caravan of sweaty cameramen into their kitchens. This led to a Pantheon “Top Chef” moment: as Ed cooked in a random B&B, the owner asked/basically commanded him to cook eggs for their customers. The clearly flabbergasted Ed obliged.

After cooking, the chefs packed up for the bumpy ride back to the Alamo. Thanks to “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” we know the Alamo doesn’t have a basement, but who knew it had such a well-appointed kitchen?

Considering the ridiculous parameters of this challenge, all the dishes turned out pretty good. Sure, the chefs this season have been underwhelming, but now that we’ve whittled down the numbers, they’ve made very few mistakes.

On to the judging: Let’s start with the winner, who was the only chef to steer clear of Pee-wee’s favorite food, chicken. Lindsay made zucchini stuffed with beef cheeks and rice. Save for minor gripes about the soggy salad, it was a hit. And Pee-wee liked that the zucchini resembled boats.

(Do you think Paul Reubens ever came out of character with the judges? It must be exhausting doing that voice for an entire day. Or lifetime.)

This was Lindsay’s first win, which you never would’ve guessed by her confidence all season long. Season favorite Paul came in second with chicken and red curry gastrique.

On the bottom we had a tight race between Sarah, Ed and Grayson. Sarah made a twist on egg salad: a veggie salad with soft-boiled eggs and chicken skin vinaigrette. It took us 50,000 years, but FINALLY the human race figured out how to liquefy chicken skin. We’ve officially peaked as a species.

But Sarah’s downfall was a common one in the “Top Chef” universe: not enough salt and pepper.

As for Ed, he made chicken and grits, but nobody could get over the chicken’s “weird” texture, a result of him poaching it in beef fat.

Lastly, Grayson made chicken stuffed with spinach, gorgonzola and egg yolk. The weak point was her side of butternut squash (a fall vegetable) with tomatoes. How DARE she intermingle produce seasons! Also, her hunks of chicken were Flintstonian in size.

So we had a failure in seasoning (Sarah), a failure in technique (Ed) and a failure in vision (Grayson).

In the end, Grayson and her folksy charm got the ax. Which to me was surprising - you’d think rubbery chicken or blandness are greater offenses than a superfluous salad component. What I’m saying is...Grayson got HOSED.

Do you agree?

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Filed under: television • Top Chef • TV recaps

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Alex

    to myself (I am a fleolwor of yours and I had watched one of your video tutorials on chalk paint) and lo and behold, there you were standing right next to that chunk of handsomeness! What a great surprise to see you on the show and to witness your amazing talents being shared with millions! Hard work and dedication pays off, especially when you take great pleasure in what you do. Congratulations!!!BTW, I'm also addicted to chalk paint could do without the high price, but nevertheless addicted.May many more blessings come your way Shaunna!Hugs from So Cal,Irma

    March 17, 2012 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. Guest

    This show is awesome!! Gives me MANY ideas and helpful hints!!

    February 7, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. jb2817

    That was the best pancake I've ever had

    February 7, 2012 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. dex misichko

    No I don't agree i think this season of top chef judging panel sucks!!!! they eliminated the wrong person! Grayson was not only a good looking folksy girl but a great chef at least better then sarah but o well many Tom and the judges will finally learn how to judge a dish instead of fill there faces!!!

    February 3, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. igor

    No, I do not agree. The key to understanding the real truth of Top Chef is to read the blogs. The actual show is only cut to be entertaining, not to reflect what happened. In Gale Simmons's blog, she clearly says that all the judges enjoyed Ed's dish far more than Grayson's. Ultimately, it is all about how the food tastes. Collichio deserves most of the credit for the honesty (generally) of the judging, and I still think the judging is good. Compare the judging on Top Chef to the judging on The Next Iron Chef, which was ATROCIOUS and BIASED.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mercyme

    Pee Wee Herman is so yesterday. Why would anyone go for him as entertainment?

    February 2, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edward

      Just watched the DVR of Nate Show. Loved it. On the show you mntnioeed milk paint. How is it different than chalk paint? I've only ever used regular latex on my projects and I'm thinking of doing a union jack on my son's bureau (was mine when growing up) and redoing a antique high boy in our room which the veneer is in a really bad state. Would love your advice! Thanks.

      March 17, 2012 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. Guest

    Grayson got ripped off. She had too much food basically, and that's a bad thing?!?! Too much of good food? Please, the judges were still angry about her comment last week about chicken said (totally true, a chicken salad sandwich is more complex than a meatball.) And the judges hold grudges, so Grayson went home when she shouldn't have.

    February 2, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Atawewe

    Reblogged this on the1tvjunkie.

    February 2, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Talullah

    According to Tom, who was on "Watch What Happens" immediately following the show, there was much more discussion, and everyone agreed that Grayson had the worst dish. I was shocked that Lindsay won, after Paul's dish got such rave reviews at the table.

    I have to say that I have far less enjoyed this season than other seasons. The challenges have been very odd. Last night's was a great example. I would rather have seen a market basket challenge than watching the chefs scramble around trying to find a place to cook. I think Top Chef is most interesting when the cheftestants are challenged by the ingredients or using their knowledge and talent with the food. Even last weeks strange challenge with Charlize Theron was more intersesting than this weeks fiasco.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Taina

      This is sad. I used to like this site. And now I will have to boycott it freveor thanks to that ill-advised Neil Patrick Harris diss. Are you kidding? Have you seen How I Met Your Mother? I predict that his appearance will mark an apex in Bravo history. I can't wait. And I'll just have to read about it elsewhere

      March 14, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. San Jose

    "Top Chef" is one of my favorite shows, and I look forward to each new season. This year, however, I'm disappointed. Now that it's down to the top 4, I keep thinking "Who's going to be the winner?" Each season, I have some idea, but this year I feel like none of them are good enough. The challenges were all odd as well. Bummer of a season...

    February 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Maria

    Yes, I agree, Grayson was robbed last night! She and Paul have been my fave cheftestants all along. I hope she beats Beverly and gets back into the game.

    February 2, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |

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