February 9th, 2012
01:48 PM ET
The first order of business on this week’s episode of “Top Chef: Texas” was to unveil the winner of “Last Chance Kitchen.” Beverly beat Grayson, meaning (at least) another week of Bev whimpering and Sarah sighing.
For the Quickfire, the chefs had to pick ingredients while blindfolded - something about having to know everything about your ingredients. Which makes sense.
Unless, of course, they’re forced to Mr. Magoo their way around vacuum-packed meats and canned goods, which prevents them from smelling or feeling or otherwise identifying foods.
Everyone did a pretty solid job picking ingredients....except Ed. What he thought was pancetta turned out to be pork casings.
As for the actual dishes, Beverly’s striped bass was undercooked. Great to see her putting that second chance to good use!
Lindsay made unspecified “fish” with bulgur wheat and marscapone, and Paul made prawns with Thai tomato salad; both were passable.
Rather impressively, Ed finished in the top two. In a clever move, he boiled the pork casings into a salty broth for his zucchini “udon.”
Rounding out the top was Sarah, who made corn soup with chili and peaches, which earned her her first Quickfire victory. For the prize, she got to choose between a new Prius and a guaranteed spot in the finals. She took the finals, because she’s a coward.
Next, each chef’s cooking mentor entered the kitchen, and everyone started bawling. You know those wonderful videos of Iraq veterans surprising their kids at school, and everyone just loses their bleep with tears of joy? That’s the level of blubbering we saw. It was uncomfortable. They know this is a GAME SHOW, right?
In between everyone else’s uncontrollable sobs, Padma informed the group they had to make a dish to impress their mentors for the Elimination Challenge. The winner would get the Prius that Sarah turned down.
And since Sarah wasn’t competing, she got to hang out with her mentor all night. “Ooohh....grrrrreaaat...” winced the mentor.
To the food: Beverly made shrimp and barbecue pork noodles. She had to cook in small batches since she was using a wok, which was the kind of risk that could launch you into the finals. Her shrimp were perfectly cooked (according to her mentor, so yeah, COLLUSION!).
The judges agreed her flavors were clear, and they were impressed she pulled off the wok tactic. So impressed, in fact, that she secured a spot in the finals. So it’ll be Sarah vs. Beverly XXXIV next week.
But the Prius went to Paul because, well, we’ve been over this before. The flavors in his chilled sunchoke and dashi soup coalesced and demonstrated a refinement that is usually found with more experienced chefs.
In other words, if Paul doesn’t win this season, it will be one of the biggest choke jobs in “Top Chef” history.
The judges said they enjoyed all the food, and that the mentors were proud, but there are rules. Someone had to go home, and on the bottom we had Lindsay and Ed.
Lindsay had the famous mentor (Michelle Bernstein), so she sort of buckled under the pressure. Her seafood stew with cous cous was good, but the emulsified cream was out of place and the dried herbs messed with the flavors.
As for Ed, he made pork belly with smoked oyster crema and pickled vegetables. The pickles were an undisputed hit, but the “slightly off” oyster sauce brought the dish down. Through clenched teeth (obvi), Ed admitted he used canned oysters because the grocery store didn’t have any freshies.
Oh boy. The judges do NOT like inflexibility. Tom was shocked Ed didn’t adapt his plan at the store, and that was a greater lapse in judgment than anything Lindsay did.
So Ed was eliminated and treated us to one of the most graceful exits in the show’s history.
Next week - why finish “Top Chef: Texas” in Texas when you can go to...British Columbia?! Also, ice smashing.
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