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.
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.
This week we learned the Restaurant Wars hangover cure: one part Charlize Theron, one part Eric “The Ripper” Ripert, one part Padma in a romper, and a dash of product placement.
For the Quickfire, everyone’s favorite subtitled guest judge told the cheftestants they had 30 minutes to create a dish incorporating three random ingredients from a conveyor belt.
It was a completely absurd premise featuring a bunch of junk food, with a few choice seafood ingredients thrown in. The whole thing would’ve been more entertaining if we had seen the nervous interns behind the curtain swapping items on and off the belt as the Benny Hill music played.
It’s finally here: Restaurant Wars on “Top Chef: Texas.”
If your favorite thing about the perennial challenge is watching the judges feign offense and dismantle each restaurant while waiting for tables and/or food, then this episode hit your sweet spot.
Plus it was a battle of the sexes, and even in these post-gender times who doesn’t like that? The rules: six dishes, three courses, 100 guests, and no “I had the front of the house” cop outs this time.
“Top Chef: Texas” took a week off over the holidays so we could snipe and bicker with our relatives uninterrupted.
So on Wednesday night, it was good to be back alone, watching cheftestants snipe and bicker because zomg IT’S RESTUARANT BBQ PIT WARS!!
But before slathering themselves in the age-old Texas tradition, the chefs had an avant-garde Quickfire. Using modern food techniques, they created dishes for Nathan Myhrvold, who just collaborated on the cooking encyclopedia "Modernist Cuisine." So yeah, he’s not impressed by your faux caviar.
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).
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