'Top Chef': Were those steaks sabotaged?
December 8th, 2011
12:10 PM ET

'Top Chef': Were those steaks sabotaged?

Last night’s episode of “Top Chef: Texas” had it all: bickering, classical cooking, steak and a visit to the ER.

For the Quickfire, our chefs pulled knives labeled with one of five froufrou, Frenchy words: veloute, bechamel, espagnole, hollandaise and tomate. We’re told these are the five mother sauces, which I think means they’re the primary colors of the sauce world.

Each cheftestant had to make a dish based on the sauce picked. This season’s supposedly new judge Emeril Lagasse was subbed out again, this time for Dean Fearing - with an emphasis on “fear.”

The guy’s “aw shucks” shtick quickly became a “pompous local golf pro” shtick. Fearing seemed personally offended when several cheftestants failed to use clarified butter or a roux for their sauces, causing him to launch belittling snipes like so many Titleist Pro V1’s.

In the end, Grayson’s ravioli with corn hollandaise won, giving her immunity.

Next was an uber-Texan Elimination Challenge, calling for a four-course steak dinner at the Cattle Baron’s Ball, which is a thing that exists and is called that. Oh, and the 200 steaks had to be medium rare.

Beverly’s kitchen drama struck again last night, as she took five hours to de-shell her shrimp. Heather The Steamroller was none too pleased, and when The Steamroller charges forward, you best get to higher ground because SHE WILL CRUSH YOU. As Dakota said, “Heather’s the most obnoxious person I think I’ve ever met.”

Later, Ty-Lor sliced right through the webbing between his fingers. (Again, I must ask: How much chef blood have I unwittingly ingested in my lifetime?) A mere paper cut on that duck-like vestige is debilitating, so props to Ty for not taking the Jamie route.

Dinner began with Beverly, Dakota and Sarah’s tomato-watermelon gazpacho with shrimp. Then, Edward, Chris J. (a.k.a Pebbles) and Paul presented seared carpaccio with mushroom bacon (put anything in front of “bacon” and I’m sold) and a tomato-asparagus garnish.

Meanwhile, Ty decided to grill the steaks briefly out back before transferring them to the kitchen, where the other chefs would flash cook them immediately before service. Ty, c’mon - never trust other chefs with your baby.

So, de facto leaders Heather and Lindsay jumped the gun, and everyone flashed and plated the steaks a whopping ten minutes before service. Call me a cynic, but I suspect sabotage on Heather and Lindsay’s parts...

After all that, the entree’s standout component wasn’t the ribeye or the potato gratin, but the compound butter. That is not a good thing.

But for once, dessert was a hit. The saboteurs and Grayson wisely served something light: peach cake with shaved peach salad and candied pecan strudel streusel.

The judges chose three favorites, including Nyesha’s steak sauce and compound butter which “saved” the disastrous entree (quite the feat after bombing in the first sauce challenge), and Pebbles’ “perfectly cooked” carpaccio.

But the winner of the new Toyota Product Placement Mobile was Heather and her peach cake. The Steamroller may have a new mode of transportation, but I still wouldn’t get in her way.

And yes, cake won a steak challenge. Let’s pretend this never happened.

On the bottom, Ty-Lor was rightfully excoriated for screwing up the steak part of the steakiest steak dinner in the nation. Fearing’s ribeye was medium-well which, I mean, you may as well be eating grilled chicken breast at that point. He told Ty if this were a restaurant, he’d demand a refund.

Whitney’s gratin from that same course was also on the bottom, since the potatoes were uncooked. Rounding out the trio was Ed. When raw tomatoes and salt are two of your dish’s three parts, unless that third component is edible unobtainium, you’re on the chopping block.

In the end, they eliminated Whitney, explaining that if you can’t make gratin in six hours, you have no business being in the competition. (I honestly didn’t even notice Whitney until this week! I can keep track of only so many pale, tattooed brunettes.)

Do you guys think Ty-Lor got the sympathy vote, or did Whitney deserve the ax?

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Filed under: television • Top Chef • TV recaps

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. MoHub

    One of the standard restaurant methods for preparing a steak—especially a thick one—is to get a crust on one side in a white-hot cast iron pan for about 5 minutes, flip it over and put the whole pan in a 425-degree oven for another 5 minutes, and remove it to the plate and let it rest another 5 minutes. It's the method I use at home, and the steaks come out a perfect medium-rare every time.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mistletoe

    No A1 for me – it ruins the taste of a good steak! Using mesquite, I think is a personal choice

    December 8, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Agreed

    I am glad it was Whitney that was sent home and not Ty-lor. Seriously. Anyone can make potatoes au gratin.
    Also – Heather is the most obnoxious contestant on this show since Marcel. Marcel still takes the cate, but this cow is a big, ugly, bully.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rob

    200 steaks? Not that difficult even for one chef. Especially given the fact all he was doing was putting grill marks on them. Really only talking maybe 5 minutes per side. Keep the system simple and pay attention. The person flashing may have left them in to long.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. little debbie

    Any good meat shouldn't be covered with anything, right Evel Knievel ?

    December 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. trisha

    Did you put A1 on it?

    December 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bender

    A1 is delicious. It makes everything taste like A1.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. lynne

    FAIRLY certain that the question posed was "do you agree with the judges decision," NOT "how do you like YOUR steak?"
    With that being said, I do agree with this call. While Ty shouldn't have ever let another chef finish his concept, the fact that he was not solely responsible for the awful entree means that he deserves a second chance. Anyone that screws up potatos as a professional chef should be gone.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Violet

    The best tasting steak is cooked on charcoal briquettes, not a gas grill.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bender

    Today woulda been Jim Morrisons birthday. Good ol lizzard king.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. J

    Simple potatoes – Top Chef – 6 hrs – and screw it up! Out of here!
    200 steaks cooked to perfection – served ALL at the same time – ONE Chef – pretty difficult!

    December 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bender


    December 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Karry

    I am a Texan, and I would be P!$$#@ if someone served me a steak that they prepared in an oven. Uh, no thank you. Take the steak back and prepare it correctly, or refund my money so I can find a real steak. Ty should have gone home. I think it was a sympathy vote. I mean, it was a STEAK challenge and he didn't even cook the steak!!!!

    December 8, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hi Yo

      Hey dummy, most steaks are prepared or finished off in a oven. There's clearly one thing that isn't bigger in Texas ...... And that's brains!

      December 11, 2011 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
    • George Bush

      Most steak houses always finish the steak in an oven, that way the sides are done as well if it is a thick steak. Texans are so stupid.

      December 11, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • CT

      Karry, obviously you have no idea how the food is actually prepared at the restaurants you eat at or you don't eat steaks in restaurants. They ALL finish them in an oven, even in Texas.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Texas girl

      I worked in a steakhouse in Texas for 4 years and there wasn't a single steak finished in the oven there. It might happen in the chain resaurants, but in a lot of the local steak places, steaks are 100% grilled.

      January 2, 2012 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ajita

    1. Aren't you supposed to be kosher? (Bacon comment)
    2. Pebbles. Love it.
    3. Unobtainium. Pure genius.
    4. Great blog!

    December 8, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dominic

    A truly great steak needs neither condiments nor marinade.

    December 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • ibrad

      Then you`ve never had one of my famous kick ass peppercorn steaks before !

      December 30, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  16. bender

    Its hard to mess up a steak. Just cook it for a while on a charcoal grill then put a little A1 sauce or butter on it. YUMMMMALICIOUS.

    December 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Native Texan

      In my opinion, if you are having to put A1 sauce on a steak...then you've already messed it up (or have messed it up with the A1).

      December 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • GG

      You forgot to mention that The Steamroller won by using Edward's cake recipe, which she also used in a previous episode. Come on now. You're a Top Chef. Figure it out yourself.

      December 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeeNYC

      you can if your making 200 of them.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |

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