To thoroughly enjoy the glory that is Top Chef Texas, we welcome comedian Max Silvestri, who will be here every week to take us through the season.
The judges eliminated Chuy on last week's episode, and his ouster leaves the chef count lopsidedly female. This is a change, and a welcome one, from the normal progression each season takes, but it's got the boys nervous. I am not sure what they are nervous about, as there is no part of the competition where having more of your gender left is an asset. I guess the guys assume the ladies are over there scheming, syncing up their cycles, and waiting for the boys to propose. Chris Crary brought ten engagement rings to the house just in case. "Sometimes when I see a big pack of ladies, I wish God gave me more fingers." Is he talking about engagement rings? I don't know. It's gross the way he really said that. Ty-Lor tries to get the guys to sync up their own cycles, but no one bites, except Edward, whose jaw is always biting.
For this week's Quickfire, the chefs head to Paul's alma mater, the Le Cordon Blue College of Culinary Arts, and there they greet guest judge Chef Dean Fearing. Dean Fearing sounds like the villain in a movie about chill frats. "Yo, Dean Fearing canceled the winter panty raid. What a cock nose!" We're in a culinary school, so this week's challenge heads back to the basics: the art of the saucier. It's the most important position in the kitchen, as it makes all the food wet and salty, which are two of the nicest things food can be. Everyone draws knives: espagnole, hollandaise, tomate, velouté, or béchamel.
These are of course the five classic French mother sauces, the basis for all life on Earth. The chefs are challenged to present a dish with a personalized mother sauce. A mother sauce? Maybe this is why the men were nervous about being outnumbered. Padma says, "ready for the mother of all Quickfires?" I'm disappointed Padma would engage in such punnery. Many of the chefs, having not made these base sauces since school, are nagged by the proper mother sauce preparation. Chef Fearing is exacting and it's clear there will be no womb for error. But there's no uterus trying to fake it; they have to cervix the best dish possible and fallope for the best. For Nyesha, who says sauce is her favorite thing, it's a labia of love.
Nyesha's passion for sauce does not translate to a win; she overwhelms her tomate with too many flavors and ends up as one of Chef Fearing's least favorites, alongside Dakota's béchamel and Beverly's Asian espagnole. Heather loves any opportunity to take a crap on Beverly, and she criticizes how Beverly always cooks Asian things. "If I were the judges, I'd be sick of it." I did the quick math, Heather, and I know that if I was a judge I would get sick of your petty, cruel face way quicker than I would get sick of Asian food. Do you know how big Asia is? Do you know how big your face is? Big, but not as big of Asia. Eastern cuisine offers exponentially more territory to explore than does your scowling mug barking at strangers.
Chris Crary added his poaching liquids back into his velouté sauce and impresses Chef Fearing. Paul's quail with espagnole is perfect, but it's Grayson's raviolo and hollandaise that gets this week's Quickfire win and immunity. She made a ravioli in 90 minutes! It's a complicated dish, and somebody said something about blueberries, but she is safe this week. I'm sorry Nyesha. I know how much you wanted that win.
For this week's Elimination Challenge the 13 chefs must work together as one team to create a four-course steak dinner for 200 guests at this year's Cattle Baron's Ball, the world's largest single-night fundraiser for cancer research through the American Cancer Society. Two of the four courses must contain steak. It is also one of the world's largest single-night wearing of boots and clogging of colons.
All the steaks must be cooked medium rare, and they'll be served at South Fork Ranch. When Padma says that, everyone loses their mind. It's a reference to the television show "Dallas" which filmed at said ranch. Neat. I don't buy everyone getting this excited, though. That show has been off the air for 20 years. My mom loved it, and these chefs are mostly my age. Are we really to believe that at the mere mention of the famed "South Fork Ranch" these twenty-somethings get clammy with anticipation? "Maybe I'll finally find out who shot Junior!" Heather asks somebody to look it up on their Google machine.
The chefs split into four teams, one per course, and no clear leader steps forward. Ed acts as secretary, meaning he jots down notes and has sex with a senior partner at the firm. Ed is pissed to hear that Heather is making HIS sponge cake recipe for the second time this season. That is funny that she's made somebody else's recipe for two challenges. Ed doesn't say it to her face though. He knows she'd flip out if he mentioned it. Dakota calls Heather "the most obnoxious person I've ever met." She also doesn't say it to Heather's face, which looks like the face of a mean shop owner in a cartoon that gets all red and puffed-up when little kids knock over the candy display. Is that too specific a reference? You guys get it.
Ty-Lor worked in a New York steakhouse for two years and he takes charge of the entree steaks. It's a lot of responsibility! It seems like that job should have been split up a bit. Maybe have two people on the steak and not someone only dedicated to shaved peach salads. Ty-Lor's plan is to grill 200 steaks in the hot sun, throw them in some liquid, then fire them in the broiler right before service. This will not go well, but it goes even worse when he gouges himself hard with an oyster knife while digging out some bone arrow. He's gushing blood, and he convinces a medic to wrap him up and let him finish prep.
Ty makes it through the prep, but the he's off to a long night at the hospital getting four stitches. Apparently, when you head to a Dallas emergency room in the middle of the night, they do not prioritize bone marrow related injuries. "Wow, sir. Are you OK? My sister-in-law got high on bath salts and ripped the radio antenna off car my with her teeth then stabbed me through the groin with it. It came out the back of me and gave me a second butthole, and now I 'go' through both holes, but you look like you have a 1/16th of an inch cut from trying not to miss a drop of delicious beef collagen. Please cut me in this emergency room line." Ty-Lor is there until 6 in the morning and gets about an hour of sleep. He pounds a few espresso shots and powers through.
It's only four courses, so I will show pictures of the food. Up first, Sarah, Dakota and Beverly made a summer gazpacho with tomato, watermelon, cucumber and olive oil-poached shrimp. Beverly spent a very long time on the shrimp and it got Heather's face in a knot.
Next, Chris Jones, Ed and Paul serve a seared NY strip steak carpaccio, heirloom tomato salad, vinaigrette and a mushroom "bacon."
While Ty-Lor has been "marking" the steaks on the grill outside, Lindsay takes it into her own hands to start firing them inside. Unfortunately the guests aren't done eating their second courses yet. The steaks sit there. They keep cooking. They get cold. It's a mess. Is Whitney's gratin done cooking? She isn't sure. Ty, Whitney, Chris Crary, and Nyesha serve up their grilled ribeye with creamy potato gratin, braised brussels sprouts, compound butter with bone marrow and red wine onions and a sauce.
For dessert, Heather, Grayson and Lindsay serve a "right side up" Texas peach cake with a shaved peach salad and candied pecan streusel.
Ultimately, the meal leaves the judges disappointed. 13 chefs working 6 hours on 200 covers should have been able to pull of a lot more. The chefs' main problem was splitting up the teams so equally right at the beginning. Each course got 3 (or 4 in one case) chefs, and each chef did a different element. Everyone tried not to step over any lines or on any toes but it also meant no leader took charge. Ty-Lor, despite a wound and no sleep, was left hung out to dry while Beverly inspected shrimp rectums for half a day. And like, I'm sure the shrimp were SUPER clean, but come on, guys. I'll take a molecule of shrimp shit over an overcooked steak any day.
Nyesha, Heather and Chris Jones are called before the Judges' Table. They were everybody's favorites! Nyesha made the compound butter, which saved an otherwise disappointing steak. Chris Jones perfectly cooked the sirloin carpaccio, and Heather's dessert (or should I say Ed's dessert) wasn't too sweet. It's right in Tom's wheelhouse, and it gets Heather the win. She gets a brand new 2011 Toyota Bonaventure Vincenzo Vennison. She should split that car in half and share it with Ed, and then Ed should run her over with his half.
Ty-Lor's steaks, Whitney's gratin and Ed's salad land them each on the bottom. Ed's salad, over the sirloin carpaccio, was bland and ordinary, a pointless mix of grilled and raw vegetables. Next to how strong that sirloin was, it should have shined, and it did not. Ty-Lor took on a lot of responsibility with the steaks, but he didn't live up to it. Whitney bungled her dish in a number of ways. It was scorching hot out, yet she decided to do a heavy, creamy dish, a simple one, and she still undercooked it. It's a mess.
Tom delivers a punishing zinger: "Usually it's really difficult to send someone home, but tonight you made it easy." Whitney's gone. As the judges said, if someone can't pull off a half-decent gratin in six hours, they don't deserve to be at this level. And they aren't anymore.
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