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Top Chef Texas - Ep. #12 - 01/25/12 (Spoilers)

It's time to PAHHHHH-TAYYYY! Block party, that is! We'll get to that in a little bit. First, they're back in the Stew Room, and Grayson said she would miss Beverly, but others wouldn't. Lindsay is STILL saying that Beverly should have taken care of her dish when she entrusted her halibut dish to Beverly. And Edward was being a jerk about it as well. Charlize shows up in the Stew Room to say thanks and tell them all how much of a nerdy food fan she is.

They show up in the TC Kitchen, and Padma, Emeril, and Cat Cora are there to greet them. Cat Cora is cohost of a new TV show - Around the World in 80 Plates.

Three teams of two are formed by Padma:

Grayson and Chris (Green)
Lindsay and Sarah (Red)
Paul & Edward (White)

It's a speed challenge for the Quickfire. In 40 minutes, they are to peel, de-vein and butterfly 2 lbs. of shrimp, shuck a crate of corn, and make a lb. of perfect fettuccine. When they're done, whatever time they have left after prep, they have to cook a dish using those ingredients. But only AFTER the judges have checked their prep. If approved, they'll get to then cook. There is no more immunity, but the winning team will win $10,000.

Lindsay is first to finish de-veining the shrimp. Paul asks them to check the corn prep, but he's left a lot on the cobs. Chris finishes his corn first. Grayson's pasta is overworked, whereas Sarah's pasta is good to go. Edward asks for a pasta check, and he's good to go. Paul's corn is then approved, and Sarah then gets their final check on the corn. So Sarah and Lindsay are first done with their mise and can cook. Paul finishes the shrimp, so the White Team is ready to cook. FINALLY Grayson finishes her pasta and there are 8 minutes to cook.

All three teams seem to finish their plates, EXCEPT Paul doesn't get their shrimp on the plates while he and Edward were concentrating on the garnish.

The judges try the Green Team first: they make Fettuccine with Toasted Corn, Poached Shrimp, Chili, Bacon & Rosemary. Emeril asks about how the bacon is cooked and Chris admits he deep-fried it, as they had no time.

They then move on to the Red Team's dish: Fettuccine with Corn Milk, Shrimp, Tarragon & Parsley. Sounds like maybe a bit too much tarragon on the dish?

Then it's over to the White Team - and Paul admits he forgot the shrimp. Padma lets out a "WHAT?" Sarah and Lindsay both look beyond pleased. Padma notes that the flavors were very good in their dish and that it's too bad that the shrimp were left off the plate.

So who wins the Quickfire? Paul and Edward are disqualified, obviously. Cat notes that she wouldn't have used tarragon as it's an overpowering herb, but the flavors were good. Both Cat and Emeril were worried about timing on the Green Team's dish, but were impressed that they got it done. The winning team is the GREEN TEAM! Chris and Grayson win one! Of course, Sarah thinks their pasta was better. :-/

For the Elimination Challenge, each person's partner in the QF is now their opponent. Healthy Choice, in conjunction with its initiative, Child Hunger Ends Here, is sponsoring a food drive to support the San Antonio Food Bank. They will serve 200 people at a block party. They will each be required to make a version of the same dish, and the block party attendees will choose their favorite from each pair. Whoever has the least amount of votes within each pair will be up for elimination. They have to decide right then and there what to make as a main dish and a side dish.

Grayson and Chris: Chicken Salad Sandwich and Watermelon Salad
Edward and Paul: Asian Beef BBQ and Pickled Vegetables
Lindsay and Sarah: Meatballs and a Vegetable Salad

Of course, Padma throws a twist - Healthy Choice and their Cafe Steamers line are all about healthier meals and low in fat content. So each chef has to make a healthier version of the dishes they've decided to make. The winner will get $15,000.

They have 40 minutes and $600 to shop. Sarah gets ground turkey; Lindsay's going with ground lamb and veal. Grayson enlist someone in the store to help push her watermelons around the store.

They head out to the CIA kitchen prepping in 2.5 hours for 200 people. Chris makes his own "mayo" using a tofu emulsion, so it's virtually fat-free. Chris is *pre-making* all of his sandwiches, while Grayson is still mixing all of her ingredients and she's running out of time, but Chris helps her out.

They head over to where the block party is, but they're dealing with tons of bees around their dishes. Grayson's doing everything to order, which could prove difficult. Everyone shows up for the party with food donations and then over to each of the chef's set-ups for their dishes. Edward's set-up is a "build your own", but he has to watch the diners and make sure the don't take too much of everything so everyone gets fed. Grayson's got about 20 people in her line because she's hand-building her sandwiches to order. Sarah's also got a long line as well, and Chris is battling those bees. He's allergic so he's trying to avoid them and apologizing to the block party attendees.

The judges show up with their donations, and say hello to Bryan Scott, a TC4 season cheftestant and now a Healthy Choice Flavor Ambassador. They then go over to the tables. Dana Cowin, Food & Wine editor, joins them as a judge.

PAUL: Turkey Kalbi, Eggplant with White Peach Kimchi
EDWARD: Open Faced Kalbi, Kimchi Chipotle Puree, Pickled Cucumber & Daikon on a homemade steamed bun with his pickled veggies on the side

The judges liked Paul's dish in building flavor. Edward's dish has too much bun to meat, and the beef seemed to be hard and dry.

GRAYSON: Chicken Salad Sandwich (on a whole wheat bun) with Arugula, Pickled Red Onion, Feta Watermelon Salad with Pumpkin Seeds (she uses an olive oil mayo)
CHRIS: Chicken Salad Sandwich with Tofu "Mayo", Red Letuce, Watermelon Fruit Salad with Pineapple Ice

Grayson's Watermelon Salad needed a bit of additional flavor. Dana Cowin didn't think that her chicken salad had all that much flavor; and yet the next shot was a block party attendee saying he liked her chicken salad. Chris's sandwich bread was a bit more dried out as they weren't made to order, but Tom liked the curry in it. His watermelon salad was more flavorful.

SARAH: Calabrese-Style Turkey Meatball and Vegetable Salad
LINDSAY: Mediterranean Meatball with Lemon Yogurt, Blacked-Eyed Peas and Quinoa Greek Salad

Sarah's meatball is well received, but Dana's salad only had 2 ingredients. Lindsay's meatball was VERY well received by the judges, lots of flavor, original.

They're in the Stew Room talking about the long lines and whose dishes were healthier. Padma comes in and asks to see Grayson, Paul and Lindsay. And they're in the TOP group! (Already given away in a preview of Tom saying something to Grayson about having to win with a chicken salad sandwich.)

Paul's dish is noted as very flavorful, Tom tells him to bottle his hot sauce. Grayson was noted as making sandwiches to order. Tom asks her had she thought that she could win this making a chicken salad sandwich? He said you have to win this against potential dishes that are more exciting. She replied back "Like a meatball?" He said "Right." She said "Right." She *really* stood up to Tom when she got called out! Lindsay's meatball was liked with the lemon and sumac. And it's PAUL that wins again! He gets $15,000 with his Turkey Kalbi.

Edward, Chris, and Sarah all head into the Judges Table while Grayson says in the Stew Room that she feels she was brutalized. "They wanted me to do more. Duly noted." And she almost feels like she should be in the bottom group.

Edward's bread on his dish was called out as empty calories, and by removing the fat from the short ribs, he's removed the good part out of it. Tom said it was no surprise that Paul's dish beat his out.

Chris building his sandwich ahead of time was what did him in. He did a great job in making a healthy dish, as Tom said, using tofu to make a mayonnaise. But his frozen pineapple ice on top of his watermelon salad was also too icy.

Sarah's meatball with apricot was too mild, and consistency on the salad were what she was called out on.

They go back into the Stew Room. Chris said he hates to go home because he didn't wrap his sandwiches and didn't blend his smoothie. Edward says "Every time you make like your'e going home, someone else goes home!" Chris replies "Whelp...." pats Edward on the knee as in farewell, and gets up and walks away. FUNNY!

Back at JT, Padma says she felt for the cheftestants with 200 people in 105 degree heat. Sarah's meatball was good; Lindsay's was better. Tom said he doesn't get Chris - time and again it's idea, idea, idea, and every time, he can't execute. Cat notes that Edward's dish was chewy and tough, a tiny dried piece of bread, and pickles, and then Tom adds "and a BS story!"

I think it's Chris or Edward going home.

They're back in front of the judges, and Tom reviews each dish. It's all about details, and they have to deliver. Someone didn't - and that someone is Chris - it is his turn to PYKAG. He said he had no doubt he was going home because of his mistakes. Grayson said it's her fault, as the chicken salad was her decision. (No Grayson - Chris could have said NO, he didn't want to make that!) Chris's farewell was great and gracious, and he said as he pointed at Paul "Somebody take him DOWN so he doesn't win the most money on Top Chef! But if you don't, I love you all." :-)

previews - it's PEE WEE HERMAN! YAY! I can't wait! LOL

~~~~~~~~~~

For LCK, he heads over to the TCK when he gets the note from Tom. But not before he goes to the cast house kitchen for TEN MINUTES thinking that's where Tom is. DUH! LOL He sees Beverly with Tom. He said that Beverly doesn't intimidate him in the kitchen. So it'll be interesting to see how this goes! The rest of the eliminated chefs come in. Awwww, he misses Richie! Nyesha tells Tom that Beverly's strong and could take this one.

And the winner of next week's LCK will go back to TCK and compete to win the entire shebang! They have a mystery box at their station with which to make a dish. During the LCK competition, there will be additional mystery boxes introduced, and they MUST use all ingredients. Each of them have items that are very diverse - lamb chops, buttermilk, cinnamon, pine nuts, parsley, parsnips, marshmallows. Other items added later are radicchio, and then white anchovies. Blech! LOL

Tom comes in and tastes Beverly's dish, and then Chris's dish. He reviews, and decides. Interesting.

And we're done!

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  1. So is Padma's goal of this show to wear as little as possible? Just saying....

    11 Replies
      1. re: FoodPopulist

        What's up with the tablecloth shirt in the QF? I have seen women in Texas wearing it and thought them unattractive, and now its confirmed, there are no redeeming quality in a table cloth patterned shirt/dress.

        1. re: Phaedrus

          Just read Hugh's blog

          "Padma is wearing a boyfriend-style shirt-dress, plaid with cut-off sleeves. Am I the last person on earth to know that she’s dating Larry the Cable Guy? "

          Hugh is growing on me - eyebrow and all.

              1. re: LindaWhit

                +1! that shirtdress was Aweful! Far worse than the plates proffered...

          1. re: FoodPopulist

            Seriously, who is dressing her and why is she allowing it?

            1. re: JAB

              I think she had to do some painting around the house afterward and didn't want to have to change.

              1. re: bobbert

                On the Bravo webpage there's link to the "Looks of Padma" or something like that. 20 or so photos of her outfits.

                For a beautiful woman, she sure has a knack for picking unflattering (read hideous) outfits

                1. re: Bart Hound

                  I still remember that outfit she wore on a past season where she looked as if she had fallen into one of Frank Gehry's most bizzare hallucinations.

          2. re: christy1122

            I thought her goal was to deliver advertisements in a deadpan tone as though she would seriously ever even consider using the products she's shilling. I realize the show has sponsors that pay the bills but I felt like some of her monologues in this episode went way, way, way beyond the norm.

          3. Thought Tom was a little annoying when he went into his OCD mode and kept after Grayson about serving chicken salad at a block party. But thought that she stood up to him well. He called her choice of chicken salad boring, and odd for a block party she replied along the lines 'as opposed to a meatball?' Looks like she actually shut him up.

            53 Replies
            1. re: Withnail42

              I LOVED her standing up to him and him realizing that she got him. And the other judges laughed as well at her retort. Good on her. :-)

              1. re: LindaWhit

                I don't think she can win, but I think I fell a little bit in love with her when she did that.

                1. re: FoodPopulist

                  She's my fave. She's got cohones. Between her frog song, not bashing other contestants, and her willingness to stand up for herself, she's awesome.

                  1. re: chicgail

                    I don't think she'll win the whole thing but I really, really, really want to be her friend and have her make me late night drunk food.

                      1. re: lbs

                        Oh, now THAT I like! (her making me late night drunk food!)

                          1. re: FoodPopulist

                            She should win fan favorite as she's become mine.

                            1. re: JAB

                              She should be a slam dunk for fan favorite

                              1. re: bobbert

                                Unfortunately Malibu Chris remains in the lead.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  By a pretty large margin, too. This is actually the first year I've voted for fan favorite. I think it's because I'm going on the Bravo site for LCK, and hey, I'm already there, might as well vote. She's pretty awesome, her personality also comes out in her tweets.

                                  Oh! and I asked Dakota if the tattoo on her hand was a straight-edge X, and she replied that they are knives.

                                  1. re: kubasd

                                    The "knives" line sounds like PR damage control to me. If they really are knives, the tattoo "artist" should be sued!

                          2. re: Withnail42

                            I thought Grayson was great -- Gail has said more than once that she likes it when the chefs "fight back," and Tom seemed to take her point in good spirits ;-)

                            But overall, this week we're back to "Mediocre Chef," not "Top Chef."

                            1. re: momjamin

                              "But overall, this week we're back to "Mediocre Chef," not "Top Chef.""

                              +1 momjamin
                              And again, I think a lot of it had to do with the challenge. Two hours, one person, 200 people. Oh, and make it healthy. Stunning that we didn't see amazing food. Just stunning. There should really be much, much more difference between these episodes and Next Food Network Star.

                              1. re: debbiel

                                The challenge was ridiculous. "No one's been hospitalized in a couple episodes, so let's make them cook outside again, with ridiculous constraints. Oh, and it's only 105F instead of 110F, so send in the bees!"

                                1. re: momjamin

                                  If you think this challenge was ridiculous, wait until next week when as part of the EC they make the contestants ride around on a bicycle at 105 F. heat. I thought last weeks challenge was interesting and provided good, interesting food. It looks like the Elves could not handle more than one good food episode in a row.

                                  1. re: John E.

                                    How do you know what is happening next week John E p tht the contestants will have to ride a bike, etc.?

                                    Do you have an insider link you can share?

                                    1. re: gingershelley

                                      The bike riding was in the preview for next week.

                                  2. re: momjamin

                                    AHAHAHAHAH - "so send in the bees!"

                                    1. re: momjamin

                                      I have been loyal all these seasons, but this episode made me want to give it up. Boring, pointless, and boring.

                                      1. re: momjamin

                                        lol! reminds me of Hunger games.

                                        1. re: momjamin

                                          I laughed so hard when I read this I sprayed soda all over my monitor. "send in the bees" LOL

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            And another +. I swear, I find your recap and the ensuing discussion better than the show most of the time. Absurd challenge.
                                            And hear, hear Grayson--meatballs at a block party????

                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                              I'm done. This is the worst season ever. Linda's recaps are far more entertaining than the actual show, so her recaps will do for me for the rest of the run.. And LCK is far more entertaining, and interesting, than TC. Good grief.

                                              1. re: nikkihwood

                                                Thanks nikki! I will suffer through watching the rest of the season for you all. ;-)

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  You will be nominated for sainthood for watching all of this season, Linda. !
                                                  [regards from a former fellow NE'er]

                                                2. re: nikkihwood

                                                  I'm with you nikki. All those awful team challenges, then one excellent challenge, then back to serving cheap food out in the 110 degree heat.

                                                  And to add insult, they're having Pee Wee Herman next week? And the remaining chefs are riding bikes around the city in 110 degree heat?

                                                  For all we know (and judging by their bios) these may be the most talented chefs ever on TC. But we wouldn't know, because they're not letting them freaking cook! (OK, probably not more talented than the season of Jen, Kevin and the Voltaggio bros.)

                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                    That was a **good** season.

                                                    These people are talented - again, look to LCK.. Elves and Bravo have totally messed this up with inane silliness, and manufactured drama. ugh.

                                                    1. re: nikkihwood

                                                      Agreed, it's really stupid. Anyone know how the ratings are doing? Hopefully they've fallen a bit? (Probably not -- they're probably GREAT, and next season we can look forward to such challenges as a strong-man competition where contestants will be challenged to haul 350 chickens on large platter across a field of steaming risotto...)

                                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                        And they'll be filming outdoors in Nome in the winter.

                                                    2. re: gaffk

                                                      Can we vote Pee Wee off the island for next week please?

                                                      1. re: gingershelley

                                                        Pretty pretty please with sugar on top?

                                              2. re: debbiel

                                                Agreed. What a boring episode. Sure hope someone(s) at Top Chef notice that when you give chefs a challenge -- and then make it stupid -- the end result is boring. Still glad that Chris had to leave, though.

                                                Can we please have more allowing chefs to be creative v. pulling some dumb a$$ requirement on them after they've had to make decisions?

                                                I eat and cook healthy. But I have no interest in any of the dishes prepared tonight.

                                                You Top Chef people get me for one more season. Life's short. You are dumbing down the show. I have a zillion other options in my teevee time.

                                                1. re: SarahInMinneapolis

                                                  I was really hoping that Sarah or Lindsay would be the one going home. I'm glad that Paul won, though, and agree with everyone that the cheftestants are really not being given a chance to shine in their cooking. Mediocre Chef it is!

                                                2. re: debbiel

                                                  If they had the same constraints but only had to cook for 10 people, it would've been a whole different ballgame.

                                                  But yeah I agree - this season has seen way too many challenges that really limited the chances of excellent food being made. Seeing the chefs deal with huge volume and/or meager timeframes is fair game, but it shouldn't be almost every damn challenge.

                                              3. re: Withnail42

                                                I think Tom was incredulous that Grayson was talking back. I'm not sure if there's anything less exciting than chicken salad, and this is a competition about exciting food. I'm not saying meatballs are that much more exciting but Lindsay's meatball actually sounded pretty good. Grayson was also knocking "Asian food." I wonder why she went with that characterization. Why didn't she just say kalbi, or Korean food?

                                                1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                  I got the impression that she said "Asian food" rather tongue in cheek, as if the overgeneralization was an inside joke. We've certainly brought it up enough on these boards!

                                                  1. re: momjamin

                                                    I was thinking she was reading chow hound!

                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                          Me too--a little jab at those who criticized Beverly relentlessly for cooking "Asian food."

                                                        2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                          Grayson did not knock Asian food, in my opinion. I think she was saying meatballs were no more exciting than chicken salad, was going to comment about the other option, and then kind of smirked with the Asian food comment. I interpreted it as, "Well, okay, his food was more interesting." As far as calling it Asian food, perhaps she was tired and just couldn't remember what exactly they made. Or maybe the whole group has an inside joke going about "Asian food" because of Heather's seemingly frequent mention of it when she talked about Bev.

                                                          1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                            I don't think Grayson was knocking Asian food, I just don't think she knew what the name of the dish was that Paul cooked.

                                                            I also think chicken salad was a terrible choice for Grayson to make and even worse for Ugly Chris to agree to make it. The only other time I remember anyone making chicken salad was when Evangelos Menselsohn made it for an EC in Top Chef 4.

                                                            When they were showing some of the clips outside of the challenge I remember Paul and Ed talking and one of them saying all they had to do was to make a dish better than chicken salad. Apparently not, because the way the challenge was set up, someone could have gone home for making what was not the worst dish, just worse than their head to head opponent. I guess that did not happen, but it could have.

                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                              I think Ed was saying even if you're in the bottom, you get to stay if you beat the chicken salad.

                                                          2. I believe we are now contractually obligated to finish every paragraph with the phrase, "Furnished by Healthy Choice."

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: acgold7

                                                              hahaha...even Chris Jones had to thank the sponsors for winning the quickfire!

                                                              1. re: acgold7

                                                                And the Glad family of products, transported in a TOYOTA.

                                                              2. Yawn. Oh Top Chef we all once loved, where are you? Hated the challenge. It gave very little room for Top Chef cooking.

                                                                I did like how gracious and supportive everyone seemed to be in the stew room, and particularly when Chris was heading saying good-bye.

                                                                A note on the beginning and the Return of Halibut. Did Lindsey bring it up, or did she only comment on it AFTER Edward brought it up?

                                                                Yay Paul! Love to see him winning.

                                                                I loved Grayson tonight. She cracked us up with her swearing about the challenge and her chats with the folks at WF, and I loved her standing up to Tom.

                                                                I am worried about next week's episode. Are they sending out the top 5 on some sort of scavenger hunt? Cuz that just sounds bad.

                                                                11 Replies
                                                                1. re: debbiel

                                                                  I think it was Grayson bringing up Beverly leaving, and then Lindsay tacked onto the end of whatever she said with the Great Halibut Incident.

                                                                  And it *looks* like they have to use Pee Wee Herman bikes to get around a specific area shopping for something - dinner ingredients or dishes that Pee Wee likes? It looked like Grayson was carrying an aluminum take-out dish in her hand (saying it was hot) because it wouldn't fit in her bike basket! If that's what they're doing, they *might* have jumped the shark. As much as I want to see what Pee Wee Herman would do. A scavenger hunt would just be WRONG at this stage of the contest - just let them COOK without stupid games!

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    I was shaking my head at the whole preview. Such ridiculousness. Such foolishness. How juvenile. How smarmy and repulsive a guest judge. how stupid if they are fostering his stupidness onto the cheftestants and the show. Sigh.

                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                        I'll hold off on jumping to convulsions, because the Muppets cookie challenge in All Stars was better than we feared, but it's one thing to be gimmicky for a QF -- this looks like the EC. :-/

                                                                        But surely there's an air-conditioned venue big enough for cooking and eating and camera crews somewhere in the state of Texas! Cycling around town?

                                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                                          i'm gonna just assume that jumping to convulsions is a damn you autocorrect moment ;-P

                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                            I don't know. Maybe convulsions was the intended word. I could see this next show causing one to fall down in convulsions...

                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        I hope part of the Pee Wee Herman scavenger hunt does not include the contestants going to any movie theaters.

                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                            I'm a huge Pee Wee fan but, seriously, in character on Top Chef? Really? I was annoyed just by the preview.

                                                                        1. Extended judges' table: Doesn't sound like it was even close between Ed and Chris going home.