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Top Chef Texas - Ep. #13 - 02/01/12 (Spoilers)

It's Pee Wee's Big Adventure! We'll see how much of an adventure this episode is, or if the bike's tires are completely flat, leaving us all stranded.

They're back at the TC house, Grayson is still feeling crappy for essentially being responsible for Chris Jones being gone. Edward hops out of bed and he's in his black jacket, a nice white shirt and shorts. ;-)

They arrive in the TC Kitchen - there are thousands of pancakes there! They think it's a kid or Mylie Cyrus or a child start...but no, here comes Pee Wee Herman on his bike!

So what do they have to do? They have 20 minutes to make creative pancakes - make the happy, fun, and delicious, per Pee Wee (now called PWH). The winner will get $5,000 ("That's a stack!", per Pee Wee!).

Grayson - Ricotta Buttermilk Pancake in the shape of Minnie Mouse with Peach Compote, Blackberry and Basil (The best pancake PWH has ever had)

Sarah - Confetti Pancakes with Blackberry Sauce, Cocoa Nibs & Vanilla Whipped Cream (Also the best pancake PWH has ever had)

Paul - Rolled Pancake with Berries, Black Pepper and Champagne Dipping Dots (Hmmm...it's the best pancake PWH has ever had)

Lindsay - Ricotta Pancake, Whipped Creme Fraiche, Marcona Almond and Anise Cookies (Yet again, the best pancake PWH has ever had)

Edward - Crispy Pancake Bits, Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Bacon and Bruléed Marshmallow (WHAT a surprise! It's the best pancake PWH has ever had!)

Padma asks PWH who made the best pancake he's ever had? And the winner is Edward!

Padma then tells the cheftestants that they're going back to The Alamo, where Pee Wee was told his prize bicycle was! Pee Wee said he's giving each cheftestant their very own new bicycle, already delivered to the TC house.

They have to make an unforgettable family lunch for PWH and the judges. They'll have a map to The Alamo, a bike, and $100. It's up to each of them to find their own food AND a restaurant to cook it in. BUT - only one chef can cook in a restaurant at a time. Edward said to the confessional camera "How do you create a shopping list if you don't know where you're going, and how do you figure out what you're going to cook if you don't know what type of kitchen you'll be cooking in?" Good questions.

They get 10 minutes to ask PWH what foods he likes. He likes spicy food, non-spicy food, American, chicken, shrimp.....Paul asks about allergies - and PWH said "Let's find out about that tomorrow! Hah-hah!!!" Oy. This is already getting tiring with PWH being in character.

They have 3 hours to ride around town to find the food and cook it for PWH. They hop on their red Schwinn bikes. They decided together that they're going to start at the Farmers Market. Paul relates that he rides his bike everywhere, but several years ago hit a manhole cover, and now when he drinks, one side of his face gets all red.

They leave the Market and Grayson seems to be following Paul, and he's not happy. Paul gets to the restaurant first, but goes to the wrong door. So Grayson gets in and asks the owner if she can prep there. Sarah gets lost, and has to back track. Paul finds another restaurant and he's given a place to prep - the owner notices the PWH bike, and Paul settles in.

Edward finds a B&B, and asks to barter some ingredients with the owner and chef. Lindsay's still riding around looking for ingredients - she hasn't even started cooking yet, so she heads back to her restaurant to cook. However, when she gets back to Mad Hatters, she finds that Sarah is already there. With only 2 hours to finish cooking and getting back to the Alamo, Lindsay realizes she has to find another place at which to prepare her meal.

Lindsay finds another restaurant to cook in, and realizes she has to get her beef cheeks defrosted, or she won't have a dish to serve. Sarah seems to bond with her kitchen staff, and Edward has a *very* small kitchen prep area, and the B&B owner asks Edward to cook up a couple of over-easy eggs for a breakfast the owner needs to serve....so he does it! Paul's kitchen staff and owner seems very accommodating with helping him out.

Each restaurant will bill each cheftestant for the ingredients that they used. And as soon as they get to the Alamo, they only have 15 minutes to plate and serve their dishes. Grayson has to *carry* her foil pan of chicken so as to avoid breaking the yolks inside the stuffed chicken dish she made.

They all get to the Alamo and scramble to plate. The judges arrives - Tom, Padma, Gail (where as SHE been!), and PWH. Gail asks PWH what they cook at the Playhouse - he replies "Cheese balls, parfaits, and my favorite is ice cream soup - I almost suggested!"

Last minute plating is getting crazy, but they all get it done and walk into the dining area with their family-style service.

Sarah - Summer Vegetable Egg Salad (soft-boiled egg) with Chicken Skin Vinaigrette

Grayson - Egg Yolk, Spinach & Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken with Butternut Roasted Squash with Bacon Vinaigrette

Lindsay - Stuffed Zucchini with Braised Beef Cheese, Rice & Goat Cheese with a Salad of Greens & Pickled Carrots and Celery

Edward - Chicken & Grits, Raw Corn, Kale Salad with Red-Eye Gravy

Paul - Roasted Chicken, Red Curry Gastrique, Summer Salad with Basil Blossom Oil

The judges dig into Sarah's egg salad, and while it was enjoyed, there's no salt or pepper in the dish. Lindsay's zucchini dish was enjoyed, but Padma thought the goat cheese was overpowering. PWH liked the gorgonzola cheese and beef.

Edward's grits and gravy was enjoyed, but PWH noted that chicken was odd. Tom said "I agree with Pee Wee; it's just on the edge of being undercooked." PWH said "I'll bet you never saw yourself saying 'I agree with Pee Wee today!" LOL

Next is Grayson's stuffed chicken - PWH said "I've got a prize in mine!" Everyone liked it....UNTIL they got to the fresh salad and Tom wishes she had all of the tomatoes off. Paul's dish was enjoyed, but Padma thought the heat wasn't strong enough - she though it was too sweet. But Tom said yes, the gastrique was sweet, but the vegetables were acidic enough to counter the sweetness. PWH also noted that Paul's platter was emptier than everyone else's.

Padma asks PWH if he was happy with his lunch. Yes he was - everyone made something he really liked. Tom suggest that he and PWH have lunch once a week. Then Padma asks PWH "Now when you think of the Alamo, what will you think of?" PWH said "CHICKEN! A LOT of chicken." Padma jokes back "I know you are but what am I?" And PWH says "I'm rubber, you're glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you....INFINITY!"

Then when Padma asks if he's ready to get back to JT, he said "I'm VERY excited to sit in judgment of these people! GUILTY!" Padma said "Grab your bike and we'll see you there." PWH said "Tom, you're in the basket!" LOL "Lovely," replies Tom. "I'll have a few more drinks!"

They're in the Stew Room when Padma comes in (PLEASE NOTE - her dress is VERY pretty today - FINALLY!) They all head into Judges Table, knowing one of them is going home. Tom said that everyone's dish looked amazing when they came out, and that it would be tiny little things to separate winning from losing.

Paul's dish was very well liked by PWH; Gail noted that unless you were eating everything together, all you got was sweet. Ed's dish was enjoyed, but the texture of the chicken was odd.

Grayson's dish was to be a little spicy and healthy - but Gail noted OK, she took off the skin, but then loaded it with gorgonzola cheese, egg yolks, and bacon. Good point, Gail! Tom didn't like the butternut squash and tomatoes together. PWH said it was "Big and and looked odd because it was so giant, and other than finding tinier chickens, I don't know what you do there." (This is the 2nd time she's gone BIG with her meal!)

Sarah's okra in her dish was perfectly done and well seasoned. Tom notes that the eggs were *perfectly* cooked.....but were also *perfectly* under-seasoned. Lindsay's dish of stuffed zucchini brought back memories of the first dish Tom ever cooked. PWH said "And who doesn't like a dish served in a little boat?" Gail thought there was too much cheese and dressing on the salad.

PWH announces the winner - a cheftestant who was "fun, original, creative, changed my entire feeling about the Alamo....Lindsay, you're the winner!"

Padma also notes that Paul is also safe, but Ed, Sarah and Grayson are all in jeopardy. They head into the Stew Room to wait for the decision. PWH said he thought they all failed in that all of their dishes needed ketchup. :-) Tom notes Sarah's lack of seasoning, and that's critical. But Edward's dish which had slightly undercooked (for Tom) and weird texture. Gail said poaching in beef fat was NOT the way to go. Edward notes in the Stew Room that he made the biggest technical error. And then there's Grayson's BIG FAT CHICKEN, and the butternut squash and tomatoes just didn't work.

I'm thinking it could be any one of them going home.

They're back in front of the judges, and Tom reviews all of their dishes. Padma asks GRAYSON to PPYKAG. Sadz. :-( But Padma comes BACK into the Stew Room after Edward toasts the final four and asks to see them all back in JT. Tom tells them about Last Chance Kitchen with the eliminated chefs getting a second chance. They get a chance to see a bit of what we've all seen these past few weeks.

Previews for next week show the cheftestants seeing who won the final LCK.
~~~~~~~~~~~

And for LCK? It's Grayson vs. Beverly. They have 30 minutes to create a dish worthy of a finale....and for whatever reason, LCK isn't working on my laptop. So I guess we'll ALL find out who returns next week. :-)

OK, it's back to working...Tom tells Grayson and Beverly that whoever wins in LCK will go back into the TC kitchen and continue competing. Grayson seems stunned, and wonders if Tom is effing with her or if this is for real. He laughs and says "Oh this is real - I wouldn't be waking up at 6am if I were effing with you!" LOL They can use anything in the kitchen, but only have 30 minutes.

Various comments from the eliminated chefs - Dakota says "Oh, Beverly's doing Asian again; of course she is!" OUt of the blue, Beverly asks Grayson why she got eliminated. Grayson's comment was "Are you effing kidding me?" Ty-Lor said "I would have told her to eff off if she asked me that!" and Chris C. said "She did!" LOL Grayson realizes that Beverly was trying to mind-screw her. Plating finally happens, and they take it down to the wire.

Tom comes in to try both dishes...gives his review of both dishes. Annnnnddd....doesn't reveal who wins. We'll ALL find out next week when either Grayson or Beverly walks back into the TC kitchen.

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  1. I think this is actually episode #13. Would it be possible to edit the thread title to avoid confusion?

    1 Reply
    1. re: acgold7

      Fixed. I did a copy/paste of last week's title and changed the date, but forgot the Ep #. Thanks. :-)

    2. So can we all just agree that this is the dumbest challenge in TC history? First, what exactly does the kitchen scavenger hunt tell us about the chef's abilities? Second, are we really supposed to believe that these restaurants weren't pre-selected? Third, transporting their food on bikes in 100+ temps? Hell, in any temps? Fourth, WTF? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

      20 Replies
      1. re: debbiel

        Agreed. A warped challenge and a creeper for a host. It sounds sad, but at this point I don't really care who wins.

        1. re: debbiel

          Yup. While I enjoyed PWH, I thought the challenge was a REALLY stupid one. As you said - stupid, stupid, stupid. And VERY obvious that they were told they had certain restaurants to go to where it was pre-arranged. There's really *no* other way this could have been done. I'll bet that map had the restaurants' addresses on them.

          1. re: debbiel

            Completely agree. I really hate this season but for some stupid reason I can't stop watching. I guess I keep hoping Bravo will pull their head out & actually get back to the food . A girl can hope...

            1. re: jcattles

              They threw us a bone with the Charlize episode goodness. Just enough to keep hope alive and keep us coming back.

              1. re: debbiel

                Not enough for me. After they followed the *one* good challenge of the season with the lame block party and then I saw the previews with PWH, I'm not even bothering to watch. I'll just be content to read Linda's recaps and watch the final LCK.

                I'm afraid for the finale, they'll have the chefs grabbing ingredients while speeding down Vancouver's Olympic bobsled run or cooking on skates in the Olympic Skating arena.

                1. re: debbiel

                  A bone?!? That was such a HUGE fluff/promo piece for Snow White and the Huntsman (a Universal movie, which owns NBC). The challenge itself was cool, but the producing/editing was terrible, the gratuitous SW&TH masturbation was laughable, and they did such a terrible, TERRIBLE job providing relevant details to support Bev's being eliminated (which, I guess, is part of my first complaint in re: producing/editing).

              2. re: debbiel

                No, we can't agree. I liked this much better than the season 8 Isaac Mizrachi/Rao's Italian-American meal episode, which I despised. I can't even say that I would rate it as the worst of the season. I'd probably guess episode 7 with the tequila and game challenges was the worst of the season because I don't remember much except Heather being annoying.

                1. re: FoodPopulist

                  Like you, I was thinking the only guest judge on Top Chef I can recall that I found more annoying than Pee Wee Herman is Isaac Mizrahi.

                  1. re: John E.

                    Wait - there is another more annoying. And whaddayaknow - it was this year too. The real housewives episode is right "up" there with the worst ever.

                2. re: debbiel

                  Yup, they jumped the shark here. Seriously, were we supposed to suspend disbelief and really think that all of these kitchens were so welcoming? My intelligence was insulted.

                  1. re: JAB

                    I was surprised that they didn't just disclose that the restaurants had been prepped. It was way too far-fetched that these kitchens would allow these strangers off the street to disrupt them. I didn't hate this episode as much as some, though. I thought they cooked good food, even with the whole gimmick.

                    1. re: JAB

                      Right. And all those cameras and sound equipment and crew just dropped by spontaneously.

                    2. re: debbiel

                      I hated this challenge. I also can't stand Pee Wee Herman so there you go. I don't get how this showed their skills, but it just adds to what I think is a totally lacklusted season. I don't see a lot of talent here this year or creativity (except during the Charleze Theron challenge for creativity). And can somebody tell me - did they have a list of restaurants that were pre-arranged for them to cook it. STUPID!

                      1. re: wincountrygirl

                        I found myself wondering how other, reasonably intelligent-seeming adults managed to straight-facedly interact with the weird character PWH.

                        1. re: wincountrygirl

                          <did they have a list of restaurants that were pre-arranged for them to cook it.>

                          They must have. Otherwise, in all of San Antonio how did two chefs turn up at the same restaurant?

                          I also thought all that bike riding was really stupid, and could have been dangerous.

                          1. re: ChefJune

                            Yeah and that thing about "only one chef at a time in a kitchen" seems built around the fact that this was more or less a game of musical chairs, but perhaps with just the right number of chairs instead of N-1.

                        2. re: debbiel

                          I agree that this was ridiculous. I imagine the "possible restaurants" were also marked on the map, and pre-warned, so the whole "asking to use the kitchen" was silly.

                          1. re: DGresh

                            Imagine though, if they'd gone to a kitchen where they had not set things up. The manager looking at the chef like he was an idiot, the owner letting them do it, but the line cooks screws things up for the chef by sabotaging his ingredients, messing with the stove and threatening the chef, hilarity ensues.

                            1. re: Phaedrus

                              haha, sounds like an episode of Chopped.

                        3. Rut Row. Someone's dish lacks seasoning...

                          13 Replies
                          1. re: bobbert

                            Definitely a shark jumping episode, probably worst ever in my opinion. The one was plus was the comic relief with the Pee Wee/Padma chemistry.

                            1. re: californiabeerandpizza

                              It's sad that this show could be done in such a way that winning and being called "Top Chef" could really mean something, but instead they have challenges like this that make it just another reality show joke.

                            2. re: bobbert

                              I thought that lack of seasoning *might* have done it for Sarah, but Tom was really harping on the fact that Grayson's butternut squash and tomatoes just didn't work...I think he said at JT she should have chosen autumn OR summer - not both.

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                So, am I the only one who has enjoyed butternut squash and tomatoes together? But yeah, I had a feeling her "over done, too much going on" was going home. <sigh>

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  In hindsight I can't believe I fell for it.
                                  For some unknown reason I didn't totally hate this episode and I never liked Pee Wee.
                                  Maybe I never felt that the chefs had to "really" find restaurants to cook in - that was obviously set up as was everyone deciding to go to the farmer's market together. Clearly they could "buy" stuff from the restaurants so for me, much of the absurdity of the challenge didn't really exist. Even riding the bikes was easy. It must have been filmed on a Sunday very early as there was no traffic.
                                  So when you remove a lot of the bs, I didn't think it was too bad. I liked seeing them cooking in those "real" restaurant kitchens.
                                  Additional thoughts: when Lindsay takes that stick out of her ass and responds a little spontaneously and unguarded, I kinda like her.
                                  Notice how quiet Sarah was when she poached the kitchen from Lindsay? Law of the jungle.
                                  Aside from the lack of salt on the eggs, Sarah's dish looked really good.
                                  Ed's undercooked chicken? That could have easily been his downfall.
                                  I'm torn as to who I want to win LCK. I love Grayson but also would love to see Beverly come back to knock off Lindsay or Sarah.
                                  Padma dress looked really good. One of tonight's highlights.

                                  1. re: bobbert

                                    Most likely was on a Saturday morning, that's when the farmer's market at the Pearl is.

                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                    Ironically, tomatoes' and winter squash's harvesting seasons overlap. Winter squash is typically eaten later in the year mainly because it stores so well.

                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                      Yup, I know they do, but Tom's comment seems to imply they're MONTHS apart. I found that odd. But I did agree with him that roasted butternut squash and tomatoes just don't seem to go together.

                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                      I think it would be an interesting challenge to force chefs to meld together produce typically associated with opposite seasons and make them think outside the current trend of seasonal cooking. Actually, I'd like to see chefs do a set of four courses meant to represent the four seasons.

                                      Is there a thread for ideas we would like to see on Top Chef?

                                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                                        I *like* the four season dinner idea! They'd only be hampered by finding ingredients for some of the seasons since the filming always seems to be done in the summertime.

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          Season 6 in Washington D.C. was produced in early spring if I recall correctly. Remember how cold and windy it was on a couple of their outdoor shoots?

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            Good point. And they had issues sourcing some food items because it was too early in the season for some spring veggies. Thanks for the reminder.

                                        2. re: FoodPopulist

                                          I really like the four seasons idea too. For some reason in the middle of the night I was trying to devise the challenge. Something like having four boxes of produce for the four seasons. My challenge is for four chefs, but someone else can figure out how to expand it to more. Simultaneously, each chef picks out an item from one box, then they step to the right (or back around the end for the last chef) and pick the next item from the next box. There are only four different items in each box, so they have to choose from their current season before they know what they are going to have left in the last box. Could lead to some interesting scheming.

                                          I'm imagining ending up with rhubarb, cherry tomatoes, kale, and winter squash.

                                    3. No to Grayson going off as I can't figure out exactly what she did wrong in greater proportion to the other 2. It seems like bigger portion size isn't as egregious as under-seasoned food or undercooked chicken. Whatever, this episode confirms that top chef has vertically extended above the shark

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: gmk1322

                                        Tom said on Watch What Happens that th editing was especially misleading. When *he* watched it this am, he was "surprised" Grayson went home. But there was really more talk at JT. I haven't looked for extended judging videos yet...

                                        1. re: momjamin

                                          It was so obviously *not* Grayson that I suspected it was Grayson. I'm not surprised -- the dish was typical Grayson: clunky and not very exciting. I like her as a person, but I'm not all that impressed by her food. She could have pounded those chicken breasts flat, trimmed them, and made the same dish more sophisticated.

                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                            Exactly what I thought, Ruth, about Grayson pounding out the chicken breasts and trimming them up so they weren't so humongous.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              Remember, she had to carry them in her hand while riding a bike. The little extra room for the egg yolk to roll around may have been intentional. They didn't look that huge on the plate they showed. If the judges hadn't said anything about it I wouldn't have had any thoughts about the breasts being excessively large.

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                Remember when she was criticized for the size of her steaks in episode 8?

                                                Of course, I am thoroughly Midwestern in my ideas of appropriate portion-sizing of meat, so I have no problem.

                                              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                Yes, but Bev made Asian - again. She makes the same meal over and over again. I like her, but she is a one trick pony. Sarah also - always with the risotto or ravioli.

                                                1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                  I'm not sure why you are talking about "Bev" here. She left the normal show a couple episodes ago. In any case, if as you claim she makes "Asian - again" (in LCK, which Ruth L did not talk about), then I would point out that Grayson Schmitz and Lindsay Autry both made European - again. Oh, and Sarah Grueneberg made Italian (not even European) - again.

                                          2. Ok. I am probably the only one that loves Pee Wee and the Alamo.

                                            I went to law school with his sister but only found out they were related way later.

                                            They have done this challenge before. Forget which season...

                                            But they obviously had a map and prearranged places. I think in the previous season they took them by surprise... but maybe they didn't cook?

                                            5 Replies
                                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                                C.Ham, you mean they've done a scavenger hunt episode?

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  All that comes to mind is the S4 Block Party episode where they could only cook with food they got from neighborhood residences. That was early in the season, but Spike's sneakiness came out when he left a house that had clearly stocked up for the event, and he told the other team they had cleaned them out.

                                                2. re: C. Hamster

                                                  Nope...you're not the only one!!! Love Pee Wee too. He was the only thing I found watchable about the episode. Tom C. commented on "Watch What Happens Live", which followed the episode, how fun it was to work with Paul Reubens.

                                                  1. re: Phoebe

                                                    Maybe you had to "be there" to like him. I imagine I was far too old for his demographic when he was first popular (the 80s?) so I just don't get the appeal at all.