Happy Turkey Times, Poolers!
I’m blobbin’ at you straight from the ‘burbs with special guests! My niece, Bkae, and My Mama! When I told Mama I had to watch Top Chef Texas at least three times in order to blob about it, she said: “Is this something you do yourself? Are you getting paid for this? Is this necessary?!!?”
To soften the blow, I’m drowning her in a delicious organic red (Green Fin from Trader Joes for $4.99 –that makes it extra good!) And I’ve plied Bkae with my take on Double Broccoli Quinoa (I steamed broccoli with a couple of cloves of garlic, pureed it and mixed it with quinoa then sautéed broccoli florets with organic corn and peas and laid it on top and sprinkled diced avocado, sea salt and garlic chili oil over the whole thing.) Bkae had seconds! Makes me proud that a girl who saw SUPERSIZE ME and “understands” but still eats McDonald’s will try something new. btw, I used to call it Quin-O-Uh until I met with a nutritionist at Mass General four years ago.
Now on with the show!
At the TC house, Lindsay and Sarah Smile discuss what happened with Big Buddha at Judges’ table . Someone says they turned against each other.
Lindsay: “I don’t feel that we turned against each other do you, Sarah?” Who I am now going to be inextricably linked to for all time? Sarah says she was being honest and Big Buddha didn’t go home because of the shrimp, it was because he used a flour tortilla for his enchilada instead of corn (mind you she pointed out she had Never used one.)
TyLor God Of Cooking: “Either have something really good to put on the plate or eff shut up.” Please, Ty, you know you have a Fritters For Life t-shirt in your suitcase. Nyesha says she really saw people’s true colors come out and it was cutthroat and not so fun anymore. I guess when it’s more fun she does her hair.
They enter the TC Kitchen- My Mama: “Nice set up. Wow!” Mama loves kitchens and kitchen appliances. She had one of those bag sealers that let’s you seal and save foods before anyone else I knew had one. It was like we were a butcher shop! (No, I did not seal my Diana Ross doll. I would have if I could have reached the machine though.)
Pads, in a chocolate sleeveless zippered jumpsuit (yep, you read that right) stands next to, HEY Top Chef Masters and owners of the Border Grille: Susan Feniger and Sweet Mary Sue (last season’s winner!)
They’re by a table laden with chili peppers and charts of hotness according to the Scoville Scale. Each chart also has a dollar value.
If my nephew where there he’d eat a ghost chili for nothing. Zero. You wouldn’t have to pay him a dime. Dood’s heat tolerance is bananas! I can’t speak for his poops. He doesn’t speak for them either but they gotta be painful, right? Flame throwing butthole ACTIVATE!
Create a dish highlighting one chili pepper. The hotter the pepper, the more money you get if you win.
Accessory Chef Richie is not a spice fan so he chooses a pepper that isn’t that hot. (Huh?) Accessory Chef Chris uses a $7,500 Manzano pepper since his stomach also can’t deal with spice. What kind of chefs are these chefs?
Street Food is the only one that chooses the Ghost Chili. One million Scoville units, Jesus. Just then the pepper-spraying cop enters and sprays all the chefs in the eyeballs.
I keed. I am keeder.
Cashew Chuy says he has enough cans of Habanero in his apartment to last through the next nuclear fallout (so next year then?) Oh, also his Dad has grown 40 or 50 pounds of Habanero in the backyard. (Not sure if this takes places during the weekly goat killings.) AND he mentions they probably owe Uncle Sam a little money for that. Yeah. Not what you want to do on a nationally televised show, Cashewy.
Nyesha makes a Habanero vinaigrette, that sounds good- OH Colanto discovered Nyesha is in ANOTHER REALITY SHOW THAT’S AIRING RIGHT NOW! Yup: Chef Hunter on The Food Network.
I don’t know how this works or when cloning capabilities became available. Ideally I’d like to say Nyesha is gangsta for doing two reality shows but if she loses on both she’s kinda not. Nawmean?
Feniger says some were “wimpier in their chili use” than others (ouch!)
Least Faves, Baby Face Bev’s “Anaheim chili” crudités (she was the only one that didn’t cook the chili); Accessory Chef Richie’s Frenso slaw with pineapple curd and seared bay scallops (Accessory Chef Chris dropped his head when Richie’s name was called- are these guys hooked up via osmosis?); and Cashew Chuy’s (ooo burn, LITRALLY! cause he uses chili all the time) sautéed scallop with achiote. Turns out Chatty Cashew used CANNED tomato and that overpowered the chili. (Canned?! Don’t let him pick out shrimp en el futuro.)
Faves – Heather’s date and pistachio thai chili cous cous with pickled cucumbers and red onions. Mama: “That’s too much!”; Grayson’s habanero popper with cream lime sauce. Feniger said “It was exciting to see her take the whole habanero” and use it; and Street Food’s chilled coconut soup with Kaffir lime and ghost pepper relish.
My Mama: “That looks like a whole bunch of scrap.”
Mama: “Scrap. I know what I said.” Time for Mama to have more wines…
And the winner is…
Street Food! He gets immunity and 20k! Bkae asks why I call him Street Food. “Is it because he looks like a homeless person?”
The chefs pull pots from under their stations and open them revealing Gwyneth Paltrow’s head! Naw, it’s aprons! Each team of three (teams again?!) must make chili for a Chili Cook Off.
Black Team: Nyesha , Accessory Chef Richie & Baby Face Bev.
(Nyesha is immediately not pleased since Richie has been in the bottom and Bev is “very meek.” She doesn’t want to carry the team on her back and sweat out the last of two remaining hair curls.) Red Team: SadFace, Dakota & Accessory Chef Chris. Green Team: Chris C., Sarah Smile and Cashew Chuy. Chris C. is worried being on a team with Sarah Smile given what happened with Big Buddha. Really? Cause you were the one who said:
White Team: Grayson, TyLor God Of Cooking & Lindsay. Blue Team: Heather, Street Food & Coke Mouth.
Since chili takes a long time to cook there is no clock!
And they’ll be cooking at the TC house.
They have to be done by 7pm to present their chili to 200 cowboys at the Tejas Rodeo. The cowboys choose a winner and who to lynch.
Sarah is confident since her dad was a bull rider and she grew up going to rodeos-
-and telling other kids her age to use corn tortillas for their PB&J sammiches.
30 Minutes To Shop!
Madness at the meat counter! Dakota looks as if she’s going to cry when she is the first person to ask for the brisket but the last person to actually be served. By that time it’s gone and she has to go with short ribs instead.
At check out Sarah Smile has cornbread “if we have time to make it” on the conveyor belt before the meat. Chris C. says she’s already acting “bitchy.”
TC House - 3:49pm
Black Team has a plan already: Accessory Chef Richie grabs all the equipment, Beverly grabs all the produce and Nyesha takes all the beer. Nice!
Accessory Chef Chris is setting up a grilling area in the outdoor fireplace. Coke Mouth uses the other side of it. Grayson says she’ll give ACC a sheet pan if she’ll give him a spot in the fireplace. Grayson with the bartering skills!
Meanwhile Cashew Chuy does a weird little dance. My niece, Bkae: “I don’t even wanna know.” Everyone braises meat, chops vegetables and roasts like there’s no tomorrow.
Essentially this is what Thanksgiving looks like here except we don’t wear aprons and everyone starts drinking at 11:30 in the morning.
Colicchio shows up and drops bombs. To Black Team: You have any experience with chili? To White Team: No secret ingredient? To Blue Team: What are you doing? Heather: “We’re gonna pickle some peaches.” Colicchio: “What’s that all about?” Heather is rattled.
They cook long into the night. Cashewy prattles on about how he was 110 pounds when he graduated from high school and had “muscles in places where I didn’t even have places yet.”
And how one year he gave up skinning squirrels for Lent.
SadFace works diligently. Sadly. Bkae notes she’s not even frowning but when you look at her face it’s all just sagging down to her chin so she looks sad. My Mama: “Somebody’s face is hanging low?!”
Nyesha tries the chili and they all like it. They say it’s finished.
Accessory Alert! Headlamp!
Sarah Smile hits the hay. Coke Mouth beds down where he usually does after speedballing and making Rice Krispies treats with bacon and Cafe Buselo for the bus boys at the Marriot who promised him another eighth.
Hold Up- Mama Mystery Solved!
Turns out Mama has been feeding her Beta fish the wrong food! That’s why the bowl was cloudy- those poor Betas had fish diarrhea. Speaking of poops, One Hour to Prep for service!
Coke Mouth is on reheat duty and has to stir and make sure it doesn’t burn. TyLor loves people and h-
Bkae: “Wait! His last name is Boring? Chef Boring?!”
The Cowboys are here!
1) Real chili does not have beans.
2) If you’re from Texas, you prollllly have an advantage. (Sarah Smile.)
3) “Real chili ain’t got no beans!”
Okay, we get it, Jesus.
Pads, Colicchio, Gail (who had a bagel accident and needs help opening her beer) and Master Chefs Feniger and Sweet Mary Sue arrive and drink brewskis straight from the bottle.
First up - Green Team - Chris C., Sarah Smile and Cashew Chuy
Traditional chili con carne (no beans) with beef chuck roasted corn, raw white onion, avocado and salt. Sweet Mary Sue loves the depth of flavor. Colicchio says it got better and better. Gail says it needed something to soak it up.
Red Team – Dakota, SadFace, Accessory Chef Chris
Braised brisket and short rib chili with flavors built around the stock from the short ribs. Gail says it had smokiness and just the right amount of meat. Sweet Mary Sue says it was stringy.
Blue Team – Heather, Coke Mouth & Street Food
Smoked brisket chili with summer pickles, peaches and pork rinds on top. Gail loves the pickled peaches. Colicchio says they did a great job with the vegetables and hot sauce but he chili ehhhh…
Black Team – Nyesha, Accessory Chef Richie & Baby Face Bev
Chili mole with chocolate and cinnamon and cornbread. Colicchio: unfortunately for them it’s not a cornbread challenge. They say it didn’t taste like a chili and they wanted more meat. But Pads adds “They wanted to give the mole” vibe and that’s what it is.
White Team – TyLor God Of Cooking
Three bean chili with smoked brisket and poblano cornbread. Yawn! Feniger likes the pickled veggies in it but says, didn’t have any flavor or heat, she likes the Red Team’s better.
While the votes are tallied the cowboys watch the rodeo. The chefs get a round of applause as they take their seats. Everyone laughs—oh Baby Face Bev is bawling again…
Bev: “I was just thinking about how much I wish my husband were here to experience this.”
I was going to write this in the last blob but Bev actually cried during last week's ep when she saw Blanca dancing with her father at her Quinceañera because it reminded her of her own father and how he doesn’t think women can accomplish much. Ouch. Motivation? Certainly. Dramz? Biiiiigtime. Let's look out for more of this.
Tears 2 – Baby Face Bev –0
Then Pads trots out on horse. For reals.
Chris C. pitches a tent. My niece, Bkae: “Is she a chef? She’s just a face?”
Pads: "The winner of the 2011 Tejas Chili Cook off is…the Green Team!" (Sarah Smile, Chris C. and Cashew Chuy.) Sarah Smile says she's “proud to be a Texan.” Yawn.
Pads: “Unfortunately, Black Team you served the worst chili and someone from your team will be going home.”
OH DAYUM, you just drop it like that in front of all of Texas?! Even the cows are like “Faced!” But wait! Pads says they get one last chance to prove they belong-- they have to transform their losing chili into a winning dish right here and now. They have 30 minutes.
WoooHooo! Those Bravo producers have been huffing Tazo and goji berries- Top Chef Texas just turned into Chopped with Leftovers! Take that Food Network!
Time Starts Now-
These doods are so drained they barely run to the kitchen but once they get there the adrenaline pumps. Nyesha and Baby Face both strain the chili to use the sauce. Meanwhile the other chefs are sitting outside waiting for news. Accessory Chef Chris extolls the virtues of his Accessory Pal. Apparently Richie would give you his kidney. Unfortch he may not be able to cook it very well.
Judges’ Picnic Table!
Baby Face’s plate is so pretty it almost seems to criminal to have to eat it with plastic knives and forks. That’s a pineapple salsa on top.
Nyesha presents Frito-encrusted black tiger shrimp with roasted corn salsa and a reduction of the mole sauce. Accessory Chef Richie intros his Frito-encrusted (hmm) pork tenderloin, potato hash & ricotta cheese chili puree.
Feniger and Colicchio think ACR’s dish is one note and has no brightness. Pads thinks he did a lot in 30 minutes. (But he only had two accessories.) Gail says Nyesha did well but the entire dish needed more sauce. (Nyesha realized it at the last moment.) Colicchio is not impressed. Sweet Mary Sue says it’s almost as if Accessory Chef Richie and Nyesha were embarrassed by the sauce where as Baby Face Bev’s dish was a bit rich but balanced and she changed the flavor profile.
Meanwhile the three up for elimination rejoin the other chefs and Accessory Chef Chris gives Richie a back rub.
ACChris wants Richie to get to the end with him to show that they’re the best. (Seriously, Pals, it’s Top Chef. Singular. Not plural. It’s like when contestants fall in love on The Biggest Loser or get mad when a teammate has to go home. Someone has to win and someone will lose. Emphasis on ONE.)
Mama: “I think it’s gonna be Richie.”
During the bump Pads says the chefs were so visibility deflated…and then to ask them to cook again… Gail cuts in suddenly: “We’re assholes.” Pads: “Yeah.”
Pretty much. Nice of you to say it before we do.
Back at Judging, it’s album cover time!
On the other side, everyone is in various stages of prayer.
The Judges all agree Baby Face Bev’s is their favorite. She’s safe. They say Nyesha could have taken it further. Accessory Chef Richie had imagination but it didn’t come together.
And so Richie has to pack his knives and go. And we get the sad reverse version of Christian the Lion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr1pWzoLvT8
Richie: “It’s me. It’s me.”
Bkae: he’s crying?!
Richie says he’s sorry. Accessory Chef Chris says:
Bkae: “Looks like I walked in on a private moment."
Bkae: "When that happens you just back up and turn around.”
Indeed, Bkae. Indeed.
And so, we avert our eyes as everyone bids Accessory Chef Richie and his headband and wrist warmers and tattoos and his earrings and facial hair and mohawk goodbye.
It's time for the-
Last Chance Kitchen!
Accessory Chef Richie v. Big Buddha!
Colicchio says "The Top Chef crew just celebrated Thanksgiving" and there’s a table full of leftovers. They must use at least three ingredients to make a winning dish.
Big Buddha says Accessory Chef Richie can’t stop him. He will not be moved!
Accessory Chef Richie makes a cornbread puree and pours almost half the container of salt into the processor! He says he needs his Accessory Chef Chris to help him. (Co-dependent relationship much?)
Big Buddha chooses ham, turkey and sweet potatoes and presents a grilled turkey and sweet corn hash AND a salsa and blue cheese ham fritter. Uh oh, fritters…
Accessory Chef Richie makes mac and cheese, green bean casserole and cornbread puree with cranberry mousse (dropped in nitro.)
Colicchio: “Did you taste this? A little salty huh?” But then Colicchio says when you eat everything together it ISN'T as salty. He adds that Big Buddha smearing a little pumpkin pie on the plate wasn’t necessary. He announces his mandatory- "nice job" but the winner is...
BIG BUDDHA!!! Wahoooo!
Accessory Chef Richie: “The hardest thing is knowing that Chris and I won’t be in the kitchen again.”
How hard is it really?
Until next week, Poolers!