Before we get started lookit how Mr. Chow rolls! I’ve had the pleasure of eating there only once in the early 90s and I must say it was spectacular. Here’s a little short about the man himself.
Okay let’s get to the meat of the matter!
After Nyesha and Dakota have left, Heather B. yawns and says, “that was an emotional roller coaster.”
(Does she really not know how much of a B. she's being?)
Baby Face Bev says (To Camera) that some people mistake her humbleness for weakness and she believes in karma and that “it always comes back to you.” Peppers always come back to me! I concur Baby Face! Keep on keepin’ on and stay away from gassy produce!
Then Pads returns and says they have more business to tend to…they must make a three course midnight snack!
Naw, they gotta pack their bags cause they’re going to Austin. Everyone cheers as if they each won the Showcase Showdown on The Price Is Right. Doods, you have to DRIVE to Austin in your Product Placement cars with lipstick cameras all over the place now. That means no sleeping! Don't clap. Don't sleep either.
While driving we learn that Street Food feels pressure to represent since Austin is his town; Chris C. has been nicknamed “Malibu” by his fellow chefs because he cares about his hair and he’s hot; and Heather B. likes tall men with dark hair and "it’s difficult to have a long relationship" because she’s been "so career focused" and also really wants to consume human meat on a regular basis.
They arrive at the Driscoll Hotel where there’s fur on the beds and lots of built in wood shelves and shit. Street Food reveals he used to sell weed when he was in school and he woke up one day and realized he had to do something (not smoke more weed?) Thus he began his culinary career. You know he still lights up, all chefs have a vice; we learned that from Anthony Bourdain!
Pads stands with Colicchio (uh oh) in a nondescript outfit and gives the history of Twitter (Uh Oh) and says she and Colicchio get suggestions from their Twitter fans all the time (UH OH) so right now they’re going to let Top Chef fans “tweet” instructions to the chefs LIVE as they’re cooking! Hm, kinda dope. The winner gets 10k but NOT immunity.
According to the first Tweet, they have 45 minutes to cook a dish with bacon. Baby Face Bev uses a pressure cooker. Someone twats for them to add hash as a component. Grayson is into it, Coke Mouth is not (unless it’s the kind of hash you smoke.)
14 minutes left!
Baby Face Bev tries her braised bacon chunks- they’re tender enough but why did she have to eat such a giant piece?
New Twat! Each chef must choose an ingredient in the pantry and pass it off to another chef to use. Chris C. gives Lindsay sriracha; she’s pissed and gives him maple syrup.
Colicchio’s least faves – Grayson’s puff that wasn’t a puff and just had a strip of bacon across the top; Accessory Chef Chris’ scallops that were great but “really, really salty” and Coke Mouth who burnt his hash.
Standouts: Baby Face Bev’s crispy pork belly with corn, bell pepper, habanero and potato hash; Sarah Smile’s “nicely fried” burrata (cheese) stuffed squash blossom with bacon & zucchini hash and Street Food’s “really unusual” dish of bacon several different ways: bacon fat, crispy bacon, blackberries, chorizo & mushroom hash all served in clam shells (!!!) Colicchio: “It had blackberries and asparagus and clams and bacon and it shouldn’t work but it does.”
The winner—Street Food.
Sarah is not smiling. Street Food now has 30k in winnings!
Colicchio says there are drinks for them at the hotel bar and tells them to have a good time but not drink too much. (Classic reality show-speak for Something’s Going Down.) A guy plays piano and then introduces musical icon and cookbook author Patti LaBelle!
Patti LaBelle! My Girl!
I loooooove me some Patti LaBelle. I loved her from way back when she and Nona Hendrix (yep, Jimmy’s wife) sang back up for Laura Nyro. Do Not make me haul out my Laura Nyro and Patti LaBelle records. Seriously, I’ll never finish this entry and then I’ll start singing "Met Him On A Sunday" and get kicked outta my own apartment!
Patti belts out a verse of Lady Marmalade and Sarah Smiles and tears up. Everyone claps then Pads gets on stage and says Patti and a few of her friends will be joining them for dinner. Awwww man! I wish Luther Vandross was still alive!
He and Patti were best friends and I KNOW she would have invited him. Sheet, Luther Vandross?! I told you I met him once right? See me and Zina were hiding in the hotel where he was staying after the Concert on the Common because we wanted to be his back up singers (Prince first, then Luther) and we went to every floor and sure enough on one of them, there was Luther Vandross coming out of his hotel room. And I said: “LEW-THA Vandross, Oh My God, you are LEW-THA Vandross! Okay, we’re gonna sing for you, ready Zina? (Insert sounds of vocal warm up exercises here) We’re gonna sing- Oh My God, You Are LEWTHA VANDROSS!”
Luther told us he had something written in his contract that said he couldn’t hear unsolicited singers (it sounded legit at the time) and he thanked us and we got all pouty but then he smiled and we floated down to the lobby where we thankfully were not arrested.
OMG have you ever seen Patti and Luther sing “If Only For One Night” in her Thanksgiving Special that was on TV in ’85?!? Dood my face was one inch away from the TV the whoooole time! The best part about this vidjoe aside from the matching outfits and the shot from the back of Patti’s legs and how awesome and excited Patti and the audience are AND, of course, the singing and ad libbing because they turned the song into a duet and made it Even Better happens 59 seconds in just before Luther appears when some woman in the audience says: “God-Damn!”
I love it. I love them. I had this special on VHS and watched it so much the tape broke. One time-oh…right, Top Chef, sure…
The Elimination Challenge!
Make a dish to honor your cooking inspiration. Let’s go shopping in…30 Minutes? (That’s kinda tight, right?) Heather B. is going to make beef stroganoff; Accessory Chef Chris is making steak; Grayson wants to do ribeye but everything is lean and you want a lot of marbling in a ribeye. (So then why are you doing the ribeyes, Hun?)
The Next Morning
Baby Face Bev adjusts the note on her mirror that says she’s going to be Top Chef; Coke Mouth is going to cook for his grandma who made a lot of vegetarian meals (even though he doesn’t cook vegetarian meals.)
2 Hours to Prep and Cook (time is getting abbreviated for reals, right?)
OMG Lookit my new boyfriend, Street Food, and his grandma! So gd cute!
Baby Face Bev makes braised short ribs and uses the pressure cooker again since it worked earlier. Heather B.’s meat is spongy. She knows it’s not good and doesn’t want to use the pressure cooker. Um, okay.
Now here comes the Judges, Pads in a ruffled blue pastel wrap around dress; Colicchio; Patti’s piano player; a woman friend of hers named Nadine and Patti in a fab wig- HOLLAH
And- oh Emeril is on this show? Right. Emeril aka BAM is here. Hm, Pads is introducing him as “host of Hallmark Channel’s Emeril’s Table. Is that where you’ve been, BAM? Moonlighting on Hallmark?
Two plates are presented at a time, first up, Accessory Chef Chris & Heather B. ACC presents lemon-pepper steak with A1 sauce “in miniature because I thought that would be really neat” with baked fingerling potatoes, asparagus & carrots to honor the woman he calls “Mommy 2,” his Grandmother.
In miniature? Is Barbie a surprise judge here?
Also thinking things would be “really neat” is kinda what almost fried your ass last ep with that sweet potato chain link. BAM says he didn’t need A1 in the demi-glace. Colicchio smiles. Patti likes the vegetables and thinks the meat is tender. Her friend Nadine loves the petite presentation.
Heather B. presents beef stroganoff with herb spaetzle & roasted wild mushrooms. BAM says he doesn’t even know what cut of meat Heather B. used.
Patti: “It’s Bigfoot.”
Well Dayum! Everyone bursts into laughter. Hey, let’s get Patti as a Judge all the time!
Sarah Smile’s grandmother makes stuffed cabbage and her grandfather still makes sausage at the age of 84 (har.) She presents pork sausage stuffed cabbage & spinach with browned butter and balsamic. Colicchio thinks the flavors are clean. Patti thinks the butter is sweet but she likes it.
Street Food’s grandmother used to make chicken and pork adobo. He presents quail adobo & ginger rice & coconut vinegar tomatoes with green mango salsa (this will be served at our wedding.) Patti is not a quail girl but she didn’t even get to the rice because the quail knocked her out. She loved it. BAM asks Patti what she’s making if they come to her house: “fried chicken cabbage and macaroni with eight cheeses with lobster and shrimp.” Eight cheeses? BAM will die that night.
Baby Face Bev’s inspiration is her mother; she intros Korean braised short rib with edamame horseradish scallion purée & hon shimeji mushrooms (now that’s a fungus that’s tough to cultivate, ew.) Everyone says “well done.” The meat was tender. BAM: “She used a pressure cooker.” Okay you don’t have to give us the impression that you kinda know what’s going on even though you’ve been gone for like 8 episodes.
Chris C.’s inspiration was his Uncle who taught him everything about fish. But when he cooks his salmon the albumin (a protein in the fish) starts to ooze out. Basically a white goo.
Chris C.: “So I just try to scrape it off. Hopefully the judges won’t notice.”
Um, I noticed and I’m grossed out and I’m ten feet away from the TV. Chris C. presents sockeye salmon with confit potato & brown sugar carrot purée. BAM is not a fan of the dish, Colicchio says the salmon was cooked too quickly (which results in the the goo coming out. Yuck.) Patti loved the carrot puree, Colicchio thought it tasted like a bunch of other things. White goo maybe?
Lindsay was inspired by her Greek and Southern Grandmas (there’s a Discovery Channel show for you), she presents a trout spanakopita with crispy leeks & rainbow trout roe.
Uh, I’m sorry but that sounds disgusting. Patti says the roe is like caviar. The first time she ate caviar was with BAM (really?) and she didn’t like it but she was starving so she ate it with chips and dug it. Hilarious! Slap some ketchup on it and I’m with you, Homie. BAM likes Lindsay’s dish but says it has too much butter and that shuts it down.
Coke Mouth presents his “humble Korean dish” inspired by his Grandmother – modern bibimbap with lemon chili sauce pickled carrots and cukes sautéed zucchini and fried egg with rice on the bottom and nori on top. Nadine is allergic to egg but she loved Coke Mouth’s dish (she still ate it?) BAM loved it too but also he was one egg short of his daily dozen egg eating quota.
Grayson’s twelve-ounce steak towers over Ty-Lor’s dainty dish.
Grayson: “Yes, I realize this is a gigantic cut of meat.”
Patti: “Girl, yeah.”
Grayson: “But this is how I learned how to do it, so that’s what it is.”
Own it! It’s a rib eye with German potato salad & grilled veggies. Oh. That's all you have to say. I mean, I’m not even embellishing there because that’s exactly what she said. Get some descriptors up in that piece! Or maybe some different meat because everyone thinks it's stringy and someone else said it was gristly. That sounds like eating sand at the beach. Grayson needed the marbleizing. Or a different dish entirely. Like a bigger one to hold the giant steak.
Ty-Lor God Of Cooking’s inspiration was his Japanese nanny (and the professor, okay, for real I just watched the Nanny & The Professor on TV while the Japanese couple argued next door.) Apparently she used to make panko encrusted chicken tenders- his favorite. He presents buttermilk battered chicken tender fried in duck fat on top of a nest of pickled peaches. (That sounds crantastic.) Patti says “it’s beautiful.” Colicchio could tell the dish meant a lot to him.
In the Stew Room, God talks about how Patti's nail polish matched Pads' dress. (You think that was intentional? Hm.) Then Pads enters the Stew Room and asks to see Grayson, Heather and Chris C.
Oh no, reverse osmosis! But some don’t know:
Ty-Lor: “Have they ever called bottom first, I don’t think so, it’s always top first.”
At Judges' Table
Pads: “Tonight your tributes fell flat….One of you will be going home.” Glassy eyes all around.
Grayson says the flavors were there when Colicchio asks if they’re surprised to be in front of them. She then launches into “that’s how they eat in Wisconsin.”
BAM expected a lot more from her. The meat wasn’t trimmed. She says it was and she felt confident. Pads says it was very sinewy (ew) and spongy. Grayson apologizes. Colicchio then hits her with the ‘how come you didn’t make the dish modern?’ bomb. Ouch. She says she took it literally.
Colicchio tells Chris C. he seared his salmon too fast. Pads adds the white layer of albumin made it “slightly unappealing.” Chris C. says he noticed it and tried to wipe it off (no comment.) BAM says his herbs weren’t cut small enough and the dill overpowered what he was trying to do.
BAM: “We’re talking, literally pieces like this.”
(That's a photograph of what she said.)
BAM: “When I got that shocking dill it just changed the whole palette of things.” Also- BAM doesn’t want to be passing dill that size.
Patti: “I loved the potatoes, I just didn’t care for the salmon…that plate didn’t flip me.” Bottom Line you wanna flip Patti LaBelle. Flip her for real. [Name that movie! Or who is credited with the original phrase! Awww, don’t Google it. Use your noggin! (okay I just used Google to check the spelling of noggin. I keed! I am keeder!)]
Colicchio: “Heather, you started with beef stroganoff and it just kinda went downhill from there.”
Pads: “Those dumplings, they felt dry and chewy and overcooked.”
Heather B.: “Got it.”
Oh don’t try to speed this up, B. Don’t EVEN try it.
Patti: “I thought I had Bigfoot on the plate. I don’t know what that was. Both meats were gristly. I couldn’t cut it.”
Colicchio says if it was braised it wasn’t cooked enough if it wasn’t braised it was cooked too much. Heather B. says she second-guessed herself. She should have used a pressure cooker but she didn’t because she used it before with duck and the meat got stringy.
Colicchio: “Beverly used the pressure cooker and…
“…she’s not here.”
They send the losers back and Heather B. says "it's good news for you guys, not so good for us." Are we supposed to be sad for you? The Judges' ask to see Baby Face Bev, Sarah Smile and Coke Mouth. Hmm, not Ty-Lor or Street Food? Interesting.
They compliment their food and their ideas. Patti says you put your heart and soul on the plate- and they ate it.
The winner is…
Sarah Smile who cries as she smiles
“Oh I needed this!” and hugs Bev (huh?) and makes Patti cry!
Now back to the doodooville:
The Judges say Heather B. clearly knew she messed up (ARGH that means she’s gonna get a pass! No!); Chris C.’s salmon was off, not great. Grayson, in Patti’s opinion, “didn’t freestyle.” BAM: “The dish that she put out for us this evening, no way can win Top Chef. No way.”
And that’s that. They call them back and Colicchio tells Chris C. it didn’t work, the herbs were too big. He says that Grayson needs to push it more and he tells Heather B. that sometimes when you have an original plan you have to rework the whole thing. Then Pads asks Grays- No, HEATHER?!
Heather’s going home!
Heather B.: “Byyyyyyye, don’t be upseeeeeet it was a crucial mistake.”
No one is really upset. Bev says Heather B. "reaped her own karma.”
Heather B. says the experience has already changed her as a chef and it’s been the most fulfilling and rewarding and then she eats a Cameraman.
But WAIT- oh crap. She might come back in the-
Last Chance Kitchen!
Nyesha relishes seeing Heather B. walks through the door.
Nyesha recalls how condescending she was. Meanwhile Heather keeps laughing and smiling.
Nyesha: “I’m looking around like what’s so funny?”
“I want to wipe that smile off her face.”
Yeeeah! Check out Nyesha all Mike Tyson-like, coming to the ring without a robe or opening song. She’s ret to fight!
Colicchio says the challenge is all about techniques and methods. They have to fry, inject and make foam.
30 Minutes to make dishes that they are not only judged on but on the methods as well.
Time Starts Now!
Heather B. has never made foam. As they run about The Eliminated (Andrew from Austin, Big Buddha, Accessory Chef Richie, Cashew Chuy and Dakota) enter and take a seat and watch and ask questions and make comments which rattles Heather B. to no end. Nyesha preps a dessert- brown butter foam with caramel sauce. Big Buddha gives her the thumbs up.
While putting shrimp juice into an injector Heather B. mumbles to Nyesha that she “got crap on her thing.” WTF?
Heather B.: “I got shit on your board.” Nyesha goes to check, Heather B. goes over too- apparently she sprayed a little shrimp sauce on her cutting board. Nyesha dispenses with it immediately.
Nyesha: “She’s trying to get in my head and I’m pissed off by it.”
10 Minutes Left!
There’s a battle for the fryer.
Big Buddha: “We got five minutes left!”
Nyesha presents a brown butter foam & beignet injected with caramel sauce with lemon zest, cinnamon & vanilla extract. Colicchio: “Cool, thanks.”
Heather B. presents a head-on (apply directly to the forehead) gulf shrimp injected with smoked paprika and the cooking liquid from the shrimp shells & porcini mushroom foam & ragout of corn and chanterelles.
Heather B.: “If you suck the head of the shrimp you’re going to get a lot of that injection liquid.”
The Eliminated chuckle. Me too!
Colicchio says Nyesha’s dessert was very nice, the foam was a little heavy. He tells Heather B. that he absolutely loves the combo of corn and chanterelles and thanks her for giving him that. And: “I got to suck something out of the head on TV.”
Oh man…I'm in cramps!
But…the big problem was…the shrimp…was overcooked…
Nyesha wins again!!!
Nyesha: “After how harsh she was on Beverly I had to finally shut her up.”
She says (To Camera) she’s stoked and smiles wide as she gives Heather B. a high five that you can just tell she wishes it were a knife.
High five knife to the hand! Knife five!
Then Nyesha skips off and hugs Dakota. YAY! But, Oh No! That means this time it’s official…
Keith B. and Bertsch, sadly I must ask you to pack your knives and go.
Next week, wait, next Wednesday there’s no show!
We’re back in the New Year on January 4th with the chefs cooking outside and Sarah Smile not smiling behind the oxygen mask she’s wearing. Yurp. Also I'm vowing to do a liver cleanse on the 2nd so I'll be completely looped!
Until then, Happy Merry Xmas Times To You And Yours!
TOP CHEF TEXAS!
LOGUE Grayson and Big Buddha
ELLIE Street Food and Sarah
KAT B Sarah
MAUREEN Lindsay and Nyesha
MERIDEN Grayson and Street Food
LB2 Chris C. and Coke Mouth
COLUCCI Accessory Chef Chris
LB Coke Mouth and Ty-Lor God Of Cooking
KRISTEN K Lindsay and Nyesha
ED K Accessory Chef Chris and Street Food
BROWNIE Nyesha and Street Food
ME Grayson and Lindsay
Q Coke Mouth
GBG Sarah and Street Food
JET Street Food and Baby Face Bev
DAISY Nyesha and Street Food
CC Ty-Lor God Of Cooking
NIKKI M Sarah and Street Food
LUCY Street Food
COLANTO Chris C. and Nyesha