Top Chef: Texas Recap
By David Mumpower
December 26, 2011
Previously on Top Chef, we bore witness to most shocking heel turn since Shawn Michaels super-kicked Marty Janetty through a plate glass window. Contestant Heather Terhune made the arbitrary determination that she was queen of the kitchen and that all of the other chefs should cede to her will. Perhaps the fact that her former sous chef, Ty, was present enhanced her perception that she was right to lord above all the other competitors.
The person who stood in the line of fire for Heather was Beverly, a woman I have mocked for her selfishness in the kitchen. Still, Beverly was at worst guilty of jaywalking yet the sentence handed down by Heather is the worst since Jean Valjean…and Valjean is a fictional character. Beverly’s obsessive focus on shrimp in a challenge two weeks ago drew Heather’s ire. At some point between the end of the challenge and Judges Table, Heather decided that she would do everything possible to get the much smaller woman eliminated from the competition. Heather berated Beverly in the waiting area, demonstrating obnoxious and wildly misplaced aggression.
In the most recent episode, the two wound up paired together in a fashion that would ordinarily feel like producer meddling. Given the way Heather has been treated on camera the most recent two episodes, however, she has clearly alienated the entire production staff to the point that they are actively seeking to give her enough rope to hang herself. Even so, the accidental pairing of a bully and her victim led to the most voyeuristic episode in the show’s history.
While Beverly desperately scrambled to do something, anything to dial down Heather’s fury, Heather grew angrier and thereby more loathsome as the episode continued. By the end, other contestants also up for elimination wound up defending Beverly to the judges, another novel situation for Top Chef. Had the Top Chef players been allowed to vote for the person kicked out of the competition the way that they were allowed to determine the bottom six players, Heather would have been a unanimous vote, even from Ty. This was not the case, however, and so two of the coolest chicks ever cast on Top Chef, Dakota and Nyesha, went home while Beverly and Heather remain in the competition.
The question heading into this week’s episode is whether there is a buffer placed between the two women. If not, Top Chef will remain wildly uncomfortable to watch until such a time as Heather is eliminated. Let’s be realistic about the fact that if Beverly is eliminated first, Heather will find someone else to castigate. This is who she is and the pressure of a potentially career making competition is bringing out the worst in her.
“Holy crap, that’s an emotional roller coaster.” – Heather
“I’m gonna be alone in my room over there now.” – Beverly
As expected, tonight’s episode begins with the fallout of last week’s meltdown. Beverly rightfully states that she feels Heather crossed the line at Judges Table. She mentions her belief that the universe has karma in it. If she is right, Heather is not only going to be removed from this competition soon, but is also due for a Final Destination-ish dismemberment. Please be right. Please be right.