Top Chef: Texas Recap
By David Mumpower
January 11, 2012
Ding, dong, the witch is dead. And with Heather disposed of, we're left to rank the remaining contestants. We're getting down to what should theoretically be the cream of the crop. And yet, it somehow seems as though there's a massive divide between the highest ranking cheftestants and the lowest ones remaining.
1. Paul Qui - He's easily won more challenges than any other contestant. So far, he's got two Quickfires and two elimination challenges under his belt, and has accumulated a nice little amount of prize money in the process. He's never been in the lowest group in any elimination challenge, and always seems to be thoughtful as he goes through his process of creating original, excellent food. He's head and shoulders above all of the rest of the contestants, but the thing about Top Chef is that it can take just a single bad round to put you out of the game. The good news is Paul seems like the least likely contestant in this group to fall prey to that kind of slip up.
2. Edward Lee - Edward can be volatile and opinionated, but he does have some of the most consistently beautiful plating we've ever seen from a Top Chef contestant. He hasn't been nearly as dominating as Paul, but Edward has established himself as a respectable player in the game with some formidable talent.
3. Lindsay Autry - Generally, she's done just enough to get by in each round. What this means is that she hasn't placed in the bottom at any point, but she also hasn't done much of notice other than to win a Quickfire and an early elimination challenge as part of a team. We'd like to see her step it up, but honestly, that seems to be the theme of this season - no one is really taking any chances.
4. Sarah Grueneberg - Sarah has been pretty inconsistent in this game, even if she did win the last Elimination Challenge and has another win besides that one from earlier in the game. She doesn't work well with others, which will likely bite her in some key upcoming challenges. Still, she clearly has talent, and on any given day she can bring it. It's unfortunately just impossible to know which version of Sarah you're going to get.
5. Ty-Lör Boring - Ty has stepped up his game lately, but he's gonna have to keep it up if he wants to rise through the rankings. He seems like a really great guy (yes, that's a big change of opinion from initial reactions) and he legitimately cares about the other people who are competing against him. Hopefully, we can see him continue to elevate his performance.
6. Grayson Schmitz - Grayson is on the opposite trajectory from Ty. She's been in the bottom group a couple of times in a row and is starting to show some weakness. Her dish last episode showed a stunning lack of creativity and an unwillingness to adapt to a problem she probably knew was going to sink her with the judges (a giant, oversized slab of beef). Grayson is vulnerable right now.
7. Beverly Kim - Beverly brought it last week, which was glorious to see in the face of the Wicked Witch Who Was Eliminated In The Same Challenge. That gives Bev a couple of challenge wins, but at the same time we do know that she doesn't have a propensity for teamwork; also, her timidity can set her back.
8. Chris Crary - Malibu Chris seems like a very, very nice person but he also seems like he is very much in over his head in this competition. He hasn't really stood out from the others in terms of excellent dishes, and he's been in the bottom group a couple of times already. He'd be low man on the totem pole if it weren't for...
9. Chris Jones - He just can't control himself. Time and time again we've seen him do something that was way too far over the top, hurting his cause significantly. Basically, he's a ticking time bomb. He might not do something crazy and needless this week, but you know that every time a challenge is announced, his brain is going crazy. Moto Chris needs to reign it in or he's going to be going home sometime very soon. The thing is, he's a likable guy and he really seems to enjoy what he's doing, even when it's nuts. It's hard to root against that. Then again, with Heather gone, there are really no villains left in the game.