Top Chef: Texas Recap
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
February 8, 2012
Paul and Grayson are neck and neck on the bikes, and although Paul gets to the restaurant first, he goes to the wrong door. Grayson manages to get in the correct door first, so Paul is forced to move on. He's a little sour about it, but we say it's a competition and everything is fair here.
He doesn't have much trouble finding a kitchen, anyway, but Sarah is struggling. In our opinion, Paul's new location is much better than the one where Grayson landed, so his bitching was kind of all for naught. Lindsay checks into her kitchen, but decides to leave and find a few more ingredients.
Edward hits a bed and breakfast, and tries to barter with the owners, asking for grits, which he cooks with chicken. It's a pretty weird situation, because it feels like he's just showed up in the kitchen of someone's home. In a weird twist of events, Lindsay shows up at Rosario's the restaurant where Grayson is cooking, to ask for ingredients. In the meantime, Sarah has shown up at Lindsay's previously "claimed" restaurant, and Lindsay is forced to ride her bike elsewhere. She unhappily says, "I don't want to go home for cooking for Pee-Wee Herman." She's definitely on a time crunch, though.
She eventually finds a small kitchen where she can get her work done, but is worried about her beef cheeks, which are a little bit frozen. Over at Sarah's restaurant, they're fascinated by what she's doing, and it's looking pretty good. Edward gets a very weird request from his new friends at the bed and breakfast, as they ask him to cook a breakfast for one of their guests. When he can work on his own meal, he intentionally undercooks his chicken because of the length of time he has to ride from the B&B to the Alamo.
Paul is making roasted chicken salad, which means that Lindsay is the only person not cooking chicken today. She's feeling challenged in the restaurant atmosphere where she's working, especially because she only has two pots. Even so, she notes that in situations where she has very few options, she tends to excel.
It's worth noting that even though this was a strange (and kind of sucky) elimination competition, all of the chefs seemed to have a pretty good handle on what they are doing. No one panics, and preparations seem to go as well as possible.
Once they get in front of the judges, everyone is smiling. This group gets along well with each other, and Pee-Wee's uplifting presence is really helping the situation. Sarah presents a summer vegetable egg salad with chicken skin vinaigrette (the chicken skin looks super yummy, by the way).
Grayson's dish is an egg, spinach and gorgonzola stuffed chicken with butternut roasted squash. Lindsay has a stuffed zucchini with braised beef cheeks, rice and goat cheese. Ed's done a version of chicken and grits with raw corn, kale salad and red-eye gravy. Finally, Paul has a roasted chicken with red curry gastrique and summer salad with basil blossom oil. They all look pretty terrific, and Pee-Wee is just bursting with anticipation. (We learn later that Pee-Wee does not stay in character when he's not on camera. Thank goodness.)