Top Chef: Texas Recap

By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis

February 14, 2012

Yeah, I got screwed.

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Previously on Top Chef, Grayson was eliminated for disappointing Pee-wee Herman, which is only marginally better than making Santa Claus feel sad. Of course, the word “eliminated” is in air quotes, since it’s entirely possible that within the first five minutes of the show, Grayson comes breezing back in, fresh off a win from Last Chance Kitchen. It’s either her or Beverly, and now that the other cheftestants have learned about the secret competition’s existence, they have the night to stew on it.

The highlight of their conversation is when Ed bets a pack of cigarettes on Beverly, while Sarah raises the stakes with a banana and a pack of cigarettes on the people’s champion, Grayson. Sarah says something funny for the first time this season: “A pack of cigarettes and a banana. Sounds like a good night.”

When the chefs arrive for their Quickfire, they finally get to discover the identity of the returning competitor. In fact, it is Beverly who makes her way back to the kitchen, and a quick shot of the other eliminated contestants learning of her victory speaks a thousand words. There is no enthusiasm there, nor are any of Edward, Paul, Sarah or Lindsay pleased to see her face. In fact, there is some bleeped cursing and some abundant frowny faces. For her part, Bev is walking on air. She’s thrilled to have the chance to get to the final four.

For today’s Quickfire, the chefs must wear a blindfold while picking out ingredients from the pantry. Every item they choose must be used in their dish. The winner of this challenge will win their choice of a brand new Prius V or a guaranteed spot in the final four. Top Chef doesn’t usually play this way – immunity is never guaranteed past a certain point – but clearly since they went with the addition of Last Chance Kitchen, they’re okay with mixing things up a bit. The worst-case scenario would really be for either Sarah or Beverly to win the Quickfire and choose the guaranteed spot, because it does put the chances at 75% that one of the “good” chefs will go home.


All of the contestants seem to do okay with their ingredients, but Ed accidentally grabbed pork casings, which he’s not totally sure what to do with. He finds that the water he is boiling them in is really tasty, though, so he’s using them as the base for his udon. Sarah has mushrooms and peaches, which sounds disgusting. Beverly is running out of time.

She’s thrilled to be back, though, and makes a striped bass that isn’t quite cooked enough. Paul does a sautéed prawn, and Ed has created the aforementioned udon, which seems to please Tom and Padma. Although Sarah’s dish sounded disgusting, it looks absolutely wonderful and full of color. Lindsay made some fish with bulgar wheat, and it looks pretty solid.

Tom is complimentary of all the dishes, with Paul and Beverly having slight mistakes but the others being quite positively reviewed. In the end, it comes down to Ed vs. Sarah, and the doomsday scenario is reached when Sarah wins. Of course, she decides that she will take the guaranteed spot in the final four (which is absolutely the correct choice for her).

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