Top Chef: Texas Recap
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
February 14, 2012
For the Elimination Challenge, the mentors of each of the remaining Top Chefs are brought out, including Tony Mantuano (Heather), Michelle Bernstein (Lindsay), Tyson Cole (Paul), Sarah Stegner (Beverly) and Frank Crispo (Edward). Paul totally loses it, because it’s clear that Tyson has been absolutely instrumental in his development as both a person and a chef.
The challenge asks the competitors to create a dish that fulfills and exceeds their mentor’s expectations of them as a great chef. The winner of the challenge will win the Prius V that Sarah chose not to take. Since Sarah won’t be competing, she’ll just get to enjoy some dinner and a relaxing night out with Tony Mantuano.
They go out to shop, and Ed finds that Whole Foods does not have any fresh oysters, which are the main component of his dish. He smells and tastes some canned oysters, and decides they are fine. Beverly runs through the store, nearly running into people all the way, working on her “wok” dish. Michelle and Paul just want to make their mentors proud.
Sarah and Tony do some tequila shots. Thinking about the fact that Sarah has earned a spot that probably should have gone to someone else makes us want to drink, too.
Beverly is first to serve her dish to the mentors and judges. Cooked in the wok as mentioned, it is gulf shrimp and barbecue pork Singapore noodles. Sarah Stegner is clearly proud, and Tom notes how hard it is to cook for that many people with a wok. Sounds like so far, Bev is probably in the top four.
Next up is Lindsay, whose mentor Michelle Bernstein is exceptionally nervous on her behalf. Lindsay has created a seafood “stew” over toasted couscous and broth with emulsified cream. Michelle notes that the food is cooked really well, but isn’t sure why the cream is in the dish. One of the diners also notes that the thyme is a little heavy. Small mistakes can make the difference, so we wonder if Lindsay may wind up on the bottom.
When the judges ask Tyler about Paul, he comments that he’d teach Paul something and then two days later Paul would be able to do it better than him. At first, Tyler found this to be threatening, but then he realized how valuable Paul was. Paul has crafted a chilled sunchoke and dashi soup with summer vegetables that is absolutely gorgeous. Tom says that Paul has never created anything like this before, and the taste profile that has come together is clearly amazing. Paul seems to be safe, if not the winner.
Finally, we have Ed, who serves braised pork belly and smoked oyster crema with picked vegetables. Gail says that the plate is full of flavor, but Tom is not happy with the oyster sauce. The pickles are popular, as Michelle says she thinks he should jar and sell them. She would be his best customer. Based on what has transpired, Edward and Lindsay look to be the bottom couple, with Paul and Beverly being safe. We’ve been misled by editing before, though.