Top Chef: Texas Recap
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
March 7, 2012
The other participants chosen by Paul are Ty, Malibu Chris and Keith. Sarah’s selections are more interesting. She is targeting Heather, because she isn’t mean-spirited enough on her own. She wants her team to be Uber-Bitchy. Alas, this causes her to choose a dish due to its components rather than its flavor. Sarah knows that Heather serves it on her restaurant’s menu, so Sarah chooses a scallop curry dish. It is Tyler Stone’s, not Heather’s. When Sarah finally selects Grayson, she has three fourths of a solid team…and Tyler Stone. Amusingly to us (but not to him), Marco Canora does not have his dish selected. His friends and co-workers will never let him hear the end of this, we’re sure.
As preparations begin, we are briefly reminded of that adage, too many chefs spoil the broth. Paul has struggled in some team challenges, particularly when paired with Ed. A lot of this stems from the fact that Paul is respectful of his older peers, something that was confirmed when his mentor talked about him a few episodes ago. Barbara Lynch is a pedigreed chef used to barking orders. She provides enough suggestions to Paul that we wince as we remember Carla Hall listening to Casey Thompson and thereby throwing away a chance at victory. We are relieved when Paul states that he has similar concerns and will not be undermined in such a manner.
Meanwhile, Sarah enjoys the Tyler Stone Experience. And by enjoys, we mean despises. Stone is a young chef who was publicly humiliated during his Top Chef debut. He has much to prove and is far too self-centered to recognize that the Top Chef finale is not about him. There were 29 players this season. The dude who finished 29th is inserting himself in everything he can as we determine which of the two finalists is better. Sarah clearly wants to kill him…and she has sharp knives.
Paul is instructive as he defines his expectations for the sous chefs. There is a sharp contrast in the chemistry in his kitchen as opposed to Sarah’s. We suspect that the difference is that Paul has earned the respect of his peers while at the very least Grayson believes she is better than Sarah and Heather might as well. Grayson is right. Still, Grayson is a cool chick who can get along with anybody. She seems happy just to be cooking in this format once more.
The chefs finish the first day of prep work then meet Tom Colicchio and Emeril Lagasse in the evening. At this point, Emeril informs them that they will be pairing their meals with a wine. When asked how much experience they have with the process, Sarah says that she loves to drink and that’s about it. Paul doesn’t even have that going for him. This could be a factor that evens the odds a bit. Paul is playing with a handicap.
Paul also doesn’t catch a lot of breaks with his preparations. The crab that they had prepared the previous day has turned. It smells “a little funky” and the taste is not right. Keith notices immediately and asks for confirmation from Barbara Lynch. Once she agrees, Paul is notified and he determines that the crab has to be dumped. They go with shrimp instead. Paul is now playing with two handicaps. This is turning into the nine misfortunes softball episodes from The Simpsons.