'Top Chef' Recap: 'Dream of heated libation.'
'Top Chef' Recap: 'Dream of heated libation.'
This week, the heat is on. Literally. For the quickfire challenge, the cheftestants have to create a dish that highlights a chili pepper. They have twenty varieties to choose from. The twist? The hotter the pepper they choose, the more money the magical elves will throw their way if they win (plus the usual immunity, of course).

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Beverly, shaping up to be one of the more irritating contestants this season, immediately digs in, biting into the peppers to see which one corresponds to her the most, finally choosing a very mild variety "because I'm not doing it for the money," as she says.

Paul on the other hand goes neck-deep and chooses the hottest "ghost" pepper. Remember, last week he was in the bottom of the quickfire challenge. That's a big gamble he's taking.

It's Not Where You're From ...

But first, we have to get the obligatory storyline about Chewy, the contestant with Mexican roots whose father used to grow habanero peppers in his backyard and should be a natural front-runner. But he uses canned tomatoes in his dish and is ultimately sent to the bottom three because of it.

Beverly, who didn't even cook her peppers, joined him there. Who did win? Paul! "No pain no gain" was his motto in using the hottest pepper. It paid off for him.

... So Take Off All Your Clothes

For the elimination challenge, the cheftestants had to do a chili cookoff. They were divided into three teams, which didn't enchant Nyesha, who ended up with Beverly and Richie, who are so far among the weakest chefs. "I don't want to carry my team on my back," she said. The good news is, there is no clock, they simply have to deliver their chili the next day at 7pm.

The catch? They have to cook for two hundred cowboys and rodeo regulars who will choose the winning team. As you can imagine, cooking at the house leads to some raucousness in the kitchen, some obligatory chefs-in-bikinis-fooling-around-in-the-pool footage and some serious male bonding. And we found out how to open a bottle of wine without a bottle opener. Neat.

... It's Where You're At

At the rodeo it was the moment of truth. Everyone put on their best face and assured everyone that there are no beans in their chili, because apparently that would be a supreme crime in Texas. The verdict from the judges? The black team's chocolate addition is too sweet, the red team has good flavors but the shredded brisket was no good, and the white team hasn't got enough heat.

But as a sort of reward, the cheftestants get to see the rodeo. And Beverly starts to ... cry. Because she wishes her husband was there to see it. OK. But as Nyesha puts it, "There's no crying in cooking."

Ready for Redemption?

The winning team is the green team, which includes a Texan and a Mexican who both redeem themselves from being at the bottom earlier in the competition. The black team's sweetness couldn't win over the judges and they are the losing team. In an unexpected twist, the losers have to use the chili they cooked as the base to a new dish they have to concoct in 30 minutes.

Surprisingly, Beverly wins that challenge by using tuna and thus elevating the chili's flavor profile, while Richie's dish is one note and Nyesha's needs salt. In the end, Richie has to go home but has a chance to come back by redeeming himself in this season's webseries-redemption-island-switcheroo thing that someone still has to explain to me.

But anyway, what did you think of this week's episode? Was Richie the right one to go home? Are the challenges entertaining enough for you? 

Jan Cee
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of Bravo)



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