'Top Chef' Recap: The Dirty Dozen
'Top Chef' Recap: The Dirty Dozen
This week, the magic elves at Bravo tried to get the very talented cheftestants to screw up over one ingredient. As Ed said, "The best chef doesn't necessarily win. You have one night off and you're gone!"

So the producers tried to push the contestants to have that one night off. First up: the obligatory endorsement of the week, courtesy of Don Julio Tequila. The chefs had to choose one type of tequila and create a complementary dish. Grayson and Ed, being from parts of the country where brown liquor is more widespread, were supposed to have the most difficulty, but as it turns out they weren't really in that much danger.

No Beach Bum

A lot of fish dishes were paired up with the tequila: salmon, scallops, clams, shrimp, cod, caviar, oysters ... In the end, fish was on the winning side. Chris C's raw oysters, Lindsay's salmon and Ty's "intimate dish created on a beach in Thailand" were successful, with Ty winning the $5,000 at stake. Ty is definitely no beach bum. Heather's shrimp, Chris J's overcooked chicken and Sarah's risotto were at the bottom.

Dynamic Duos

For the elimination challenge (and really, it should be called double elimination challenge because two people are eliminated), the remaining "dirty dozen" were paired up into six teams. They had to cook game meat, which is pretty much the most difficult thing to cook in a kitchen. And immediately the lines are drawn.

Heather and Beverly, who have to cook duck, don't go along at all. Remember last week? "Beverly doesn't think like a chef," Heather says. Harsh. Grayson's down-to-earth persona paired with Chris J.'s doofus detachment played more like a comedic duo in this context. The most boring pairing? Sarah and Paul. Too much mutual respect, not enough drama.

Every Inch of the Way

In the "smallest, hottest, tiniest kitchen ever" (Heather) the proverbial crap hits the proverbial fan. Doofus Chris screws up his sweet potatoes just as he's screwed up everything so far in the competition, Dakota can't get her venison to roast, and Heather and Beverly butt heads. All the time.

Heather accuses her partner of cooking "too Asian" (whatever that means) and fights her every inch of the way. Of course it results in a muddled dish and of course Heather blames it on Beverly.

No Star Treatment

But with all the fighting and backstabbing, Heather and Beverly don't get eliminated. They are nominated by their fellow chefs to appear in front of the judges together with Grayson, Doofus Chris, Nayesha and Dakota. It is the latter duo that has to go home because, well, the venison was just unacceptable. The plate looked beautiful but the main star of the dish just didn't get the star treatment.

Ed and Ty, on the other hand, split the $10,000 grand prize of the night and prove that they are definitely among the favorites. Their quail with pickled cherries and eggplant just convinced the judges more than anyone else. But Heather, other than being resentful and nasty, didn't convince anyone. At least I hope not.

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