If you’ll remember, there was kind of a conflict brewing between Beverly and Heather up until two weeks ago, when Heather was eliminated.
So this week, we begin with Ed bad-mouthing Heather behind her back and Sara implying that he has “no balls” to do so. Is there a new friction between the otherwise tight group of chefs? We’ll see.
The quickfire challenge consisted of cooking like chef Nathan Mhyrvold in his apparently seminal five-book series “Modern Cuisine.” Which doesn’t necessarily mean molecular kitchen but definitely means liquid nitrogene, powders, foams and creams.
Also: Chris paints nude art in his apartment. And Beverly is socially awkward because growing up, all she had was her work and she couldn’t play with other kids. Oooookaaay.
Nathan Mhyrvold, the guest judge this week, had not so nice things to say about Paul’s dish that had interesting textures but no flavor, Beverly’s seafood that wasn’t “modern” enough, I suppose, and Grayson’s caviar that was too pedestrian. Beverly called it early: that dish was the only one in her repertoire that is remotely “modern.” But not enough.
Ty’s simple watermelon cube with powdered olive oil, on the other hand, was a hit, as was Sara’s raviolo filled with egg yolk, and Chris J’s fanboy dish incorporating a million different show-offy techniques that did the trick and impressed Mhyrvold.
Go Big or Go Home
Ty took it home and we quickly moved on to the elimination challenge. And if the quickfire was all about delicate technique and frail textures, elimination was about going “balls to the wall” and “slammer jammer,” to use just two quotes from the cheftestants. ‘Cause it was barbeque time.
Paired in three teams of three, the chefs had to prepare three different types of protein (chicken, ribs and brisket) and two sides for 200 diners. The teams formed themselves briskly (no pun intended): the two Chrises ended up on the same team with Beverly; Grayson, Paul and Lindsay formed the second team; Ed, Sara, and Ty were the third team.
Tradition or Modernism?
Immediately, different approaches to the challenge were apparent. Team Paul/Grayson/Lindsay decided to go the experimental route and incorporate Asian flavors, while the two other teams went traditional and dished up straight BBQ with coleslaw and beans. Which strategy would be successful?
Ty was a bit skeptical about the first team’s Asian flavoring, but on the other hand, Chris J’s beer can chicken never seemed like a very good idea either. The heat and the smoke from the grills also claimed one casualty in Sara, who had to call the paramedics and be rushed off to the hospital. Which really upset Ed who, in his own words, would have “pushed through it.”
As it turned out, Sara’s episode wasn’t anything serious and she even came back for a while to help her teammates plate, but Ed was inconsolable.
A Lot of Grievances
In the end, the Asian-Texas-fusion experiment was successful and Grayson, Paul and Lindsay split $35,000. Which proves that playing it safe is never a good idea on Top Chef.
For the rest of the lot, the judges had nothing nice to say. Undercooked brussels sprouts, unconvincing beans, fermenting slaw, chewy brisket, salty rub, roast chicken instead of smoked chicken … the list goes on and on. Nobody, not contestants, not judges, seemed happy with any of it.
And in the end, Chris C. went home because his dry rubs were too salty to be salvaged. Not entirely surprising, not entirely underserved, he didn’t leave a clear mark on the show and his elimination won’t put a dent in this season at all. But what about Ed and Sara’s clash of the titans, you ask? It’s on. Expect more in the coming weeks. Unless the magical elves somehow make it go away. And we know the magical elves can do anything on Top Chef …
(Image courtesy of Bravo)