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Top Chef Texas - Ep. #14 - 02/08/12 (Spoilers)

LindaWhit | Feb 8, 201207:30 PM

Well, we're getting down to the wire - there are just 4 cheftestants left.......HEAD FAKE! There *will* be five, once the surprise LCK winner returns to the TC Kitchen.

The shows starts off with the 4 chefs betting back at the house who will be coming back - Ed bets a pack of cigarettes, and Sarah bets a banana....Sarah said "A pack of cigarettes and a banana - sounds like a good night!"

They return to the TC kitchen in the morning, and Tom and Padma are there. And who joins them? It's BEVERLY!!! The looks on Sarah and Lindsay's faces were priceless! Tom tells them if Beverly continues to cook the way she did in LCK, they're in trouble.

For Quickfire, they lift the cloche and there are blindfolds. They'll be competing in a blindfolded pantry raid. Once they're done picking their pantry items, they can remove their blindfolds and start cooking. They *must* use all ingredients they pick and have 30 minutes to "shop" and cook.

The winner gets a CHOICE for the QF all new Prius V OR a guaranteed spot in the final rounds.

They start their search with Tom and Padma directing them if they're off course. Lindsay's going for seafood, and Sarah's going for soup ingredients. Edward notes that the meats are in cryovac bags, so they can't feel them or smell them.

Sarah and Lindsay holler out that they're ready to cook and they can remove their blindfolds.

Interesting choices they weren't aware they had chosen - Beverly got an avocado, Edward got pork casings (instead of pancetta), and Lindsay got mascarpone instead of creme fraiche.

Beverly's WAY behind in her meal preparation but gets everything on the plate.

BEVERLY - Striped Bass with Avocado, Lime and Jalapeno - the fish is undercooked

PAUL - Sauteed Prawn with Thai-Style Tomato Salad - Tom asks if he feels the prawn is undercooked, but Paul says it's at the place he wants it to be.

EDWARD - "Udon" with Ribbons of Zucchini, Mushrooms and Scallions - the pork casings' water was used as the base for the soup and seemed to be enjoyed.

SARAH - Corn Soup with Onion, Red Chili, Roasted Mushrooms and Peaches - Padma asks if she's ever done the mushroom/peach combo, and Sarah says no, but she's trying to push the limit.

LINDSAY - Fish with Bulgar Wheat, Mascarpone, and Broccoli Rabe - Padma asks her if she had any problems in the pantry, and Lindsay replies that she walked into a wall a couple of times. Tom says cryptically "hopefully you didn't metaphorically walk into a wall." Whoa. Lindsay doesn't look happy with that statement!

Tom reviews all of the dishes, and Edward and Sarah have the top two dishes. The winner is? SARAH. So she gets to choose either the car or the guaranteed spot - and she takes the guaranteed spot. Both Paul and Ed would have taken the car, to make sure they WIN their way in to the finale vs. being given the spot.

NOTE: I'm curious what people think about Sarah taking the open spot in the finale vs. the car and cooking herself INTO the finale? And not really caring what the other 4 think?

Padma and Tom bring in each chef's mentors who have all had major impacts on their careers, so each chef introduces their mentors:

Sarah's mentor - Chef Tony Mantuano from Spiaggia
Lindsay's mentor - Michelle Bernstein from Michy's
Beverly's mentor - Chef Sarah Stegner from Prairie Grass Cafe
Paul's mentor - Chef Tyson Cole from Uchi
Edward's mentor - Frank Crispo of Crispo Restaurant

Everyone - chefs and mentors - are very emotional during the introductions. Their Elimination Challenge is to impress their mentors - they are to make a dish that will fulfill and exceed their mentors' expectations of them. They have 2.5 hours to prep in the TC kitchen, and they'll have 1 hour to cook the next day in the kitchen at the Hotel Valencia. The winner of the EC will get a Toyota Prius V.

Because Sarah won the QF and chose a spot in the finals, she doesn't have to compete in the challenge - she gets to relax with Chef Tony Mantuano. They take off to relax. Meanwhile, the other cheftestants gets to talk with their mentor about what they might will be cooking.

They then get into a Prius V and talk about the headroom, blah, blah, blah. Off to Whole Foods to do their shopping. Edward can't get fresh oysters, so he buys canned smoked oysters. Lindsay can't find calamari or octopus, so who knows what she ends up getting. They head back to prep.

Meanwhile, Sarah and Chef Mantuano head off to Citrus Restaurant for lunch and some tequila. Prep shows some chefs confident, some not so confident. Edward notes that if he loses a spot in the finale because Beverly came back and took it, he's going to be "really pissed!" (Hmm....a foretelling?)

Thirty minutes left for prep, and some are under the gun to finish. But they get everything on the racks to go into the walk-ins. Beverly returns to the TC house. She unpacks and they sit down to dinner. Beverly asks if they were surprised to see her return, and Sarah says (rather nasally and blandly, as if she doesn't mean it), "No." Lindsay asked what both Grayson and Beverly made, and Beverly briefly described what each made (Grayson made a seared scallop and Beverly a pan-seared snapper). Beverly said attention to detail was what won it for her. Lindsay said in the confessional that she had had problems with Beverly but she's back and she just has to beat her. Edward said "We were all excited because we thought we were the Final Four."

The next morning, Paul is shown on the phone with his girlfriend before they head out to the Hotel Valencia and finish their prep. Beverly notes that since she's doing a wok dish, she has to cook in small batches, so the most important time for her will be the last 10 minutes. Cook too early, and it will sit and wilt; too late and she risks not finishing her plating. Meanwhile Paul notes most of yesterday was cooking for him, but today was mostly assembly - with 14 steps to plate it. Lindsay is making a "unique interpretation of seafood stew."

The judges arrive at Citrus. They are the 4 mentors, Hugh, Gail, Tom and Padma.

BEVERLY is first up - Gulf Shrimp and BBQ Pork with Singapore Noodles - Tom was impressed by her cooking in a wok for so many people and Sarah thought the dish was very good.

LINDSAY - Seafood "Stew" with Mussels, Clams, local Gulf Shrimp over Toasted Couscous with a Broth of Emulsified Cream - Michelle Bernstein and Hugh both thought the various seafood was cooked perfectly, but Frank Crispo thought there was a bit of overpowering raw thyme flavor at the end.

PAUL - Chilled Sunchoke and Dashi Soup with Summer Vegetables - Michelle's first spoonful of the soup she thought was overly salty, but Hugh noted it was perfectly balanced with the unseasoned vegetables. Tom noted that Paul had been cooking a lot of Thai food, and this soup was something *not* seen from him all season. His mentor, Tyson Cole, said this is it is everything that had been preached to Paul over the years - balance of flavors. Back in the kitchen, Lindsay tries his soup and says "Wow, that is nice!"

EDWARD - Braised Pork Belly and Smoked Oyster Crema with Pickled Vegetables - Gail said that Ed packed the plate with a ton of flavor. Frank said he went back to his roots - he expressed what he likes to eat and prepare; Tom said he wasn't a fan of that particular oyster sauce. Both Gail and Michelle both think he needs to package his pickled vegetables and sell them.
NOTE - during the commercial, I realized "Wait! There's only 4 dishes - where the hell is Sarah's dish?" I started to back up the DVR before realizing Sarah did NOT have to cook! LOL
They're back in the Stew Room, and Sarah comes back in. Edward notes how daunting their challenges were during the season. Padma comes in and asks to see all of them, except Sarah. So Sarah gets to sit and wait in the Stew Room allllll byyyyyyy herrrrrrsellllffff.....don't wanna be....allllll byyyyy herrrrrsellllffff....anymore....

Tom said the judges were impressed, and their mentors were all pleased with the dishes. Tom told Paul that he had a lot of nerve to come in with a cold soup, but said he knew *when* to stop adding more flavors. For Beverly, Tom asked how she cooked for so many people, and Beverly said she had two woks with two batches. Tom noted how risky it was because you can't go back and reseason.

Padma announces that Paul and Beverly had their favorite dishes. Majorly CRUSHED looks from both Lindsay and Edward. Paul and Beverly will both be moving on to the finale, but PAUL wins and gets the Prius V! Woo hoo!!! He da man!

They leave the kitchen and go back into the Stew Room, where Sarah is. Beverly points to Paul as the winner. Sarah hugs him, but doesn't seem to say anything except a brief "congratulations" to Beverly. of course, there could have been those Elves doing something with the editing showing no hug from Sarah to Beverly.

So it's Lindsay and Edward in the bottom group. Gail noted that the aroma of Lindsay's dish was intoxicating, but asked why she added the cream. Lindsay thought it needed some fat to bring it together, but she realizes it would have been fine without as she had made a brown butter. Hugh noted that the herbs were overpowering - Tom said you'd be tasting a wonderful spoonful of the stew, and then you'd be chewing on the dried herbs.

For Edward, his pickled vegetables were wonderful, but the oyster sauce was just off. Hugh asked if they were canned, and Edward said yes, there were no fresh oysters available at all. Tom seemed very interested in the fact Edward had no access to fresh oysters (I'm wondering if he's going to say later at JT that he should have changed the conception of the dish and use something else that was fresh?) They leave and Lindsay asks if he had any bourbon to drink while waiting. Edward quietly notes that it's going to be him going home and not Lindsay before they enter the Stew Room.

Back at JT, the judges discuss the details of their two dishes. Each took missteps - Lindsay knew she made mistakes, but didn't try to fix the dish. Edward's oyster sauce was brought up - and sure enough, Tom noted that he ended up choosing the canned smoked oysters instead of changing the recipe. Hugh said "don't get fixated on the recipe; go to the market and see what's there and then cook from there."

So...who is it going to be going home? I think it'll be Edward leaving due to those oysters, although I'd LOVE to see him stay. We're back at JT, and Padma tells Edward to PPYKAG. Sadz. :-( Beverly noted that it's ironic that she idolized Edward, and she made it past him in the competition. They toast with champagne first to Edward, and to the four of them for making it.

Previews show they're in Vancouver, BC, cooking outside in the freezing cold! THIS ought to be interesting! Going from the heat of TX to the cold of Vancouver!

And that's it for tonight, folks. Time for bed - there IS no LCK tonight, although damned if I didn't go to Bravo's site looking for it! LOL

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