(Just a reminder - no reveals or spoilers about Last Chance Kitchen that will be online after tonight's episode. Thanks!)
"There's no crying in cooking!" Are we going to need Tom Hanks as the coach of one of these teams?
Back at the house, Nyesha is seeing people be cutthroat when the losing team talks about how everyone acted at Judges Table.
Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are the Two Hot Tamales - and they are the guest judges for the Quickfire! The cheftestants are to use chili peppers on the table - mild to incendiary on the Scoville scale. Create a dish highlighting one chili pepper. Each chili pepper has a money value assigned to it that they can win - Susan reminds the cheftestants that they have to try 15 of these dishes - so they need to be careful in how spicy they go!
Paul chooses the ghost pepper - 1,000,000 Scoville units! And Beverly chooses the Anaheim - the lowest on the Scoville scale. I know I'm a wimp when it comes to heat in food - I couldn't even *try* some of these dishes - but damn, they look good! Padma, Mary Sue and Susan tried them all - some were wimpy, and some took it on and made a strong statement.
Bottom group - Beverly, Richie, and Chuy. Susan didn't like the canned tomato overpowering any use of chili in Chuy's dish.
Top group - Heather (thai chili for $10,000), Grayson (habanero chili for $12,500), and Paul (ghost chilI for $20,000)
And the winner? It's Paul, who chose the hottest pepper. He gets that $20K plus immunity.
Now on to the Elimination Challenge - a Chili Cookoff. Heather seems confident about making chili, as she does it all the time. They pull pots from under their stations - each pot has a red, white, blue green, or black apron to form teams.
Red - Dakota, Whitney and Chris Jones
White - Grayson, Lindsay and Ty-Lor
Blue - Heather, Edward, and Paul
Green - Chris Crary, Sarah, and Chuy
Black - Nyesha, Beverly and Richie (and Nyesha hopes she doesn't have to carry her team!)
For this challenge, there is no time clock - they are cooking at the Top Chef house, and have to be ready to go by 7pm tomorrow at the Tejas Rodeo. Sarah's father was a bullrider, and she knows to make sure there's a lot of meat in the chili. Over 200 cowboys and rodeo regulars will be eating their chili, and THEY will be deciding who the winner is. It's a madhouse at the meat counter at Whole Foods, and Dakota gets dissed at the meat counter by the butchers despite being the first to ask for what she wanted. She has to switch from brisket to short ribs. Chris Crary is NOT happy with how Sarah is acting towards his team already.
Back at the house, Nyesha's team had a set plan as to who was going to get what...and they grab all the beer in the house! Chris Jones goes for the grill fireplace, and Grayson is trying to negotiate some space in the fireplace by offering up a sheet pan in exchange for space in the grilling fireplace. Everyone's got their space snagged throughout the outside and inside the house.
And Tom shows up at the house taking everyone by surprise - but it's his usual walk through the TC kitchen to see what everyone is doing.
The Green Team is making a chili con carne using beef chuck with a roasted corn salsa
The Red Team is doing a braised brisket short rib chili
The Black Team is doing a mole chili with cornbread - very different!
The Blue Team is doing a smoked brisket and short ribs chili with pickled peaches (and of course Sarah is second guessing herself when Tom asks about the peaches)
The White Team is doing a smoked brisket and short ribs chili (and they won't reveal their secret ingredient to Tom)
It's the middle of the night, and they're all beginning to get punchy - Edward opens a wine bottle by smacking the base of the bottle several times against a post outside, Nyesha jumps into the pool, Chris Jones has a headlamp and is looking for a cave in the inside kitchen, and Chuy is drinking lots of beer. Chris Crary said that Chuy tells about 20 stoires a day - and he's dubbed him The Most Interesting Man In The World. :-)
The Black Team ends around 3:00 a.m., but the White Team says they'll stay up all night. Some are napping outside, some are napping in the hallway. But regardless if they got any sleep, they're ALL yawning and sleepy.
They get to the Rodeo, get into their team's area, and they have 1 hour to prep for service and reheat the chili. Everyone is trying to be careful to not scorch their reheated chili. Edward happens to say out loud how he's reheating a small batch and the transfer it to a larger pot, and then Ty-Lor yells out "thanks for your hint, Edward!" They're all tasting their chili and adding whatever "secret ingredients" they have in their bag of tricks.
The cowboys and cowgirls all walk up and start tasting. Sarah is charming the guys being from Texas, Chris is charming the girls, and Chuy is telling everyone that their "chili was made with a lot of love, and a lot of beer in us and in the chili!"
The judges show up and all get Shiner Bock beer, and Padma ends up having to open Gail Simpson's, as Tom can't do it! They head over to the Green Team to try the first chili, and the judges seem to like it - it grows on Tom, Mary Sue likes the depth of flavor, but Gail says it was too thin - something was needed to soak it up - Mary Sue suggested tortilla or chips.
They head over to the Red Team - kids don't seem to like the "spicy stuff" but the judges like the flavor and heat and smokiness, but Mary Sue says the texture is stringy.
Then comes the Blue Team - others seem to love the pork rinds, the spiciness, and the flavor of the meat, and Gail LOVES the pickled peaches, but Tom's not wild about the chili.
Black Team is next - Susan likes the cornbread - unfortunately for them, it's not a cornbread challenge. Mary Sue said there isn't a focus on what they were going after in the chili, but Padma said it supposed to be a chili that reminded everyone of mole, and that it did.
The White Team is last - and they make a Three-Bean and Beef Chili with Poblano cornbread. Rut-roh - they used beans! One of the cowboys said "Number 5 is the worst!" Gail doesn't like the pickled vegetables in the chili, but Susan liked it. Mary Sue noted that each chili tasted different. Tom thinks the Black Team was one of the weaker ones. He also didn't like the shredded meat in the Red Team's chili. But Susan' liked the Red Team's flavor, whereas the White Team's flavor was flat.
However, it's still up to the diners to choose the winner. But everyone heads over to the rodeo first - including the cheftestants. They get a round of applause for their chili, and get to watch barrel racing, calf roping, and bucking steers. Beverly is crying wishing her husband was there to watch with her. Nyesha said she's used to hardcore chefs, and there's no crying in cooking, and you shouldn't let your emotions show because the other chefs then consider you weak.
Padma comes out on a horse to introduce the 2011 Tejas Rodeo Chili Cookoff. Chris Crary says it was like looking at Fabio on the cover of one of his romance novels....GAH. Chris. Back off!
And the winning team is? THE GREEN TEAM!
And the Black Team had the least favorite chili, and one of them will be going home. BUT...they have one last chance to prove they belong here, according to Padma. They have to transform their losing chili into a different winning dish - in 30 minutes. Beverly, Nyesha and Richie all race back to the kitchen to fix it - each on their OWN. Everyone is doing their own fix to their losing chili.
Beverly made a seared tuna with habanero creamed corn (although she called it a habanero-pineapple salsa)
Nyesha made a Frito-crusted black tiger shrimp with a salsa of roasted corn and reduction of mole sauce
Richie made Frito-crusted pork tenderloin with a potato hash and a ricotta chili puree
Susan was disappointed in Richie's dish, but Padma said he did a lot in 30 minutes. Gail said she wanted more sauce on Nyesha's dish. Beverly used the mole chili in a sauce in the most imaginative way, per Susan and Mary Sue.
The in-between shows some Judges Table sillies.
Back at Judges Table, the three members of the Black Team are standing there. Beverly's was the winning dish, so she is safe. So it's Richie and Nyesha on the chopping block. And Padma tells Richie to PYKAG. Chris Jones will be sad, and he is. Meanwhile, Richie has NO idea that LCK is coming up!
Next week - they head to Dallas - and it shows Chris Crary saying "Wow - John Besh is handsome man!" when they are stopped in a field in the middle of Texas. Sheesh, Chris - really? Please tone it down!
OK - off to watch LCK...Richie heads back to the cast house, and he goes up to pack - and finds his letter from Tom. He heads to the TC kitchen and sees he's up against Keith. The challenge is to make something new and exciting from Thanksgiving leftovers, using at least three of the ingredients provided. Keith doesn't cook with leftovers at home; Richie oversalts his dish and tries to compensate. WAY different dishes!
And Final Edit - Thank GOD I finally joined the real world in the 21st century and got a DVR so I can back up the show and catch details I missed first time around. :-) Granted, that also means the final post isn't until after 11pm, but at least it has more detail.
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