Top Chef Texas – Mentors – And Then There Were Four

Top Chef Texas - Mentors - And Then There Were FourLast week we were treated to Pee Wee Herman and the cliffhanger concerning who’d be the returning cheftestant from Top Chef Last Chance Kitchen.  Still not happy about that Bravo.

So who’s coming back???  The chefs all return in the morning – and there are 5 cloches.  The returning chef is Bev.  How not happy is everyone.  Poor Bev.  Tonight the Quickfire is the goofy blindfold challenge.  30 minutes to pick your ingredients – blindfolded – and then unblindfold to cook.  The prize for the quickfire – a car or guaranteed spot in the Final.  Huh.Top Chef Texas - Mentors - And Then There Were Four

The chefs are slamming around the kitchen blindfolded and wandering around quite a mess.  Bev isn’t even in the right room.  What a disaster.  I’d be so unhappy to have to clean up after this.  Food and liquid dripping absolutely everywhere.  There are some funny mistakes and errors in what the chefs picked up.  Ed thought he was grabbing pancetta and got pork casings.  Ouch.  Bev is, as usual, 2 seconds from disaster.

Bev undercooks her fish, Paul’s prawns are borderline undercooked, Ed makes do with his sad pork casings by making broth from them.  Paul as always seems to do well, Sarah gets some goofy combinations and tries her best to run with it, and Lindsey seems a bit uncertain with her fish.  Everyone seems to have done really well as far as the judges are concerned.  Ed and Sarah are on top, however.  The winner is Sarah – her first Quickfire.  She chooses the guaranteed spot.  Weak!

The Elimination challenge brings all of the chef’s “mentors” into the kitchen.  Much crying ensues.  It’s actually very sweet.  The challenge is to make a dish that fulfills the expectations of your mentor.  Wow.  The winner gets a car.  Sarah doesn’t even have to compete.  Weak!

They meet with their mentors, come up with a dish and have two and half hours to prep.  Another hour the next night to cook.  That’s some pressure.  Cue some Toyota Prius forced product placement on the way to Wholefoods.  Bev is again Tasmanian Devil Whirling Dervish through the store.  Watch OUT!  How does a wholefoods not have oysters, octopus, or squid?  Clearly they’re in Texas.

Top Chef Texas - Mentors - And Then There Were FourThe chefs get into the kitchen and everyone starts cooking what is clearly the dish of their lives – at least at this point.  They all clearly want to make the best meal they can and  the pressure is certainly mounting.

The chefs arrive at Hotel Valencia and get into the kitchen.  Bev is wok cooking – I don’t envy her – wok cooking is exacting and small batch cooking.  No easy feat.  Each chef is very much in their own world.  The judges and mentors arrive and Unibrow is back!

Bev looks like she’s just run a marathon.  Her dish seems to go over well with her mentor.  Tom likes the fact that she went for wok cooking.  Ballsy.

Lindsey made a seafood “stew” with a broth emulsified with cream.  She’s second guessing the cream part.  Seems to be everyone else has the same question.  All the food is cooked perfect, however.

Paul’s mentor is very flattering of Paul.  He made a chilled sunchoke and dashi soup with summer vegetables.  It’s a gorgeous dish.  Again he seems to have knocked it out of the park.  Subtle and beautiful.

Ed made a braised pork belly and smoked oyster crema with pickled veggies.  It looks really nice.  The oyster sauce is not a favorite but the veggies are clearly a favorite.

Tom tells all the mentors that “for the most part” everyone did a great job.  You’d hate to be lumped in with the “most part” bit.  Ouch.  I think Paul and  Bev are ultimately safe.  Lindsey and Ed are probably on the bottom here.

The chefs all get called into judges table.  Sarah (Weak!) gets to stay behind.  Paul really did well.  Tom can’t shut up about his soup.  Neither can anyone else.  So he’s clearly safe.  Bev also did well.  Tom was very impressed with the wok preparation.  Bev and Paul are both in the finals – Paul wins the Prius – deservedly so.  Bev – crying again.  Good for her though.  Sarah gives Paul a hug and ignore Bev.  Nice.

Now it’s between Ed and Lindsey.  Only one is moving on.  They both look like they’re been punched in the stomach.  The cream and dry herbs in Lindsey’s dish was the shortcoming.  The smoked oysters in Ed’s dish were probably what killed it.  Ed was fake “crying” in the stew room during one of the breaks – “I just don’t want to go home!”.  Here’s wondering if Bravo editors were doing some foreshadowing.  Back to the stew room for both of them.

Back from the stew room and no one looks comfortable – judges or the chefs.  Ed is on his way home.  Sometimes the editors will tell you what’s gonna happen before you even get there.

No Last Chance Kitchen this week so we’ve only got British Columbia to look forward to.  See you all next week!

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