top chef texas “higher steaks”


Dallas. Policeman in the road. Cooking in a windy field. John Besh is hot. Rich peoples’ houses smell like cocaine. Rich people don’t like food. Beverly doesn’t share well. Ugly Chris cooked a gimmicky dish. And Chuy goes home, only to later redeem himself against Keith in Last Chance Kitchen.

The episode opens with Ed and the guys feeling bad about all the other guys going home. Well, that’s pretty much how the women have felt every other season. Buck up, buckaroos! Ed claims that there’s a “face-off starting to develop” and the guys need to “save face.” Ed likes to talk about faces a lot. Probably because his face is weird. At least his jaw is.

The chefs enter the kitchen at Le Cordon Bleu in Dallas, which is where Paul went to school, to find Padma and some little elf man Dean Fearing, who is apparently all amazing and classically trained. Blah blah blah. Dude reminds me of Billy Graham. Or maybe just a televangelist in general. Either way, not great for him.

Billy Graham explains that this Quickfire will be testing their skills as sauciers, the most prestigious spot on the line, and the person who “gives the wow.” Nyesha really likes making sauces and wants to give the wow! The chefs each get one of five different mother sauces: Hollandaise, Tomate, Espagnole, Béchamel, and Velouté. Hot Chris explains that a mother sauce is the base sauce for all other sauces. And the challenge is to use their assigned mother sauce to make a new sauce, which will be part of a dish. For immunity. They have 90 minutes.

Hot Chris says that making a roux is hard. Grayson’s feeling “fucking saucy!” She’s been a saucier before, so she feels as though she has this one in the bag. Or perhaps…in the sauce! Ed doesn’t like Béchamel too much, so this is likely fun for him. Beverly’s going “avant garde.” I guess because she’s not really following directions. Oh Beverly! Dakota’s freaking about her done-too-soon scallops. Grayson’s “totally effed,” except she’s not. And time’s up!

HOT CHRIS velouté sauce, butter-poached halibut, hash of mussels and andouille, mushrooms.

ED cauliflower milk béchamel sauce, poached red snapper, crab, fried oyster.

GRAYSON charred corn hollandaise sauce, scallop, corn ravioli, blueberry balsamic reduction.

PAUL espagnole sauce, quail, pickled and roasted mushrooms, garlic scapes, okra.

WHITNEY sauce tomate, poached shrimp, pancetta, fennel pilau, sautéed okra.

HEATHER béchamel sauce, gruyère croquette, apple and ginger compote, asian slaw.

BEVERLY espagnole sauce, crab maki roll with ribeye, charred shallots, peppercorn, sake, red wine.

DAKOTA peace-infused béchamel sauce, seared scallop, lemon crab and mushroom duxelle, truffle.

TY-UMLAUT hollandaise sauce with lemongrass and citrus zest, ahi tuna, baby bok choy.

NYESHA sauce tomate with coconut, ras el hanout, braised lentils, toasted pistachios.


Bottom Three: Dakota (use of peach overdone), Nyesha (too many flavors muddled the dish…awkward since she loves making sauces), Beverly (too much use of non-mother sauce). Bummer dudes.

Favorites: Grayson (for making ravioli in 90 minutes), Hot Chris (the addition of poaching liquids into sauce was nice), Paul (perfect pickling, good use of quail). And the winner is…commercial break! Come on, Bravo! It’s not that much of a cliffhanger. Just tell me! Okay, so Grayson wins. Billy Graham gives her a clumsy “Whoo!” and two thumbs up. Because the Lord told him to.

Now onto the Elimination Challenge, which Padma says will be one of the toughest ever. Thanks Padma. Their task is to cook a four-course steak dinner for 200 guests, with steak being incorporated into two of the four courses. And then Padma tells them that the event, more specifically, is the Cattle Baron’s Ball. There are still cattle barons? That sounds like some Wild West shit. They must be rich as balls. Way richer than those assholes last week whose houses smelled like cocaine. These barons probably have houses MADE of cocaine.

Sarah ONCE AGAIN knows all about this audience because her grandpa was a cattle farmer. And she knows all about how much meat steak these guys can take in on the regular. Billy Graham preaches the importance of serving steaks that are MEDIUM RARE once they arrive to the guests, so I’m sure that will go horribly wrong. The chefs then learn that they will have 30 minutes to plan their menus, three hours to prep that night, and then three hours to cook and prep before service the next day. And they are going to South Fork Ranch, which is apparently where Dallas took place. Yeah, I don’t know anything about that. Except that some fool named JR got shot. By someone. And it was dramatic. Heather has the same feelings. Because she watched Dynasty. She would like someone to look up who shot JR on their “Google machine.” I’m going to overlook that last part and look it up for you Heather.…it has its own Wikipedia page, which is not ideal because I have to read a bunch of nonsense about Dallas to find it…it turns out that…Kristen, his sister-in-law / mistress shot him “in a fit of rage.” So there’s that. I have no idea whether or not he deserved it. But if he had a mistress, then he probably did.

Padma also says that the winner gets a 2011 Toyota Venza. Nyesha wants it, so she’ll probably go home.

The chefs split up into four groups, and while they had originally planned to have four people in the dessert course, they changed their mind and put the most people on the entrée course. Good call, kids.

Team Soup: Sarah, Beverly, Dakota.

Team Appetizer: Ed, Ugly Chris, Paul.

Team Entrée: Nyesha, Ty-Umlaut, Whitney, Hot Chris.

Team Dessert: Heather, Lindsay, Grayson.

TOYOTA VENZA PARTY TIME! Ugly Chris tells America that he just wants to win something! Even two dollars! He needs a new scrunchie and some more sunglasses to put on his head, even though he is already wearing glasses! Anything! All the Toyotas arrive at Dallas Whole Foods, where I’m sure the staff already hates them from the last time they were there. They have 45 minutes and $4,000 to spend. Ty-Umlaut starts talking about his childhood, and we get a lovely shot of him and his father wearing matching suits. Damn, that boy had some eyebrows, even when he was like six years old. He also had some hair. He still has one of those things. He’s talking a lot about inspiration, which often does not bode well…Godspeed, Ty-Umlaut! Whitney is making potato gratin, which she says she knows how to make. Good start. And then SHE starts talking about her mom. And how she was poor, which I think she talked about last time. Someone needs these people to stop talking about their inspirations. I swear it’s a curse. Nyesha and Ty-Umlaut walk slowly down the aisle together, and Nyesha asks Ty-Umlaut, “So are we trimming beef tonight?” which…I think we all know what that means. I guess she didn’t get the memo. Regardless, she is concerned that she is doing too much. With her dish, I mean.

During the three-hour prep time, Heather complains about Beverly’s slowness concerning deveining some shrimp and thinks Beverly is being selfish. Oh Beverly! Ed is concerned about Whitney’s timeframe tomoroow. And then Ty-Umlaut cuts the balls out of his finger as he is boning around…with some bone marrow. He tells the medic that it is going to bleed “pretty well.” He’s going to need some stitches. Ty-Umlaut was apparently the leader of Team Entrée, and no one else really wants the job. Hot Chris is all, “I can’t! I’ve gotta cook the brussel sprouts!” I don’t think that they’re mutually exclusive, bucko! These people are lame. Lindsay is all annoyed. But she’s on Team Dessert, so she can’t help their asses. Or can she?

On the morning of the dinner, Ed is all crazy-haired and worried about being one man down (which he isn’t, actually). And then it sounds like he said that they were cooking for “candle barons,” which made me laugh. Also, I want to be a candle baron. I imagine that they would live in a castle. If they existed.

Ty-Umlaut got four stitches. He testifies that he had to endure being near gunshot victims and such. He might have to drink a ton of espresso now. Life is hard.

At South Fork Ranch, Beverly is still not done with her shrimp, and Heather’s pissed. Dakota thinks Heather is mean and wants to boot her from the island. Texas isn’t an island! Did Beverly tell you that? Oh Beverly! Billy Graham and Tom come in to the kitchen to observe what’s going down. Billy Graham starts talking to Whitney and says, “Potatuh,” which is cute. Then he asks if she is using a double boiler for her potatoes. Ugh, he keeps asking questions he already knows the answer to! She tells him that she isn’t, which he says is “chancy.” Billy Graham should probably go on Top Chef Masters, although Hugh Acheson did that, and he’s still a dick. Some dicks can’t be fixed.

Dinnertime. Ugh, and speak of the devil, Hugh Acheson is back for this episode. I don’t like that Cro Magnon at all, although my dad did make an excellent Thanksgiving turkey using his brining recipe. I still hate his brow, though. And his nasal-y, asshole demeanor.

Ty-Umlaut is outside grilling steaks. Sweat is pouring off of him. And he won’t stop bitching about how he cut his hand. I mean, I get that it’s an inconvenience, but it was FOUR stitches. Stop complaining so much Ty-Umlaut! I do hope you put sunscreen on your head, though.

And here comes the first course!

SARAH, BEVERLY, DAKOTA tomato-cucumber-watermelon gazpacho, olive-oil-poached shrimp.

Tom thinks they’re playing it safe. Cro Magnon doesn’t like the level of acidity. But Cro Magnon doesn’t like anything.

ED, UGLY CHRIS, PAUL carpaccio of new york strip steak, tomato and asparagus salad with pistachio vinaigrette, mushroom “bacon.”

Tom doesn’t like the salad. Cro Magnon wants the tomatoes to be peeled. Billy Graham likes the degree of doneness on the steaks. I want to know what the hell mushroom “bacon” is.

Lindsay is freaking about the third course. So she takes the lead on the steaks, even though it’s not her course. So that’s admirable. It appears that there is some sort of miscommunication, and Ed finishes some steaks in the oven. But guests are taking longer on the second course than the chefs realized, and so everyone starts freaking the fuck out. Ugly Chris compares it to the event that killed the dinosaurs. Bummer dudes.

NYESHA, TY-UMLAUT, WHITNEY, HOT CHRIS grilled rib eye, creamy potato gratin, braised brussel sprouts with compound butter of bone marrow and red wine onions.

Cro Magnon thinks the steak is messy. WTF? It’s a steak dickwad! He just likes to complain about everything. One of the sort-of-but-not-really-a-judge ladies says that her steak is not medium rare. Billy Graham is super offended that they didn’t listen to HIM about the doneness level of the steak. They need to listen to HIM. Because his words come from Jesus. The gratin is not cooked. Ruh-roh! Nyesha’s components are well-received, though.

HEATHER, LINDSAY, GRAYSON “right side up” texas peach cake, shaved peach salad, candied pecan streusel.

Tom likes the cake. Cro Magnon is bitching about the sugarless cream. Tom says he likes it that way, not too sweet. Cro Magnon basically admits that he does too, although he’s still going to complain. Get him out of there! Where is Emeril?!

Overall, Tom is disappointed with the meal. He expected a lot more from these people. Ty-Umlaut thinks it’s over for him. Whitney knows her gratin wasn’t perfect, but hopes that it was still good. I’m thinking not so much.

In a short mid-commercial clip, Beverly reveals that she idolized Ed for a long time. It sounded more like she used to stalk him, peeking into the windows of Ed’s restaurant and such. But whatevs. Ed says that they should hang out. Beverly should come to Louisville. Like she will bring her husband, and he will bring his pepper spray. I’m guessing.

Back in the stew room, the chefs start discussing what went wrong. Ty-Umlaut gets all angsty and defeated. Heather calls Beverly out for not doing anything. Oh Beverly! Padma comes in to reveal that the judges want to see Ugly Chris, Nyesha, and Heather. Because they’re the best! So who’s gonna win the car?! The winner made the favorite element of the entire meal…which was the cake. Heather wins!

Going back in, Heather asks, “Does anybody want to ride in my new car?” Beverly doesn’t. Ed doesn’t. And Dakota just wants Heather to drive right off the island. Heather tells them that the judges want to see Ty-Umlaut, Whitney, and Ed. See people, I told you not to get all emotional about your childhoods! Curses! Whitney is strangely comforted by Cro Magnon because he’s been in her position before. I bet he would disagree. Cro Magnon ain’t be makin’ no shitty gratin, girrrl! Billy Graham gets all highty and mighty about the doneness of the steaks basically saying, “AND IIIIIII GOT THE MEDIUM WELL ONE! I MEAN ME OF ALL THE PEOPLE ON THE EARTH GOT A MEDIUM WELL STEAK! CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE IT!?” He also says that he would be getting his money back if he were in a restaurant. Ugh. I don’t like him either. I want him and Cro Magnon gone right now.

Ty-Umlaut doesn’t make much of a case for himself. Tom thinks that Ty-Umlaut should have cooked the steaks entirely on the grill, but he also doesn’t like Whitney’s hot, but raw, potato gratin on the scorching hot day. Billy Graham is baffled. But he really isn’t, he’s just being a douche. Ty-Umlaut sits in the stew room and beats himself up about the situation in front of everyone. For something that was not entirely his fault. Stop stop stop! Tom thinks that the contestants underestimated the barons. I think I overestimated the barons. I thought they would be BAMFs, although it’s sort of unclear why I thought that. I think I was confusing them with robber barons. Or perhaps train robbers. Both of those are way more badass.

And now, the moment of truth. Tom tells the three losers that their food was boring, and he questions whether he chose the wrong chefs. Tom Tom Tom. Don’t be so melodramatic. Tom also tells the chefs that it is usually hard to determine who to send home, but that tonight, it was very easy. So…Whitney…please pack your knives and go. Whitney’s sad that her boyfriend Cro Magnon was the one to send her home. She’s clearly got some caveman fetish going on. I bet those old Geico commercials used to get her all hot and bothered.


It’s a showdown between Whitney and Chuy! At the start of the challenge, each draws a knife from the knife block. Chuy draws ‘ostrich,’ while Whitney draws ‘elk.’ Tom explains that, because PETA would get all angry, they don’t get to slaughter these animals. Instead, their challenge is to make a burger using their assigned protein. They have 30 minutes. Whitney says that both proteins are dry, so moistness is key. Chuy thinks it’s “jack shit there ain’t no jack.” Cheese, that is. He also wants to be The Chosen One. Ritchie, Keith, and Andrew are also there to cheer the chefs on, and they seem to help Whitney and Chuy stay on track time-wise, which is nice. And time’s up!

CHUY ostrich and pork burger, bacon, sharp cheddar, fresno chili aioli, onion straws.

WHITNEY elk and pork sausage burger, aged white cheddar, black pepper aioli, roasted tomato, garlic, shallots, egg sunny-side up.

Tom and the Eliminated Three liked both burgers, but in the end, Whitney pulls away with the win, as her protein shone through a bit more than Chuy’s. So she lives to cook another day against whichever fool gets eliminated next.


People are plating and sweating. Two chefs are going home. The chefs are picking the bottom three themselves. Heather and Beverly are on a team together. Ugly Chris is pissed at himself. Heather and Grayson get into a spat. Sarah is freaking out. Fun fun fun for everyone!


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