PREVIOUSLY Restaurant wars. Chaos. Yelling. Bleeping. Everyone Hates Beverly. Beverly wins. Ty-Umlaut goes home.
We find the chefs in the post-Restaurant Wars Stew Room. Sarah is still pissed that Lindsay didn’t win the challenge. Then, upon seeing Tom come into the Stew Room, Sarah gets even more upset and whines, “Nooo…” as he enters. Good strategy. In response, Tom’s all, “Yes…San Antonio, bitches.” Except he barely says any of that.
Predictably, the girls’ car ride back to San Antonio is silent and unfun. Lindsay makes the argument that she had to fuck everything up in order for them to win. Or something. In the boys’ car, Ugly Chris is all sad that he is “the only asshole that hasn’t won.” He should probably stop sucking so much. Or be more of an asshole.
After a night back in their original house, the chefs are whisked away to the Quickfire Challenge. And in Top Chef Kitchen San Antonio, the chefs walk in to find both Padma and Eric Ripert. I love Eric Ripert. Something about him is just so adorable. And he’s a BAMF.
Eric and His Accent explain that for this challenge, the chefs must pick three ingredients off of a conveyor belt to use in their dishes. They can also use other pantry ingredients. The catch is that the ingredients on the conveyor belt will be constantly changing, so the chefs must decide whether they want to wait around for their potential dream ingredient, or if they want to just grab three things right away and not let the clock run down. They have 30 minutes.
As the conveyor belt starts, we see Pop Rocks, Oreos, and Goldfish crackers. If only Paul had some weed in his knife kit, then he could just grab those things, smoke the judges up, and everything would be slamming. He opts for a different route, however. He ends up with bitter melon, white bread, and saffron. Sounds like a terrible sandwich.
Most of the chefs seem to be waiting it out for some better ingredients. Grayson is preparing a sauce for a potential conveyor belt fish. Ugly Chris is preparing some versatile things, or so he says. Then he sees some lobsters in a pot going around on the conveyor belt. Unfortunately for him, he misses them, and they don’t appear again as the conveyor belt comes back around. Bollocks! Ugly Chris realizes that some ingredients will come and go, while others like the Oreos are permanent fixtures on the conveyor belt. Much like when you eat them and they just stay on your ass forever. Luckily for Ugly Chris, the lobsters do make a couple more appearances on the belt, and Ugly Chris finally nabs one on his third or fourth try. After calling the people in the back “fucking bastards” and damning them to hell.
Beverly hasn’t grabbed anything in the first 20 minutes and realizes that she has to grab SOMETHING, so she gets Rice Krispies, tofu, and canned black-eyed peas. Yummy. As it gets down to the wire, Beverly is frantically trying to get everything on her plate, but the clock runs out before she can do something with her curried Rice Krispies.
ED (macadamia nuts, sauerkraut, black truffle) sauerkraut soup, brown butter shrimp, shaved truffle, toasted macadamia nuts.
UGLY CHRIS (lobster, foie gras, vanilla) butter poached lobster, foie gras, cauliflower.
GRAYSON (goldfish crackers, grapefruit, dover sole) butter poached dover sole with goldfish and rosemary, brunoise-d grapefruit zest.
PAUL (Wonder Bread, saffron, bitter melon) mussels in ginger and bitter melon broth, white bread croutons.
SARAH (artichokes, cottage cheese, saltine crackers) fried soft shell crab, cottage cheese and tarragon sauce, shaved artichoke salad.
LINDSAY (grouper, clams, Pernod) bouillabaisse in fennel-pernod sauce.
BEVERLY (tofu, rice krispies, black-eyed peas) glazed sockeye salmon, black-eyed peas.
BOTTOM THREE Ugly Chris (ingredients didn’t compliment each other), Grayson (overwhelming citrus), Paul (bitter melon is yucky).
FAVORITES Sarah (good use of ingredients), Lindsay (harmonious dish), Beverly (good job using tofu for a sauce). Eric and Padma like Beverly’s dish very much, especially when they taste it with the curried rice krispies that Beverly couldn’t get on the plate. So while Beverly’s dish is the true favorite, she doesn’t meet the challenge stipulations, and Lindsay wins instead. That should further improve Lindsay’s feelings toward Beverly. Winning, but really being beaten. By Beverly.
Padma then tells them that for their next challenge, they will have to prepare a meal “fit for a queen.” Ugly Chris thinks that it is either the Queen of England or Queen Latifah. I hope it’s both! Can you imagine that judging panel? Although I don’t know about the Queen of England’s security clearance these days, what with her killing young girls on Christmas for giggles and all that. Alas, much to my dismay, out walks Charlize Theron, with whom I often confuse Scarlett Johansson. Sarah. Loves. Charlize. Theron. Whatever. Apparently, Not Scarlett Johansson is going to be the Queen of Hearts in one of the new Snow White movies called Snow White and the Huntsman, which, Not Scarlett explains, will be “darker, bigger, and more epic in scale.” Wow, a multi-million-dollar movie is more epic in scale than…a book? A movie from the 1937? Mind. Blown.
My only question is wtf is a huntsman? And what about the dwarves? Are there dwarves? Because if not, then calling it “bigger” is kind of offensive, Not Scarlett.
When Not Scarlett finishes talking about how she is a serial killer, Padma explains that for the Elimination Challenge, the chefs must each prepare a dish for a seven-course “Gothic feast fit for a queen,” with each dish being “wickedly beautiful.” I am so over this movie-tie-in challenge already. At least they’re not on teams again.
Now the chefs are off to Whole Foods, where I’m sure the staff was praying they would never return. Paul reveals that he is making “an enchanted forest,” while Grayson is making a mutilated chicken and a mutilated baby bird. Everyone is saying “wicked” far too much.
Side note: I am over everyone trying to sound sophisticated when they are pronouncing ‘Theron.’ She’s not going to hang out with you, regardless. So stop trying so hard.
Back at the house, the chefs are planning, and it becomes apparent that Beverly is being mildly vilified—as a result of the editing—in this episode. Grayson mentions how Beverly is tiny and sneaky and probably can’t be trusted. And then Paul tells the whole group not to take one another’s things, while in the one-on-one, Lindsay implies that Beverly has taken things from other chefs’ stations in past challenges.
In the kitchen, the chefs are preparing their dishes for the evil feast. Paul is freaking out about all of his components. Grayson is working with some freaky-looking black chickens, which she has never worked with, freaky or otherwise. Sarah seems convinced that Not Scarlett is actually a queen.
The judges assemble at their table. Emeril’s back, and Cro Magnon’s not! Not Scarlett reveals that if she were to make an evil dish, she would just poison everyone. I hope she poisoned Cro Magnon. The judges all drink their wine and hope that Not Scarlett didn’t poison it. And soon after, the meal begins. With Ed…’s food.
ED tuna tartare, soy and black garlic pudding, asian pear and ginger sauce, fried fish scales.
Not Scarlett loved how Ed’s dish assaulted her.
PAUL foie gras with bacon, strawberries with pumpernickel, serrano peppers, pickled cherries, beets.
Paul also put a red handprint on his plate, which most of the judges thought was…playful.
BEVERLY seared halibut, red curry coulis, forbidden black rice.
By this point, it becomes clear that the chefs have been instructed to tell a story as they present their dish. I hate when they have to do this. Because none of the stories are ever good. I just feel embarrassed for them.
LINDSAY seared scallop, witches’ stew, dragon beans.
SARAH lamb heart, amarone risotto, currants, sunchoke, thyme.
GRAYSON black chicken, roasted pickled beets, red chard, quail egg, foie gras.
Grayson totally “goes there” and starts talking about murdered babies. Then the judges eat her dish and like it.
UGLY CHRIS poisoned apple and cherry pie.
While Ugly Chris is definitely not one of the strongest chefs left, this challenge suited his style quite well. His dessert looked cool, like an apple that bled out when opened—yummy—and it apparently tasted good as well. Way to not suck so much, Ugly Chris.
The judges conclude that it was the best meal of the season, and also one of the best of any season of Top Chef. But don’t think this means someone’s not going home. Because someone’s still going home. For cooking a good dish. It better not be someone I like.
After a mid-commercial preview Top Chef band, who will likely soon be going on tour, we find the chefs in the Stew Room, ready to be judged. Or not. It doesn’t really matter either way, though. In a fairly predictable turn of events, Padma comes in and tells them that the judges want to see all of them.
The judges tell them how wonderful they all are. Ed says something awkward about pleasing Not Scarlett. Grayson reveals once again that she only works on the literal plane. At least she didn’t make forty seven pounds of steak this time.
So with everyone doing so well, who comes out on top? Not Scarlett announces that…PAUL is the winner. Good. I like him. He gets two tickets to the world premiere of Snow White and the Huntsman. I’m sure he is super excited. He really looks like the revamped-fairy-tale movie kind of guy. Then Padma tells Ugly Chris, Ed, and Lindsay that they are also safe. So that leaves Sarah, Beverly, and Grayson in the room. One of them will be going home. It’s all very Project Runway.
Padma goes on and on about how hard of a decision this is. Tom tells them that they should include these dishes on their restaurant menus back home. Way to make them feel better, dudes.
Sarah tries to make a case for herself, telling the judges that she breathes, sleeps, and eat food. Unfortunately for her, I see a flaw in her argument, since the other two likely eat food as well. Although maybe Beverly doesn’t. Beverly gets all weepy in defense of herself. Grayson is just like, “Whatevs, motherfuckers. I’m wicked wicked. And those bitches aren’t.”
After a time of supposed agonizing and likely drinking, the judges make their decision. And ultimately, it is Beverly who goes home. Oh Beverly!
LAST CHANCE KITCHEN Upon receiving her note, Beverly speculates that she will be returning to be a prep cook or a sous chef. And Heather pats herself on the back. When Beverly enters the kitchen, however, Tom sets her straight and explains the ropes of Last Chance Kitchen. Nyesha is excited to see Beverly and gets even more pumped up when Tom reminds Nyesha of all of her past victories. Tom asks the Truly Eliminated Chefs who they are hedging their bets on, and Heather speaks up that Nyesha is going to take it. Tom is all, “Whatever, bitch.” Then when Tom asks for support for Beverly, and everyone’s silence speaks volumes. Just give it up, Tom! After inflating Nyesha and deflating Beverly, Tom tells the two that their challenge is to cook a dish incorporating a local fish, the Black Drum, in 30 minutes. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, the additional stipulation is that the chefs will only have a single opportunity to look through the pantry. They must grab everything the first time because that’s it, folks. So just as Nyesha and Beverly grab everything they can carry and make it back to their stations, Tom comes running in and announces that the two of them must swap stations and now take the other chefs’ ingredients. Nyesha is way pissed. But she is usually way pissed. Regardless, she butchers her fish first and then starts to figure out a game plan. On the other hand, with only ten minutes remaining, Beverly still has not butchered his fish, and the Truly Eliminated Chefs start to whisper among themselves about this precarious situation. But, just as the clock ticks down, both chefs manage to plate their fish.
BEVERLY seared black drum, oranges, fennel, black olives.
NYESHA seared black drum, julienne of tri-pepper, slaw, snow peas, pineapple chutney.
Tom seemed to like both dishes a lot and respected that each chef did such a good job stepping outside their comfort zone. Whatever, bro. Tom wants to bone bottle Nyesha’s pineapple chutney. Then he tells the chefs that it really all came down to seasoning. And…Nyesha’s dish was slightly underseasoned. So Beverly wins, bitches! Beverly starts talking about phoenixes. Nyesha is not so much pleased.
NEXT WEEK Head-to-head competition! Healthy block party! The chefs are stressing out. Lindsay’s busting balls. Grayson’s running out of time.