top chef texas “block party”

Better late than never? My excuse is that I was writing a research paper on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Which is totally true.

PREVIOUSLY Padma reminds Beverly just how 20/20 hindsight really is. Grayson aborted some bird’s baby. And then served it to Charlize Theron. Everything is “wicked” and “gnarly.” Paul wins. Beverly loses. Padma likely reminds her again off-camera how close she was to winning Immunity.

STILL IN THE STEW ROOM Grayson starts the show off by talking about how she will miss Beverly, but that she’s kind of the only one who will. Oh Beverly! In a stereotypical Asian accent, Ed acts like a total two-faced douche and makes fun of Beverly, even though he seemed to have befriended her, and even invited her and her husband to Kentucky. Ugh, go away Ed.

Because Ed referenced the Lindsay v. Beverly incident/Halibut-gate, Lindsay starts talking about how she is super duper diplomatic and fun and not at all mean and bitchy. Then she…clarifies further, saying, “Don’t screw with my food when you’re representing me while I’m representing you. That’s all.” Oh okay…what?

Then, out of nowhere comes Charlize Theron, who apparently is just such a Top Chef fanboy nerd stalker that she has to come back in and tell them how much she loves everything about them ever. Now Charlize Theron seems like a pretty cool and down-to-earth person, but I get unreasonably annoyed when beautiful people talk about how nerdy they are, even if it is about a reality show. Must you take everything away from the ugly people, Charlize Theron? Even in her “nerdy” high school photos, she is clearly NOT nerdy. Ugh, I still kind of like her, though. You win again, Charlize!

QUICKFIRE CHALLENGE Just before the Quickfire, the chefs talk about how tired they are of all these fucking group challenges. Well…too bad because, as Padma tells them, the Quickfire Challenge will require them to work in groups of two. Take it. And like it. Oh, and Cat Cora and Emeril are there to watch and judge. The fuck?

Padma creates the three teams of Grayson and Ugly Chris, Ed and His Jaw Paul, and Sarah and Lindsay. As Padma starts talking about the challenge, it seems as though it will be a shittier version of the Relay Challenge from past years. Weak sauce. But instead of just a simple relay, where a single person has a single task to complete, the chefs can work on their mise en place together however they choose, and then they have to cook a dish using all of the ingredients from their mise, and with whatever time is remaining. So speed is obviously important. But the final prepared product is also important.

Padma further explains that they will have 40 minutes to prep and cook, and that the prep tasks are to peel, devein, and butterfly two pounds of shrimp; shuck a crate of corn; and make a pound of perfect fettuccini. The winners will not get Immunity anymore ever. But they will get $5,000 each.

As the clock starts, each team seems to have one person on pasta, as well as one on corn. Grayson does the pasta for her team, and then starts the shrimp task/fraternizes with the judges while the pasta rests. Lindsay interviews that Grayson’s friendliness will be her downfall. But Lindsay isn’t bitchy.

Lindsay and Sarah are the first team to complete their three tasks, and are, therefore, also the first to start cooking, with what appears to be just under 17 minutes left. The other teams finish with around ten minutes to cook their dish. So that’s fun. Sarah and Lindsay are feeling good about their dish and are basically just sitting on lounge chairs sipping margaritas as the clock runs down.

GRAYSON & UGLY CHRIS fettuccini, toasted corn, oil-poached chili shrimp, fried bacon, rosemary.

SARAH & LINDSAY fettuccini with corn milk, shrimp, tarragon, chili, parsley.

PAUL & ED something unworthy of being shown.

Paul forgot to cook the shrimp, and when he tells Padma, she’s hilariously all, “WHAT?! NO!” So they can’t win. Ugly Chris says, “That’s a disqualification.” And Grayson adds, “Motherfucker!” I love her. And the rest of this episode will only enhance that feeling.

Anyway, since Team Dumb Boys gets disqualified, it is down to Team Bitch and Team Kind Of Sucky. Cat Cora hates on Sarah and Lindsay’s use of tarragon, but she does like their pasta and the other components of their dish. Emeril likes how Grayson and Ugly Chris used chili with their shrimp, but Cat Cora hates on their fried bacon. Wait, what?

In the end, though, it is Ugly Chris and Grayson who come away with the win.

Padma then throws the chefs a TWIST, telling them that they have killed their true father only to marry their mother are now opponents who will be cooking in a head-to-head challenge. And…cue This Week’s Product Tie-In…Healthy Choice Café Steamers. Yuck.

For the challenge itself, Padma explains that the chefs will have two hours to serve 200 people at a block party. Each duo will be making the same dish, and the guests at the block party will choose which person from each duo cooked the better version. The losing person from each not-team will face the judges. Padma then asks each duo to collectively choose a dish to face off with.

GRAYSON & UGLY CHRIS chicken salad sandwich, watermelon salad.

SARAH & LINDSAY meatball, vegetable salad.

ED & PAUL korean barbecue, pickled vegetables.

So what does this have to do with Healthy Choice, you ask? Well, after each team has picked their entrée, Padma tells them that it must be a healthier version. Lame. Most of the chefs are all, “Fuuuuck…” although Ed just basically disregards these additional rules at the outset because “All Asian food is healthy.”

Padma also announces that the winner will receive $15,000. At this point, I think it would be easier to just give Paul all the prize money.

WHOLE FOODS, AKA THE GROCERY STORE WHOSE EMPLOYEES HATE TOP CHEF Lindsay is doing her meatball with veal and lamb, while Sarah is using turkey. Are lamb and veal as healthy as turkey? I’m guessing not so much. Sarah is pissy about it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Ed is wearing one of his stupid fucking v-necks that make his body look like a woman’s, although maybe that’s what he’s going for. Ugly Chris is envious of Grayson’s dark meat.

COOKING FOR THE BLOCK PARTY Chris is making “mayo” with tofu. That sounds yucky. Ed is using fatty shortribs and making bread. Again, because he is ignoring the stipulations. Ugly Chris makes his sandwiches well before service.

NOT DAVE CHAPPELLE’S BLOCK PARTY Ugly Chris freaks out about bees eating pineapple. Grayson makes her sandwiches to order about as fast as a dead tortoise. Paul is doing well, so he thinks he’s going to lose. Lindsay’s meatballs look heavy as fuck. Ed’s station is a build-your-own-open-faced-sandwich situation, which starts to backfire on him. Because people are making regular sandwiches, and he is running out of bread. And as a clip of him yelling at a bread-loving child is shown, Ed says that he feels like an asshole. Hmm.

And then we see the judges, who first walk over to the Healthy Choice/Feeding America tent where we see Ryan Scott, “Healthy Choice Flavor Ambassador” and mediocre-at-best contestant from Season 4. He seems to have lost his jawline and is trying to cover it up with a neck beard. I see through your tactics, sir.

Paul manages to shirk some groupies away just as the judges approach his table. And let the tasting begin.

Oh, and Dana Cowin’s here. With more hair than the last time she was on.

PAUL turkey kalbi, eggplant, white peach kimchi.

ED open face kalbi with beef shortribs, kimchi chipotle purée, radish sprouts, pickled cucumber, carrots, and daikon radishes.

The judges are impressed that Paul put forth a real effort to make a healthy dish, while still making it taste delicious. Ed, on the other hand, kind of sucked.

GRAYSON chicken salad sandwich with arugula and pickled red onion, feta-watermelon salad with watercress, and toasted pumpkin seeds.

UGLY CHRIS chicken salad sandwich with tofu “mayo” and red lettuce, watermelon fruit salad with pineapple ice.

Grayson gets points for making her sandwiches to order, while Ugly Chris gets points for  using curry on his chicken or something. However, Grayson’s salad is lacking depth, and the bread of Chris’s sandwiches got really dried out.

SARAH calabrese-style turkey meatball, calabrian-style tomato sauce, summer vegetable salad of baby fennel, baby squash, squash blossoms, and arugula.

LINDSAY mediterranean veal-lamb meatball, lemon yogurt, black-eyed peas, quinoa greek salad.

Sarah’s dish goes over well with most of the judges, although Dana Cowin gets a shitty, arugula-heavy salad. Lindsay’s meatball is really flavorful and has nice touches of acid.

After service, the chefs just stand at their booths and try to keep tally of who is ahead in the voting. Ugh, there is nothing about this challenge I like, save for a few seconds of Judges’ Table.

MID-COMMERCIAL BREAK Paul has crazy socks, including several pairs of caterpillar socks. If the chefs were the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Paul would have to be the Wild Card. Although just barely.

JUDGES’ TABLE After a few seconds of chit-chat, Padma comes into the Stew Room to tell the chefs they want to see Paul, Grayson, and Lindsay. I like it. Unless they lose. But they win! Holla. Paul gets complimented for his kimchi and his dish is generally well-recevied. Then, moving on to Grayson, whose sandwich only got there because it wasn’t quite as bad as Ugly Chris’s, I’m assuming. Tom starts to question Grayson’s decision to even do a chicken salad sandwich in the first place, and then Tom. Gets. Pwned. Kind of. It’s funny.

So even without that little showdown, it’s clear that Grayson is not going to win. Because the judges obviously like Paul and Lindsay’s dishes way more. In the end, Paul wins. Because of course he does.

The winners return to the Stew Room and send the loser faces in. First, Ed gets called out for replacing rice with bread, as well as for trimming the fat off the shortribs and making them yucky. Ugly Chris gets commended for making a healthy dish, but unfortunately, it was dried out and ice-ridden. Sarah’s dish only has minor issues with it, like poor salad-mixing skills, so she’s probably safe. Ultimately, Ugly Chris gets sent home because of his dry, flavorless sandwiches. Farewell, Ugly Chris. I’ll kind of miss you and your bad ideas. I do like his Chicago arm band. Well, really, I just like Chicago.

LAST CHANCE KITCHEN Chris interviews that his elimination was equivalent to the end of the world, which, if I remember correctly, is also equivalent to firing the steaks too early. Bummer, dude. Ugly Chris gets his note from Tom, and he assumes the Tom wants to meet him in the kitchen of the house, so he stands in there. C’mon producers. Why can’t someone tell him? Eventually he does figure it out and makes it to the TOP CHEF KITCHEN, where he finds Tom and Beverly. Tom tells him what’s up, and then the Truly Eliminated Chefs come back in. It takes everything Ugly Chris has to not run over to Richie and give him the biggest bear hug ever. Or whatever they do. Richie says that Ugly Chris is “going to destroy it.” I doubt that’s the challenge, Richie. Tom’s like, “Whatever, assholes. There’s only week more week after this. So don’t fuck up.” Then Tom gets all Iron Chef on them and explains that there are mystery boxes, one now and more later, that contain ingredients that the chefs must incorporate. So it’s like Iron Chef meets the conveyor belt challenge from the episode before. You know, the one that Beverly almost won, and the one where Ugly Chris had foie gras and lobster but still lost. Regardless, they have 30 minutes. And there’s an assload of ingredients in the first box: marshmallows, pine nuts, parsnips, Saigon cinnamon, buttermilk, and lamb chops. Ugly Chris has no idea what to make. May I suggest milk steak?

Another mystery box appears, with radicchio inside. A final mystery box appears with 13 minutes left. And it’s white anchovies. Ugly Chris is less than amused. And…time’s up.

BEVERLY grilled lamb chop with parsnips, curry, radicchio, white anchovy vinaigrette.

UGLY CHRIS grilled lamp chop with a sweet purée, radicchio salad with pancetta, pine nuts, apple.

Tom finds it interesting that the two dishes are only subtly different. Really? Whatever, bro. Obviously they were both going to do lamb chops with some sort of salad situation. Because…what else? Anyway, Tom said that those subtle differences were in fact the decider, since one chef’s dish really came together, while the other…not so much. And it’s…Beverly who wins the challenge, although Tom does tell Ugly Chris that it was one of his best dishes. But he still lost. Awkward. Beverly says that her dream is coming true. Better get back to your vision board, girl.

NEXT WEEK The Alamo. Pee-Wee Herman. Bicycles. Pancakes. Lindsay clearly hates Pee-Wee Herman. Ed has no idea what the Alamo looks like. Grayson’s hand is motherfucking burning.

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