PREVIOUSLY Some random Whole Foods worker is the shit. Ugly Chris is apiphobic. Ed is an asshole to a child. And likely to everyone else as well. Dana Cowin lurrrves vodka. Tom hates chicken salad. But loves him some meatballs. Ugly Chris has to leave because his bread was dry. Then he loses to Beverly in Last Chance Kitchen. Bummer, dude.
BACK AT THE RANCH Grayson is missing her buddy Ugly Chris. We see Ed struggle to free himself from under his blanket and finally get out of bed, only to reveal that he has gone to sleep in a sport coat, button-up shirt, and shorts. He enters the living room as such and only receives a small percentage of the ridicule he deserves.
Lindsay starts talking about how her family considered disowning her for not choosing a more lucrative profession, but they ultimately came around. And probably starting buying lottery tickets.
QUICKFIRE CHALLENGE The chefs enter the kitchen to find Padma and a table stacked several feet high with pancakes and decorated with male Barbie dolls. Because…men with no genitals like pancakes? I’m not entirely sure. Padma takes on the difficult task of explaining to the chefs that they will be making pancakes for the Quickfire Challenge, as it is the favorite food of the guest judge. Grayson thinks it’s a child star. I hope it’s Kim Richards. Or the one from Different Strokes who isn’t dead. Instead, it’s Pee-Wee Herman, which is still moderately excellent. And the male Barbie dolls confuse me considerably less now.
After the chefs have overcome the initial shock of meeting such a superstar, Padma further explains that they will have 20 minutes to cook pancakes for Pee-Wee, and she encourages them to “let their imaginations run wild.” Then, Pee-Wee adds, “I love pancakes…I mean, I’m not gonna marry one…” Damn you, Pee-Wee! You took the words right out of my mouth.
Sarah’s inspiration is confetti cake, and she REALLY want to win because she needs some money so her fiancé won’t leave her for her wedding. Whatever, lady. Lindsay and Grayson both CLAIM that their parents would make them pancakes while they watched Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. It all sounds a bit suspicious to me. Coincidentally, they both seem to be making ricotta pancakes. And I’m pretty sure Lindsay calls Pee-Wee “special.” Ed is making burnt pancakes. Paul is making champagne dippin’ dots, which…pancakes, Paul! You totally smoked up before the challenge, didn’t you? Good luck with that. And just as everyone is freaking out about not finishing, time runs out. And they all finish.
GRAYSON ricotta buttermilk pancake, peach compote, blackberry, basil.
As he tastes her dish, Grayson says that Pee-Wee is making stroke-like faces, which…you totally never watched his show. He ALWAYS makes dumb faces!
SARAH confetti pancakes, blackberry sauce, cocoa nibs, vanilla whipped cream.
PAUL rolled pancake with berries, black pepper, champagne dippin’ dots.
LINDSAY ricotta pancake, whipped crème fraîche, marcona almonds, anise cookies.
ED pancake bits, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, bacon, brouléed marshmallow.
As Pee-Wee tastes each pancake, he tells everyone that theirs is the best pancake he has ever had. But whose was the really the best? Much to my chagrin, Pee-Wee likes Ed’s dish the most, and Ed wins his first Quickfire.
ELIMINATION CHALLENGE After that speedy Quickfire, Padma moves right into the Elimination Challenge and explains that the challenge will feature the Alamo, which also played a large part in the 1985 classic Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. So it’s like a product tie-in…27 years too late. Regardless, Pee-Wee explains that in his movie, his bicycle is stolen from him, and a psychic directs him to the basement of the Alamo to retrieve it. But when Pee-Wee finally makes it to the Alamo, he comes to find out that there’s no basement. Bummer, dude. But what does all of this exposition have to do with the challenge, you ask? Well, Padma tells the chefs that they need to cure Pee-Wee’s Alamo-induced PTSD. And that they will be doing so by making a family-style meal for Pee-Wee and the judges, and then delivering it to the Alamo. By bike. They also get a map and $100. But they don’t get to shop at Whole Foods or cook in the Top Chef kitchen. They have to cook in a random restaurant along the way from their house to the Alamo. And they can’t cook in the same restaurant at the same time. Oh, and they have 3 hours to do all of this. Ugh, this challenge is exhausting already.
Predictably, everyone’s all, “Balls.” And Ed’s Jaw tries to break away from his face.
But before they are released into the great wide open, the chefs do get 20 minutes to figure out what Pee-Wee likes. Besides pancakes, of course. Pee-Wee kind of likes everything, particularly chicken and egg salad. Damn, Grayson and Ugly Chris were just a little too eager to make those chicken salad sandwiches. They probably would’ve been a hit with Herman.
BACK AT THE RANCH The chefs get ready to leave. Ed is wearing one of those goddamned t-shirts again. I want him to leave, in large part because of those shirts. I know he had them all made for the show. Your contrived hipness is obnoxious, Edward Lee! At least Ty-Umlaut had the decency to leave and take his mustache and cuffed pants with him. Also, don’t search Ty-Umlaut’s real name unless you want to see his naked ass. Because it’s all over the internets.
INTO THE WILD After gearing up, the chefs go outside to find their new, shiny red Schwinn bikes. Lindsay says that she always used to make fun of her brother for having bikes and being a triathlete. Yeah, what an asshole, with his biking, and his running, and his swimming. Now she thinks she is being punished for being such a bitch to him. Presumably, by the triathlon gods.
Ed says that the group has decided to start at the farmers’ market nearby, but after that, it’s pretty much every man for himself. Seems reasonable. So I guess whoever leaves the farmers’ market first will have the first choice of restaurants, since they are presumably all going the same way. Or maybe they aren’t/some of them can’t read maps.
Paul and Grayson end up on the same path right next to each other. And they also seem to want to cook in the same restaurant, but Paul goes to the wrong door. He was probably jarred by inevitable manhole accident flashbacks and couldn’t think straight. So Grayson gets inside, and Paul has to leave, all pissed off. Luckily, he finds a good place to cook soon after.
Sarah is likely in the ‘unable to read maps’ category and has not yet found anywhere to cook. Lindsay finds some random little place called Madhatter’s, but isn’t thrilled with their pantry ingredients. Ed ends up at a bed & breakfast, which is a strange choice. The bed & breakfast kitchen is not super well-stocked, but Ed settles on chicken and grits. He also leaves his bike unlocked outside the bed & breakfast. Pee-Wee would lose his shit if he knew you did that, mister.
The restaurant where Grayson is cooking is a Mexican restaurant called Rosario’s, and while Grayson doesn’t cook a lot of Mexican food, she needs very few ingredients from the kitchen anyway. And as Grayson is prepping her dish, Lindsay comes in looking for some ingredients. Grayson’s all, “Day-um girl…” Lindsay leaves empty-handed and goes back to Madhatter’s Tea House.
Meanwhile, Sarah has found Madhatter’s and is in there before Lindsay gets back. Lindsay is PISSED but has to leave and find another place. There have to be a ton of places near the Alamo, given that it’s a major tourist attraction. And wouldn’t one want to find a restaurant as close to the Alamo as possible, so as not to have to transport the food very far? I mean, seriously, people.
With an hour and a half left, Lindsay finds a place called Frank’s Hog Stand (ha) and starts cooking there. At Madhatter’s, Sarah seems to be doing well, making a summer salad and fraternizing with one of the cooks. Check yourself before you wreck yourself, girl. And over at the King William Manor Bed & Breakfast, Ed is doing his dish, and then the dude who runs the place asks Ed to cook some eggs for a guest’s breakfast. Ed is a bit taken aback, but he does agree to cook them. Attaboy. Don’t be such a dick all the time. Over at La Frite Belgian Bistro, Paul is making a Thai salad, but worries that his dressing is too sweet and compensates with some quick pickles. At Rosario’s, Grayson pays the owner $20 for ingredients, and I’m pretty sure he checks it in the light to make sure it’s real. Ha. Apparently it is, and she gets ready to leave, only to realize that she will likely have to carry her hot dish in her hand to preserve the egg yolks. Yowzer.
The chefs are all heading back to the Alamo, where they also get 15 minutes to reheat and plate. Paul and Sarah end up next to each other, as do Lindsay and Grayson. Grayson’s hand is burning. But everyone makes it to the Alamo in time to reheat and plate.
Also arriving are the judges, and Pee-Wee starts discussing his culinary prowess with Tom, Gail, and Padma. Cheese balls and ice cream soup are mentioned.
Paul and Lindsay are both nervous about their dishes, but it doesn’t really matter, as time runs out, and the chefs make their way into the dining room to serve the judges.
SARAH soft-boiled egg, summer vegetable salad, chicken skin vinaigrette.
GRAYSON chicken breast stuffed with spinach, gorgonzola, and an egg yolk, roasted butternut squash, bacon vinaigrette.
LINDSAY roasted zucchini stuffed with braised beef cheeks and rice, goat cheese, pickled carrots and celery.
ED chicken and grits, raw corn, goat cheese, kale and okra salad, red-eye gravy.
PAUL roasted chicken, red curry gastrique, summer salad, basil blossom oil.
Sarah gets point for creativity, but Tom points out that her eggs had no seasoning. Lindsay’s zucchini-beef cheek combination is well-received, but her greens were weighed down by goat cheese and excessive dressing. Pee-Wee likes it, though. Because the zucchini look like boats. That makes me think of Captain Carl. RIP, Captain Carl.
Moving on, Ed’s chicken is a little too underdone for Pee-Wee and Tom. Grayson’s stuffed chicken is good, but her salad seems unnecessary. Pee-Wee also has some sort of egg yolk-related PTSD, which, I guess, works against her. Paul’s dish is well-received as a whole, although it is a little on the sweet side. The judges try to out-joke Pee-Wee, but Pee-Wee lobs an “infinity” at them, so it’s all over.
The Stew Room is especially somber and tense, as no one has any idea who will be going home. It seems like it could be almost any of them, except maybe Paul. Padma comes in and tells them that all of them are needed. Throw me a bone here, Padma!
The judges start asking each person how they thought they did. Everyone gets mostly praise, with only minor criticisms here and there. But who comes out on top? It’s Lindsay! Because Pee-Wee likes boats. Paul is also safe. So it’s down to Ed, Grayson, and Sarah for elimination. Ed’s ass better go home. And his Jaw. After an unknown amount of deliberation, the judges call Sarah, Grayson, and Ed back in to face them, where they announce that it is Grayson who is going home. Sad trombone.
Then, after Grayson leaves, Padma comes back into the Stew Room and is all, “Get the fuck back in here, you ninnies!” Tom breaks the news about Last Chance Kitchen to them. And then my DVR stopped…
LAST CHANCE KITCHEN Do we really need a montage of everything Beverly and Grayson have ever said and done on Top Chef? No. No, we don’t. Although America does need to be reminded how bitchy and condescending Heather and Sarah are. Anyway, Grayson gets her note and meets Beverly and Tom in the kitchen. Beverly shows a brother some love, and then Tom gets to his explanations. Grayson just laughs at him and thinks that Tom is fucking with her. Tom’s all, “Bitch, please. I would not wake up at 6am just for shits and giggles.” Tom continues laying down the law and explains that their challenge is to “create a dish worthy of the finale” in 30 minutes. Lame. I want to see that challenge where they taste shit blindfolded. Regardless, the clock starts, and the chefs begin conceptualizing. Grayson decides to go the scallop route, while Beverly chooses snapper. Nyesha wants Beverly to win, but really only because Beverly beat her, and Nyesha is hoping for the consolation championshiop or something. Ty-Umlaut likes Grayson, but only because she’s basically a dude. Beverly asks Grayson why she got eliminated, and Grayson’s all, “Uhh…fuck off?” Chuy reminds me how much I hate his voice. The clock runs down to nothing, and the editors try to make me think that the chefs just barely got their shit on the plate. Then Tom walks back in to taste some seafood, apparently at 6am. Yummy.
BEVERLY red snapper, coconut broth infused with lemongrass, ginger, thai basil, and cilantro, fennel mango salad.
GRAYSON bacon seared scallop, gastrique of cherry and champagne grapes, pistachio, tarragon.
Tom thinks that Beverly’s dish is a little on the sweet side, but that the snapper was perfectly cooked. Grayson’s scallop was also beautifully cooked, although the butter burned a tiny bit with the searing. Then Tom starts talking about soul, and says that the person whose dish had the most soul is the winner. Yeah, yeah, yeah, spit it out, Colicchio. But he doesn’t. Instead we have to wait until next week’s episode. Weak sauce. Just. Tell. Me.
NEXT WEEK The chefs place bets on who is coming back. Bets involving cigarettes and bananas. The Last Chance Kitchen victor may or may not be inside a cloche. Ed is pissy. Paul is good at cracking his knuckles.