Team Top Chef

The chefs leave the drama in Dallas behind to cook for those that have inspired them in Austin.

Dec 21, 20110

(Sorry, just had to get a random Gilmore Girls reference in the title -- even if the spelling is different.)

Hello, tweethearts! Thank you all for your comments on last week's recap -- both complimentary and not-so-complimentary. I asked for arguments, and I got them! I don't want to dwell on the last episode because, well, I don't think any good will become of that, so let's move on to Austin, shall we?

This week's Quickfire was pretty awesome. Since I obviously work in Bravo's digital department and work closely with our social media peeps (I tweet from @BravoTopChef often.) I was psyched to see it used so innovatively in the challenge. Like Tom said, we always get a ton of ideas for challenges, and this was a chance to use them. Seeing Tom on his iPhone calling out tweets made me giggle. The first selected instruction was to use bacon. Yes! Love bacon. My editors actually bought me bacon floss for Chanukah (which I think might defeat the purpose of using floss, but whatever.) Next, the chefs are instructed to make a hash, and finally hand one of their competitors a random ingredient. This cracked me up. "You take sriracha!" "No, you take sriracha!" if it's one thing i've learned over nine seasons, it's that chefs love sriracha. I think the chefs handled their ngredients pretty well. Ultimately, my man Paul Qui came out on top. His use of seemingly unrelated ingredients showed a real confidence -- he did anything but play it safe.

Let's talk about Paul Qui for a moment. We learn on the car ride over to Austin that he used to sell weed. Whaaa?!?! Although maybe that explains his calm demeanor -- har har -- I honestly would never have guessed that in a million years, but I'm glad he stopped doing that and turned his energy into something productive. We also learn that Heather has a crush on John Besh (who doesn't?), and that Chris needs to go to the gym.

18 comments
Carolina girl
Carolina girl

Loved this episode!! Loved seeing Patti LaBelle singing a favorite song from my childhood !!! Another great part was Heather leaving !!!!

AdamH.
AdamH.

Missed this episode when it orginally aired, but just finished the repeat airing. Just have to say LOVE Patti Lebelle! She is so amazing! What an icon to have as a guest judge and to have her sing for them-what an honor. I believe that karma is a bitch and it does always come around. I'm glad that Sarah won! Her food looked amazing and her story of her grandparents that inspired her was heartfelt and touching.

Yolanda Romero
Yolanda Romero

I am a faithful viewer of Top Chef. Of course being from Houston I was disappointed that the show did not come to my City. A lot of Houstonians were upset also and asked that we boycott Top Chef. Being a Fan I couldnt stop from watching the show except for the episode featuring Patti LaBelle. I dont know how many viewers heard about the incident that happen involving Ms. LaBelle's brutal staff and a West Point Cadet at a Houston Airport. He was severly beaten for no reason. Since that incident her staff has been involved in another incident. I hate that Bravo allowed episode to be aired.

Ryan S.
Ryan S.

Since you work in the digital department - perhaps you could ask your web colleagues to adjust the way the last chance kitchen videos are displayed. Sometimes we don't get to watch the latest episode of Top Chef before a new one comes on. So when we go to watch the latest last chance kitchen video after finishing a regular episode, there's a major spoiler there waiting to show us who lost the last episode. It really kills watching the show when you already know who gets kicked off. I hope you can get this fixed. Thanks.

Kelly K.
Kelly K.

Does anyone know what prize Sarah won in this challenge?

kris kris
kris kris

OMG, your Different World mention is hi-LAR-ious. Chipmunk and prune cobbler. I can't believe someone else remembers that!

Pal6860
Pal6860

Thanks, Monica for your blog. Always nice to hear the perspective of someone in the upper ranks of Bravo! Great show. Poetic Justice. Karma? I don't know, but absolutely brilliant poetic justice. Heather's food has NOT been impressive, and has been called out or criticized in many of the previous episodes. In fact she only got compliments twice (that I can recall), any they were both for Ed's cake! I am a huge fan of rustic farm to table American, but CLEARLY, Heather is not the one to make it . She spent more time hyperinflating her low ego by putting down others, than in cooking soulful food. Beverly, on the other hand, has had much higher highs, and shown that she is a wonderful chef. I'm sure Heather is a good chef too (otherwise she wouldn't be in the show), but bullying in ANY arena is unacceptable and vomitously disgusting to watch. Poetic Justice. Heather lost on her own poor cooking skills, and Beverly was in the top three (twice!) on her own great cooking skills. It's a miracle that heather didn't cause bev to lose last week!

Hickory
Hickory

What an exciting and unexpected outcome for this week's episode -- as well as for Last Chance Kitchen. It was great to see Emeril back as a judge, but I miss Gail terribly. It looks like she'll be back for the next episode though, so I am looking forward to her thoughtful judging and The Most Dazzling Smile On TV.

Last Chance Kitchen: Nyesha wowed me on several levels, but particularly in her decision to compete with a dessert. This was an incredibly bold move, and it's so lovely when those risks pay off. And what added to the bravery of Nyesha's strategy is that Heather won a CAR a few weeks ago for a dessert. And it may be because Heather's precipitous fall from a top contender a few weeks ago to her massive failure this week was so prominent, but Nyesha seemed more focused and confident in this week's LCK than I ever remember seeing before her elimination from the main show. She met her goal of "shutting up" Heather and also gave many TC fans an extremely satisfying sendoff of Heather's distracting critical obsessions over Beverly.

Also about Heather: Heather was an extremely competent competitor prior to last week's episode and I could have seen her going all the way this season. She won a car for baking a cake at a steak dinner -- that is no small feat. Her earlier triumphs made her missteps on this week's episode all the more surprising. And of course, this is why TC makes for such excellent television.

And how sweet is Ty-Lör? Toward the end when he made the comment about the people who inspired their cooking only wanting them to be happy as opposed to wildly successful, I teared up.

The preview for next week's episode has me very freaked out. What the hell is going to happen with Sarah? It looks way more frightening than a sliced finger.

IAMSOBZ
IAMSOBZ

Bacon floss ... for CHANUKAH!?!

Reminds me of an episode of another show where they were at what they called "a traditional Jewish wedding" while the visual was a shrimp dish being served.

Viewer
Viewer

what comes around goes around can i get an AMEN sista!

@dlcooperingb
@dlcooperingb

Better than last week (less drama = better) but I do have 2 requests. Please keep the "personality edits" to the interstitials, that time listening to Heather pick Besh over 5K could've been used to show more cooking, or more time spent hearing the judges' thoughts. Secondly, as Bravo/NBC has decided that "the video is not available in (my) area", could you add a recap of the Last Chance Kitchen battles to your blog? Thanks

Karim
Karim

although I loved the bacon challenge, I think Christina's idea (added bacon in the middle of the challenge) would have been awesome!!!

Wish I could have tried Ed's dish - wouldn't bacon be great with that? Simple rocks!

gro
gro

Heather got beaten twice!! Yay!!

juliaxxx
juliaxxx

With Heather gone the drama is also gone. Now we can watch the cooking only good, but not as much fun. I would have like to see and hear Beverly and Heather go at it a little more.

Madison57
Madison57

Hmm got bounced. Sooooo, Happy Holidays and Karma is.

ALAN
ALAN

LOVE PATTIE!

Christina
Christina

I wish they would have had the bacon tweet in the middle so they would have had to improve the dish with bacon proving bacon makes things better. It was an awesome idea, it is always nice to feel like the viewer matters.

PaulainVA
PaulainVA

Enjoyed the mentor quickfire challenge, but, to be honest, Twitter leaves me a little cold. I understand it is topical, but most tweets I see are beyond boring and banal. Loved La Belle, and she is clearly knowledgeable about her food.