Welcome back my little Bubblers to Week 2 of Top Chef: Texas, and the final episode to determine the final 16 cheftestants who will compete in the rest of the season, both on-air and online… but more on that later!
Before Padma and co. moved on to the Bubble group, there was a third group of chefs chomping at the bit to compete. Their challenge was to divide the ingredients offered among them, each cooking with different things. There was a funny moment where Andrew and Ashley (who I shall refer to as Avril Lavigne because I thought there was a serious resemblance there) actually rock, paper, scissored for the mushrooms. Andrew won that battle. Would have been interesting to see what Avril would’ve made with them. She got oxtail, and ultimately goes home, but not before making me incredibly nervous that she'd knock someone's eye out with the lid of her pressure cooker. Seriously, chefs, learn how to use a pressure cooker before you get ot the Top Chef kitchen. Might be up there with learning how to make desserts.
The first group presents their dishes. Paul Qui has what Tom said is his favorite dish of the group. Hugh calls it “precise.” Paul gets a coat! Is he adorable, or is it just me?
Anyway, Kim gets sent home with overcooked lamb. As does Berenice with an underwhelming short rib dish.
Chaz, from NYC's Fatty Crab goes home. He actually doesn’t even get his risotto on the plate. I wonder what would’ve happened had he just brought out the whole platter with his cooked risotto. Since he didn’t plate the food I don’t think it would’ve mattered, but I’d be interested to have seen it. Chaz may have gone home, but he had my favorite line of the show. As his heat introduced themselves, they all proclaimed their culinary achievements, James Beard nominations, etc. When the judges got to Chaz he said, "...I was nominated by my mom as one of her two favorite sons." Tom laughed, I laughed. Sorry to see you go, Chaz! I was ready for Chaz to become the Tom Haverford of Top Chef: Texas "Padma, you cut me, deep, boo," but alas, Chaz was sent home.Andrew Curren finds himself on the bubble, and Jonathan goes home for Brussels sprouts. I love Brussels sprouts, so I found his poor cookery to be a personal affront.
Lindsay makes it through with a dish that caused Tom to be the most animated I think I've ever seen him. You could tell he really loved it. He was also awakened by Beverly's octopus dish. Although it was a little tough, the flavors are exciting enough to get her a coat.
Now on to the Bubble group. I don't think we've ever seen so much stewing in the Stew Room. I was beyond amused by the seemingly mystical nature of all things Bubble. The chefs had no idea what lurked outside the Bublbe Room. They were like Felicity trapped in that weird black and white cell a la The Twilight Zone. Remember that episode? Edward Lee was Mayor Cranky. I feared for the other chefs' lives because Edward seemed to be about one comment away from killing them all. Thankfully, they were released and ready to cook for the final two spots. Can you imagine if Edward had been forced to stay in that room and not be able to cook?! Thank G-d that didn't happen. Note to Magical Elves: Find Edward some fun games to play in the Stew Room!
Anyway, the Bubble chefs are literally allowed to cook whatever they want, and most of them opt for seafood. Edward notices that trend and opts for duck, and guess what? He makes it through!! The only criticism of his dish was that his duck was overcooked. Well, I've said this before, but I like my duck a little over. There are "rules" about how certain meats should be served, and most people say duck should be medium rare. Well, when I spoke to Jacques Pepin a couple of seasons ago, he said he likes his cooked cooked. And that just made me feel better about life. See how I dropped that I've spoken to Jacques Pepin before! Sigh. One of the greatest moments of my careers, so Edward, you're forgiven in my eyes.
Oh, I almost forgot -- Edward cut himself! Like, really, really badly. Blood was insane. But he wrapped that thing up and kept on truckin', which shows he's there to compete! Grayson kills it with bacon-wrapped shrimp with fig. I have to say I thought Grayson's dish was absolutely gorgeous. I mean, those colors! Tom commented that the fig is what made the dish interesting. I wonder how often that chain rule works in cooking. If fig works with bacon and bacon works with shrimp, then fig would be great on a bacon and fig dish. Hmmm… seems to me that it will absolve me from some of the grosser snack combinations I've ever tried.
Molly goes ome with overcooked shrimp. Sorry, Molly!
That leaves Andrew and Janine. And both were cut. I have to say Janine's story about being broken up over the phone after nine years made me feel horrible, and I was kind of pulling for Andrew. When he told him that he took Hugh's advice to cook with confidence, my heart melted.
But, don't feel too badly for these two because there's a twist! The ultimate twist! They'll both be competing in our new online series Last Chance Kitchen! Watch them duke it out in the first challenge HERE. So good luck to those two!! P.s. In case you were wondering what fregula pasta in Andrew's dish was (I was), Wikipedia explains it here.
Sooo, now the competition really begins. We have our 16 chefs and we have a preview of next week's first real challenge. Until next week, Have a Nosh!