As the men point out at the beginning of the episode, "Top Chef: Texas" is looking like a female-dominated season. "Top Chef" is in its ninth season and there has only been one female winner, Stephanie from Season 4.
I'm not a crazy feminist. I like my bras, I want men to hold the door open for me and I like spending less money on a Saturday night because a fella bought me a drink. But if the old adage is "a woman's place is in the kitchen," why haven't there been more female winners on "Top Chef"? Maybe I'm still bitter that Carla never won, but hopefully this year will usher in a second female at the top.
This week's Quickfire Challenge seems kind of simple to a mere peon like myself. The cheftestants have to make one of five different classic "mother sauces." The challenge leaves Grayson open to making two incredible cheesy references to feeling "saucy." I felt embarrassed, because she actually says the pun aloud, and I also felt embarrassed for myself because I called the challenge "saucy" while sitting alone in my basement. Sometimes I judge people just so I don't have to judge myself.
Quickfires like this are why I love "Top Chef." The chefs get so competitive over sauce. You didn't make a roux Paul? That Béchamel tastes like a Hollandaise Dakota. Seriously? Forget "Terra Nova," when I want to watch an escapism show, I turn on "Top Chef."
In the end, Ms. Saucy herself, Grayson, won the quickfire and immunity.
The Elimination Challenge
This season takes place in Texas, so inevitably one of the challenges would somehow incorporate "Dallas." I thought they would bring back the cast and talk about the premiere of the new "Dallas" which already has a season pass on my DVR. What? Screw Jesse Metcalfe, Patrick Duffy is my man. Not only is he Bobby Ewing, but he is also Frank Lambert, and still mighty fine.
With all of these great expectations, I was a little let down when the challenge simply took place at Southfork Ranch; however it's a tough challenge. The chefs have to cook a four-course steak dinner for 200 guests at the annual Cattle Baron Ball that benefits the American Cancer Society. The main catch is that every steak — all 200 — must be cooked medium rare.
As a waitress for about 10 years, I can let you know, that is never going to happen. Ever. But Ty-Lör, who is slowly becoming an actual character instead of just a man with a mustache and a funny name, steps up to the plate and takes charge of cooking the steaks.
During their prep work, we get to see how much Heather dislikes Beverly. I am not Beverly's biggest fan. I mean, the woman cried during a rodeo, but she doesn't deserve Heather's belittlement, especially when Heather is reusing Ed's recipe for a cake she made two episodes ago.
In the middle of all their bickering, poor Ty slices his finger while prepping one of the steaks he has to grill tomorrow. Like a pro, he wraps it up and just keeps working. The steaks are supposed to be bloody, anyway. (Gross, sorry I went there.) He goes to the emergency room after time is up in the kitchen. He receives four stitches, and a quick education on how long it takes to have minor injuries cared for at an ER.
As the challenge begins, there is no real leader, and everyone is trying to cover their own butts. It is easy to see where the weak spots are. Whitney's Potatoes Gratin is not looking good, and it is 116 degrees outside — the last thing anyone wants to eat is a cheesy potato. Ed is too busy trying to organize people so he's slacking on his dish. Ty decides to half-grill/half-broil his steaks, which is apparently a major no-no.
The Ball begins and the outfits are phenomenal. There is fringe, tassels, rhinestones, medallions, ruffles and cowboy hats galore. It's so amazing that I feel as if I died, and heaven is Dollywood.
The first course is a gazpacho that really flies under the radar. It's not overwhelming, a decent way to start off a heavy meal, but it's nothing spectacular. It is basically a safe way for Beverly, Dakota and Sarah to hold on for one more challenge.
The second course is Ed's steak salad. The judges love the steak and hate the salad.
The third dish, the main course, flops. Everything about it other than Nyesha's butter and sauce (hey, that Quickfire came in handy!) goes wrong. The steaks are cooked too early, and they aren't all a regulated temperature. Whitney's gratin is undercooked and raw at some points. This goes wrong fast and all the chefs involved in this course know that they will likely be on the wrong side of the judges' table tonight.
The dessert receives raves, for the third time this season. Is the "Top Chef" dessert curse is over? Dessert used to be the Achilles heal of every chef.
In fact, the judges enjoy the dessert so much, that they named Heather, the cake baker, the winner of not only the challenge, but of a new Toyota! Ed's eyes roll when Heather enters the stew room asking anyone if they want a ride is priceless.
To no one's surprise, Ed, Ty and Whitney are called to the judges table for their lackluster meal. Each person admirably takes responsibility for their dishes' failings. There's a bit of back and forth between the chefs and the judges, but you can see that Chef Tom seriously hates Whitney's gratin. Tom tells Whitney that she was "playing it safe and you still messed up," and that just not tolerable for a Top Chef. Not only is Whitney told to pack up her knives and go, but her mentor Hugh Acheson does nothing to help her stay.
So Top Cheffers, what did you think of this week's episode? Do you expect Ty-Lör to twirl his mustache at any moment? Are you excited about the females this season? Who do you most want to see kicked off during next week's double elimination? Leave your comments below!Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun