It's a pretty well known fact that I want to go out drinking with the “Top Chef” contestants. Whenever the cheftestants are in the stew room or come back tired and beat from an elimination challenge, I want to jump through my TV and pound some pinot with them. So when this week’s show opened with them drinking in their hotel room, I had a very good feeling about this episode.
Chef Tim “Tough” Love is the special guest at this week’s Quickfire Challenge. He is a “Top Chef Masters” contestant, and a lover of tequila. I think Ed sums it up best when he says, “Tim Love and tequila sounds like a great way to spend the morning!”
The thought of this challenge makes me a little uncomfortable because, honestly, I don’t know how tequila would ever make a dish taste better. Then again, I am not a great judge of “good” tequila. I’m pretty sure the last shot of tequila I took was at a place called the Bungalow Bar. Everyone thought it was a great idea to drink the rack tequila bottle named El Torro. Warm. No limes. No salt.
Please feel free to judge me.
Apparently tequila and shellfish go hand-in-hand because the winning dish is Ty’s steamed clams in Thai caramel sauce that's infused with tequila. I guess this is one of those times where you have to taste the dish in order to grasp its greatness because I am at a loss.
Ty really needed this win to boost his confidence. He does not receive immunity, but he does get $5,000.
The cheftestants are split into pairs, and they have to cook one course in a game meat (meat from animals usually hunted for sport) challenge for a table filled with chefs who specialize in game meat. Basically, you’re stuck cooking tough meat with the guy behind you.
Game meat is already difficult to cook. But since this is “Top Chef,” Padma makes two announcements that make this elimination challenge more dramatic.
First, the other cheftestants will taste every dish and then vote on which teams will be in the bottom three.
Second, the entire team with the losing dish will go home. That’s right — we’ve got a double elimination on our hands.
The teams are split perfectly. I get so frustrated when they split into teams, because usually all that comes from team challenges is passive-aggressive remarks and a lot of eye rolling; that is not the case tonight.
Of the teams, five work cohesively, and the sixth team is Heather and Bev. Need I say more?
Heather’s hatred for Bev comes through every time she opens her mouth. Her snide remarks aside, she keeps on referring to their duck dish as two separate entities. Everything is “my duck” or “I’m doing this.” Heather needs to stop worrying about “her” dish and its components, and start thinking about “their” dish as a whole.
Though Heather and Bev cause the most drama in the kitchen, some of the other chefs are hitting their own road blocks.
Chris J. and Grayson need to cook elk. We all know Chris is a little out there. Hairstyle choices aside, he made that cigar appetizer two challenges ago that looked cool, but very unappetizing. This time around he wants to make Lincoln logs of sweet potatoes, or at least that’s what I got from his weird explanation. Grayson says it best when she admits, “Chris Jones does a lot of crazy stuff, and I … don’t.” She puts faith is her partner, but the signs of failure are apparent.
Team Nyesha and Dakota have to cook venison, but that's OK, because Dakota swears she has experience cooking the meat; however, it has been a while. Nyesha has faith in her teammate’s ability and takes on cooking every other component of the plate. Dakota always looks like she is on the verge of tears, so I don’t know if she can handle the pressure of cooking the main component of the dish. It seems Nyesha realizes that a little too late.
The other teams’ dishes, Lindsay and Handsome Chris’ boar and Paul and Sarah’s squab, have minor glitches, but they ably fly under the radar.
Ed and Ty’s quail is the clear front-runner. Ty is coming off of a Quickfire win and Ed has a game meat night at his restaurant twice per year. These two find out they win directly after the challenge and get to walk away with $5,000 apiece.
The deliberation between the chefs over which three teams will face the judges table is all-around awkward. Everyone is squirming and sitting quietly while avoiding eye contact. The end result is that Teams Elk, Duck and Venison will face elimination.
Chris J. and Dakota are the obvious weak links on their teams and both fully admit it.
Heather proceeds to blame her appearance at judges table on the jealousy of the other chefs because she won last week, and that the only reason “her” dish was lacking is because of Bev’s performance from the previous challenge. Heather’s out to crush the soul of a woman, whose only flaw to date is that she is sensitive. For God’s sake, Heather, you won last week! Who gives a crap about how long it took Bev to peel shrimp? Another day, another challenge. Move on.
Blaming your teammate for all failures of a dish will not help you in a double elimination. At the end of the day you will be going home, too.
I think that Heather should go home for being, well, a word I can’t type because my mother reads this blog. Unfortunately this is a cooking competition and not a popularity contest. Nyesha and Dakota are sent packing because the undercooked venison is too much to overlook.
So there you have it, Top Cheffers! Do you think Heather has fully embraced the title of “villain” this season? Did you want to give Bev a hug? Does anyone else want to get boozy with the cast of “Top Chef?” Leave your comments below!