I remember when the the Top Chef Twitter account was asking for fan suggestions for the quickfire challenge in this episode. I was wondering how it would play out in an episode and when it would air, but in case anyone thinks it didn’t actually happen, they did ask for suggestions on Twitter.
Beverly was still a bit upset about Heather over the last two episodes. She thought that some people might perceive her humbleness as a weakness. She did really believe in karma and thought it was a strong force in the world. Foreshadowing!
The chefs learned they were moving onto Austin. Paul said he had to represent his city well. On the road trip over, there was much joking around about Chris C.’s nickname of Malibu. Grayson said it was because he was beautiful and really concerned about his hair.
After the chefs were in Austin, they came into the kitchen to find Tom standing next to Padma, which made everyone nervous. Padma commented about technology being big in the city so they would be taking the next challenge from tweet suggestions to the Top Chef twitter account. The first tweet they liked said, “Everyone always says bacon makes it better. I want to see the chefs finally prove it.” They had 45 minutes to cook a dish with bacon in it. After the chefs started cooking, Tom asked for a twist on Twitter. Padma and him decided on “Do a hash for a #hashtag challenge.” They made the chefs add hash as one component of their bacon dish. The final twist they decided on was “chefs choose a pantry ingredient and hand it off to another chef that must use it in their dish.” Some chefs were handed lemon, maple syrup and Sriracha.
Tom was confused about why she called it a puff when it was really like a mousse. He can tell she tried to add bacon to the puff, but ended up with the random strip of bacon over the top. The dish wasn’t successful.
The scallop was well cooked and he incorporated bacon into it nicely, but the dish was really, really salty.
Edward burned the hash, so it was really bitter and it threw the whole dish off.
Middle of the Road
Tom thought she did a really nice job. She had a subtle piece of pork belly that had a lot of flavor.
It was really subtle. It did not have ton of bacon in it, but enough to give some smokiness. The fritter was also nicely fried.
Tom said it was a really unusual dish. He said none of the components should work together, but they really did. Tom picked him as the overall winner. Paul did not get immunity, but he did win $10,000.
The chefs were sent to a small club where Patti LaBelle came out and sang for them. After she sang, Padma joined her and told the chefs that Patti would be a guest judge. They would be creating dishes at a dinner party the next night. They had to create a dish to honor their inspiration for deciding to start cooking.
While making food, Beverly decided to use a pressure cooker since she used it in the quickfire on the pork belly and it worked really well. Heather discovered her meat was really spongy, but she didn’t want to use the pressure cooker since she used it in the last challenge and it make her duck legs stringy. She put her meat in the oven, hoping it would braise it enough. She knew her meat was not good. Chris ran into a problem searing his salmon too quickly. It had some fatty white substance that he tried to scrape off and he hoped no one would notice.
Emeril Lagasse joined Tom, Padma and Patti at dinner. They also were eating with Patti’s friends Nadine and John.
Chris’ inspiration was his grandmother, who raised him. He said growing up, he had steak and potatoes every Friday. Emeril really liked the idea, but he wouldn’t have used A-1 in the demiglace. Patti found the meat tender and the vegetables were excellent. Nadine thought the presentation was excellent.
Heather said her mom was an amazing cook. She said she was the queen of one-pot meals. Emeril said he couldn’t tell what cut of meat she used. Patti said she thought she was eating Bigfoot. Emeril said it was like bad hotel food.
His grandma used to make adobo once or twice a week. It was the first thing she taught him how to cook. Tom said he liked the use of mango and herbs in the dish. Patti said she was not a quail girl. She never got to the rice since the quail knocked her out. I have no idea what that means.
Sarah was concerned that her dish didn’t look fancy enough, especially compared to Paul who was presenting at the same time. Her inspiration was her grandparents. She said her grandma makes stuffed cabbage every year and her grandpa makes sausage to this day. Patti said the browned butter made it a little sweet but she liked it. Tom said she did a great job with clean flavors. He had expected the stuffed cabbage to be heavy, but it was really nice. He said whoever taught her how to make the dish deserved a hug and kiss since it was a nice bit of cooking.
Her mom was her inspiration. She grew up eating brased short ribs. John said the meat was so tender. Patti agreed it was really good. Tom said he was sure her mom did not present it like she did, but the essence was there. It had texture, flavor and color. What more could you ask for in a dish.
His uncle inspired him to use fresh fish. Patti loved the carrot puree, but found the fish was uninspiring. Tom said he was not a fan of carrot puree since it didn’t taste like carrot, but a bunch of other things. He was not a fan of the dish since too much was going on. He could also tell the salmon was cooked too quickly.
Both of her grandmothers were her inspiration with one being Greek and one being Southern. Patti thought the roe was very much like caviar. Emeril loved the crispiness of the trout and he loved the roe, but it had too much butter.
His grandmother was his inspiration so he made a humble Korean dish as a tribute. Nadine said she was allergic to eggs, but loved his dish. She found it authentic. Emeril said the dish played right into the story of his grandma.
Her parents were her inspiration as well as Wisconsin. She said she knew it was a big cut of meat but that’s how she learned to do it in Wisconsin. Tom said it was probably a dish she had every Saturday night growing up. Patti said it could feed a family of 20. Tom responded that it could be an appetizer in Wisconsin. Nadine said her cut was very stringy. John agreed saying it was gristly.
His inspiration was his Japanese nanny who used to make panko crusted chicken tenders. Patti thought it was beautiful and Tom said his nanny would be proud of him.
The judges confused the chefs by calling in the losers first so the remaining chefs thought they were all winners. Grayson, Heather and Chris C. were called in and told their tributes fell flat.
Padma commented that the beef was sinewy and spongy. They also all talked about the meat cut being too big. Grayson said that the huge plate was how they eat in Wisconsin. Tom said she could have used how she used to eat as a starting point and then move the dish into a modern direction. Grayson said she took the challenge literally and she shouldn’t have.
Tom said he could tell Chris seared the salmon too fast. Padma said the white layer was unappealing. Emeril said the flavors were really overpowering. There were too many herbs and they were too big. Patti said she loved the potatoes but the salmon was too basic.
Tom told Heather that her meat not very good and then the dish went awry from there. Padma said the dumplings were dry, chewy and overcooked. Patti said both Heather and Grayon’s meat were too hard to cut. Heather said she second guessed herself and was afraid to use the pressure cooker. Tom said that Beverly used it and she was not in the room.
Beverly, Sarah and Edward all gave beautiful dishes with a lot of soul. They were fitting tributes to their inspiration. Patti told Edward that she loved the mushroom in the dish. It reminded her of meat. The presentation was beautiful. Tom told Beverly that everything in her dish had a purpose. It was a beautiful dish. Emeril said Sarah showed a lot of technique in her dish and the whole thing worked. Sarah was picked as the overall winner.
The losers were called back in. Tom told Chris that he had too many ingredients and he seared the salmon too quickly. Grayson was told she needed to push more and give above and beyond. Heather knew she had to rework the dish, but she didn’t fix the mistake when she realized it. Heather was told to pack her knives.
Last Chance Kitchen
It was Heather versus Nyesha. Nyesha was not a Heather fan so she was thrilled to see her walk through the door. Heather kept giggling while Tom was explaining what was going on, which drove Nyesha crazy. They were told to make a dish that used three techniques: frying, injecting and foaming. The previous chefs came into the kitchen when they started cooking. When they were asking tons of questions and it was distracting Heather. Nyesha decided she was going to make a dessert since she hadn’t made dessert in the competition yet. Heather was having problems with the foam since she had never made it before. Heather managed to get some of her injection juice on some of Nyesha’s dough. It didn’t affect Nyesha, but she thought it was Heather’s way to messing with her.
Tom said it was a good dessert, but the foam was a little heavy.
Tom said he loves the combo of chantrelles and corn so he was excited to see it in her dish. He didn’t think the combination of goat cheese and prawns worked.
Tom found the Heather’s shrimp overcooked, so he picked Nyesha as the winner. She would continue to be the reigning champ.
- Heather actually behaved herself in the episode and didn’t attack Beverly. Did she get it out of her system or did karma get her?
- What did you think about the Twitter challenge?
- What was up with the bad meat from both Grayson and Heather?
Photos: Bravo TV