leave your inhibitions at the door
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I was away and my brother didn’t have Bravo on his cable plan, so I wasn’t able to watch Episode 4 until I got back home. Not that I would’ve been able to write on Thursday, with all the cooking and football watching to be done.
First, a little housekeeping – In my Week 3 recap, I may have overstepped some boundaries in a couple readers’ eyes by saying that Sarah was fat, ugly, and catty. I thought it was interesting that saying Lindsay looked like a penis was fair game, but saying that Sarah’s actions were a result of her physical appearance or that her weight defined her was insensitive. I apologize for my ignorance and offer this clarification – she’s fat and ugly but it’s her bitchiness that makes her catty. Better?
Quickfire Challenge – Make a dish using a hot pepper
This was interesting. The contestants had to use a hot pepper, with the winnings increasing with the hotness of the peppers. The challenge here is balancing the desire to cook something delicious with the desire for the most money possible. I love hot food but over time have come to appreciate subtlety and discretion when using heat. Way back in the day I used to get the hottest chicken wings available – often sauces that weren’t on menus. But it was after a few times where toilet paper actually caught fire the next day that I decided to hold back.
Richie’s Fresno slaw with pineapple curd and seared scallops was voted one of the worst. I guess his presentation and innovation couldn’t overcome the flavor. That’s too bad, because I didn’t think that the three top ones were very interesting. The three chosen as the best for the challenge were Grayson for her habanero popper, Heather for her couscous with Thai chili, and Paul’s coconut soup with the Ghost pepper. The winner was Paul, although one of the Chrises also did a coconut soup. So his dish wasn’t really that unique – even less of a stretch considering Paul works in Asian restaurants. He could very well have hit a home run with it, but I wonder if his choosing the hottest pepper gave him an advantage with the judges.
Elimination Challenge – Chili cookoff
The chefs were split up into teams of three and were given a whole day to make enough chili for 200 people at the Tejas Rodeo. Those cowboys and staff voted on the best and worst chili. As the best chili takes a long time to make, we got to see them make it through the night. The combination of no sleep and/or getting schnockered made for some fun times at the mansion. Best of all, we were almost treated to the hot tub scene I’ve been predicting when Nyesha did a somersault into the pool. Here’s how they did:
– Red Team – Whitney, Chris J, and Dakota made a braised brisket and shortrib. The flavor was described as excellent, but the stringy texture was not good.
– Black Team – Beverly, Nyesha, and Richie went for it and made a non-traditional, mole-inspired chili with cornbread. Nyesha has definite skills to go very far in the competition and she was rightfully concerned having these two as teammates. Beverly still hasn’t gotten out of her Asian comfort zone, and Richie is great on presentation and innovation, but flavors have eluded him.
– Blue Team – Edward, Heather, and Paul made a smoked brisket chili with summer pickles (peaches, haricot vert, radishes) and pork rinds.
– White Team – Ty-lor, Penishead, and Grayson made a three bean and beef chili with poblano cornbread. They beat us over the head with the “Texas chili doesn’t have beans” thing, so it seems like they were set-up to lose.
– Green Team – Sarah, Chuy, and Chris C made a classic chili with beef chuck, Shiner bock beer, and roasted corn garnish.
The winner – The Green team. It wasn’t really a surprise since it was a whole bunch of “regular folk” choosing it. Since they weren’t a bunch of chefs judging them, of course the traditional crowd-pleaser would win.
Bonus Challenge – Repurposing the losing chili.
The losing team was the Black team. Each of them were sent to the kitchen one more time to use the chili and make it into something completely different:
– Beverly – seared Ahi tuna with habanero creamed corn and reduced chili sauce.
– Nyesha – Frito encrusted black tiger shrimp with roasted corn salsa.
– Richie – Frito encrusted pork tenderloin, potato hash, ricotta cheese chili puree.
Beverly’s was considered the best so she was given a pass to the next round. Richie ended up getting cut as his dish didn’t “come together” enough. Not a surprise considering Nyesha’s skills and that Richie was at or near the bottom in each of the Quickfire challenges. I liked him on the screen, but I could see why he was cut.
– The chefs rode to the rodeo in new Toyota Siena minivans. They looked nice and were tricked out with push button starts, automatic doors, and huge moonroofs. Pretty sweet but, at the end of the day, it’s still a fucking minivan.
– The interaction between Padma and judges at the rodeo was really awkward and painful to watch.
– I’ve never seen so many black people in cowboy hats before. The only other time I can recall seeing that was Charlie Pride on Heehaw as a kid.
I guess Hootie (without the Blowfish) went country, but I don’t know if he’s rocking the hat. Or would that be “countrying” the hat?
– Beverly’s getting on my nerves. Not only is she weeping at a drop of a cowboy hat, everything she makes (except for the team chili) has some kind of Asian inspiration. It may be really good, but at some point she’s gotta get out of her comfort zone.
– There was a movie preview for “We Bought a Zoo” and I was instantly excited to see Leon from Curb Your Enthusiasm. It also has the lovely Scarlett Johansson and Matt Damon, who’s my cinematic Guilty Pleasure.
– Chris C thinks Sarah is a beyotch. See? I’m not alone.
– I actually saw Whitney cooking in the Quickfire, but have no idea what she made. I would’ve liked to have seen it as we haven’t seen her food since the season premiere. I wonder if they want to throw us a curveball later with her. Perhaps she just doesn’t make for good television, unlike…
– Twitchy! aka Dakota! There was a great shot of her in the Quickfire challenge where it looked like she was ready to knife someone.
She almost lost it at the meat counter when the others took all the meat she wanted. I’m really starting to like her.