The Food and Wine Hedonist

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Top Chef Texas – Episode 6: “Higher Steaks”

Last week’s Episode   Next week’s Episode

It’s week 6 of Bravo’s Top Chef Texas and the contestants are still rockin’ in Dallas.  I just now noticed that the opening montage only highlighted San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin for the show – Houston was ignored.  At first I thought that it was odd, considering it’s the largest city in Texas (4th largest in the US by population) and has a strong Vietnamese contingent there.  But then I remember the dozen times I’ve been there and having some of the worst meals in my life.   I did have a good meal once at Mark’s, situated in a converted church.  But that was an hour away from where we were staying, which is another problem with Houston – it can take a couple hours on the highway to go from one end to the other.  Although, you’d think they’d use that as a golden opportunity to continue their blatant product placement for Toyota.

(Note – last week, I once again tried my hand at product placement with more than a couple references to BMW.  As much as I still respect their cars, they still have not offered any freebies to me.   Jaguar, here’s your chance.)

Quickfire Challenge – Saucier

I LOVED it!  This challenge was great from a cooking standpoint because of it’s focus on classic methods, although I’m not sure it made for good Reality TV.  For Reality TV you have to put the contestants in really bizarre situations like last week’s cornfield or have them cook with llama spleens.   This week, they had to prepare a dish featuring a sauce that is based on one of Escoffier’s five mother sauces:

  • Espagnole – brown stock (using roasted bones, usually veal) thickened by brown roux.  A roux is a mixture of flour and butter
  • Hollandaise – emulsion of egg yolk, butter, and lemon or vinegar
  • Tomate – tomato-based sauce
  • Bechamel –milk-based, thickened with a white roux
  • Veloute – light stock (non-roasted) thickened  with a white roux

The guest judge for this challenge was Garry Shandling, who explains that the saucier job is one of the most coveted in the kitchen.  I’m so-so at making sauces, unlike my buddy Botha, and so I watched in complete envy.  What?  That wasn’t Garry Shandling?  It was some chef named Fearing?  Oh… and

Beverly was called out by Heather (more on this later) for only making Asian dishes, a point I made in last week’s post.  There was a comment on the post that I was unfairly singling out Beverly while “Western” chefs weren’t going out of their elements.  There’s a bit of truth in it, however both Paul and Sonny Chiba are Asians doing pretty well with non-Asian food.  This time around Beverly , continued with her Asian-centric food and it landed her in…

The Bottom Three

  • Twitchy  – Peach infused béchamel, seared scallop, truffle and lemon crab.  Too much peach, but pretty.  The sauce, not Twitchy.  Although in some glimpses she looks cute.
  • Nyesha  – Tomate sauce with coconut ras el hanout and braised lentils.  Described as muddled.
  • Beverly (espagnole) – Crab Maki roll with rib eye, charred shallots, peppercorn, sake, and red wine.  She barely used the mother sauce in favor of her teriyaki sauce.  Finally came back to bite her.

The Top Three

  • Grayson – scallop, charred corn hollandaise, corn ravioli and blueberry balsamic reduction
  • Chris C – halibut over mussels, andouille, mushrooms, and veloute
  • Paul  – Quail with pickled and roasted mushrooms, garlic scapes, okra, and espagnole.

Winner – Grayson, for creative use of her mother sauce and perfect execution.   She’s definitely doing better as the competition progresses.  I have to say I agree with Garry, I mean Fearing here on the top 3.  Paul’s looked really good.

Elimination Challenge

The contestants had to work as one team to create a 4-course steak dinner to the 200 guests at the Cattle Baron’s Ball, a big fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.  Steak had to be featured in two of the courses and had to be made medium-rare.  The ball itself was being held at Southfork Ranch, the setting for the 1980s nighttime soap opera – Dallas.  The chairperson of the event was a woman named Jennifer Dix.  (heh heh, heh)

The winner of this competition got some kind of ugly-assed Toyota, something far inferior to the Jaguar XJL Supersport.

  • 1st course – Tomato-watermelon Gazpacho poached shrimp and avocado mousse prepared by Beverly (poached shrimp), Twitchy (vegetable garnish, mousse), Sarah (base)
  • 2nd – Triple seared NY strip steak carpaccio, heirloom tomato salad, candied pistachio vinaigrette and mushroom bacon prepared by Sonny Chiba (tomato salad), Ugly Chris (steak) and Paul (mushroom bacon).
  • 3rd – Grilled ribeye, creamy potato gratin, braised brussel sprouts, and compound butter prepared by Ty-lor (steaks), Chris  C (greens), Nyesha (compound butter and sauce), and Whitney (gratin)
  • Dessert – “Right Side Up” Texas peach cake, peach salad, candied pecan streusel prepared by Heather (cake), Penishead, and Grayson.  Not sure who did what, but Heather and Penishead were doing expediting through the whole meal.

Top 3

  • Ugly Chris, for his perfect steak
  • Heather, for her lighter-than-air cake
  • Nyesha, for her compound butter

And the winner of the challenge AND the ugly-assed Toyota is… Heather.  Sonny Chiba’s gotta be pissed.  He made a derisive comment earlier that this was the same exact cake recipe that Heather used in the Quincenara episode, so she’s not doing anything new.  Oh, and the recipe itself was Sonny’s.  So she should really give the car to him.  Or do unmentionable acts on him in the back seat of it.

Bottom 3

  • Ty-lor – steaks weren’t consistent… some rare, medium, medium well, which is a sin for someone who worked at a steak place, serving to a bunch of Texas steak guys. To be fair, it wasn’t his fault.  The thought was to sear them outdoors and finish them in an oven, however Penishead put them in the ovens way too soon. It looks like there was some editing there, so maybe the judges took that into account.
  • Whitney – Judges questioned the wisdom of a cream-based dish and the weather in 104-degree weather, which I can see as a negative.  Of course, the bigger problem was that it was sloppy and in some places undercooked.
  • Sonny Chiba – His salad was boring and not up to expectations for a “Top Chef”.

Loser – Whitney. She was blasted of taking six hours to do a really easy, boring dish.  And did it badly.

Random thoughts

–       The beginning of the episode showed Paul, Sonny Chiba, and Ugly Chris doing as the local Texans do – sitting around drinking beers in plain white t-shirts.

–       I remember watching Dallas as a kid because it was right after The Dukes of Hazard.  It was famous for one of the big catchphrases of the 80s – Who shot JR? – but Heather couldn’t remember.  It was Kristin, you IDIOT!

–       I called Heather an “Idiot” not because she couldn’t remember who shot him.  It’s because she mentioned looking it up on “The Google Machine”.

–       The show was also famous for killing off Bobby then bringing him back a year later, saying the whole previous season was a dream.  Cheap, F-ing cheap!  Not only did they jump the shark on that one, they did it in true Texas fashion – BIG! With Great White sharks in a tank full of piranhas.  Set on fire.

–       Penishead’s accent is becoming more pronounced as the season rolls on.  Kick her off soon, please.

–       Heather continued her ragging on Beverly, and Twitchy doesn’t like it one bit.  It started last week and appears to be a story for next week. I think it’s probably a cheap editing ploy.

–       Ty-lor cut himself and was in the hospital until 6 AM getting stitches.  Remind me not to get injured in Dallas.  Although, he could’ve been out hitting the bars.

–       Why was Nyesha blow-torching her knife?  No idea, but I gotta do it!

–       Brav0 – Please play the Housewives of Atlanta commercials less and the Victoria’s Secret commercials more.  As you can see by the pic below, even the Dallas skyline prefers those commercials:

See it? On the left? Get it? It's an ERECTION! A black one!

About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

4 comments on “Top Chef Texas – Episode 6: “Higher Steaks”

  1. Pingback: Top Chef Texas – Episode 5 « The Food and Wine Hedonist

  2. The Dude
    December 9, 2011

    Hilarious takes on these episodes, bro – keep it up!
    I call Grayson “Sarah McLachlan” only way I can remember her! (I love your Sonny Chiba – classic!)
    Also, Nyesha made the compound butter – I’m guessing she was heating up her knife to cut through it quickly and easily (or just wants to be responsible for some new bad-ass chef move)?!

  3. Pingback: Football! Week 15 – Thai Beef Salad (aka Supermodel Food) « The Food and Wine Hedonist

  4. Pingback: Top Chef – Episode 7 – “Game On” « The Food and Wine Hedonist

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This entry was posted on December 8, 2011 by in Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .
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