Top Chef – Episode 7: “Game On”
Last Week’s Episode Next Week’s Episode
Padma: “I think, clearly, the pressure of the competition is starting to wear on some of them.”
Tom (dismissively): “That’s kind of irrelevant, we don’t really care.”
But we viewers do. The big storyline in this episode was big, bad, bossy Heather bullying Beverly. It started last week with Heather complaining about Beverly’s taking too long with the shrimp, and it spilled over into this week. I had thought it was just creative editing to manufacture a conflict but, after the two were partnered in the Elimination Challenge, the following came out:
- In regards to Beverly’s spice rub – “I don’t want it to be too Asian, it’s not my style.”
- Response to Bev’s not liking the onions – “It’s part of my rustic style and we’re going to have to find a compromise.”
- Naming of the dish – “I don’t want it to appear like a completely Asian dish”
- She interrupted Bev several of times
- In talking to judges about their dish, she brought up personal differences that had nothing to do with the food. Especially with bringing up her complaints from the previous episode.
- During judges deliberations, back in the kitchen – “I felt like I had no say in our dish…I didn’t want to do anything Asian…You didn’t listen to any of my ideas.”
- She snapped at Grayson a couple of times.
- Most condemning of all – Sonny Chiba saying, “She’s being a complete bitch.”
So it really is looking like it’s her, not the editing. I’d really love to see her stay. Yes, you read that right. The show would be completely boring if it were some Barney utopia of everything being rainbows and unicorns, where everybody gets along.
The Twitterworld was all abuzz with accusations of racism. Of course, all of those Tweets came from Asians. I don’t think she was being racist; just that there’s still some editing tomfoolery going on. What we’re not seeing is whether Beverly was constantly needling her in a passive-aggressive way to have Asian twists everywhere in the dish. Maybe all of Heather’s comments we saw were reactions to Bev saying something like, “Oooh, let’s douse it Kimchi!”
Quick Fire Challenge
There’s a collection of Don Julio Tequilas and the contestants must choose a tequila and create a dish that pairs well with it in 30 minutes. The winner gets five grand, but no immunity. The guest judge is Ft Worth chef Tim Love.
Bottom Three –
- Heather (Reposado) – Salad with mango, avocado and corn with rock shrimp. Described by Love as “chain restaurant”. Gotta say, he nailed it.
- Ugly Chris (Blanco) – Pan-seared chicken with lime vinaigrette, coconut bitter greens, touch of honey.
- Sarah (Blanco) –Fennel Risotto with Glazed Scallops.
Top Three –
- Chris C (Blanco) – Raw Oyster with Tequila lime, tapioca pearl, and sea salt air
- Penishead (Anejo) – Salmon with fennel Puree & Brown butter sauce
- Ty-lor (1942) – Steamed Clams in Thai style fish caramel sauce paired with spiciness of dish was good contrast
Winner – Ty-lor simple, clean, and the tequila contrasted well with the spiciness.
Love was hosting a 6-course game dinner with guest chefs from around the country. The contestants were teamed up with the person next to them and were assigned a game meat chosen by each of the guest chefs. The winning team splits ten grand, and both members of the losing duo get eliminated. The twist was that all of the contestants were going to be judges as well. They were to select the least favorite three and the judges would make the final decision on who gets sent packing. Here’s what the made:
- Nyesha and Twitchy – Roasted rack of venison with kabocha squash and beet gratin
- Paul and Sarah – Pan roasted squab (that’s pigeon to you and me) breast and sausage with nectarine pickles w shallots and jalapeño
- Grayson and Ugly Chris –Juniper roasted elk rack with sweet potatoes and bouquet of citrus greens
- Chris and Penishead –Roasted Wild boar, kohlrabi slaw, farro fried rice, and peach barbecue sauce
- Bev and Heather –5-spice duck breast w creamy polenta, pickled cherries. Hmmm, wonder who brought the 5-spice?
- Sonny Chiba and Ty-lor – Sorghum quail with pickled cherries and eggplant
Winner – Sonny Chiba and Ty-lor. I saw this coming. The quail was front and center and looked like it was cooked perfectly. Ty-lor kicked ass (or is that “cooked ass”?) tonight, winning both challenges.
This is where the contestants had to choose the bottom three. There were a few moments of awkward silence as no one wanted to step on toes – smart as there’s still a lot of cooking to do in the future. What I loved about it wasn’t the insight or decision-making process, but the several instances where you see Twitchy pounding beers in the background.
Man, I'm going to miss her.
- Twitchy and Nyesha – flavors were really good, but the meat was almost raw, and they knew it.
- Heather and Beverly – Dish described as a collection of ingredients, nothing unified.
- Ugly Chris & Grayson – The meat was cooked really well, but contrasting flavors didn’t pair well.
Losers – Twitchy and Nyesha. Seemed obvious, considering the poor execution of the main ingredient. I’m no chef, but couldn’t they microwave or deep-fry the stuff to get it up to rare? Sure it wouldn’t have come out as good, but at least it wouldn’t be sashimi.
- As much as they played up the personal conflicts – and there’s going to be more as the weeks progress – it still comes back to Tom’s quote at the beginning of this post.
- Padma and Love were having tequila with each of the 12 quickfire meals. They must’ve been schnockered by the end of that competition.
- WTF – Penishead’s southern accent disappears on the voice-overs but is pretty strong in the kitchen.
- Chris C – Look at you, opening up a can of molecular gastronomy on us. He said it shows his style, which could make for a fun showdown with him and Ugly Chris
- MBA Lesson#1 – Good culture = good teamwork = good product. Sonny any Ty got along great and collaborated to come up with a solid dish.
- MBA Lesson #2 – Never admit your mistakes. Ugly Chris admitted in front of judges that he messed up the sweet potatoes saying his “elaborate technique didn’t turn out as I wanted it to be.” Grayson interrupted, “It is how we wanted it to be. We wanted to get height and we accomplished that.” As they are leaving she adds, “Don’t bleeping tell them bleep like that.” NICE! That’s how you MBA.
- Loved guest chef Vinny Detolo’s childhood story about hunting for gators in canoes and how some kids he knew jumped on them. But only the small ones. Let’s put him in a room with Chuy!
- Saw the commercial for “It’s a Brad, Brad World”. Anyone’s gaydar go off on that one?