Top Chef Texas, Week 11: Who's The Fairest Of Them All?

Charlize Theron is such a queen.

What. the. hell.
What. the. hell. (by BravoTV.com)

Previously on Top Chef: The lady chefs hate Bev. TyLor gets the knife. Sarah thinks Lindsay should have won because she was the glue that held their team together. (Wha? Lindsay couldn’t keep her twisted panties out of the kitchen because she didn’t trust her team to not fuck things up. Sarah’s just pissed that Bev won. One order of sour grapes for Table Sarah.)

Tom comes in and informs the cheftestants that they are heading back to San Antonio. In their Product Placemobile, Chris kvetches that he hasn’t won anything yet, while Paul wonders whether the women are pissed because Bev won. Ya think? Let’s cut to the women, shall we? Grayson is stress eating. Sarah is compressing her cervical vertebrae in contemplation of how much Bev sucks. Lindsay sulks while Bev smirks. The next day, Paul presses paninis while Ed munches on what looks to be Doubletree chocolate chip cookies (om nom nom nom; seriously, I am a loyal Doubletree customer because of those cookies). Paul reckons that Ed and Sarah are his toughest competition, and I don’t disagree. Sarah, in particular, knows her flavors. Especially bitterness. Oh looky! It’s Eric Ripert! Hi Chef! Bonjour, he purrs. Ed notices a conveyer belt in the back of the room, and Padma says, “Chefs, this challenge is about quick thinking” and my head explodes because they are going to do the Lucille Ball bonbon challenge! YAAAAAAAY!

Wait, what … OH MY GOD PADMA WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?!?!?! My eyes!!!! I cannot unsee the monstrosity that is the tube-top belted onesie! Forget it. I just … can’t. Someone fire that woman’s stylist. Something something ingredients conveyer belt … immunity.

Sarah ponders the conveyer belt with her hand pressed to her face. Good to know that the young culinary guns of today are TOUCHING THEIR FUCKING FACES while they’re cooking for us. Awesome. Pop Rocks ain’t gonna do it for Chris. Grayson starts a carrot and white wine sauce and is hoping that a lovely fish will present itself on the conveyer belt. She eventually chooses Goldfish crackers. Um … she knows those aren’t actual fish, right? Chris offers us the funniest part of the show with his ongoing, frequently thwarted quest for lobsters. Paul picks ridiculous ingredients – saffron, bread, bitter melon. Patience is a virtue, Paul.

Padma, her onesie, and Eric Ripert come in for judging. On the bottom: Chris’s lobster and foie gras didn’t go well together; Grayson’s Goldfish-crusted halibut had too much citrus; Paul’s mussels with bitter melon were too bitter. Maybe he should have called them Mussels a la Sarah. On the top: Sarah’s soft-shell crab; Lindsay’s boulliabaise; and Bev’s salmon tofu thingie would have won if her curried Rice Krispies had made it onto the plate. So, Lindsay is the winner. It’s a Sarahsweet victory for her.

For the elimination challenge, which was filmed on the grounds of the absolutely gorgeous Southwest School of Art and Craft in downtown San Antonio, the chefs are meant to cook a dish for a queen. “The Queen of England? Queen Latifah?” says Chris. Oh, Chris. I see what you did there, you scamp. In walks Charlize Theron, who (as I posited last week) is promoting this summer’s Snow White and the Huntsman. Apparently her character is modeled on Salome, it seems? With a little bit of Aileen Wournos thrown in for good measure? Anyhoo, Padma’s onesie tells the cheftestants that they are to cook a gothic feast fit for a queen, so they all go put on black eyeliner, baggy black clothes, and smeared red lipstick and listen to the Cure for seven hours straight before they cook their dishes. “Think like an Evil Queen and take out your competition,” says Charlize.

Ed does a tuna tartare with dueling dark and light sauces. Paul makes a murder ballad/enchanted forest with foie gras, bacon, pickled beets, Serrano peppers, cherries, strawberries, and pumpernickel, accented with a “bloody” handprint on the plate. Bev makes halibut with forbidden black rice. And then something about “the bleedingness of the serial killer,” whatever that means. Lindsay does a verrrrrry sinister seared scallop with a “witches’ stew” of short ribs with blood orange and dragon beans; she confesses that she doesn’t want to do anything too far out of her comfort zone. Sarah is making a risotto with really nice red wine that will signify the queen’s appetite for blood, topped with sliced lambs’ hearts. (Bleargh.) Grayson makes a mutilated chicken crime scene on a plate, including a cracked-open egg, which is skating a bit close to a Focus on the Family tract for my tastes. Chris incorporates gummy worms into a poison apple-cherry “pie” that I was certain was going to be a disaster, but that the judges really liked.

All of the cheftestants are called to judges’ table. The judges don’t have much of anything negative to say about the dishes, which is pretty remarkable given that there are seven chefs left. Usually eliminations contingent upon realllllly nitpicky things occur much, much closer to the finale. I think this serves as a testament to the skill level we’re looking at here. The winner is Paul (Yay!). Ed, Lindsay, and Chris are safe. That leaves Sarah, Bev, and Grayson behind for grilling. Sarah’s risotto was too bitter … I mean, maybe a little undercooked (WHEN will these cheftestants LEARN to AVOID RISOTTO in this competition?!). Charlize tells Beverly that her sauce was thickened with arrowroot and wound up with a weird texture. This makes Bev cry, and everyone is uncomfortable. Grayson’s foie gras wasn’t incorporated appropriately and her greens were a little too salty. “If yer gonna gimme foie gras, gimme foie gras. Don’t tease me like dat,” menaces Emeril Lagasse. Grayson kibbutzes passive-aggressively that she is soooo much better and more creative than Sarah and Bev. Oy. Grow up, girl.

Bev is out. I hope someone put her on suicide watch. Next week: It’s a head-to-head battle. Ed wants to go up against Paul because he wants to go up against the best. Meanwhile, in Last Chance Kitchen, Bev unseats Nyesha in a fish battle! Woah! Guess we can revoke that suicide watch.

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