Spoiler alert y’all!
Things open with the chefs commiserating over drinks, and we learn little more than Nyesha’s realization that this is a competition. Sorry sweetheart, things “turned cutthroat” a while back during Shrimpgate, but you probably don’t remember because I’m pretty sure that you weren’t even in the last episode.
Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger of Border Grill serve as the celebrity chefs this week for a Quickfire that hurts so good. Spread before the cheftestants is an array of chili peppers spanning the Scoville scale, and they much pick one to showcase their ability to balance heat and flavor. As the capsaicin increases, so does the payout, with the infamous Ghost chili topping out at $20,000.
Product Placement #1: Tabasco hot sauce beautifully adorns the smorgasbord of peppers. Too bad they couldn’t get a sponsor that makes hot sauce that is actually hot.
Not surprisingly, sickly-sweet Beverly opts for the weakest chili of the bunch (Anaheim), which she serves raw in a crudités. It seems that she missed the point of the challenge – to make the best dish they can with the hottest pepper possible. Paul lays it on the line and is the only chef to give the evil little balls of pain known as the Ghost chili a shot.
Beverly: Shocker. Her risk-averse pepper choice lands her in the bottom. The point was to push the balance of heat and flavor, not lazily chop up a raw pepper.
Richie: Not a fan of too much heat, Richie buried his Fresno chili slaw in so much sweetness that none of the heat came through.
Chuy: Despite his boasts that he grew up flossing his teeth with habaneros, Chuy’s experience didn’t stop him from dumping canned tomatoes into his scallop with achiote, killing too much of the spice.
Heather: She rolled the dice with the Thai chili, and Feigner praised her skilled use of the heat.
Grayson: Her cheese-stuffed habanero showcased the chili and was well balanced.
Paul brings in the big purse of $20,000 and immunity for making the hottest chili in the room edible. He went big and it paid off.
What would Top Chef Texas be without a bunch of Texans in cowboy hats? The chefs break into teams of three for a chili cook-off, with over 200 rodeo fans deciding their fates.
Chris C. isn’t exactly thrilled about teaming up with Sarah. That makes sense, because the whole shrimp fiasco with Keith was obviously her fault…except for the part where Chris told him to buy the shrimp and lied about it. Delusional much?
After a mad dash through Whole Foods that probably caused one of the badgered butchers to throw in his apron, the teams return to the house to start the all-night chili-a-thon.
Some teams forget that their judges are going to be 200 Texans who take their chili very seriously. Yes, Black team (Beverly/Richie/Nyesha), your mole chili will stand out from your competitors’. But Billy Bob doesn’t want cinnamon and chocolate in his chili. And someone had to have warned the White team that Texan’s don’t like no durn beans in their chili. Three beans? Don’t hold your breath.
As the night drags on, Chris J. starts to hallucinate and Chuy keeps downing the “cooking beers” while talking about how awesome he is. Morning comes and the chefs head out for the rodeo, but not before….
Product Placement #2: In case you were wondering, they are contractually obligated to replace the word “car” with “Sienna”. And if you press a button on the key, the door opens! Now that is a mini-van that makes hungry.
Sarah is really milks the whole “my Dad was a bull-rider” thing, but it seems to serve the Green team (Sarah/Chuy/Chris C.) well. They go traditional chili con carne, and you can tell that the crowd digs it.
Enter the judges, including Gail Simmons, but before eating, they must pause for…
Product Placement #3: You learn something new every day, like that Shiner Bock is actually a Texas beer. So, the product placement wasn’t as awkward as the forced pre-tasting beer performance the judges put on.
Service wraps and the chefs pile into the stands to watch what must have been an emotional session of bull riding. Poor Beverly couldn’t hold it together, seeing all of those beasts of burden trying to kill men in clown suits. Was it the animal cruelty? Missing Dad again? No, it just made her wish her hubby were there. Awwwww….
Beverly has the constitution of wet rice paper. If she can’t get through an episode without bawling, she won’t last.
Padma rides out on her steed and announces the Green team as the winners. Unfortunately, the Black team’s mole chili won the least fans in the crowd. Rather than be judged on their losing chili, the chefs have…
ELIMINATION CHALLENGE #2
The losers have 30 minutes to repurpose their chili into a new dish, which will decide who packs their knives. All three of them are brain-dead and scrambling, trying to make the best of a bad situation. Chris J. worries himself sick that the mohawked Boo Boo to his Yogi won’t make it out alive.
Well, Yoda will have to fight out the rest of the season without his padawan, because Richie’s one-note Frito-crusted pork tenderloin broke up the dream team and sent him home. He and Chris J. have a genuinely touching moment, and he heads off to face Keith in the Last Chance Kitchen.
I have renewed hope for this season after this week, but maybe that is just because I’ve actually learned a few of their names. You guys with me on that?
“Seeing Padma on a horse is like seeing Fabio on the cover of one of his romance novels with his hair blowing in the wind. It’s just pure beauty.” – Chris C.
“I had muscles in places where I didn’t even have places yet” – Chuy
- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog