If you don’t know there are SPOILERS in here, I feel no pity for you.
So we finally have our first villain. After this week’s episode, there is no doubt in my mind that Heather’s abrasive persona isn’t a result of creative editing. You can’t fake that kind of awful.
The chefs enter the kitchen to find Padma and this week’s guest judge Tim Love, a Top Chef Master and chef/owner of The Lonesome Dove in Ft. Worth. And a whole bunch of hooch.
The chefs taste and pick a Don Julio tequila to build a dish around it. Ty-Lor is pumped, both because he is getting sick of being on the bottom and because he freakin’ loves tequila. In fact, it seems all of the chefs love tequila.
I think we all cheered a little inside – or, as in my case, so loud it scared the dog – when Chef Love puts Heather in the bottom, saying that her rock-shrimp dish “felt like a new special at a new chain restaurant.” Chris J. rushes his chicken and overcooks the meat, and Sarah gets prickly when Love says that her risotto seems undercooked.
Chris C., excited to “show [himself] in one little bite”, lands in the top with his caviar and sea salt air topped oyster. Lindsay’s salmon dish and Ty-Lor’s clam dish also score high marks. Ty-Lor’s spicy clams win the day and Ty $5,000.
This is too perfect.
The chefs break into teams according to the person they happen to be standing next to, and lo and behold, everyone’s favorite little Asian David and Goliath wind up teammates.
Chef Love is hosting a game dinner at his restaurant for some of his chef friends, and each team is assigned a protein to build a dish around. The teams will also prepare 10 more plates of their dish to serve to their competitors, who will decide on the bottom three to face the judges. And to keep things even more interesting, both chefs on the losing team picked at Judge’s Table will pack their knives. The chefs are all too terrified to hear the part about the winners taking home $10K.
It’s double elimination time!
So this means that one person’s error on a team can send an otherwise deserving chef home. All eyes are on Beverly and Heather, and it is immediately obvious that Heather is going to bully Bev as hard as she possibly can. Grayson is also on edge about Chris J – rightfully so, as he hasn’t lived up to his potential so far – and worries that his wacky ideas may bring her down. After multiple reassurances, he convinces her to let him try some sort of sweet potato chain…thing. Sarah goes the other way, beating herself up over her sausage while her partner Paul seems confident she will pull through.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Heather doesn’t like anything that is “too Asian.”
Edward said it best, but I unfortunately can’t quote him here (KIDS read these recaps!!!). But Heather really is being a complete…oh, right. The kids. Ahem.
But seriously, Edward may be my fan favorite this season. The quality of his food is on the upswing, and he tells it like it is.
Beverly gets a free pass from my snark this episode – and maybe for the rest of the season – after she confesses that she suffered through an abusive relationship in the past. Nothing cool about that. Neither is there anything cool about being so miserable that you remind someone of their abusive scumbag ex.
Is it just me, or does Heather remind you of a slightly more masculine and less likable version of Bill Paxton’s Chet from Weird Science?
Grayson’s fears are validated when Chris J’s potato fence fails, and plan B is a puzzle box of sweet potato fries. Nyesha cranks out a perfect gratin while her partner Dakota is busy not cooking the venison, and Sarah is in panic attack mode over her poached squab leg sausage.
My favorite part of the tasting had to be Grayson’s painfully awkward interruption of Chris J. While he explains that the sweet potato…thing…was a “plan B”, she jumps in with “It IS how we wanted it to be!” Tom isn’t buying it.
There is little question who takes the top spot when Ty-Lor and Edward are the only team called up to the Judge’s Table for their sorghum quail. That is two wins in one day for the seemingly redeemed Chef Umlaut. The winners then must go back to the kitchen and all of the chefs have 15 minutes to decide which teams will go into the bottom.
It seems unanimous that the losing teams are Wyatt and Chet for their rustic-and-not-too-Asian duck, Dakota and Nyesha’s bloody venison, and Chris J and Grayson’s failed potato chain. Thus begins the most wince-inducing Judge’s table yet.
I’m sick of talking about Heather, but her behavior at Judge’s Table made me curl up onto the couch, cowering from all of the awkward. Not only does she cut off Beverly before she can respond to a direct question by the judges, she goes off on a rant about the shrimp from LAST WEEK. I even felt belittled, and I wasn’t there. She blames it on two chefs not meeting eye-to-eye, despite the fact that she crammed her “rustic style” down Beverly’s throat.
I can’t say that all of the food was better than last week – or most of it – but the trashy drama made up for it. There may not be many chefs that we can like, but thank you Bravo for giving us one that we can hate.
Favorite non-Heather quote: “Tim Love and Tequila- sounds like a great way to spend a morning!” – Edward
- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog