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Top Chef Texas recap, Episode 7: Time to pay the fiddler

credit: Bravo

credit: Bravo

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.

QUICKFIRE

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.

ELIMINATION CHALLENGE

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.

We are in for more of little Miss Sunshine, because Dakota’s raw venison took what could have been a winning dish and sends her and Nyesha to a Last Chance Kitchen battle royale with Whitney.

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

15 comments Add your comment

KA

December 15th, 2011
8:05 am

I ‘forgot’ to watch, but after this recap I am glad I did not see it. It’s stressful enough during the holidays and none of us should have to suffer Heather the Kitchen Grinch……

The Food and Wine Hedonist

December 15th, 2011
8:46 am

Great re-cap. Heather was definitely out of control, but I think there’s still some creative editing to heighten it. Looking at some of the comments and interactions by themselves, it seems innocuous. And all the references to “No Asian” could’ve been a reaction to Bev needling her to make it Asian.

Rodney

December 15th, 2011
9:42 am

Creative editing or not, the things H said at Judges’ Table were awful. They may have had a good bit of truth to them, but they were awful.

Glenn

December 15th, 2011
9:51 am

Funny Edward said something else you didn’t hit on . He said something to the effect of you can be eliminated through a bad day . Its not the best chef that always wins . A good foreshadow of Nyesha’s elimination . She was for the most part a sacrifice . At this level she shouldn’t have to look after her partners meat . I have liked Ty-lor from the start . Besides his diversity his professionalism also comes through well . I still think he will win .

I used to work with someone just like Heather . One of my co workers referred to it as fat women syndrome . Its no surprise she is going after Beverly . She is probably the most passive . That is what makes it hard to watch . I would be willing to bet if Beverly was to snap back forcefully at Heather she would be left alone .

GaPeachy

December 15th, 2011
10:05 am

I can’t belive they allowed her to stay after that horrible display. There is a difference between standing up for yourself and completely dissing somone else so you look better. She is such a pain, and not that great of a chef either. She used Edward’s cake recipe twice and if she pickels anything else I’m gonna scream! I am glad Tylor was able to redeem himself after last weeks steak fumble, which totally wasn’t his fault anyway. Has anyone noticed that Emeril still hasn’t been back, i thought he would be in more than one episode if is a judge.

PapaDoc

December 15th, 2011
10:56 am

To point, there has been no homicide on Top Chef. I’m thinking Bev takes a chef’s knife, a Shun of course, and takes Heather down. “Hating Heather” is now not just the name of a bad movie. And while it will stop the competition for a time, Beverly will be acquitted via justifiable homicide and bring some justice back to the world, winning Fan Fave.. Great TV, don’t you think. Who wouldn’t jump to sponsor that?

hestic

December 15th, 2011
1:08 pm

Bev: Hey Heather, How’s that lamb prepared?
Heather: It’s stewed, buttwad!

Wyatt and Chet. Priceless. Beverage came out of my nose!

SP

December 15th, 2011
1:13 pm

Heather as Chet… that’s funny!

Lisa

December 15th, 2011
1:24 pm

@PapaDoc–that’s too quick….I’d rather see Heather go down in flames, totally humilated in a challenge by Bev for all the world to see. Heather threw Bev under the bus for the shrimp episode and Heather won the challenge, along with a car. Granted, it’s a Toyota and will probably get recalled but still she won a stinkn’ car and she’s such a bitter witch she still has to rank on Bev. What a sorry excuse for a human being. Slowly emerging as pretty cool people to me are Paul, Grayson and Ed. I liked Dakota too, sorry to see her and Nyesha go so soon.

Ellen Herbert

December 15th, 2011
8:25 pm

so sad to see Dakota and especially Nyesha go… both are better than some that remain

snark

December 15th, 2011
9:01 pm

Heather is a bully, plain and simple. I don’t get why she can’t just be competitive toward Beverly if she doesn’t think much of her as a chef, but she goes after her personally. It can be summed up in one sentence: After the Judges’ Table where Heather ranted about Bev’s work ethic and the shrimp she worked on in a PREVIOUS challenge, she told Bev, “I’m sorry if you think I hurt your feelings.” This is a tactic commonly used by emotional abusers–deny the person’s right to comprehend their own feelings. No wonder Bev was reminded of her abusive relationship. I can’t stand Heather now and don’t care how well she cooks. I don’t want to see her win because she’s too mean to deserve good things.

KA

December 16th, 2011
9:49 am

I watched the rerun last night and was grinding my teeth by the end of the episode. Heather’s bullying was not heightened by creative editing, it’s really out there. The other chefs were calling her a bully, but not to her face or she would turn on them, too. When Heather started ranting the embarrassed silence and looks of the other chefs was there for us all to see. Heather even smacked Grayson down when she dared to give her opinion. The best way to deal with a sociopath bully is to disengage from her completely. Unfortunately, the chefs will have to wait until she gets booted, which I hope is soon. The show is supposed to be a showcase of fine cooking, but I don’t even remember what they cooked…..

Edward

December 16th, 2011
12:27 pm

Sadly, the producers will probably keep Heather around as long as possible because villains draw viewers. I would make it a point, however, to NEVER patronize a restaurant with which she is associated. I’m afraid her bitter bile would permeate the food.

Lisa

December 16th, 2011
1:09 pm

Unfortunately the producers probably feel that Heather is the only thing keeping Season 9 from being a complete snoozefest. This season definitely lacks great personalities like past years with Dave, Fabio, Spike, Carla, Antonia–they made watching the show fun. Even the past “villians” (Tiffani F, Marcel) were much more interesting and way less abrasive than the current crop.

scott

December 19th, 2011
11:46 am

Chet – one of most underrated movie characters of all time