Out here in the real world, a week has gone by since we endured the onslaught of Heather-zilla, but we are quickly reminded how fresh the experience is for the rest of the chefs, especially Beverly. She keenly observers, “The universe is full of karma…and it always comes back to you.”
As the chefs continue to swelter in that hotbox of a kitchen and try to ignore the commentary from Heather, Padma re-appears to tell the remaining 10 chefs to pack their bags. Time to get their hipster on and head over to Austin. And you know what that means!
That’s right! Another Toyota Sienna montage!
Highlights: Heather would forfeit $5,000 and immunity for a night with John Besh and Chris C. earned the nickname Malibu for his pretty boy ways. And he would also trade $5K for a night with John Besh and those stunning white teeth.
As soon as the chefs enter the kitchen and see that Tom has “graced [them] with his presence”, they know something is up. In honor of Austin’s tech-centric culture, this week’s Quickfire centers around Twitter, with “live” tweet suggestions from fans throughout the 45 minute cook time. The winning chef gets $10K. @DentonBiety leads off with an easy one: make something with bacon.
Everyone gets their pork rolling, and Tom and Padma start trolling their Twitter feed for twist suggestions to throw into the mix. They settle on @habitat67’s suggestion to “do a hash for a #hashtag challenge”, so now the chefs must incorporate a hash into their dish.
Finally, and by far the best suggestion, @koreanblue has the brilliant twist of making each chef pick an ingredient to hand to another chef to use in their dish. Immediately, everyone starts trying to screw each other over. Lindsay hands “Malibu” maple syrup in retaliation for him pushing sriracha into her dish.
Surprisingly, the whole ingredient swap tweet wasn’t the undoing of the chefs in the bottom three. Grayson’s tomatillo wasn’t a problem, but her shrimp puff was too mousse-like, Chris J. over salted his potatoes, and Edward burnt his hash. Despite the fact she’d never used a pressure cooker before – “I’ve never tried this before” are usually famous last words on TC – Beverly impressed with her braised pork belly. (Cut to a sour-faced Heather) Sarah’s squash blossom fritter also won high marks, but Paul’s bacon three ways earns him $10,000 and about five “I’m the only chef from Texas” anxiety-free minutes.
The chefs retire to the hotel lounge for cocktails, and in walks this week’s celebrity judge, Patti Labelle. I was all amped up to rip on Bravo for another completely obscure and unqualified judge….and then I realized that she is a cookbook author and has her own line of sauces and seasonings. Touché, Bravo.
For their inspiration this week, the chefs are to put on a tribute dinner, honoring the person in their lives that taught them to love cooking. Cue the waterworks from Sarah, who gets emotional thinking about learning from her Grandparents.
The chefs scramble around Whole Foods, an Austin-based company, and Grayson heads to the butcher to get some honkin’ ribeyes, in honor of her grill master father. However, she isn’t thrilled with the selection of lean beef, complaining that there isn’t enough marbling. You hear that, massive corporate sponsor?
We fly through cooking – split up with “this is what I’m making” and “this is who I’m making it for” cutaways for each chef – and a few of the chefs show some obvious stumbles.
WHOA! Is that Emeril? Thanks for showing up big guy.
Heather knows that her stroganoff is spongy, but is too scared to resort to the pressure cooker to save it. Sarah’s presentation has her worried next to Paul’s vibrant plate. Chris C’s salmon is leaking albumin – perhaps the grossest sounding sentence I’ve ever written about a dish – and Grayson realizes that she is about to serve a Flintstones sized steak, and not much else.
During tasting, Patti drops some great comments, but the obvious winner is her guess on Heather’s mystery-meat: “It’s Bigfoot!”
Couldn’t be a man in a gorilla suit? No way, now you know he’s real.
For Judge’s Table, they mix it up and call up the losers first. Chris C’s albumin-oozing salmon, Grayson’s gristly ribeye, and Heather’s braised Bigfoot land them all on the chopping block.
For the first time in a while, competition for the top three seems heated. Lindsay’s trout spanakopita, Ty-Lor’s duck fat-fried chicken tenders, and Paul’s adobo quail all win rave reviews, but aren’t enough to land them in the top. Those honors go to Edward’s modern bibimbap, Beverly’s steamed and braised short ribs, and Sarah’s pork sausage stuffed cabbage.
It seems that Sarah’s worrying over her presentation is unfounded, because her sausage beats out the competition and wins the challenge. Grandpa would be proud.
Ah, but we aren’t done yet. Heather, Grayson, and Malibu shuffle back to Judge’s table to hear the verdict. And….the “Queen of Mean” is no more. Karma really is a….Heather.
In case you felt the need to reflect on Miss Congeniality’s best moments, head on over to Last Chance Kitchen to see her take on Nyesha. About half of the seven minutes is spent on flashbacks to her awfulness.
SPOILER ALERT! – Karma wins again.
“You know, I have balls. And uh, I’m gonna show ‘em” – Edward
“Because I know my beef is not good.” – Heather..
“Love bells on, HEEEEEEY” – Patti
“That plate didn’t flip me” – Patti
- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog