On week five of Top Chef: Texas the competition gets classy as the cheftestants make a sophisticated spread at a high-society dinner party! In episode 5, restaurateur and renowned chef John Besh, Chef/owner of Lüke in San Antonio and August in New Orleans, is this week’s guest judge alongside our fabulous Top Chef judges, Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons.
There are 14 cheftestants left. As they recover from an all-nighter of cooking, Padma walks onto the set. Sarah Grueneberg freaks out a little because she thinks they will get a Quickfire. That would have been brutal for the mental and physical state of fatigue everyone was experiencing. Padma just wanted to tell them to prepare to go on the road. They were going to Dallas! Edward Lee was regretting that they would have to leave their comfortable house in San Antonio. Beverly Kim thought of the Dallas Cowboys, country singers, and Dolly Parton. Chris Jones was excited about the opportunity to show what he can do in a new city. Almost like a fresh start. I think I would be a bit of an optimist like him. Heather Terhune told a funny story about how she grew up taking road trips with a brother that would get carsick. She said her brother has thrown up on her several times… with a smile! She seems super-nice and I hope they keep her in the show for a long time.
The car ride seemed like it was a lot of fun. The cheftestants got to know each other and Ty-Lor Boring told his car mates that he has a boyfriend. I didn’t see that coming. Chris Crarytold his car mates that he used to be 70 pounds heavier. Since Chris is this season’s pretty boy, Paul Quiasked “big? Buff?” And Chris said “no, like fat.” I didn’t see that coming either. Turns out Chef Works photographed Chris at his restaurant and his friends told him “hey looking good in that magazine fatty!” Chris lost 70 pounds in two years! I’m impressed!
As they were driving, the cheftestants ran into a road block by state trooper. Dakota Weiss confessed that she was pulled over in Texas and got a big ticket for it. She thinks that “there is a warrant out there for my arrest.” The state trooper asked them to pull over and when they did, they ran into Padma and John.
In order to win $5,000 and immunity, the cheftestants had 30 minutes to cook a dish with the ingredients found inside a survival kit. That’s right, dry, packaged food. Lindsay Autrytold a story of her dad eating Vienna sausages out of a can. She thought it was disgusting. Now Lindsay was going to use the canned sausages to try and win $5k and immunity.
- Chris Jones prepared Fried Chicken on Lemongrass Noodles.
- Chuy Valencia prepared Basmati Rice with Smoked Trout.
- Grayson Schmitz prepared Pickled Herring with Hearts of Palm, Dates & Herring Juice.
- Lindsay Autry prepared Triple Club with Tuna & Sardines in French Onion Soup with Vienna Sausage.
- Ty-Lor Boring prepared Black Pepper Chicken Stew with Garbanzo Beans & Rice.
- Sarah Grueneberg prepared Dried Beef and Pineapple Rice, Apple Sauce and Hearts of Palm.
- Chris Crary prepared Spicy Garbanzo Beans with Tofu and Crab.
- Whitney Otawkaprepared Beer & Peach Glazed Chicken with Green Bean Casserole.
- Edward Lee prepared Thai Peanut Soup with Salmon, Tofu and Fried Hominy.
- Paul Qui prepared Pork & Beans with Coffee & Basmati Rice.
- Dakota Weiss prepared Sweet & Spicy Noodles with Crab Meat & Pineapple Juice.
John’s least favorites were Whitney’s Dakota’s and Chris. Favorites were Edward’s attention to detail, Lindsay’s whole dish and Chuy’s canned, smoked trout. The winner was Lindsay for being inventive and resourceful.
For this challenge, the contestants had to create a course for a progressive dinner party. Chris Crary gracefully explained, and I didn’t know this, that a progressive dinner is when friends live in neighboring houses and start the appetizers in one house, move on to the next, eat the main dish at the second house, and finish dessert at the last house.
Ty-lor was confident that because he has cooked for Bill Gates and rock stars, he knows the expectations that the client will have. Dakota was pissed because she was placed in the dessert group. We all remember that she made the cake for the Quinceañera and it didn’t come out well at all. In other words, Dakota’s terrible with desserts, and she knows it.
The first group, or the appetizer group, had the challenge of making appetizers for a couple that doesn’t want their food to be adventurous. Also, the wife does not want her guests to have bad breath or get food stuck on their teeth. The second group, or the entrée group, could not cook with spice, cilantro or raspberries. The problem was that the wife was very high maintenance and the husband was very adventurous. I couldn’t help but wonder how they would please both members of the household. The dessert team also had an interesting challenge. They had to make a dessert that was “worth every calorie.” The husband said he’s a gummy bear fanatic. Edward could only lament and said, “I can’t compute that someone with so much elegance is asking me to cook with gummy bears.” Tough lesson to be learned there Eddy, money doesn’t necessarily buy elegance.
The difference between this elimination challenge and the previous ones, is that each cheftestant was cooking alone instead of in a team. They had 30 minutes to shop, and a budget of $250. They each had 2 hours to cook. Chris Crary was concerned about baking because “baking is such an exact science.” Chris Jones was making a dish that looked exactly like a cigar, which Paul condemned saying that at these dinner parties, you need to “impress the lady, because if you impress the lady of the house, the guy is just going to agree with it.” Both Heather and Nyesha Arringtonwere annoyed with Beverly for taking over the kitchen. Beverly complained that the other two were singling her out because they were getting in the way just as much as she was.
- Chris Jones prepared Roasted Chicken Cigar with Sweet Corn, Collard Greens and Cumin Ash.
- Sarah Grueneberg prepared Grilled Roman-Style Artichokes with Date Purée.
- Lindsay Autry prepared Roasted and Raw Beet Salad with Chickpeas and Greek Vinaigrette.
- Whitney Otawka prepared Seared Scallop Over Sweet Corn Purée.
- Paul Qui prepared Fried Brussels Sprouts with Grilled Prosciutto.
- Heather Terhune prepared Garlic and Rosemary Grilled Lamb Chops with Garbanzo Beans and Mint Chimichurri.
- Chuy Valencia prepared Sockeye Salmon Fillet Stuffed with Goat Cheese.
- Beverly Kim prepared Seared Scallop with Creamy Pollenta.
- Ty-Lor Boring prepared Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Summer Slaw.
- Nyesha Arrington prepared Roasted Filet of Beef with Vegetable Mélange.
- Dakota Weiss prepared Banana Bread Pudding, Banana Mousse and Banana Date Milkshake.
- Chris Crary prepared Strawberry Cupcake with Banana Custard and Chocolate Icing.
- Edward Lee prepared Panna Cotta, Cantaloupe Consommé and Raspberries Stuffed with Basil Pudding.
- Grayson Schmitz prepared Chocolate Sponge Cake, Caramelized Bananas and Semifreddo.
When Padma walked out, she asked for Sarah, Grayson, Paul, and Dakota. It was so the judges could tell them they made the best dishes! So much for Dakota being bad at desserts. The winner was Paul Qui! Well, seems like his strategy to “please the lady” really worked well for him. He was very happy to be the only chef to represent Texas in Top Chef Texas. The cheftestants that the judges wanted to see next were Chris C., Chris J., Ty and Chuy for serving their least favorite dishes. Chris and Ty used too many ingredients, Chuy basically made overcooked salmon, and Chris should’ve let go of his cigar idea (nobody liked it). John said, “In the end, it was the overcooked salmon in a dish that wasn’t thought through that sent Chuy home.” Chuy had a graceful exit letting us all know that he felt honored to have lost to all the great talent that is still in the competition. However, Chuy still has another chance at the finals by beating Keith Rhodes