Thursday, January 12, 2012

Top Chef Texas Episode 10 Recap

This week there was one challenge and one challenge only, but it was a doozy - Restaurant Wars! In other seasons there was a Quickfire Challenge before Restaurant Wars, but this year there are a few changes. At the top of the episode, the eight remaining cheftestants gather at a party venue called Palm Door. Padma and Hugh are on hand to give them the rundown on this year's Restaurant Wars rules. First of all, since there are conveniently four female chefs and four male chefs left, it will be a "battle of the sexes." Second, because the last few years have gone so smoothly without the hassle of decorating the restaurant, the decoration requirement is back. And finally, the chefs' restaurants will operate on consecutive days and not simultaneously.

Each team must serve three courses with two options for each, with each chef being responsible for at least one dish, including the folks who are in charge of the front of the house. And with that, the cheftestants are sent to separate corners to plan their restaurants before heading off to shop. Ed will be FOH for Team Testosterone's restaurant, Canteen. Lindsay takes on the job for Team Estrogen's restaurant, Half Bushel.

As expected, at least two members of Team Estrogen don't seem to be too thrilled that Beverly happens to be a girl, and they show it. Every idea she has is shot down by New Bitches on the Block, Lindsay and Sarah.

And so with $7,500 per team, the chefs head out to shop for dishes and decor, then get an additional $4K to spend on enough food to feed 100 people.

A coin toss determines that Team Testosterone serves first, so the next day they get their shit together and cook. Ed has to decorate the space and train the staff, all of whom seem to have last worked at a janitorial supply company or something else unrelated to the restaurant biz.

[insert scenes of cooking here]

As soon as the cheftestants' allotted five hours is up, guests arrive to be seated. Things seem to go well at first, with guests complimenting the food and stuff getting to them in a timely fashion. But then there's a kerfluffle with the waitstaff, who seem to be confused. Team Testosterone hasn't appointed an expediter, so Ed is forced to run back and forth from the hostess stand to the kitchen, finding dishes getting cold in the window and tickets without table numbers. Ty runs out to do some expediting.

And then the judges arrive - Tom, Padma, Hugh, and Emeril. Ed shows them to their table and runs back to the kitchen to make sure their food gets to them in time.

Padma notices Ty in the dining room in his apron and she makes her disapproval known.

(Click here to see pics of Chef Boring in all his naked glory. Needless to say, it's NSFW.)

Emeril insists the kitchen is "in the trees."

Later, Paul goes out to do some expediting and says that he probably should have volunteered for the job from the beginning. Once service is over, all of the boys are really down on themselves.

The next day is the girls' turn. During prep, predictably, Sarah and Lindsay talk to Beverly like she's a child, and Bev - used to the abuse - just takes it. Oddly enough, Lindsay assigns the execution of her halibut dish to the hated Beverly, who has her own complicated dish to prepare. Why didn't Lindsay give her dish to Sarah or Grayson? Presumably it was because she wanted Beverly to fail, to screw things up for her, so she'd have someone to blame at Judges' Table. Just a theory.

Once service starts, it only gets worse. Lindsay spends so much time in the kitchen, cursing at everyone, she all but abandons the hostess station and her guests. When the judges arrive, there is nobody to greet them. Eventually Linds comes out and seats them, somewhat reluctantly, before heading back to the kitchen to berate Bev some more.

The judges determine that while Half Bushel doesn't have the same "high energy" feel as Canteen, the food is a lot better. If they wanted high energy, they should have gone into the kitchen and seen the potty-mouthed tornado that is Lindsay whip through the place.

Eventually, Lindsay stops cursing and both teams head to the stew room to await the verdict. Padma comes in and calls out Team Estrogen. They are congratulated for being the better team and each of the cheftestants is praised in turn. The judges tell Beverly how much they enjoyed her short ribs before handing her an enormo bottle of Terlato "Episode" wine, and tell her she's going to visit the Terlato vineyards as well (whether she wants to or not). Oh, and that she's the winner of this challenge, much to Lindsay and Sarah's chagrin.

Team Testosterone is summoned next and roundly criticized for their lack of "wow factor," and under-seasoned food, mostly courtesy of Jor-El. Paul also made mistakes, with a bland pork belly and a greasy crouton served with his otherwise inventive first course. Squinty Chris, who helped here and there and otherwise only produced a messy (but tasty) dessert, was dressed down for not doing anything more useful. Ed made the best dish of the bunch - his misnamed Almond Joy - but he didn't escape criticism.

After some deliberation, the judges decide that while they all "deserve an F," Kal-El should be sent home for his underseasoned food, particularly the bland lettuce cups. And I has a sad. Kal had become one of my favorites, and I was sorry to see that he finally met his kryptonite.

Salt.

Next week: Charlize Theron, seven-course tasting menus, and Eric Ripert.

Posted by theminx on Minxeats.com.