Top Chef: Texas,Episode 12 Recap

Loren Means has been filing Top Chef: Texas recaps. But Loren is switching jobs at D and her new position will take up what is left of her free time. I thank her for her efforts. Our new editorial assistant, Carol Shih, will take over TCT duties next week. Happy trails, Loren.

The six cheftestants still standing are Paul, Ed, Grayson, Chris, Lindsay, and Sarah. With Beverly gone (I told you she wouldn’t be Top Chef), the chefs seem a bit more relaxed and easy going. They are having fun again. Padma, Emeril, and Chef Cat Cora greet the chefs for the Quickfire.

Hit it…


This week’s challenge is to showcase technical precision in a race against the clock. They must peel, devein, and butterfly 2 pounds of shrimp, shuck a lot of corn, and make a pound of perfect fettuccine. Once they have completed their mis en place, they may begin cooking their actual dish. The chefs are divided into three teams of two:

Ed and Paul

Grayson and Chris

Lindsay and Sarah

Paul is joking that he is always bad luck for Ed. Lindsay and Sarah are excited to work together and Grayson and Chris seem to be fine with each other. Out of the gate Sarah and Lindsay are rocking and rolling and are way ahead of the other two groups. They complete their mis en place first and start cooking. Grayson starts to panic and rushes Chris. He’s probably pretending to be on another mystical warrior mission which is why he’s taking so long. Paul and Ed are laughing and having a grand ole time as they finish their mis en place second. Grayson is really riding Chris now and when they finally are approved to start cooking there are only about 8 minutes left on the clock.

The buzzer goes off! The chefs throw their hands up! Paul has completely forgotten to plate the shrimp!  Whoops. I brace myself for Ed to wig out on Paul and make a snide remark like he did about Sarah, but instead he laughs and pats Paul on the back. The Good Ole Boys Club is alive and well folks! The judges think their dish has nice flavors but they are immediately disqualified since one component is missing from their dish. Grayson and Chris pulled off their dish by the hair of their chinny chin chins. They served fettuccine with toasted corn poached shrimp, chili, bacon, and rosemary. Sarah and Lindsay are glowing. They obviously feel they have this challenge in the bag with their fettuccine with corn milk, shrimp, tarragon and parsley.

Cat, Padma, and Emeril make the rounds and taste each dish. They conclude that one team executed the dish exceptionally well and that team is Grayson and Chris. The underdogs prevail. Sarah, being the little ray of sunshine that she is, blames Cat’s dislike of tarragon as the only reason she did not win.


“Your partner is now your opponent,” Padma tells the chefs. Ed and Paul start laughing. It’s almost like they aren’t taking this seriously anymore. Perhaps they figure they’ll be the last two standing so they’re just going to have fun until the other four eliminate themselves. Meanwhile, Ed is thrilled to go against Paul. He says if he has to go against someone he’d rather go against the best. Sarah is upset. She doesn’t want to compete with her best friend. Which is weird to me since Lindsay never seems to share the sentiment about their friendship. I think Lindsay probably kills Care Bears for fun so it makes sense she wouldn’t be overly sentimental. Grayson and Chris are indifferent – no surprise there.

Not only will the chefs compete against their previous teammate, they have to jointly decide what they will be serve and then each one will serve their own version of the same dish. The 200 guests attending the Healthy Choice Food Drive block party at Pearl Brewery will decide which the better version of the each dish. As if this wasn’t enough, Bravo got all excited again and decided to throw in another twist. Since the event is sponsored by Healthy Choice, the dishes must be healthy and low fat. The winner of this challenge will receive a healthy and fat sum of $15,000.

Off to Central Market (new sponsor!? although my eyes may have tricked me) the chefs go. Grayson and Chris have decided to do a chicken salad sandwich and a watermelon salad. Paul and Ed have decided to do an Asian kalbi with pickled vegetables. Sarah and Lindsay decided on meatballs and a vegetable salad. Everyone scurries in different directions and the Central Market employees are hustling.  The butcher shop is not prepared for six chefs in need of meat for 200 to hit the counter at the same time.  Down to the last minute Grayson is asking for her meat and just as time is running out, she finally gets her chicken. And just like any lady would do, she thanks the employee by saying not once, but twice, “you are the sh*t!”


After only two and half hours of cooking time, service begins. Grayson is making her sandwiches to order because she was worried about the bread drying out while Chris has premade his.  Ed has made homemade bread to serve with his kalbi, but Paul has chosen to serve his in a lettuce wrap.  Sarah and Lindsay have used different meats for their meatballs and are plating food as it is ordered.

Chris starts to freak out because there are bees all over his blending station. He says he swells up when they sting him so I’m assuming he’s allergic. Not just because that’s the obvious assumption and not because I am a nurse but because I am allergic to bees and swell up like the Nutty Professor if one stings me. I was very impressed by his ability to work in such conditions. You would have seen me screaming “I’m allergic!!” and then dust flying up behind me as I hauled ass out of there.

The judges–Tom, Padma, Cat Cora, Dana Cowin, Emeril–arrive for the block party. The first dish they sample is Paul’s turkey kalbi with eggplant and white peach kimichi. It’s a hit! Next they sample Ed’s version with short ribs served on an open face kalbi. The next course is the chicken salad sandwich. They find Grayson’s a bit bland and think her salad needs more acid but are impressed that she served the dishes made to order. Chris’s has good flavors but his bread is dried out. Next up the judges sample the meatballs. Lindsay’s Mediterranean meatball with lemon yogurt, black eyed peas, and a quinoa Greek salad is loved by all while Sarah’s Calabrese-style turkey meatball and vegetable salad was touch and go. Service was stressful for all of them but it was for a good cause and now it’s over.


Grayson, Paul, and Lindsay are the winners. There dishes beat out there opponents. But since there can only be one winner of $15,000 our boy, Paul’s skills hit a home run and he wins again. Chris, Ed, and Sarah are brought in for elimination. All had flaws with their dishes but ultimately, Chris’s premade sandwiches and dry bread were his demise and he was sent packing. I’ll miss that weird one. Live long and prosper, or however it goes, Chris.

No relevance: I love Nyesha. The chefs must use the ingredients in a mystery box to make a dish: lamb, marshmallows, pineapple, pine nuts, buttermilk, and parsnips. The second mystery box has radicchio. The third box has anchovies. Are these videos getting longer? Tom decides one chef did a much better job of weaving all the ingredients together and that chef is Beverly.