You would think from all of this about Heather vs. Bev that they were eliminated. They were not. Although, I really thought they were going to be axed. With them in the bottom were Grayson/Glasses and Vampira/Nyesha. My nerves were really on edge for two of my favorites – Grayson and Glasses. They were there primarily because Glasses once again had a concept for a dish in mind which was quirky, and then tried to pigeonhole it into the challenge. For this one, he was trying to make some sort of sweet potato chain link fence thing to adorn the dish. It failed to work, and they had to improvise. The best part – when presenting the dish, Glasses started to share too much of their troubles. Grayson wisely interrupted and said that they really just wanted “height” on the dish and got it. She explained on the way out that it made no sense to tell them what went wrong. She’s right – the judges don’t see that part. Perhaps they would have liked their improvisation, but now he may have poisoned the well for them. She may even be a good Survivor player with that kind of strategic mind!
But, it was Vampira and Nyesha who got the boot. In retrospect, I probably should have realized it. Next to producing something inedible, one of the biggest no-nos on Top Chef is wildly undercooking or overcooking meat. Their venison was so rare it was still running around the field with its buddies Thumper and Flower. It was so rare it was still bounding in front of cars on the Rock Creek Parkway in DC. (ok, so maybe that’s just what I see everyday on the way home). It was so rare it was still trying to figure out what was wrong with Rudolph’s nose. Ok, I’m done.
So, Nyesha falls victim to what I mentioned earlier – she did her job just fine on the dish, but Vampira’s undercooked vension did them both in. I felt bad for her – actually, I felt worse for Vampira who now has some major guilt kicking in. But that’s the way it goes on the show. As Sarah weeped when the stress got to her – this is not regular cooking. Even the best chefs get caught up in it – only one will win, but all are talented.
Quickfire – Create a Dish that Pairs with the Tequila of Your Choice. Yep, tequila time. To me, the only thing to pair tequila with is a slice of lime and a spritz of salt. Preferably on the neck. Whoa – just had big time college flashbacks. But this challenge was not about collegiate debauchery, Chef Tim Love was there to tell them that tequila is really about sipping, not getting wasted and hooking up with your friend’s ex-girlfriend. The chefs had to make a dish to pair with a type of tequila, selected from a large display of options. The dishes:
Beverly – Reposado – Cold-Smoked Green Tea Oyster
Pretty Boy – Blanco – Raw Oyster with Tequila Tapioca Pearl and Sea Salt Air
Glasses – Blanco – Pan-Seared Chicken with Lime Vinaigrette
Vampira – 1942 – Lamb with Medjool Date Pistou
Edward – Anejo – Bok Choy Lettuce Wrap with Lamb
Grayson – Anejo – Sesame Cod with Tequila Brown Sugar Glaze
Darth Heather – Reposado – Mango Avocado Salad with Rock Shrimp
Lindsay of the Corn – Anejo – Salmon with Fennel Puree and Brown Butter Sauce
Nyesha – Anejo – Beer Battered Soft-shell Crab with Fennel Salad and Basil Passion Fruit Vinaigrette
Paul – Fried Chicken, Yellow Curry, Watermelon and Fish Sauce
Sarah – Blanco – Fennel Risotto with Glazed Scallops
The Destroyer – 1942 – Steamed Clams in Thai Style Fish Caramel Sauce
Love and Padma gave the following input – The Destroyer’s did a good pair with sweetness and clams. Darth Heather really didn’t pair it but instead just made a dish and added tequila. Bev managed to get some smokiness as intended. Sarah’s use of Blanco was questioned. Lindsay of the Corn made simply a nice dish. Edward’s was interesting, and Glasses made a flavorful dish. Grayson’s was good despite her not being a big tequila drinker. Pretty Boy was aiming for a beach feeling and he nailed it. Vampira’s was really sweet.
Bottom Three – Darth Heather’s pairing was bad and was like a new special at a chain restaurant. Glasses served dry chicken and Sarah’s lemon juice and cream didn’t work.
Top Three – Pretty Boy did a great pairing with a tough tequila. Lindsay of the Corn made really good salmon. The Destroyer used spiciness really well. Well enough for the Destroyer to earn the win.