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Top Chef: Texas – Ep 7 – Tempers Bubble and Double Trouble

Elimination Challenge – Love is inviting a few of his famous chef friends over to enjoy a meal of game meats. The chefs are divided into teams of two using the order of how they are standing in the kitchen. In addition, the bottom three pairs would be decided by the Cheftestants. Two chefs going home – judges for the challenge are Tom, Padma, Monobrow and Love.
The key moments during the Whole Foods and prep section – Bev talking about how she’s a team player and Darth Heather is bossy. Vampira talking about how many times she has cooked venison. Grayson getting really worried about Glasses’ doing crazy stuff while she…doesn’t. At the apartment, the Heather/Bev debate continued as fat rendering became an issue – something which really didn’t work in the end.

Beverly/Darth Heather – Five-Spice Duck Breast with Creamy Polenta and Pickled Cherries Chef Currance did not like the pickling, and Monobrow thought it needed more rendering and was too rubbery. Chef Vinny Dotolo found it to be too safe.

Lindsay of the Corn/Pretty Boy – Roasted Wild Boar with Kohlrabi Slaw and Farro Fried Rice – Tom likes the sauce – not exciting, but nice. Paul found the slaw to be watery and Sarah liked the BBQ flavor.

Nyesha/Vampira – Roasted Rack of Venison with Kobocha Squash and Beet Gratin – Love liked the flavor profile, but boy, it was undercooked.

The Destroyer/Edward – Sorghum Quail with Pickled Cherries and Eggplant – Love was a big fan of the quail, and Chef Anita praised it too, but used one of my most hated words – “earthy.”

Glasses/Grayson – Juniper Roasted Elk with Sweet Potato and Bouquet of Citrus Greens – Love thought the elk was tender, Chef Bryan Casello was disappointed with the presentation – too 1982 banquet hall. Monobrow also liked the way the elk was cooked.

Sarah/Paul – Squab Breast and Sausage with Nectarine Pickled – Her sausage making issues didn’t hurt them, as Love praised the sausage. Tom found it sloppy, but a nice plate.

No drama with the one – The Destroyer and Edward are the only two called in to the judges. Good week for The Destroyer. I was stunned the chefs didn’t decide to do a secret ballot as to which teams should go face elimination. As it turns out, no one seemed to be upset with being selected, and the three teams (Glasses/Grayson, Bev/Darth, and Vampira/Nyesha) were the correct decisions according to the judges.

Tom was upset that Nyesha didn’t do more to help Vampira with the meat. Monobrow mocked the sweet potato from Glasses. Then Bev and Darth Heather’s drama exploded before the judges, as previously discussed. Grayson hysterically wondered – why would Darth Heather sell out her teammate? It’s a double elimination and she is tethered to her partner. Word.

So, Nyesha and Vampira get booted and head to the RILCK to take on Wasp. The challenge was to make a dish showcasing cactus, using only a wok. Cactus can be slimy, and Wasp had
no experience with the ingredient or the equipment. Uh oh. Interestingly, Nyesha removed the grate on the stove and cooked with the wok right on the flame.

Wasp – Cactus and Chicken Fried Rice with Sriracha and Soy Sauce

Nyesha – Asian-Style Scallops with Prickly Pear Garnish, Cilantro and Thai Basil

Vampira – Shrimp Tostada with Watermelon and Prickly Pear Shooter

In another double elimination, two would be out for good. To me, Vampira’s looked crazy gross and Nyesha’s the only one which looked appetizing. Tom said that Wasp’s had good flavor, but not enough cactus. Nyesha’s looked good and had a great sauce and well-made scallops. Vampira’s shellfish was well-cooked, and used the cactus well. Tom chose the dish which used the wok the best, and best incorporated the cactus – Nyesha. So, the first women to be officially eliminated from the show are Wasp and Vampira. Ten chefs remain, and Nyesha remains secretly waiting in RILCK.

Quickfire Hits
• Can anyone think of anything cooler than flying with Sarah and Chef Tony Mantuano and downing tequila shots?
• Somebody get Grayson some limes!
• I was wondering if more chefs could use the word “smoky.”
• Pretty Boy plated his QUickfire by putting and oyster shell on top of a shooter glass. Is he gradually turning into Angelo?
• I am drafting Nyesha and Darth Heather on to my fantasy basil tossing team.
• Shippers out there must have loved this line from Pretty Boy – “I want to show myself with one little bite.”
• Imagine if Edward got his wish and they had to cook road kill! That’s for Season 18 – Top Chef: West Virginia.
• No snark here – Bev’s story about fleeing an abusive life…well, wow. Sure does put cooking duck into perspective.
• Tom made a jackalope reference. Awesome. Tom has been the MVP of this season…moreso.
• Bring Chef Vinny back again so he can tell more stories about jumping on gators.
• Things I learned – calling undercooked meat blue, as in black and blue.
• The baseball fan in me appreciated Monobrow and Love comparing Top Chef to baseball as it related to Darth Heather. Everyday is new day, and you have to forget the last at-bat.

Next week – Austin, Texas. Patti LaBelle. And Emeril.

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