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Top Chef: Texas – Ep 11 – Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall, Who’s The Most Talented Of Them All?

I thought the right strategy would to set up and cook a sauce or something in the beginning of the challenge. This way you get things done and you don’t waste time standing around the belt waiting for the food come out. What was brilliant about the food choices was that if you miss something production could take it off the belt. This led to a hilarious saga of Glasses trying to claim some lobster. He missed it the first time, and he missed it the second time! The third time, Grayson altered Jonesy about the lobsters and he barely snagged one before it vanished.

The combination of items was awesome.

Edward – Macadamia Nuts, Sauerkraut, and Black Truffle. Sauerkraut Soup, Shrimp with Shaved Truffle

Glasses – Lobster, Vanilla, and Foie Gras. Butter Poached Lobster with Foie Gras

Grayson – Goldfish Crackers, Grapefruit, Dover Sole. Butter Poached Dover Sole with Goldfish and Rosemary

Paul – Wonder Bread, Saffron, Bitter Melon. Mussels in Ginger and Bitter Melon Broth

Sarah – Artichokes, Saltine Crackers, Cottage Cheese. Fried Soft-Shell Crab with Cottage Cheese Sauce

Lindsay of the Corn – Grouper, Clams, Pernod. Bouillabaisse in Fennel-Pernod Broth

Beverly – Rice Krispies, Tofu, and Black Eyed Peas. Glazed Sockeye Salmon and Black Eyed-Peas

The problem was for Beverly – she barely ran out of time and failed to plate the Krispies. Ripert was curious and asked her if he could taste her dish with the Krispies on. He loved it. They made it clear to her that if she plated properly, she would have won. Ouch. But you can’t really get on her case too much – she failed here, but she did cook very well in the Elimination Challenge. Lindsay of the Corn earned the win – even if it was really second place- over Sarah. Meanwhile, Paul, Grayson and Glasses found themselves in the bottom. I’d go into more detail but this was Ripert explaining things and I still have not developed a proper Ripert translator. One thing is for sure though – Glasses managed to mess up lobster somehow.

Elimination Challenge - Created a dish for a seven course Gothic Feast fit for a queen. It is hard to really describe these dishes because the visual nature of the challenge was so important, but I’ll do my best.

Edward – Tuna Tartare with Black Garlic Ponzu and Asian Pear Vinaigrette – His theme was that his two sauces served as good vs. Evil in that they were a light sauce and a dark sauce. They battled over the tuna in the middle of the plate. Padma was very interested in his fried fish scales. Ripert praised the sauce, Theron liked the war theme and found the garlic provided a nice punch.

Paul – Foie Gras with Bacon, Pumpernickel, Pickled Cherries, and Beets. He built this plate along the edge, having the food serve as a forest lining the edge of the plate. It was a forest of temptation, with such things as bacon, foie gras and fruits. Smack dab in the middle of the plate was a Paul handprint. He dipped it in something red (unsure if the fruit or the beets) and it represented the bloody reach of the Evil Queen. The judges ate it up – in every sense of the phrase. Ripert was somewhat put off by the print, but the others told him to lighten up, Francis. Emeril thought that it shouldn’t work, but it did. They all thought the food was fantastic.

Beverly – Seared Halibut with Red Curry Coulis and Forbidden Rice – The fish repesented Snow White’s heart with the blood red background and how vulnerable it was. Ripert loved her use of pineapple. Theron said her halibut was cooked perfectly, and Tom thought the rice was great.

Lindsay of the Corn – Seared Scallop over “Witch’s Stew” and Dragon Beans – She was the least creative of the bunch, but she took a nice approach by altering one of Michelle Bernstein’s dishes and turning it into a witch’s brew. This could have been too safe – and perhaps it would have been if she wasn’t immune – but she turned out ok. It helped that she cooked the hell out of it. Emeril was hit by the aroma, and Theron thought the scallop was perfect. She must think this is Top Scallop. Tom said it was “so damn good.” Theron was taken with the creativity of using dragon beans.

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