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Top Chef: Texas – Ep 13 – The Best Pancake I Ever Had

Between the Super Bowl, some busy work moments, and a nice visit from an old friend, I am a bit behind this week with the column. Also, I did not care for this episode. Not remotely.

Reason #1 for not liking it – Pee Wee Herman. Perhaps it is my age, but I never grew up watching the Playhouse, and for my generation Pee Wee was fodder for screwy stoner material. I don’t consider him to be nostalgia, and I really don’t find him very funny (he had a couple of decent lines this week, but not much else). And worst of all…the man is 60 years old! And he’s playing this character that’s an arrested development kid. I mean, the amount of makeup applied to his face to drown out the age could win an Emmy. It was just creepy. Super creepy. Super Duper creepy.

Reason #2 for not liking it – the challenge. I understand the attempt at thinking outside the box with this one. And of course, they had to incorporate Pee Wee into it, so having them have to bike to the Alamo made sense. But the challenge felt way too Amazing Racey. Now, I love me some Race, but I am not watching the Race. Top Chef is about the food and I don’t think this challenge lent itself to these elite chefs cooking elite food. Especially not this late in the game. Maybe early on I can live with it, but with so much riding on it to have all of these weird steps involved just made no real sense.

Reason #3 for not liking it – the editing. I know it is hard to have it both ways, but the editing has bothered me for a few weeks now. While I will criticize the show for making the eventual elimination too obvious, it should also not be deceptive. All signs pointed to Edward getting the boot this week. He undercooked chicken. It had a weird texture. Who wants to eat undercooked, weird chicken? However, despite leading us in that direction, the show gave us yet another week with a surprise elimination.

Reason #4 for not liking it – the surprise elimination. Damn you, show! You took out my favorite chef this season! And, in my opinion, for BS reasons. Let’s remember for a moment that Edward made a Salmonella Surprise. What did Grayson do? She made another huge portion size. Fancy chefs need to get over the tiny portion size as being anything to brag about. Grayson cooks big – that’s ok. Also, she got hit for combining butternut squash with tomatoes. Tom could not get past that. She also said she tried to be healthy by taking off the skin, but then loaded it up with gorgonzola cheese. All valid points – but worse than undercooked poultry? I think not.

So, Grayson goes home for crappy reasons. Or does she? This episode also marked the last episode of RILCK. Except, after watching the webcast, we learn nothing. The show is leaving us hanging. Next week, or thanks to my inability to meet a deadline, tomorrow – we will learn at the same time as the Final Four who has emerged from the RILCK experiment – Grayson or Beverly.

Quickfire – Make Pancakes in 20 Minutes. The chefs enter to, as Sarah said, 80,000 pancakes. Grayson assumes they have to cook for a kid – maybe Miley Cyrus. Although, at this point, Miley may want a special kind of brownie – if you know what I mean. No, Grayson, not a kid, just a 60-year-old scary man on a bicycle. Pee Wee likes pancakes. And bikes. And thus our episode.

Sarah wants to win some cash to make her fiancée happy. Grayson thinks that Minnie Mouse pancakes are whimsical for Pee Wee. His best friend was a talking chair, Grayson. Gotta up the ante a bit. Paul Qui is going with champagne and Dippin’ Dots. How did he know what I get at the movies?

Wait, what in the name of George Lucas is wrong with me! All this time, I have failed to grant Paul the built in nickname of Qui-Gon. I may have to turn in my lightsaber and await punishment. Also – first time for Qui-Gon to make pancakes. How is that even possible? Even I have made pancakes!

Grayson- Ricotta Buttermilk Pancake, Peach Compote, Blackberry and Basil
Edward – Pancake Bits, Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Bacon and Bruleed Marshmallow
Lindsay of the Corn – Ricotta Pancake, Whipped Crème Fraiche, Marcona Almond and Anise Cookies
Qui-Gon – Rolled Pancake with Berries, Black Pepper and Champagne Dippin’ Dots
Sarah – Confetti Pancakes, Blackberry Sauce, Cocoa Nibs and Vanilla Whipped Cream

No real notes on the food – because, really, why have that in a cooking competition. Edward wins the challenge for making crispy bits of pancake and surprising Pee Wee.

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