Last week was pretty harrowing, but the good news is that the chefs will be getting a good night's sleep, thank God. But they'll need it, because they're hitting the road for Dallas in the morning. Psyche! Poor chefs. I will say this has been the most good-natured bunch of competitors I've seen on the show in ages. They still share stuff, for crying out loud. Well, it's still early. The claws can start coming out at any time.
Oh, and not only are they stuck going to Dallas, they'll be driving themselves... in Toyota Siennas. Plug!
Being on the road invites conversation. Edward has been married one year. Ty-lor has a boyfriend. Chris C. lost 70 pounds in about two years. Personally, I think everyone who's not driving should try to nap, but I bet there's probably a camera guy with a stick sitting in the front seat, shrieking, "TALK!" every time they start to zone out.
Our little caravan is freaked out when they get pulled over by a state trooper. Dakota is pretty sure she has a warrant out for her arrest in Texas. Don't worry, Dakota. It's a challenge, not a bust.
Shocker -- Padma is waiting for the chefs with Luke/August owner John Besh. Time for a Quickfire! They'll be cooking in a field using the survival kits in the trunk of their cars. They have to cook the best dish they can in 30 minutes. With, um, saltines and canned meat. This is, if possible, even more disgusting than the challenge in which the chefs had to raid the snack station on a ferry. At least they got to use hot dog buns.
Chris J. goes looking for corn in the nearby field, which only yields husks. Lindsay is making Vienna sausages in honor of her dad. Ed pulls out his back, but he's determined not to make mess hall food.
Fried chicken on lemongrass noodles
How the hell did he find lemongrass? Was that in his kit?
Basmati rice with smoked trout
John Besh seems a little grossed out by the canned trout, but he may be faking. Although, ew, tinned anything is not usually a tasty treat.
Pickled herring with hearts of palm, dates and herring juice
Sorry, but gag.
Triple club with tuna & sardines in French onion soup with Vienna sausage
John Besh must be cursing Bravo for sending him to judge this Quickfire.
Black pepper chicken stew with garbanzo beans & rice
Padma thinks his rice is pretty good, given the conditions he's cooking under.
Dried beef & pineapple rice, apple sauce and hearts of palm
Dried beef? Ugh.
Spicy garbanzo beans with tofu and crab
Oh, and he used some Crystal Light for acidity. This was not a fun challenge for anyone, was it?
Beer & peach glazed chicken with green bean casserole
Honestly, can we cut away from this challenge? It's making my stomach turn.
Thai peanut soup with salmon, tofu and fried hominy
Hmm. Well, it doesn't look like dorm food.
Pork and beans with coffee and basmati rice
Looks like Fritos are also involved.
Sweet & spicy noodles with crab meat and pineapple juice
Padma notes that the pineapple is very sweet. Not good.
John thinks some people put their hearts and souls into the dish, and some people phoned it in. His least favorites: Whitney (canned green beans, didn't feel the love), Dakota (one dimensional and sweet), Chris C. (raw tofu was underseasoned). Favorites were Edward (great attention to detail, the whole thing worked), Lindsay (loved the sandwich), Chuy (he actually liked the canned, smoked trout). I think this belongs to Edward. And the winner is… Lindsay? Edward can't believe it, as the sandwich looked dry. I'm with Edward. But then, Lindsay has not exactly wowed me as a chef thus far.
Elimination Challenge time! It will take place in HIghland Park. Three neighbors will be having a progressive dinner party, and the chefs will be contributing the food. Ty-lor is ready for this, because he's used to cooking for clients like Bill Gates and rock stars. I'm giving Ty-lor an edge. The teams (which are not really teams, as everyone is cooking for themselves) are divided up into appetizers team, entree team and dessert team. Dakota is pissed to be stuck with desserts again. Now the teams can split up and head to their hotel in their Toyota Siennas. Plug!
The chefs are happy to find they have luxurious hotel accommodations. Don't get to comfortable; you'll be leaving soon!
Kim and Justin are the appetizer house, so Chris J., Whitney, Lindsay, Sarah and Paul walk in. Good news -- Kim writes books about party planning! Bad news -- she originally wanted all pink food, but she also hates bell peppers, cilantro and stinky stuff. Oh, and she's not very adventurous. Why do THESE people get "Top Chef" in their homes? Why? For most challenges, the chefs cook what they like and the hoi polloi have to eat whatever it is. These people get to give orders -- to make fussy and/or bland food. Sigh.
On to Kari and Troy's house. Troy loves spicy food, Kari doesn't. She hates cilantro and raspberries. The husband loves meat; she doesn't eat it. Chuy hates these guys immediately. Me, too.
Kameron and Court are our dessert couple. They love cakeballs, cupcakes and bananas. But Kameron loves Gummi bears. Again, WHY DO THESE PEOPLE GET "TOP CHEF" COOKING FOR THEM? Why not just feed the gorillas at the zoo?
Off to Whole Foods to shop. The chefs are excited to be cooking on their own. Chris J. is going to be making food shaped like cigars, and he thinks it will be a home run. Paul, however, thinks he's stupid, as it's more important to impress the lady of the house than the guy. I think cigars can only be a gross, entirely phallic and hard to eat proposition. Chris J., stop being so enamored with your own cleverness. This isn't the Dadaist food challenge.
At the entree house, Heather is pissed with Bev, as she's using the whole sink. That animal! Nyesha is aggravated with Bev for moving her blanching water. The bitch! Bev thinks everyone's overreacting. I think everyone could use a beer.
Roasted chicken cigar with sweet corn, collard greens and cumin ash
Yes, it's playful. It also looks like a big, greasy chunk of poop. The wife looks disgusted.
Grilled Roman style artichokes with date puree
It looks light and fresh, which will probably appease Mrs. Picky.
Roasted and raw beet salad with chickpeas and Greek vinaigrette
This looks like a salad from Wendy's.
Seared scallop over sweet corn puree
This is… okay, I guess. Looks kind of blah.
Fried Brussels sprouts with grilled prosciutto
I bet this tastes great, but not everyone likes Brussels sprouts.
Shocker -- Chris J.'s cigar is not a hit. Tom says the whole thing is dry and the idea of eating a cigar is not appealing to the ladies. Told ya -- it's the phallic thing. No surprise, Sarah's dish is a hit, Lindsay's dish is deemed boring, as is Whitney's. The Brussels sprouts go over better than I expected.
On to entrees.
Garlic and rosemary hrilled lamb chops with garbanzo beans and mint chimichurri
I don't even eat lamb and this looks good to me.
Sockeye salmon fillet stuffed with goat cheese
Chuy notes that he overcooked the salmon and the cheese looks weird, and I can't say this looks very good, either.
Seared scallop with creamy polenta
Another seared scallop, but this one looks more interesting, at least.
Grilled pork tenderloin with summer slaw
Ty-lor says his meal tastes great but looks like crap. I think it may be hard to eat, but looks okay to me.
Roaste filet of beef with vegetable melange
Because of the red wine this looks very rare, which probably isn't going to be a hit with everyone.
Gail declares Ty-lor's dish sloppy. Tom can't get past Heather's overcooked chops. Oh, and Nyesha's red wine reduction grosses out the guests, as expected.
As requested, the chefs are channeling their inner fat kids. Hey, that was the request, as insulting as it might have been.
Banana bread pudding, banana mousse and banana date milkshake
I know the host couple loves bananas, but what about everyone else? This is too bananarama for me.
Strawberry cupcake with banana custard and chocolate icing
Not sure about all of these ingredients.
Panna cotta, cantaloupe consomme and raspberries stuffed with basil pudding
It seems very elegant, but not at all what the hosts requested.
Chocolate sponge cake, caramelized bananas and semifreddo
Edward's dish is dismissed as "jiggly looking." Why do we have to listen to the locals talk? This one blonde chick has prattled on and on at every stop and it's like listening to my vacuum cleaner. Tom has nothing nice to say about Chris C.'s cupcake. The locals love Dakota's food.
Padma calls back Sarah, Grayson, Paul and Dakota. They are… the favorites. Tom loved Grayson's pretzels. John liked Sarah's refined flavors. Gail thought Dakota's dessert felt nostalgic and comforting. Tom thought Paul had wonderful textures. The winner is… Paul. No kidding? I love that he won for roasted Brussels sprouts.
On to our losers. The judges want to see both Chrises, Ty and Chuy.
Tom tells Chris C. his dish is all over the map. It was like a bunch of stuff at a kids' birthday party. Gail feels Ty's food was out of proportion. John felt it looked hacked up. Gail thought Chuy's overcooked salmon was a problem, as well as the gloopy goat cheese. Tom thinks the whole dish is a bad idea. Tom tells Chris J. he didn't respect the ingredients. John thought it was gimmicky.
The judges hash it out. It sounds like either Ty or Chuy. And, after Tom administers some spankings (verbally, to be clear), Chuy gets the boot.
He feels no shame, as the caliber of the other chefs is so high, but yeah, he's sad to go home. Now he gets to battle against Keith to return to the competition on "Last Chance Kitchen."
What did you think of the field challenge? Do you think it was Chuy's time to go? And were the other chefs picking on Bev or was she hogging the kitchen?