Top Chef Texas Recap: Moneybowl


It’s Top Chef Texas Episode 5, entitled Don’t Be Tardy for the Dinner Party, and after last week’s sleep-deprivation Chili Cookoff that caused seven chefs to confess cumin-related war crimes under duress, we are heading to Dallas! Dallas, eh? Looks like it’s time to give Patrick Duffy a call so he can cue up this classic TV theme song!

First things first – Chris C, the season’s “pretty boy” (though with this group, it’s not unlike being the “pretty boy” on a senate subcommittee) says he used to be fat, and shows this picture to prove it:

Also, Chris used to be a nerd, a tomboy, and got bullied all the time in school but now he’s nominated for an Oscar! (Is what Chris would say if he were a super-attractive actress on The Tonight Show). What are we talking about?

Oh yeah, the crazy smiley guest judge John Besh:

For the Quickfire, the group is driving to Dallas when they run into a CLASSIC Texas roadblock and a state trooper asks them to get out of the car (this must be real, cause they weren’t being guided or directed by 900 producers and a film crew this whole time), and the trooper’s like “You got a tail light out…RIGHT THERE” and smashes their taillight and then Sarah takes a swing at him he bounces her off the hood of the car and it’s horrifying but they’re committed to this bit, dammit.

The chefs have to cook in a windy open field using only nonperishables from a survival kit (that has crabmeat in it, like all survival kits) to prove how good they are at being chefs who crash on a plane and have to cook Ethan Hawke. Most of the dishes look really gross, possibly because they’re served in literal bedpans, but some of the chefs rise to the occasion like true Texas weirdly-specific-thing-cookers.

Bottom 3: Chris C, Dakota, Whitney (aka, Tats n’ Fats)

Top 3: Ed, Lindsay, Chuy

Lindsay wins the Quickfire for her Triple Club Sandwich with Tuna and Sardines in French Onion Soup with Vienna Sausage. Congrats, Lindsay! Ed comes up just short despite his declaration that he wants to make some “non Flintstones food.” Does he mean non funny dino-steaks or non vitamins? Everyone else was stupid for making vitamins.

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs break into three groups and will prepare appetizers, entrees, and desserts for three welladjusted Dallas high society couples during the brief period when they’re not completely cheating on each other.

There’s Couple 1, featuring Countess Apps:

Couple 2, featuring John Besh pulling an Eddie Murphy and playing every character:

And Couple 3, featuring an Associate Producer who had to stand in for the real husband because he got called away on cheating business:

Also, the second couple’s house is actually a funhouse that makes all the chefs look tiny:

The Elimination Challenge is RIFE with classic Top Chef red flags, causing me to again wonder why prospective TC contestants don’t pay me an enormous fee to come coach them about what to definitely never do on the show before they start taping. Seriously. Tweet me. And Tweet me some money. It’ll pay for itself tenfold in Healthy Choice Buck$$.

Anyway, Chris C. is stuck on desserts and he decides to make a cupcake recipe he’s “never tried” but hopes it just works out this time (FLAG 1) and covers up his insecurity by throwing 47 things on his plate (FLAG 2):

Chris J, who remains one of the strongest competitors, completely ignores App Lady’s request for somewhat-conventional food (FLAAAG) and makes a “Roasted Chicken Cigar” out of collard greens, and it looks even more fun to eat than an actual cigar:

Chris later explains that he saw a box of cigars in the couple’s home and wanted to wow them, and what better way to wow someone than by turning objects you saw in their home into foods? His original idea actually focused on a golf clubs scallop in a scotch tape reduction with window hash.

Chuy also overcooks his salmon dish and seems awfully sad about it in the testimonial, another telltale sign that he’s in trouble (according to the time-tested Mike Still Theory of “They Tape The Testimonials Afterwards So You Can Kind Of Tell.”) Doesn’t always work, but it suuuper does this episode.

The Top 4: Grayson, Sarah, Dakota, Paul

Paul wins for his Fried Brussels Sprouts with Grilled Prosciutto. Sounds tasty n’ simple n’ not a f***ing cigar! Paul follows up his huge $20,000 ghost-pepper Quickfire win last week with a solid showing in a still-huge field this week, and just edges out Grayson’s chocolate sponge cake, which violated my TC-watching companion’s pet peeve of not doing chocolate smears:

I love that fine dining participants and critics are so wrapped up in the high-mindedness and exclusivity of their expertise, they’re always elementally incapable of just looking at a plate like that and saying “It looks like you literally smeared a piece of sh*t on there. How about you never do that?” I’ll explore this mindset in my children’s book, The Emperor’s New Sh*tstain Plate.

Bottom 4: Chris J, Ty-Lor, Chris C, Chuy

Ty-Lor’s meat mess joins the aforementionedly-red-flagged Chrises and Chuy. Tom rips into Chris’ dish the hardest, but the judges seem to hate Ty-Lor’s almost as much and he’s been one of the weakest competitors so far, so I had my money on Ty-Lor being asked to pack his hammer and return to his dwarven gemcaves (I’m making that joke every week until Ty-Lor’s gone).

Instead, shockingly, it’s Chuy who gets sent home despite almost winning the Quickfire and having his salmon complimented by the housewives. I know the judges and producers make the call themselves without input from the culinarily provincial “normals” (EGADS!), but doesn’t the fact that the people whom the chefs were cooking for enjoyed the dish at least factor in slightly, especially when two other people completely blew it? Answer: Everything makes less sense in Texas.

Ah well – Bye Chuy aka Chewie! Hopefully we’ll see you again when you pop out of an AT-AT Walker during the Endor challenge:

Top Chef episode thoughts? Favorite/least favorite parts? Stuff we missed? Reactions to Chuy’s elimination? Favorite / least favorite chefs so far? Smear that sh*t onto the comments.

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