Top Chef Texas Recap: This Is Just A Tribute

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It’s Top Chef Texas Episode 8 entitled “Tribute Dinner”, and it is time to take Top Chef outta the BRONZE AGE and into the TWITTER TWAGE with the first-ever Web 2.0 Synergy Kloutfire #Challenge. This week, Top Chef fans will Tweet in the Twickfire twrules in real-time, even though this is being taped in like June of 2008, so it’s basically a Twit-quivalent of the Mr. Show Pretaped Call-In Show.

Tom checks the Tweets on his phone, and gets easily distracted:

The First Rule Of Twit Challenge: It is fine to talk about Twit Challenge, cause that movie The Fighting Club was years ago. Also, cook something with bacon. Simple enough! Looks like this is gonna be an eaaasy twallenge.

Then, the Twit-twists start rolling in:

That Tweet wasn’t very helpful.

Second Twitrule: Include a hash in your dish, because it’s a HASH-tag challenge. Also, shape your protein into an @ symbol and feed it to Rob Delaney.

Third Twitrule: Swap one ingredient from your dish with a fellow chef for them to use in their dish. #TWISTAGAINLikeWeDidLastSummer.

In all, they have to make a dish with bacon, a hash, and using one ingredient from a fellow chef. At one point, Chris J even says that he’s keeping his dish basic cause he knows other twists are coming, which was a rare refreshing moment of self-awareness from the chefs. Usually they’re like “I CAN’T BELIEVE ALL OF THESE TWISTS, I HAD NO IDEA TOP CHEF SEASON 34 WOULD BE LIKE THIS!!!”

Quickfire Bottom Three: Grayson, Chris J, Ed. Sorry guys, you now must all follow @CHETHAZE

Quickfire Top Three: Beverly, Sarah, Paul. Paul wins the Quickfire for his Bacon Three Ways – he is really ripping this season up foodwise, not only winning another Quickfire, but doing it with a thing “Three Ways” which Tom usually automatically hates. Paul is clearly the favorite at this point, followed by everyone else besides Ty-Lor, followed by Ty-Lor. Also, let us not forget how needlessly mean Heather was last week, and continues to be:

Did I mention the chefs went to Austin? Well they’re in Austin now. They’re kicking back in a hotel bar (when Tom said “The drinks are on us” I was really hoping a “cook drunk” challenge was coming), when suddenly, they’re greeted by Patti Labelle, who screams at them while a piano plays:

Remember earlier this year when Patti Labelle reportedly threw water at a baby? Well she’s this week’s guest judge for a touching Elimination Challenge about paying tribute to The Roots. Or their roots, I don’t know, I was kind of half paying attention.

Labelle declares, “Everybody cooks with soul, I don’t care if you’re black, white, pink or green or whatever.” Kermit The Frog is green, and he probably cooks with more soul because it isn’t easy being that.

Literally just as my friend started saying “You know there’s gonna be some serious crying in this epis-” Sarah starts bawling:

The chefs each take turns talking about their primary culinary inspirations, and it’s pretty much all “my grandmother” with the exception of Chris C’s uncle and OF COURSE Ty-Lor’s Japanese Maid. Shockingly, Beverly doesn’t cry, even when she’s talking about her inspirational baby:

It’d be funny if Beverly actually didn’t cry in the hospital when she first saw her baby. She was just like “Cool kid. A nice change of pace after that really emotional rodeo.”

I’m not sure how the context came to this, but Ed delivers a potential “Top Chef Reunion T-Shirt” Quote: “I have balls and I’m gonna show em”

Also not afraid to show his balls, emotion-wise? Guest Judge Emeril (which Emeril? Lagasse?), who says that he’d pay tribute to his mother with Portuguese Kale Soup. Awww, is there anything cuter than picturing Momeril???

The dishes are served, and only three people really get criticized: Patti says of Heather’s beef “It’s Bigfoot,” Padma says that the “albumin” on Chris C’s salmon was unappetizing (how obvious was it that Padma just learned that term and slipped it in all casually? It’s like in Chopped when they have some weird ingredient and the judges are like “Everyone knows when you’re working with dandelion greens, you HAVE to emulsify the roots,” like we’re supposed to believe or even care that a producer didn’t just look that up and tell them. Anywhooo…), and Grayson’s ribeye is “sinewy and spongey” (ewwww!) and she put way too much on the plate:

The Top Three: Beverly, Sarah and Ed. Sarah wins for her Pork Sausage Stuffed Cabbage and Spinach with Browned Butter. She is very happy, and says “now my grandparents have bragging rights to all their friends.” Her grandparents’ bragging would likely go something like this:

Sarah’s Grandmother: Our granddaughter won on the Top Chef!

Sarah’s Grandmother’s Friend: I like Tom Hanks.

It’s time for the big Elimination announcement, after some shots of Padma and Emeril being how they definitely really are:

In the end, much to everyone’s delight, Heather ends up getting sent home for her gross one-pot beef that she didn’t have enough time to turn into that same cake she’s baked twice. This also fulfills Beverly’s “Karma always comes around” declaration in the show’s opening, and some Bravo producer now thinks he’ll win an Emmy for that brilliant storytelling. Who says reality tv isn’t art? Everyone says this including reality tv makers and we’re all correct.

I thought the show might eliminate Grayson to keep the rabblerousing Heather around another week, but her controversy-generating was so unnecessary and deliberate, it wasn’t even reality-show interesting, plus she’s only cooked one good dish (twice). Farewell, pointlessly controversial Heather! You are already missed:

Top Chef “Tribute” Episode Thoughts? Happy to see Heather go? Is Paul the clear favorite? Anything else we missed? Leave ‘em all in the comments! I won’t be doing a Recap next week because I’ll be lamely spending time with my loving family, but feel free to call my parents’ house and we can discuss Ty-Lor getting eliminated.