It’s Top Chef Texas episode 12 entitled “Block Party”, and to be perfectly up front, this recap is gonna be all downhill after that opening cat photo, as will the entire rest of my writing career and possibly life. But we’re in this season TOGETHER, dammit, so I’ll type some nonsense words about that episode we just saw and you can follow along and keep scrolling back up to that cat pic when you get bored. Deal?
BREAKING NEWS: Paul has just been named the winner of this Top Chef season via Mercy Rule. Congrats, Paul! Top Chef will be moving on to the next season starting next week. Seems only fair.
Wait, actually I’ve been misinformed. What I actually heard was, Ron Paul has been named the winner of this Top Chef season via Mercy Rule. Actually no, this source might be unreliable. I’ve actually just been checking a Slovakian NHL Trade Rumors website, and I can’t read any of this. It might not be about Top Chef at all – I’ll hit Google Translate and get back to you.
In the meantime, only 6 chefs left, so ONWARD TO THE QUICKFIRE:
For the Quickfire Challenge, the chefs are paired up into three aproned teams to prepare a mise en place (French for “Mice in Plays”, so this should be adorable! I request Mousebeth) where they’ll have 30 minutes to peel, de-vein, and butterfly 2 pounds of shrimp, shuck a basket of corn, and make fresh fettuccine, then use their remaining time to prepare a dish with the three ingredients. “I made fettuccine with shrimp and corn,” is what three people are about to say.
The chefs speed through the ‘food obstacle course’ pretty adeptly – no one gets stuck on the Shrine Of The Silver Monkey – and they prepare three nice-looking dishes in under fifteen minutes, which was impressive. Paul fails to get the shrimp on the plate, though, so his team is disqualified – uhoh Paul, looks like you might be going home this week! Hahaha but seriously Paul won the season.
Chris J and Grayson win the Quickfire and take home $10,000 furnished by Healthy Choice (furnished = given to Bravo? Or did they like, place furniture in the money?) Chris J really organically says, “Thank you Healthy Choice.” Then the show goes to commercial and this runs:
I mean, I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I just have this vague gut feeling…
For the Elimination challenge, the pairs of chefs will now become adversaries (the cookers have become THE COOKED!), and each chef has to prepare a version of the same dish as their rival for a Healthy Choice block party in support of their “Child Hunger Ends Here” campaign. This is gonna be amusing when they talk about charitable giving and feeding hungry children then cut to Tom and Dana Cowin spitting out someone’s dish because it didn’t fit the technical criteria of a true risotto.
At the block party, the chefs are greeted by a, well, not “familiar” face, but a face we remember once they remind us who he was:
It’s noted Flavor Ambassador Ryan Scott! FUN FACT: “Healthy Choice Flavor Ambassador” was also Steven Spielberg’s nominal title on The Land Before Time.
The chefs pick their dishes –
Grayson & Chris J: Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Ed & Paul: Asian Beef BBQ with Pickled Vegetables
Sarah & Lindsay: Meatballs (hope no one makes Meatballs II)
Padma then announces, “Those don’t sound very healthy. Now you’ll have to prepare a healthier version of those dishes.” That’s fine, Padma, but why were you so mad when you announced this? It wasn’t part of the original challenge then you got angry at everyone for not anticipating that additional aspect. I mean, I know it’s a “Healthy” Choice block party, but the chefs also aren’t preparing tiny green frozen meals either, so it’s hard to nail them on semantics.
Anyway, the chefs commence cooking outdoors, and perils immediately present themselves when a swarm of bees specifically attacks Chris J’s pineapple:
That’s right, bees. BEES?
And because we’re bored, this gives us a chance to post our favorite Simpsons sign joke:
The chefs serve their dishes; Grayson is making her chicken salad sandwiches to order, while Chris J is making them all in advance and letting the bread get soggy (“Redddd Redddd Flag…” – UB40 watching this). And speaking of bread, Ed lets people serve themselves at his station and people keep taking too many pieces of bread, including Breaddo Stealface Jr over here:
The diners praise the food almost unanimously, as they always do, especially these two guys who secretly run Texas and already know the outcome of the next two presidential elections:
WINNERS: Paul, Grayson, Lindsay. The judges and diners love the Healthy alternatives for the most part, and Paul wins his 900th consecutive challenge for his Turkey Kalbi and Eggplant with White Peach Kimchi:
Grayson and Tom verbally spar over whether or not a Chicken Salad Sandwich was a refined enough choice for a Healthy Choice Block Party, and I was on Grayson’s side; is it really that much less ‘refined’ than a meatball, or any other of the standard week-to-week choices on this show? Also, what are the gourmet standards for a bee-filled charity benefit run by a frozen food company? This is all splitting receding-hairs anyway, because Paul has won the season.
LOSERS: Ed, Chris J, Sarah. Tom calls Sarah’s meatball ‘very good’, just not as excellent as Lindsay’s, and Ed has been fine all season, so it’s clearly Chris J’s time to go. Tom literally tells him “Letting the bread get soggy was not a healthy choice.” Nor was it a Toyota Venza.
Chris is asked to pack his insane amount of bleeps this episode and go. On the way out, he gets a BAMshake with Always Hilariously Serious Emeril:
And we’re down to Paul and four other people who are about to lose to Paul (and one person gets to come back from Last Chance Kitchen to lose to Paul again). Should be interesting! Now let’s watch Fabio say ‘burger’ a bunch of times.
Top Chef Block Party Thoughts? Thoughts on Chris’ elimination? Any conceivable scenarios in which Paul doesn’t win? Comment away.