Top Chef Recap: I’m A Loner, Padma, A Rebel

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It’s Top Chef Texas episode 13 entitled Bike, Borrow & Steal, meaning the chefs will have to bike around San Antonio, borrow kitchens from local restaurants, and apparently steal sh*t? “I’m not here to steal pens,” they all keep telling the camera, then Beverly cries somewhere.

For the Quickfire, the chefs walk in to see a giant table full of pancakes that end up not getting used in any way so f*ck you, 19th century street urchins:

Remember last week when the chefs did a benefit for the Healthy Choice ‘End Childhood Hunger’ campaign? A decent start would’ve been giving those 4,000 pancakes to some kids.

Oop, no time for talky talk because Pee-Wee Herman is here!

P.W. Herman introduces himself and challenges the chefs to make the best-tasting pancake they can, with or without using an elaborate Rube Goldberg breakfast contraption. Grayson and Lindsay BOTH literally say that they grew up always making pancakes then watching Pee Wee’s Playhouse, which I’m sure are two separate things that they did at some point in their lives, but there’s no way both chefs routinely did the most applicable-to-this-challenge thing imaginable. “Growing up, we always used to cook chicken for Pee Wee Herman in The Alamo on the show Top Chef…”

When we saw the pile of pancakes, I thought for sure the guest judge was gonna be John Candy’s SCTV “3-D Theater” character:

Grayson wants to make her pancakes in the shape of Minnie Mouse, because that’s a kid type thing and so is Pee Wee’s Playhouse, and she just totally nails it:

Pee-Wee tastes all the pancakes and makes lots of faces, declaring every pancake ‘the best pancake he’s ever had,’ and of course Paul wins his 9,000th consecutive challenge. Wait, actually Ed wins! Sorry, I’ve just been Control-V’ing results from week to week. Congrats, other chefs! You guys hang in there – who knows, one of you might even beat Paul! One of you might even be President of the United States someday! You can do anything if you put your mind to it! Just clap your hands and move your feet, now listen to that rockin’ beat… (I’ve been workshopping my school assembly spiel, in case a school calls me and asks me to do an assembly for them. Hasn’t happened yet. Wait – haven’t checked my phone in like an hour. Yep still hasn’t happened. I’ll keep you posted.)

Ed wins $5,000 reupholstered by Healthy Choice. They haven’t really done any Quickfire ‘advantages’ this season after taking Immunity off the table, but I guess the advantages usually just backfired anyway – “You had first choice if protein and you STILL messed this up you STUPID S.O.B.???” (Remember when Gail constantly screamed that sentence at people verbatim?)

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs will have to hop on bikes, like in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, and find random ingredients around San Antonio then cook them in other peoples’ restaurants, like in Big Top Pee-Wee (it’s been awhile since I’ve seen that). As the chefs set off, Paul looks at the camera with an EXTREMELY knowing facial expression, as if to say “If you’re not just gonna declare me the winner now, I’ll do your dumb biking challenge, just remember how polite I’m being when you eventually do name me Top Chef”:

The chefs take turns approaching restaurant owners that have clearly been informed by producers and signed 70 releases – or maybe the chefs just burst in spontaneously and asked “Hey mind if me and my camera crew cook and film here and also mic all of you right before you respond?” and the cooks were like “Uhhh, DUHHHH, WINNING!” (this was filmed like a year ago).

Some chefs end up in good situations, like Ed, who cooks in a comfortable bed and breakfast with two nice people who make him cook eggs for their customers; others, like Lindsay, end up getting shafted out of multiple locations and having to make due:

The cooking parts run surprisingly smoothly; my favorite part was when Grayson asked a cook at her Mexican restaurant, “Como Esta?” and he just responded with a completely unenthused and uninflected “Good.” That Mexican cook probably also cringes whenever Aaron Sanchez pronounces Spanish things on Chopped. We should probably hang out.

The chefs finish prepping and bike on over to The Alamo to finish up cooking in THE ALAMO’S KITCHEN WHAT THE F*CK?

It was so never explained what that kitchen was or how the chefs entered a small side door at THE ALAMO and were in THE ALAMO’S KITCHEN. There’s no basement at the Alamo, but there is a nicely redecorated, fully-equipped homely kitchen big enough for five chefs?

I guess I never saw that 2004 movie with Billy Bob Thornton:

FUN MOVIE FACT: For The Alamo, they actually just re-released Hidalgo and CGI’d an Alamo into the background of some scenes and no one noticed.

The chefs serve their dishes and it’s a classic “Guest Judge Who Isn’t A Chef” episode, because Pee-Wee basically loves everything, as most non-chefs probably would when being served five painstakingly-prepared free dinners by five working restaurant chefs in competition with one another, so it’s up to Tom and Gail to appreciate his compliments but slowly plant seeds of doubt about what the chefs screwed up. Pee-Wee does note that Ed’s chicken has a weird texture, which prompts the other best quote of the episode, when Tom begins his reply “I agree with Pee-Wee…”

The chefs head to Judges’ Table, where Pee-Wee sits more believably-stoically than Emeril does when he’s on:

Lindsay wins the Elimination Challenge for her Stuffed Zucchini with Braised Beef Cheeks, Rice and Goat Cheese. Lindsay’s actually been pretty good this season, and to borrow an NFL Playoffs cliche, may be “getting hot at the right time.” Not hot enough to beat Paul, obviously, but like, slightly unseasonably humid.

So who’s going home? We’ll find out right after this funny-every-time Bravo graphic:

Paul is deemed safe, so he can leave. The judges notice he already left like 20 minutes ago. They’re like “That’s weird but we understand.” Ed seems to have screwed up the worst with his rubbery chicken (though Tom explained on the subsequent Watch What Happens Live that their longer conversation about Grayson’s mistakes was edited out), Sarah underseasoned her eggs, and Grayson had a giant chicken breast (something people OFTEN complain about) and mixed squash with tomatoes, which is a big Fall-meets-Summer no-no (like putting Katherine Heigl into a June blockbuster).

Ultimately, Grayson is eliminated for her Egg, Spinach and Gorgonzola Stuffed Chicken and Butternut Roasted Squash. She takes the defeat with a very upbeat early-90s-rap attitude:

We’re down to just four chefs, plus one more chef who gets rescued via Last Chance Kitchen (Top Chef’s answer to the Singled Out Golden Life Preserver). I watched the Beverly vs. Grayson clip online and they didn’t announce the winner. As a protest to this waste of time, I’m peeing on the next Toyota I see. Although, I can’t imagine they’ll just be like “Hey, Grayson’s back” – I’m sure they’ll give it to Beverly so there’s some intrigue and so Last Chance Kitchen doesn’t feel like they just deleted a week of Top Chef.

Either way, it’s time for Part 1 of God Knows How Many of the Top Chef Texas Finale!!! Who knows WHAT will happen between now and when Paul is named the winner????

Top Chef Pee-Wee Episode Thoughts? Do Ed, Lindsay, Sarah, or Beverly have any chance of knocking off Paul? Any updated thoughts on the season? Stuff we missed? Random Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure quotes? Leave ‘em in the comments.