'Top Chef' recap: Who Shot JR?

top-chef-texas.jpgQuickfire Challenge: The challenge kicking off this week's "Top Chef: Texas" is to make a new sauce based on an assigned one of the five mother sauces (bechamel, espagnole, veloute, tomate, and hollandaise). The tops are Grayson, who made a ravioli, Chris Hollywood, who made a seafood-infused veloute, and Paul, who made quail and okra. The winner is Grayson, because the guest judge thought she cooked her sauce to perfection.

Elimination Challenge: Work as a team to create a four-course steak dinner for 200 cattle ranchers at Southfork Ranch, "Dallas"-style. Beverly, Dakota, and Sarah are making gazpacho for the first course. Edward, Chris Moto, and Paul are making a steak carpaccio for the second course. For the third course, Ty-Lor is making the steaks, Chris Hollywood is doing the greens, Nyesha is doing the compound butter and sauce, and Whitney (who?) is doing potato gratin. Did I mention I sliced off part of my thumb a few weeks ago making potato gratin? Bad times. Don't do that, Whitney. And then Heather, Grayson, and Lindsay are doing the dessert course, and they also organize everything on service day.

During prep, people are concerned that Beverly is working too slowly and that Whitney isn't cooking her potatoes ahead of time. There is some question, though, of whether Beverly is taking a long time or if Heather is just a bully. And then Ty cuts his hand, so they have to regroup and try to figure out who will take charge of the steaks if Ty can't do it. Ty ends up getting four stitches and is up all night waiting in the emergency room. And then the next day, he is grilling two hundred steaks to medium rare all by himself. I don't know why no one is helping him, frankly. It seems pretty important.

Here are the official dish titles:

1st Course (Sarah, Beverly, Dakota): tomato-watermelon gazpacho, poached shrimp, and avocado mousse. The judges think it's well-seasoned and the shrimp is well-cooked, but the dish is a little bit safe.

2nd Course (Edward, Chris Moto, Paul): New York strip steak carpaccio, heirloom tomato salad, vinaigrette, and mushroom "bacon." The judges don't love the tomatoes, but think the steak is good. Overall, they wanted something a little more.

3rd Course (Ty-Lor, Chris Hollywood, Nyesha, and Whitney): Grilled rib-eye with potato gratin, braised greens, and compound butter. The steaks are grilled by Ty and then flashed in the oven, but Lindsay gets nervous and flashes the steaks too early, so they end up sitting around for too long and get cold and overcooked. The gratin is undercooked. They like the butter and the sauce, so Nyesha's cool.

4th Course (Heather and Lindsey): "Right Side Up" Texas peach cake, peach salad, and candied pecan streusel. The judges think the cake is fine, but disagree over whether it's sweet enough or not.

The judges decide that Heather is the winner. Maybe she should have anticipated that before she bitched out Beverly in the Stew Room as they waited to hear from the judges. Now she just looks like more of an a******. Especially since she used Edward's recipe and didn't give him any credit.

The bottom three are Ty-Lor, Whitney, and Edward. Ty-Lor is ultimately responsible for the steaks, which were unevenly cooked. Whitney's gratin was heavy and undercooked in parts, and really boring, she has no excuse for that. Edward's tomato salad was boring, and the judges felt it was emblematic of the meal as a whole - they didn't take any risks. The judges eliminate Whitney. And seriously, plain potato gratin with no extra flavors? Or SOMETHING? I guess that's why she was invisible most of the time - she was going home, so why bother getting to know her.

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