Top Chef S9-5: Don't Be Tardy for the Dinner Party Recap

Don't Be Tardy for the Dinner Party

Top Chef Texas is on its 5th episode and we have 14 cheftestants battling it out for the title of Top Chef.

Don’t forget there’s still The Last Chance Kitchen, which can only be seen online, but you want to be spoiled about that, check out my review of that online episode.

Don’t forget, if you don’t want to be spoiled about this episode, get out of the kitchen now!



This episode begins with Padma showing up to a bunch of defeated cheftestants who are still sitting at the chili cook off tables. She lashes at them with a whip then pours lemon juice all over their wounds. Or as other people would call it; she told them to get a good night’s sleep because they are leaving their houses and going to Dallas the next morning. Tomato, To-mah-to.

Expect the Unexpected

At they drive in their wonderful Toyota Siennas, we find out about some of the cheftestants. Heather has brothers who get motion sick and, occasionally, throw-up on her. Good to know. Crazy Ed just had his year anniversary, moved from New York 7 years ago and has a weird thing going on with his jaw when he talks. What the hell is that? Ty-lor has a boyfriend and laughs really easy at everything. Chris lost 70 pounds in 2 years and has a bunch of friends who called him fat.

Useful information. Except not.

Padma and John Besh
Padma and John Besh

The chefs drive their SUVs down a road blocked off by a State Trooper who asks Heather for her driver’s license and proof of insurance. She looks worried, because she has no idea about the insurance and poor Dakota is sweating bullets because she never paid a speeding ticket she got in ticket and is pretty sure she has a warrant out for her arrest.

Good times.

Instead of chef pat-downs, the cheftestants are sent toward Padma who is standing wit the guest judge John Besh of August restaurant. I didn’t pay much attention when Chris was oogling Padma, but now he’s oogling John Besh too. Boy is lusty, for sure.

Quickfire

Padma tells the cheftestants that they must be resourceful and inventive. They are told that in the trunks of their Toyota Sienna are survival kits and they must make their dish from that. The winner gets $5,000 and immunity.

Inside the survival kits is a bunch of packaged food. They have Bunsen burners, but no cutting board. Moto Chris runs for a nearby corn field, but everything looks dry and apparently is.

This time they judge 11 cheftestants food and I wonder why. The dishes look horrible and by the looks on Besh’s face when he ate, they must have been pretty horrific.

In the bottom were Whitney, Dakota and Lusty Chris. I scratch my head for a second, because who the hell is Whitney and when did she get on the show? Anywho, Whitney made a beer and peach glazed chicken and green bean casserole that Besh thought was basic. Dakota made sweet and spicy noodles with crab meat and pineapple that Besh thought was one dimensional and Padma thought was too sweet. Lusty Chris made under-seasoned spicy garbanzo beans with tofu and rice. Most of the food looked like cat food.

On the other end of the spectrum was food Besh thought was pretty good and yet it still looked like cat food.

Crazy Ed paid attention to details with his Thai peanut soup with salmon, crab and artichoke cake with friend hominy. Chuy made Basmati rice with smoked trout, which he called dirty mouth/dirty rice. Lindsay made a triple club cracker sandwich with tuna and sardines and a French onion soup with Vienna sausage. It looked dry and from the can, but apparently it was good enough to give Lindsay immunity and 5 grand.

The other dishes were not top or bottom, but we need to take note since they will be involved with this episode are as follows:

Moto Chris made fried chicken on lemongrass noodles plated on a cornhusk. They really like to feature him, don’t they? Grayson made pickled herring with Heart of Palm. Ty-lor make black pepper chicken stew with garbanzo beans and white rice. Sarah made a dried beef and pineapple rice with apple sauce and Heart of Palm. Lastly, Paul made pork and beans spiced with coffee and Basmati rice.

Thank goodness this is over and done with, because even the winning dishes looked like something a young child would make while their parent fell asleep at the couch. Or cat food. Either way, there wasn't any food porn going on during this Quickfire.

Elimination Challenge

From the poor end to the rich end. Padma tells the cheftestants that they will be catering a progressive dinner in the exclusive Highland Park. The teams are separated into three teams: appetizer, entrée and dessert. Although the groups are in teams, this is an individual challenge.

Team Appetizer

The team (Whitney, Paul, Moto Chris, Sarah and Lindsay) goes to the home of Kim and Justin Whitman. This is when they find the residents don’t like any food that makes them stretch outside of their own personal bubble. Kim doesn’t like bell peppers, cilantro and prefers food that is easy to eat. Don’t forget the biggie for her: she’s not adventurous!

Why the hell did they pay a bunch of money to have Top Chef come by? Ah yes, to be on TV. I guess there isn’t a version of The Real Housewives of Dallas yet. Do you think Bravo is considering another (please no) for their housewives series? If so, Dallas will be it.

Team Entrée

The team (Ty-lor, Chuy, Nyesha, Heather and Beverly) goes to the home of Kari and Troy Kloewer. After these two give their spiel it is obvious that they are opposites. He’s adventurous, likes meat and different flavors in his meals. She’s a high maintenance vegetarian who doesn’t eat cilantro and raspberries. What do these people have against cilantro and flavor in their food?

Team Dessert

The team (Grayson, Dakota, Crazy Ed and Lusty Chris) goes to the home of Cameron and Court Wescott. I have to wonder if these people really do hang out with the other couples, because their advice for the cheftestants is to appease their “inner fat kid” and “just have fun with it”. I get the Lusty Chris storyline now and really, Bravo? That’s just mean. The one disconcerting thing was that Court said his wedding cake was a giant gummy bear. That is either frightening or awesome. Can’t quite tell.

Tom, Gail, John Besh and Padma
Tom, Gail, John Besh and Padma

The Tasting

The judges for this elimination challenge are Tom, Padma, John Besh and Gail. I wonder, where’s Emeril? They promised Emeril this season and so far, they’ve been stingy. You hear that Top Chef? BAM!

Just in case you didn’t know, these people are rich. Not only do they have oodles of pretentiousness, they have an urge to outdo each other. One chick had 600 people at her wedding? Another scoffs. She had 1,600. Gail doesn’t think she knows 1,600 people, but my guess is she probably does. Gail just seems like an uncomplicated woman who is shrewd and knows how she likes her eggs, ice cream and eatable cigars. But, I digress…

Team Appetizer

Whitney made a seared scallop with sweet corn puree, which “wasn’t a conversation starter”. Paul made fried Brussels sprouts with grilled prosciutto that everyone loved. Moto Chris made a roasted chicken wrapped in a collared green cigar with cumin ash. Not only was it dry, it wasn’t appealing and must have been a ‘conversation starter’ because everyone was talking smack about it. Sarah made Roman-style artichokes with dates that they loved. Lindsay made roasted and raw beet salad with chickpeas and a Greek vinaigrette. They loved the beets, but Besh was unimpressed.

I wonder what Moto Chris was thinking. He saw a cigar item somewhere in the house as he walked it and based his dish on that? Doesn’t he know that the most of the stuff in the house was put there by a house decorator and he probably doesn’t even smoke cigars? To quote Tom, “close, but no cigar”.

Beverly
Beverly

Lady Drama

Apparently, Beverly is ruffling some feathers this episode. Heather has a real problem with Bev taking over the kitchen and putting all of her dishes everywhere. Nyesha has a problem with Beverly because Bev keeps using her items even though Nyesha has told her that she is using them.

Beverly doesn’t see what their problem is since everyone is taking up a lot of space and not cleaning up after themselves. To that I say, “Wow”. Did she just use the “Mommy, I’m not cleaning my room because Heather didn’t clean hers” excuse? It appeared that everyone had their stuff everywhere, but that stuff was currently being utilized. I think their argument might have been that she was leaving things that Bev was no longer using, but taking up space that could have been used by others.

It looks like the ladies are stirring up the drama this season, although I will admit it is pretty tame this season. So far it’s been Sarah, Lindsay, Heather, Nyesha and Beverly; and why is that actually a good thing? For the first time ever on Top Chef, the ladies outnumber the men. Hazzah!

Team Entrée

Ty-lor made grilled tenderloin with summer slaw that they thought was sloppy and dry. Chuy made a sock-eyed salmon stuffed with goat cheese that was (obviously, even to him) overcooked, though the guests seemed to kinda like it. Nyesha made roasted fillet of beef with vegetables mélange and red wine reduction. It seems the women (who were not judges) were put-off by the red wine and medium rare meat, which grossed them out because it looked like blood. Sweeny Todd this is not. Heather made overcooked garlic and rosemary lamb chops with garbanzo beans. Beverly made seared scallop with polenta that the guests love because of the white truffle.

This is when I noticed that the usually very vocal Tom has been pretty silent during this judging session. Besh and Gail have been socializing like butterflies, but Tom looks pretty pissed. Hm….

Team Dessert

Dakota went banana crazy and made a banana bread pudding, banana mousse and a banana milkshake in a date. The guest and judges seem to love it. Grayson made a chocolate sponge cake with caramelized bananas and semi-freddo that looked great, but was really rich. You’d think the guests would love that, but alas. Ed made a cardamom pannacotta and the guests seem offended because it was ‘jiggly’. Lusty Chris made a strawberry cupcake with banana custard and chocolate icing, strawberries, bananas and mint ice cream. The guests love it and one says the cupcake was the best he’s ever eaten.

It is at this point that someone asks Tom why he’s been so quiet. He says that his mom taught him if he doesn’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. He hates Lusty Chris’ dish and it highlights the biggest issue with this episode: the editors are focusing on what the guests think about the food when their opinions are neither useful nor insightful and, most importantly, they are not going to effect the judging at all. My guess is that Tom didn’t agree with the rich party guests and just kept his opinions to himself, because he knew in the end their opinions didn’t matter. I’m positive they didn’t matter at all.

Sarah, Paul, Dakota and Grayson.
Sarah, Paul, Dakota and Grayson.

The Judging

Padma calls out Sarah, Grayson, Paul and Dakota and we’re finally back to Top Chef of old. These cheftestants produced the judges’ favorite dishes of the night.

The guests thought that Grayson’s dish was too rich, but the judges felt that it worked really well. Everyone loved Sarah’s dish because it had refined flavors and everything she put on the dish worked well together. Paul’s food had great texture and made sense while Dakota’s was nostalgic comfort food.

The winner listened to the guest’s wishes and delivered. It helps that he’s a Texan and really on a roll. Good job Paul for being the top chef tonight.

Whose food looked the best to you?

See results without voting
Lusty Chris, Ty-Lor, Cuey and Moto Chris
Lusty Chris, Ty-Lor, Cuey and Moto Chris

The Elimination Table

The winners come out to inform the cheftestants that the least favorites must go in and face the judges. The boys are in trouble this year and their issues fall into one of two categories: chefs that threw everything onto the plate and wished for the best and chefs that were too clever for their own good.

For the former, Ty-lor’s dish was out of proportion and lacked knife skills. Where the guests loved Lusty Chris’ dish, Tom hated, HATED, it and thought there were too many things on the plate and was a big mess.

Moto Chris was too clever for his own good making the cigars. His dish was all gimmick and no substance. Chuy was so stuck on making his stuffed salmon he didn’t seem to care that he had to overcook his salmon to melt the cheese. Overcooked salmon and mealy cheese? I’ll pass.

What’s worse: too much or too gimmicky? This time around, the judges vote too gimmicky and tell Chuy to PYKaG. He will get one more opportunity at The Last Chance Kitchen to battle the current Reigning Champion, Keith.

Whose dish looked the worse?

See results without voting
Chuy
Chuy

Last Chance Kitchen

What’s worse: too much or too gimmicky? This time around, the judges vote too gimmicky and tell Chuy to PYKaG. He will get one more opportunity at The Last Chance Kitchen to battle the current Reigning Champion, Keith.

Keith
Keith

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5 comments

Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I think Moto Chris got too cray cray with the creativity and Beverly, as usual got too cray cray in general. I didn't understand why MC thought that was a good idea. I don't want to think of eating a cigar and ashes or anything resembling it. But I like Paul's approach and I hope he will continue to do well.

With Cray Cray Ed, I think if he doesn't actually breakout and do something awesome, he's not going to make it. That's a shame because I like his cray crayness as well as some of his ideas.

I've been meaning to ask, do you watch Next Iron Chef? It's not as wild, but I've grown to like it.


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

I adore Moto Chris, but he was so off he might as well been on a different planet. I actually thought Beverly might be on top with the way the guests were praising her, but it seems the judges won't be swayed by some truffles, so I guess she was out of luck.

So far, I don't have anyone I detest, though Sarah and Lindsay come close, but even they are likable and make appealing food. But, if I had favorites food wise, I'm going to have to go with Moto Chris (depsite the screw up), Paul and Heather. Grayson might sneeek in there, but her food doesn't appeal to me as much as some others.

Crazy Ed is a steady as you go sort of guy. He seems to make good food and teeters on the high end, but with so many favoring Asian flavors, I think your assesment is right and he has to something big. Especially when Paul's been on top and he's in the same food area as Crazy Ed.

I do watch Iron Chef, but I'm a couple of weeks behind. Now that my family is gone, it's time for me to catch up on that. This year is really good and the quality of food finally resembles the quality coming from the Top Chef franchise. It's about time The Food Network came out swinging!


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

Yeah, you'll like what happened on Iron Chef, it's been an interesting couple of weeks. I agree, I think the Food Network saw that they were lagging behind Bravo in terms of crazy competition. The food's always been there, but the competition hasn't.

Yeah, Moto Chris is very nice and his food is interesting. Paul and Heather are consistent as well.

And I agree about Sarah and Lindsay, something about them doesn't sit well with me. Not just from the first episode but the season so far. I think we'll see what happens soon.


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

Aren't the cooking shows great this season, Alecia?

I love the Food Network, but always found their Next Foodnetwork star franchise a bit subpar. The food always seems to come in second. I really do appreciate the Iron Chef series and wish they'd show more of the original on the network since I don't get the Cooking Network.


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

Yeah, I do agree with Next Food Network Star. I've only seen the season where Aarti won. The problem is the people they pick with the exception of Guy Fieri are skilled but their personalities don't translate as well on the screen.

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