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Top Chef S9-11: Fit For An Evil Queen

Updated on January 24, 2012

Fit For An Evil Queen

Top Chef Texas is on its 11th episode and we have 7 cheftestants battling it out for the title of Top Chef.

Remember, 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!

Tom tells the cheftestants that they’re headed back to San Antonio. On the drive there, Lindsay’s still bitter about not winning the challenge. Does she not realize that she utterly screwed up the front and they won despite her failures? Apparently not.


Standing next to Padma is Top Chef’s former judge Eric Ripert. Behind the pair is a conveyor belt and the cheftestants are told that there will be a variety of ingredients circling on the belt. They must choose 3 ingredients and make a dish. The longer they wait, the better the ingredients on the conveyor belt will get.

There’s a lot of waiting going on, praying something other than pop rocks and cream filled chocolate cookies go by. Anyone but me notice that there were some cookies missing from the package? I guess the practical jokers behind the curtain had a sweet tooth that morning.

Moto Chris finds himself constantly running back and forth for some lobster. At one point it looked like an evil joke the jokesters were playing at his expense. As the lobster almost makes its way out of sight again, Moto Chris grabs it and struggles to get his lobster. He wins and I get a good laugh.

The final seven
The final seven

The Bottom Group

Moto Chris grabbed the lobster, frois gras and vanilla and made a butter poached lobster with frois gras. Eric thought the ingredients didn’t come together and felt that with the vanilla, it tasted too much like chocolate. I don’t know how Moto Chris thought that was an awesome flavor combination. If Gordon Ramsey were there, he would have spit it out and tossed the whole plate in the garbage.

Paul grabbed the saffron, Wonder bread and bitter melon and made mussels in ginger in a bitter melon broth. Eric thought the dish was too bitter and Paul seems to agree.

Grayson grabbed goldfish, grapefruit and Dover sole and made butter poached Dover sole with goldfish and rosemary. Eric thought the goldfish’s flavor was too overwhelming.

The Top Group

Sarah chose saltine crackers, cottage cheese and artichokes and created fried soft shell crab with cottage cheese sauce. She was embarrassed to serve Eric the dish, but he liked the soft shell crab and thought the flavors were good.

Lindsay grabbed the small grouper, slams and pernod and made a bouillabaisse and fennel-pernod broth. Eric thought the flavors were harmonious.

Bev chose tofu, rice krispies, black eyes peas and made a glazed sock eyes salmon and black eyed pease. Eric thought she did a good job, even though she left out the curry rice krispie treats from her dish.

Padma tells the group that had Bev put all of the ingredients on the plate, she would have run away with the win and immunity. Instead, Lindsay gets the win and the immunity.

In the middle, Ed chose macadamia nuts, sauerkraut and black truffle and created sauerkraut soup, shrimp and shaved truffle.

Charlize, Eric and Padma
Charlize, Eric and Padma

Elimination Challenge

The cheftestants are told they have to create a dish fit for a queen and out walks Academy Award winning actress, Charlize Theron, promoting her upcoming film, Snow White and the Huntsman. She plays the Evil Queen (yay!) and is expecting something that aligns with the dark and murderous feel the film is going for.

Padma tells the group that they must serve a 7 course gothic feast fit for a queen.

A Quick Aside

While the group is back at their house, they sit around while Paul goes over some rules of basic politeness while they cook for the next challenge. It is then the audience finally gets to hear a reasonable explanation for Lindsay’s dislike of Bev.

For Lindsay, Bev is an issue in the kitchen because she has a tendency to take things without asking, crowding another chef’s space and not thinking twice about it. So, my take is Bev’s rude and hasn’t made any apologies about that while they’re in the kitchen.

I can see this argument. It doesn’t explain the utter rudeness, disrespect and disdain Lindsay, Sarah and especially Heather have treated Bev with, but it seems that Bev has some issues. What I find odd is that Bev’s major detractors come from women. The men seem to have a great deal of respect for her, so it’s an interesting contrast.

Paul's dish. Click to see a larger picture.
Paul's dish. Click to see a larger picture.

The Tasting

The judges at this dinner are Padma, Charlize, Emeril and Tom. Eric Ripert is there, but he isn’t on the final judging panel.

Ed made a tuna tartare with black garlic ponzu and Asian pear vinaigrette. Eric thought Ed did a great job. Padma liked the fish scale on top. Charlize felt the black garlic had a nice punch and that she experienced the battle between good and evil on the plate. Emeril felt that this was a really great start to their meal.

Paul had a really rough episode. Not only does he tank the Quickfire challenge, he burns some beets and seems really lost in the kitchen. He created frois gras with bacon and pumpernickel with pickled cherries and beets. To top it off, his sauce was added to the plate like a bloody handprint. Padma squealed when she saw the plate. Charlize that it was beautiful and scary and was really impressed Paul let his imagination go. Emeril thought the plate managed to come together and he loved it. Eric was a bit afraid if Paul used gloves to apply the sauce (he did), but though the jalapeno had a nice kick to it.

Bev served a seared halibut with red curry coulis and forbidden black rice. Eric liked the pineapple and felt that the dish was Snow White on top with the Queen hidden in the sauce. Charlize exclaimed the halibut was cooked perfectly.

Lindsay made seared scallop over witches stew and dragon beans. Em said, “The smell is just…just…” and Charlize agrees wholeheartedly. Tom thinks the stew is just to damn good and everyone felt the scallops were cooked to perfection.

Sarah made Amarone risotto with lamb heart. Eric felt the dish was really flavorful. Tom thought it was quite delicious. Charlize thinks the lamb heart was phenomenal.

Moto Chris' dish.  Click to see larger picture.
Moto Chris' dish. Click to see larger picture.

Grayson made a black chicken with roasted beet, quail egg and fois gras. Charlize was blown away by the presentation. It looked like someone slaughtered a chicken on the plate. It was crispy, yet juicy and delicious. Tom thought there were a lot of flavors on the plate.

Moto Chris served a poisoned apple and cherry pie. Tom thinks that Moto Chris’ shtick finally works. The drama was great and the cherries were deep and dark. Padma liked the cinnamon and Emeril thought the dish was so Moto Chris.

The Winner

Padma asks everyone to come out to speak to the judges. Tom tells the group that this is one of the finest meals he’s ever eaten on Top Chef. They run down the list and everyone gets great remarks. There was something special about everyone’s dish, so the judges had to make their decision by nitpicking one thing or another.

Coming back from an odd day, Paul gets the win and two tickets to the world premier of Snow White and the Huntsman. Padma then tells Ed, Lindsay and Moto Chris that they’re all safe.

Bottom 3: Sarah, Bev and Grayson
Bottom 3: Sarah, Bev and Grayson

The Elimination

This leaves Bev, Grayson and Sarah. Let the nitpicking begin.

Tom felt that Sarah’s risotto was a touch undercooked and Emerill thought there was too much cheese. Tom thought Bev’s sauce was a little sticky while Charlize thought there was some off about the sauce’s texture. As a while, Bev’s dish was the least dark…or as the challenged requested gothic. Charlize thought Grayson’s greens were a little too salty. Padma didn’t think the fois gras didn’t work while Emeril thought she needed to get rid of the fois gras or add more.

In defense of themselves, Sarah and Bev plead their own reasons for staying. It’s only Grayson that goes for the jugular while obvious digs at Sarah, for doing another variation of Italian food and Bev for staying in her comfort zone. So what goes? Undercooked risotto, sticky sauce or salty greens? Looks like sticky sauce, since Bev is asked to PYKAG. Hmmm, not sure I agree with that.

Who should have been sent home?

See results

Last Chance Kitchen

The next duel is the Current Last Chance Kitchen Champion, Nyesha versus the every bullied Bev. Whose food will rise above the drama?


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    • vmartinezwilson profile image

      Vanessa Martinez Wilson 6 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      This is one of my all time favorite episodes! I really enjoyed it immensely, even though a poster spoiled me.

      You know, on one hand, I was sad to see Bev go, but, on the other hand, she really has no one to blame but herself. She spent the least amount of time at the conveyor belt and still didn't get all of her components on the plate. She screwed herself out of immunity. Then she made a dish that did not look, in any way, shape or form, gothic. She just lost the visual, which is what the challenge was all about.

      Lindsay and Sarah are two bitter chicks. They really can't see anything but themselves. I hope that they watch these past episodes and really own, then apologize for their behavior. You know, instead of blaming editing. They can't show what you don't give them.

      I felt bad for Paul too, but he came through and added more prizes to his already over 30,000 stash. Man, he's good.

      Moto Chris did something good, because the challenge required shtick. Next episode, he better watch out.

      I'm still rooting for Paul, Ed and begrudgingly Sarah. She may be an ass, but she consistently makes food with great flavor. My dark horse is now Grayson, because she's the Popeye of the season, She is who she is and that's all!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I want to start by saying that this was one of my favorite episodes of the season. I mean the preview alone got me super excited. That and the fact Jimmy Fallon was talking about it with Andy after but I digress.

      I really wish Bev would've gotten her act together long enough to realize that she can't make these mistakes and be awkward without paying the price. Had she won immunity, I'm quite sure Grayson would be gone this time.

      Also, I'm tired of Lindsay and Sarah's mean girls 10 years after the fact act. Yes Bev is rude and pushy but she gets the job done. Agree to disagree and get some class. They're both getting on my nerves at this point.

      I felt bad for Paul since he's my favorite but I hope he can get it together. And I have to shout out Cray Cray Ed for finally getting props on his own! Let's hope he can stay in it one more week. This week I'm hoping on Lindsay, Sarah, or Moto Chris. Moto Chris finally made something good but I have a feeling he's going to go back to his old ways.