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Top Chef S9-12: Block Party

Updated on January 31, 2012

Block Party

Top Chef Texas is on its 11th episode and we have 6 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!

Charlize comes out to tell the cheftestants what a great meal she had. She’s a Top Chef fan and a foodie, so it was great to have the meal.

Back at their house, the Ed doesn’t want any more group challenges. Paul agrees wholeheartedly.

Quickfire Challenge

Padma is standing there in a really long button down shirt that must have had its sleeves pulled off violently. I know she’s in Texas, but no Padma…no. She’s standing there with Emeril and Cat Cora who is on the new Bravo show Around the World in 80 Plates.

Padma separates the 6 remaining cheftestants into teams of 2: Lindsay and Sarah, Grayson and Moto Chris and Paul and Ed. Their task is to prepare a dish highlighting the ingredients in front of them.

The cheftestants must peel, de-vein and butterfly 2 pounds of shrimp. They must shuck a crate of corn and make a pound of perfect fettuccini.

They have to do all of this and create a dish within 40 minutes. There won’t be any more immunity, but the winners will get $10,000 to split.

Lindsay and Sarah get off to a quick start with Lindsay finishing the shrimp first. She immediately starts on the corn while Sarah makes the fettuccini.

Moto Chris goes slowly on the corn, but is very thorough. Although Paul calls for a corn check first, he’s not done and Moto Chris beats him and finishes his corn.

Sarah finishes her pasta and begins to help Sarah shuck the corn. Ed finishes his pasta and right after Paul gets the OK on his corn, so they both go to work on their shrimp.

Lindsay and Sarah finish their corn and have the most time to complete their dish. They are way ahead of everyone else. Moto Chris finishes the shrimp and helps Grayson, who has been suffering with her pasta the whole time.

Ed and Paul finish their shrimp and right after Grayson and Moto Chris start of their plate as well.

Sarah and her pasta
Sarah and her pasta

It is immediately clear to Paul that he just forgot to cook and plate the shrimp. He thought that he was bad luck to Ed and it looks like he was right. Padma really liked their flavors, but no shrimp means Paul and Ed are disqualified.

Lindsay and Sarah made fettuccini with corn milk, shrimp, tarragon and parsley. Cat thinks there is too much tarragon on the plate.

Grayson and Moto Chris made fettuccini with toasted corn, shrimp and rosemary with bacon. Emeril doesn’t like that they’ve deep fried the bacon, but the dish was nice overall, considering they had the least amount of time to complete their dish.

The winner is Grayson and Moto Chris whose flavors beat out the frontrunners. They get to take home $5,000 a piece.

Elimination Challenge

Padma tells the cheftestants that they’ve competed with their teammate, now it time to cook against them. This will be a head to head contest, cooking for 200 guests at a block party. Each cheftestant and their opponent will be making the same dish and the guests at the block party will pick which dish they like the best. The cheftestant with the least votes will be up for elimination.

The chefs must decide together what dish and side dish they’ll make. Ed and Paul decide Asian BBQ with a pickled vegetable. Sarah and Lindsay decide on meatballs with a vegetable salad. Chris and Grayson decide on a chicken salad sandwich with a watermelon salad.

Padma then tells the group that what ever they have decided must now be made healthy and delicious. The winner will take home $15,000 curtsey of Healthy choice.

Down to the Line

At the grocery store, Paul goes for the turkey while Ed sticks with beef. Sarah also goes for turkey, while Lindsay decides that veal and lamb are the better choice. Moto Chris doesn’t understand why Grayson would pick mayonnaise a dark meat for her chicken and instead has a crazy idea to make mayo from tofu.

Tom, Emeril, Cat and Padma
Tom, Emeril, Cat and Padma

The Tasting

The judging consists of Padma, Tom, Emeril, Cat Cora and Dana Corwin, the editor and chief of Food and Wine Magazine. Also hanging around this shin dig is Season 4’s Ryan Scott, who is there to collect donated food.

Ed made an open faced beef kalbi with kimchi chipotle puree and pickled Asian vegetables. Cat thought the meat was a bit chewy while Tom didn’t think there was enough there. Padma thought her portion was hard and a little dry.

Paul made a turkey kalbi with eggplant on a lettuce wrap with white peach kimchi. Emeril though the dish was simple, but brilliant while Cat thought that the dish did all the right things.

Sarah made a Calbrese style turkey meatball with vegetable salad. Emeril thought though it was turkey, it wasn’t dry. Tom though the sauce was good and the salad was great. Dana disagreed with Tom because her salad only had a few components.

Lindsay made a Mediterranean style meatball with lemon yoghurt, black eyed peas and quinoi salad. Cat thought the dish looked heavy, but was really good. Both Dana and Tom thought the meatball was really great.

Moto Chris got off to a bad start with an influx of bees at his station. He made a chicken salad sandwich with tofu “mayo”, red lettuce and watermelon salad with pineapple ice. Tom really like the curry and tofu and thought they were interesting choices. Padma thought his watermelon was flavorful and refreshing. Cat though the dish tasted like dry ice while Emeril had a big chunk of ice in his.

Grayson made her chicken salad sandwich to order. Although there was a long wait, everyone seemed to enjoy. She served her sandwich on a whole wheat bun with arugula with a pickled red onion, feta, watermelon with pumpkin seed salad. Cat though her dish needed something to freshen it up. Emeril liked that she made it to order.

Dana thought that the best two dishes they ate where the healthiest dishes. Now it’s up to the block party guests to decide.

The Winner

Padma calls out Lindsay, Grayson and Paul. Emeril thought Paul’s dish was perfect. Tom thought Paul should bottle his hot sauce and really liked the peaches.

Cat was impressed that Grayson made her sandwich made to order. Tom wonders if picking a chicken salad sandwich wasn’t the right choice in the competition. Grayson looked befuddled and asks Tom, ‘as opposed to what…a meatball”. She battles Tom and gets more frustrated while Tom looks more and more amused. It seems that although she won the head to head against Moto Chris, her dish was admired for being made to order. Ouch.

Emeril liked Lindsay’s lemon and thought that the dish was well seasoned. Cat thought the sumac was a nice touch.

After all is said and done, the winner is…Paul who takes home $15,000. His total is around $45,000 give or take. Looks like he’s got some Christmas money this year!

Chris, Ed and Sarah
Chris, Ed and Sarah

The Elimination

The cheftestants up for elimination are Sarah, Ed and Chris. Cat didn’t like the apricot in Sarah’s dish and felt to lower the calories, Sarah should have left off the cheese. Tom mentioned Dana’s lack of ingredients in her salad and told Sarah that she was too inconsistent. Tom thought that Sarah made a good meatball, but was up against Lindsay’s great meatball.

The judges wondered why Ed didn’t choose a better way to lower the calories in his dish. He explained that he made homemade bread instead of rice, since rice has empty calories. Padma wondered why since bread also has empty calories and Ed really didn’t know how to come back after that one. Cat felt that if he was going to use beef and bread, Ed’s dish should have been perfect, it wasn’t. Tom thought it was a healthy choice to remove the fat from the beef, however since the fat is the best part, Ed’s dish suffered.

Tom liked that Moto Chris’ dish was healthier than Grayson’s, but since he didn’t do his to order, his bread got stale and sat out in the 100+ degree weather. Emeril didn’t like the big chunk of ice he got in his ‘watermelon salad’. Tom thought Chris had a lot of good ideas, but once again he didn’t execute.

It looks like Sarah’s dish was good, but just not good enough. So, it’s between Ed and Moto Chris to see who gets to PYKAG. Is it chewy beef that missed the healthy mark or stale bread, bland food with a chef that always seems to miss the mark? Off with the gimmicks and Chris Jones, aka Moto Chris, is off to use nitro on something...anything.

Who should have went home?

See results

Last Chance Kitchen

The next duel is the Current Last Chance Kitchen Champion, Veb versus the always too gimmicky Moto Chris. Whose food will rise above the drama?


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    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Yeah that would be a good finale.

    • vmartinezwilson profile image

      Vanessa Martinez Wilson 6 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      Even if Paul doesn't win he's already racked up 45 grand. Not too bad, lol. I do think Grayson will explode on the next episode, however, the last judging panel seemed to really get to her.

      But how cool would it be to see both chefs who had to compete a second time to get on the show make it to the final?

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I like the final 3 as well. Cray Cray Ed might just run away with it but my money's on our old body Paul.

    • vmartinezwilson profile image

      Vanessa Martinez Wilson 6 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      Worst Cooks is pretty fun to watch. I think I'll enjoy seeing Bobby Flay out of his element. The ads for the show are really funny.

      Now, I'm hoping the final 3 will be Paul, Ed and Grayson. I'm rooting for Grayson, because she handed Tom his butt on a cloche and he seemed to enjoy it. I don't think it will happen, but there's still a chance that Lindsay loses it and Sarah starts to let mediocre get to her.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I agree about Moto Chris but he was too up in the clouds to be grounded in reality. I hope Lindsay goes next. Yes she cooks great but her attitude doesn't rub me the right way. The same goes for Sarah.

      The season's almost over but I'm looking forward to Food Network's Worst Cooks in America, now that is pure comedy!

    • vmartinezwilson profile image

      Vanessa Martinez Wilson 6 years ago from Vancouver, WA


      It looks like the Food Network and Bravo are playing nice. And anything to boost Cat Cora's name should be a bonus for them.

      The only person I would have been happy to see leave was Moto Chris. He was one of my early favorites, but he never seem to get out of gimmick mode. I thought Ed might be out of there, but it looks like they weighed these two out and Tom had finally had enough.

      Lindsay is picking up some steam, so I wonder if she'll nudge out Grayson and Ed for a spot. Grayson seems to be letting Tom get into her head, so she better shake it off and just cook.

      I can't believe the season is almost over!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I hate to say it but I was glad when they let Moto Chris go. He kept thinking all of these grand ideas but never really thought about flavor profiles and how the dish could logically work.

      Also, I think the judges are not tolerating silly mistakes this far in the competition. You have to come guns blazing. And if it hadn't been for Moto Chris's umpteenth mistake, I'm sure our beloved cray cray ed would have been PyKaG instead.

      I'm interested to see what Cat Cora's doing with this latest show. I thought since she was an Iron Chef, she'd have to stay on Food Network.