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Top Chef S9-6: Higher Steaks Recap

Updated on December 22, 2011

Higher Steaks

Top Chef Texas is on its 6th episode and we have 13 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!

It was bound to happen with the boys leaving one by one. A boys versus girls thing is brewing, but it’s not as horrible as it looks. This version is beginning like a slight rib poking from one team to another. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Padma and Guest Judge Dean Fearing
Padma and Guest Judge Dean Fearing

Quickfire Challenge

The Quickfire judge is Dean Fearing of Fearing’s Restaurant. The cheftestants pick a sauce and must make a variation of the mother sauce they’ve chosen. This is when we find that Nyesha and Grayson both love all stuff saucier.

The Mother Sauces: Espagnole, Hollandaise, Tomate, Veloute Bechamel.

During the creating of the sauces, Heather makes it known that she feels that Bev’s Asian food is too one note. Someone should probably explain to her that Asian food is many things, one-note isn’t one of them. She’s slowly taking over the bitch role from Lindsay and Sarah.

It becomes clear that guest judge Dean has a particular view of what a variation of a mother sauce should taste and look like. He disliked Dakota’s overdone peach infused Bechamel seared scallop and truffle lemongrass. He, along with Heather, disliked Bev’s Espagnole crab maki roll with rib eye and felt the coriander was sloppy. Last was poor Nyesha who wants to be a saucier. She used Tomate with coconut and braised lentils that he found had too many flavors.

If Nyesha shouldn’t switch roles in the kitchen, maybe Grayson should go back being a saucier. Dean loved her Hollandaise charred corn with ravioli. He also loved Lusty Chris’ halibut over muscles with veloute. He thought Paul’s quail with pickled and roasted mushrooms using Espangnole was perfect. I guess not that perfect since Grayson gets the win and immunity

Those that weren’t in the top or bottom, but should be noted are Ed, Whitney, Heather and Ty. Ed made cauliflower milk Bechamel with poached red snapper. Whitney used Tomate in her poached shrimp. Heather used Bechamel is her Gruyere croquette with Asian slaw. Yes, you read that correct. Asian slaw. Lastly, Ty made Hollandaise with lemongrass and citrus zest ahi-tuna and bok choy.

Elimination Challenge

The cheftestants are challenged to serve a four course dinner to 200 guests at the Cattle Baron’s Ball. Two of the courses must contain steak and the entrée’s steak must be made medium rare. They have 30 minutes to, separate into four groups and menu plan. The winner of the challenge will win a car.

So, let me get this right, there will be a team of 3 or 4 to make one course and one person from a team will win a car? Ugh. If they’re giving out the big prizes, I’d prefer they do it for an individual challenge or at least a challenge the cheftestants would create an entire dish on their own, not one where they’re supposed to be piecing a dish together like an eatable Frankenstein’s monster.

Dueling Steaks Moto Chris and Ty-Lor
Dueling Steaks Moto Chris and Ty-Lor

The Roundup

1st Course: Soup

The group consists of Sarah, Dakota and Bev who make a summer gazpacho with tomato, cucumber and watermelon with a poached shrimp.

2nd Course: Appetizer

The group consists of Moto Chris, Paul and Ed who make a grilled New York Steak Carpaccio with salad, mushroom and bacon.

3rd Course: Entrée

The group consists of Nyesha, Lusty Chris, Ty-Lor and Whitney who make steaks with sauce and butter and a potato gratin.

4th Course: Dessert

The group consists of Heather, Lindsay and Grayson who make a Texas peach cake.

Judges Hugh, Padma, Tom and Dean
Judges Hugh, Padma, Tom and Dean

The Tasting

Tom, Padma, Dean and Hugh are the judges for this one and I wonder what the heck they’ve done with Emeril. He’s disappeared. Come back, please!

The judges can agree on one thing for this serving: all the food was underwhelming. The steaks were served under, over and anything but medium rare. Everything was for the most part ‘meh’ and that’s not a good thing.

This is when Bev admits that Ed is her idol and the oddness of these two chefs becomes clear to me. Ed even invites Bev to come to his restaurant and that he’ll show her a good time. I’ll give the editors extra bonus points for making sure to show the part where he says, “bring your husband”. Phew, it was about to get super, duper creepy over there.

Moto Chris, Bossy Heather and Nyesha
Moto Chris, Bossy Heather and Nyesha
Whitney, Ed and Ty_Lor
Whitney, Ed and Ty_Lor

The Judging

The best were Nyesha who saved Ty-Lor’s randomly cooked steak with her compound butter, Heather who made a variation of Ed’s cake and Moto Chris who cooked his steak perfectly. It’s sad when the top dishes were butter and a cake that the judges have tasted before. It’s even sadder that that cake actually won Heather the car.

The bottoms of the barrel were Ty-Lor’s “nothing right about that” steak, Whitney’s raw gratin and Ed’s underwhelming salad. Whitney’s sad because Hugh is her culinary mentor and idol.

This season is the most brutal ever and that is clear when Tom declared that “usually it’s hard to make a decision who to send home, but today it was easy”. Ouch. Later Whitney, I’m glad you and your sour puss have vacated and you must PYKaG.

Who should have went home?

See results

Last Chance Kitchen

The next duel is the Current Last Chance Kitchen Champion, Chuy versus the new parted and sad potato, Whitney. Whose food will rise above the drama?



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    • vmartinezwilson profile image

      Vanessa Martinez Wilson 6 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      It was an interesting episode. Dakota had some shining dishes, but they were in the first real episode, so I don't remember it. Nyesha made great butter last episode...and yeah you're right. Neither had really shined.

      I'm pretty disapointed in Moto Chris. He was my original pick to win the whole thing, but I'm not so sure he can get past his own cleverness to win it all. Maybe Richie balanced him out some way?

      Thanks Alecia, I always enjoy your thoughts on the show. I always wonder if I'm off track when I write these, but eh, it is what it is, lol.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I hate to say it but Whitney and Dakota were so forgettable I kept getting them confused. Their food was average at best and they looked so similar with sleeve tats and expressions, it was hard to see who was who. That being said Heather did overdo it with the criticism and Moto Chris was too cray-cray with his ideas and forgot about flavor. This was interesting nonetheless.