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Top Chef S9-7: Game On Recap

Updated on December 27, 2011

Game On

Top Chef Texas is on its 7th episode and we have 12 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!

The group of cheftestants sit together and it seems Heather is really annoying several of her fellow competitors. She’s annoying them and everyone else who has to watch her bully her way through an episode. Her overexaggerated expressions would be funny if she wasn't such a foul human being.

Ty-Lor finally notices that he’s been the bottom of the barrel more often than not. He seems like a cool person, but he's yet to impress. He better step up his game. Ed notices that there’s only 12 of them left and dubs the group the Dirty Dozen. Sorry, that names already been taken.

Padma and guest judge Tim Love
Padma and guest judge Tim Love

Quickfire Challenge

The guest judge is Tim Love of The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro. Behind Padma and Tim is a table full of Don Julio tequila and the challenge is clear: chose one bottle of tequila and make a dish that pairs nicely with it.

Padma then drops a timebomb on the group (the first of many this episode) and tells them there isn’t immunity for this challenge, but the winner does get to take home $5,000.

Tim likes most of the dishes, but he felt that some just made food instead of creating an actual pairing with their chosen tequila. He said Heather made food because she likes to drink and her mango avocado salad with rock shrimp using Reposado tasted more like a special at a chain restaurant. Moto Chris’ pan seared chicken with Blanco and lime vinaigrette was bone dry. Sarah’s fennel risotto with glazed scallops using Blanco was undercooked.

On the other hand, Tim like Lusty Chris’ raw oyster with Blanco tapioca and sea salt air tasted like a joy. Lindsay’s salmon with fennel puree and brown butter sauce with Anejo was a perfect pairing. Ty-Lor’s steamed clams in Thai fish caramel sauce was spicy and had good contrast with the 1942. Ty-Lor finally breaks his losing streaks and takes home the win and $5,000.

Those that were it he middle, but got some love from the editors were Bev, Ed, Grayson and Dakota. Bev made cold smoked oysters and green tea paired with the Reposado. Ed made bok choy lettuce wrap paired with the Anejo. Grayson made a sesame cod with Anejo brown sugar glaze. Lasly, Dakota made a lamb dedjool date pistoul pairing with the 1942.

Heather and Bev.  Don't they look happy?
Heather and Bev. Don't they look happy?

Elimination Challenge

Padma tells the cheftestants that they will be paired with the person standing next to them. Since Heather is standing next to Bev, I know the powers that be in Top Chefland have a sense of humor.

The challenge is to make a 6 course meal for Tim, the judges and a few of Tim’s close friends: a group of esteemed chefs. The cheftestants must cook the favorite game protein of their assigned chef.

Padma drops another bomb on the group by telling them they will also have to plate for their fellow cheftestants who will also judge.


Padma then adds some salt to that wound and tells them the cheftestants will choose the three bottom teams and the judges will send one team home. It’s a double elimination.

Ouch. Ouch.

The good news? The winning team will split $10,000. At least there’s that.

Team Breakdown

Team Venison: Nyesha and Dakota’s chef is Brian Caswell of Houston.

Team Squab: Sarah and Paul’s chef is Anita Lo of New York City.

Teak Elk: Grayson and Moto Chris’s chef is guest judge Tim Love.

Team Boar: Lusty Chris and Lindsay’s chef is Jon Shook from LA.

Team Duck: Bully Heather and Bev’s chef is John Currance from Oxford.

Team Quail: Crazy Ed and Ty-Lor’s chef is Vinny DoTolo from LA.

I do not for one second believe that these are their favorite game meat and they all happen to be different from each other. This is the land of Top Chef, so I will suspend disbelief as I would if I were watching Star Trek.

The Wisdom of Crazy Ed
The Wisdom of Crazy Ed

The Crazy Are Wise Indeed

Ed may have the touch of cray-cray, but this episode was ripe with his observations and witticisms. In fact, he was on a roll, dishing out truths with the wisdom like the Solomon, Confucius or at least Oprah.

Please heed this pearl of wisdom and clarity from Crazy Ed, “Heather’s being a complete bitch.” I know, right? Solomon would have never thought of that and could you imagine what Proverbs would have read like if he had?

John Currance, Padma, Tim Love, and Jon Shook
John Currance, Padma, Tim Love, and Jon Shook

The Tasting

The first up were Lusty Chris and Lindsay who served roasted boar with kohtrabi slaw and faro friend rice. Jon Shook didn’t think the boar shined. Tom thought it was a nice plate of food, but lacked in excitement.

Second to serve was Bully Heather and Bev who presented a 5 spice duck breast with creamy polenta and pickled cherries. Hugh felt the duck should have been rendered more and everyone felt the dish was a bit disjointed and too safe.

Third up were Grayson and Moto Chris who served juniper roasted elk with sweet potato and bouquet of greens. They ask Chris what was going on with the sweet potatoes and he admits he tried to be crafty and it didn’t work out. Grayson immediately corrects him and tells him the dish is exactly how they intended. I didn’t hear what she said exactly because I was too busy telling Moto Chris to shut his trap. I guess she felt the same way. The judges weren’t impressed and felt the dish looked right out of the 80s.

Serving the fourth course were Crazy Ed and Ty-Lor who presented a sorghum quail with pickled cherries and eggplant. The judges felt that the quail shined and the food was earthy.

*Side note: Is this the year of the pickled cherries? How many times have we seen pickled crap this year, especially pickled cherries? Heather keeps making it and now Ed and Ty-Lor are in the pickled cherry game too?

Fifth to serve were Nyesha and Dakota who presented a roasted rack of venison with kabocha squash and beet gratin. The judges felt the food was really good, except for the almost raw venison. They seemed sad about it...really.

Last up were Sarah and Paul who served squab breast and sausage with nectarine pickles. Tom thought the presentation was sloppy while Anita though the squab should have been caramelized more.

Season 2's winner Ilan Hall
Season 2's winner Ilan Hall

Wow, I’m In Awe

I try to ignore Crazy Ed’s jaw thing he has going on, but often it’s hard. But, I think it may be that thing that throws me off about him. The words come out of his mouth oddly and it almost seems like his jaw moves after he’s already spoken. It’s so odd.

It’s probably why I thought he was going to be some insane chef who couldn’t help his asshattery. Instead, he blurts out words so wise even Confucius would be in awe. When he said, “It’s not always the best chef that wins. One hiccup and you’re gone,” I gasped. First I thought, “I’m in awe, because that’s so true.” The next thing that crossed my mind was, “He thought Ilan from Season 2 sucked too!”

We are so on the same page.

The Winners

Padma calls out the winners: Ed and Ty. Their quail was spot on and they get to split the $10,000. Ty-Lor’s losing streak is at an end and between the Quickfire and Elimination Challenge he takes home $10,000.

Though Crazy Ed takes home $5,000 himself, he’s biggest point of pride was, “I didn’t make an ass out of myself in front of you guys.” Oprah couldn’t have said it better.

The Elimination Table

The cheftestants struggle on which groups to send to the bottom three. There’s a lot of beating around the bush, but Moto Chris steps up to the plate and makes people show their hand. They vote for Team Duck (Bully Heather and Bev), Team Venison (Nyesha and Dakota) and Team Elk (Moto Chris and Grayson).

The judges table: Tim, Padma, Tom and Hugh
The judges table: Tim, Padma, Tom and Hugh
The Bottom Teams: Moto Chris & Grayson, Bev & Bully Heather and Dakota & Nyesha
The Bottom Teams: Moto Chris & Grayson, Bev & Bully Heather and Dakota & Nyesha
Bev's response as Bully Heather lambasts her for the previous episode.
Bev's response as Bully Heather lambasts her for the previous episode.

Game On Indeed

During the answer and question session, Bully Heather feels the need to call out Bev’s ethics and goes on about how Bev didn’t work enough during the last challenge. Not only is she a bitch, but apparently she’s stupid too. Grayson notes that if Bully Heather buries her partner, Bev, enough, Bully Heather goes down with her.

Bully Heather, I think, has shown her hand and Dakota is quick to defend Bev while her partner, Nyesha nods in agreement. When the judges deliberate, Bully Heather defends herself like the rest of the cheftestants are crazy, completely oblivious to how she’s alienating everyone.

Competitions can be harsh, but if you notice that you are pushing people too much, correct yourself. Ask Sarah, would came off as a bully herself early on in the season. Even Lusty Chris was wary of her, but this episode, she showed that she may be competitive, but she’s a human being. She knew her sausage wasn’t up to her standards and she was afraid that she’d send Paul home for her mistake. Instead of lashing out at Paul, she was angry with herself. She was a good team member and Bully Heather should take note.

The judges had to choose between Bev and Heathers’s uncoordinated and under-rendered food, Nyesha and Dakota’s undercooked venison and Moto Chris and Grayson’s over-thought sweet potatoes.

The judges just couldn’t get over the undercooked venison and just like that we’re down to 10.

Which Team should have gotten the boot?

See results
Reigning Champion Whitney
Reigning Champion Whitney

Last Chance Kitchen

The next chapter of Last Chance Kitchen Champion with have a trio of competitors. Whitney has shown herself to be quite pleasant in her last battle defeating the pint sized Chuy. She will be up against Team Venison: Dakota who can't cook her protein and Nyesha who probably should have looked at the meat at least before Dakota started panicking. Who will come out on top?


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    • vmartinezwilson profile image

      Vanessa Martinez Wilson 6 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      Hey Alecia!

      I agree, Heather was just too much. My issue with her complaints was that Bev wasn't even on her team. It wasn't her problem and she should have let Bev's teammates deal with her. But, to bring it up at the next judging table? Classless. She saw the judges last week, because she won with Ed's cake recipe. If it really meant that much to her, she should have said something then. She waited until she was in the bottom and then brings it up? Ugh, foul chick.

      I've also warmed up to Sarah. She could have easily turned into Heather, but seems to have a gleem of self awareness. That means something, lol.

      I also like Paul and have really wanted many of the dishes hes made. Same goes for Grayson and not Moto Chris. They're really coming into their own.

      Personality wise, though, Ed is my fav. Everytime he has a talking head it makes me laugh. He's hysterical.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Heather really got on my nerves this episode. I almost agreed with her about Bev being slow with the shrimp but her end of the meal wasn't that hot either. She's too quick to judge and not cautious of her own limitations and shortcomings, therefore making her a little hypocritical.

      I agree about Sarah. At first, I was kind of in between about her but since the second episode she's won me over. Lindsay, she's not mean but she's like the snobby girls you remember in 7th grade who'd look at you and say nothing. Cray Cray Ed is slowly becoming my favorite but still second to Paul.