Top Chef Texas episode 14 recap | The Return of Bev
All season long Top Chef has been plugging this “Last Chance Kitchen” thing, where you go online to see the losers vie for a spot back in the competition. But, I dunno, asking us to contribute page views as well as viewing hours? Seems a little greedy. But hey, it means getting Bev back on the show, as we learned last night—so I now officially love the “Last Chance Kitchen” thing. When Bev appears, Sarah, who took up Heather’s post as Bev-hater, looks like she suddenly has a painful case of gas. But Tom lays it down: “Bev really earned her slot back in,” he says.
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs put on blindfolds then wander like five blind mice into the pantry. They can pick whatever they find, but they have to cook everything they choose, and they’ve got 30 minutes total. The winner will get to select either a Prius or a guaranteed slot in the finals. So here’s my question: Really? Any of these chefs, after clawing and scratching their way into the top five, would really pick a car over a place in the final four? Well, the Prius plug does mean Padma says “all-new Prius” about five or six times, so from a marketing angle…sure, why not.
Sarah announces, “There’s no way I’m losing to Beverly.” No worries: Bev’s fish is undercooked. Ed’s wit scores again when he notes, “Padma takes more than one bite, which is always a good sign.” And Sarah—the final Chicagoan but, alas, not the most likable chef still standing—wins. And…she picks a spot in the finals. Runner-up Ed whines that her decision “definitely shows that the confidence is not there.” No, Ed, it just shows that she’s not an idiot.
Elimination Challenge: Top Chef brings in each chef’s mentor, and Paul secures his place in my heart by instantly dissolving into a blubbery mess upon sight of his mentor, Tyson Cole. Everyone else is in tears, too. The mentee-mentor pairings: Lindsay and Michelle Bernstein, Sarah and Tony Mantuano, Bev and Sarah Stegner, Ed and Frank Crispo. Tom states the obvious: “You really need to impress your mentors.” The winner will get (anyone? anyone?) a Prius. Interesting: the four competitors include three people of Asian descent and one white woman. A Top Chef first?
After consulting with their mentors, 2.5 hours prepping and another hour cooking, the chefs present. Bev’s food, they like. Lindsay, they question why the cream sauce with seafood. Paul, the judges practically orgasm—as they have for weeks with him. And Ed suffers his unbelievably ill-considered decision, when Whole Foods didn’t have fresh oysters, to go with smoked oysters.
At the Judges’ Table, Tom heaps more praise on Paul, whose face spreads into that chipmunk grin. Paul wins (the “all-new” Prius!), and runner-up Bev is safe, too. Which leaves Lindsay and Ed. In the stew room, Sarah can barely bring herself to tell Bev congrats; instead, Sarah ties herself up into knots over the possibility that her eternal woman-crush, Lindsay, might be leaving. Fret not, Sarah, it’s Ed who’s packing his knives. So, three women and one man in the final four: another Top Chef first? Farewell, Ed. We’ll miss your cud-chewing way of talking and your always-reliable wit.