Top Chef Texas: Mentor

E: Pro: Bev is back and in the finale!  Con: the Bully Twins are both in the finale with her.

M: So, is this recap going to be like Memento, where we start at the end and work our way backwards in small snip-its?  I say we try it.  I’m rearranging everything we’ve already written to go backwards!

Two minutes earlier:

E: In another year, I’d have been super excited to see 3 female contestants go into the finale.  I’d love to see another female winner.

M: That would be, once again, because you are a sexist pig.

E: (Ignoring you) Of course, it seems very unlikely that anyone will beat Paul at this point – but more than that, I will be really unhappy if either of the Bully Twins manages it.

M: You, me, and just about everyone outside of their immediate families.  And heck, even some of them may be rooting against them.  I mean, who roots for the bully?  Come on.

Eight minutes earlier:

M: So, going into the elimination were you thinking of the curse of the near miss like I was?  The quickfire was down to Ed and Bully Twin #1, and Ed was narrowly edged out.  Looking at the bottom two, it really seemed like there was more wrong with Lindsey’s dish, and Ed just made a mistake that in his own restaurant would never have happened (because he would have ordered the ingredients he needed, instead of relying on the one store he had a half hour to shop at having them).  However, the rule is the contestant that just misses out on immunity gets sent home in the elimination challenge.  It’s happened time and time again.

E: Oh yes.  And doubly ironic since that’s how Bev got booted.  I think the judges rationale seemed to be that Lindsay knew what was wrong with her dish, while Ed made a more fundamental mistake by not deviating from his original plan when the right ingredient wasn’t available.

M: I think you’re right on what they were thinking, but that’s not the way I think I’d go in their place. Ed’s mistake was in sticking to strongly to an idea when the circumstances weren’t right. Like I said, under normal circumstances he doesn’t have that problem. Under normal circumstances Lindsey still messes up her dish in more than one way.

Two minutes earlier:

E: What the heck gives with Chris Crary being so far ahead in the race for fan favorite?  What kind of sense does that make?  He’s not THAT good looking, he’s personable but not colorful or magnetic, and I’m still unconvinced of his cooking skill set.

M: Maybe it’s because I watch on DVR and fast forward the commercials (and all the repetitive, annoying fluff at the start of every segment, and thus can watch each episode in about 35 minutes), but I missed that entirely.  I would have expected someone like Grayson or maybe Nyesha, or if people have been watching the LCK, then maybe fun personalities like Keith or Richie.  I just don’t know why it would be Pretty Chris.

E: Apparently Paul and Grayson are next (which, cool), but Chris C is waaaay ahead.  Weird.

Three minutes earlier:

E: Riddle me this; is frontrunner Paul doomed to lose the finale because he won the car ?  Because you know how it goes with folks who win the car on reality competitions.  Especially in the challenge right before the finale.  They lose.  It’s like a curse – the curse of the free car.

M: Oh, I sure hope not.  As much as I like the revenge story Bev has going on, I would really rather Paul win than her, and obviously we have no desire to see either of the Bully Twins win.  I mean, seriously, can even their families root for the bullies?  So I’m really hoping the cure of the new car doesn’t do in Paul.

E: Me too.  I love Paul.

Ten minutes earlier:

M: I have to say, as I was watching the challenge it felt like Paul and Bev were doing the best. I knew Ed’s decision on the oysters would be a problem, and Lindsey looked like she was cracking pretty much the whole time. Meanwhile Bev went nuts with woks, and Paul made what I can only describe as a simple yet very complex soup. I love that he does thing that seem harder than what the others do. His ‘enchanted forrest’ in Fit for a Queen had something like 16 elements, and the soup had 14 steps to plate. That’s just nuts, in a very good way.

One minute earlier:

E: If I didn’t already love Paul (which I do), my hypothetical resistance would have crumbled watching him break down in tears upon seeing his mentor. Talk about waterworks in general when Padma brought out the chef’s mentors and named the challenge – cook a meal to show your mentor what you’ve learned and how far you’ve come, to make them proud.  Sob!  Conversely, I found Ed’s refusal to cry similarly adorable.

M: I was really surprised to see everyone except Ed start to bawl just at the sight of their mentors.  I mean, seriously?  I have had a couple mentors at work.  I have gone long periods of time without seeing them.  Never, at any point, have I felt the urge to bawl uncontrollably because they walked into the room.  Now, I won’t equate those times to a stressful, make your career kind of competition that has been mentally exhausting me for weeks, but still.  That said, it was endearing to see, and the little segment with Ed goofing around about crying was hilarious!

E: It was.  They’re all clearly teetering on the edge of madness, in a largely entertaining way.

Fifteen minutes earlier:

E: In a nice twist, the Quickfire winner would get either a new Prius, or a guaranteed ticket to the finale.  Everyone had different ideas about what the proper thing to do was.

M: This was a total conundrum.   You have people like Paul saying they’d take the car then earn their way into the finals (which he did, but I’m getting ahead of myself), and people like Bully #1 (Sarah) who took the sure thing, which was also the easy way out.  I don’t know, I like Paul’s attitude about it more, but in the same situation how do you turn down a guaranteed spot in the finale?  There have been a couple challenges where everyone made something good and someone who did well went home, do you really take that risk when you don’t have to?  In the end, because she’s a bully, I feel like Sarah wimped out.  If it had been Ed, I don’t know if that would have been my take.

E: Ah, but Ed would have taken the car.  It’s tricky; yes, you want to win, but what do you get for second place?  Nothing, so far as I know! So even if you do end up missing a chance at the finale, that car is a lot more than 3 out of the 4 will get in a tangible, financial sense.  So for that, and for the competitive reason, I can see taking the car.  Then again, there’s the curse.

Seven minutes earlier:

E: For the Quickfire, the contestants must grab their pantry items blindfolded.  Nice!

M: Agreed, this is the kind of stuff I like in the Quickfires.  Like when they had everyone give one ingredient to someone else that they had to incorporate in their dish.  No one’s going home over it, so it’s not as big a deal if someone gets totally screwed by the twist, but you get to see their flexibility.  Fun stuff.

E: I do wonder – did they have to grab absolutely everything blindfolded?  Even the salt? Or was it just the main ingredients?  They had a half hour to grab and cook whatever they wanted.

M: It was definitely everything, not just the main ingredients.  And the time was not too short, either.  They could have really screwed them by giving them 15 minutes, but they kept it reasonable, and it was a better challenge because of it.

Two minutes earlier:

E: I have to say, I was totally surprised that Bev was the winner; I thought from Tom’s comments that he preferred Grayson’s dish.  I’m not sorry, however, and I really want to see Bev do well.

M: I was not surprised at all.  I felt like it could go either way, and at that point I had two trains of thought.  The first, and more innocent, was that Bev was the “champ” of the LCK, and Grayson may have been as good, but didn’t clearly beat her, so it would go to Bev like a draw goes to the champ in boxing.  The other was that it was really close, and Bev would be better for ratings because of the controversy between her and the Bully Twins, so that’s the way they’d go.

E: Well, that’s definitely what the cynic in me says!  Ratings or otherwise, Bev’s a better story.  Maybe Tom just wanted to see her go back and kick everyone’s butt.

M: Or maybe he’s trying to lose weight and Grayson’s huge portions are messing up his diet.

Fourty-three minutes earlier:

E: I bet you’ll agree that this week’s challenges were both good ones, entertaining but still providing good food.  (I’m not going to bet a pack of cancer sticks OR a banana, however.)

M: Well, since I wouldn’t have a pack of cancer sticks to bet you, you would have had to double down on the bananas.  However, you are right, I loved both the challenges.  The blindfold one was great, it was great to see them all screw up in some way, like walking into walls, spilling things or knocking a container of pork casings into their basket by accident.  That was just fun, like a quickfire should be.  Then you had the mentor meal, which is always inspiring, and we did get to see one of the Bully Twins do poorly.  I mean, who roots for the bullies?  Come on.

2 comments on “Top Chef Texas: Mentor

  1. MMGF says:

    So interesting. I’ve always seen Ed as a much bigger bully than Sarah and Linsday, with his mean confessional comments about some of the others, and his poor treatment of Lindsay when she had legitimate health problems. But, then, maybe I’m biased, since I’ve never been impressed with Beverly. (And I think most of the so-called bullying has all been manufactured by the editing, anyway.)

    I think our common ground can certainly be that the REAL bully, though, was Heather! 🙂

    (Oh, and even as a Prius owner and lover, I’d totally have taken the spot in the finale over the Prius. You’re there to win, not to get a free car. You take the guaranteed step forward. Seems like a no-brainer to me.)

    Given how poorly I’ve read the food industry treats women, and how much of a boy’s club it apparently is (and the Top Chef franchise results certainly would appear to back this up,) it’s nice to see three women in the finale. Too bad they’re all going to lose. Any scenarios in which Paul doesn’t win…?

    • E says:

      I find it very hard to imagine how he could. Has Paul ever had an issue in a challenge when he wasn’t working with Ed? Granted, he left the shrimp off some Quickfire dish he made with Ed, so it wasn’t Ed messing it up. Maybe it’s possible? You have to think if it does, he’d be beating himself. I would LOVE to try his food; that soup sounds so peculiar and fascinating.

      Yes, of course we can agree about Heather. What a meanie. And of course you know I agree about women in the food industry!

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