Chris Jones and Heather Terhune await their fate at judges' table. (Vivian Zink/Bravo )
When I see that episode 6 of “Top Chef: Texas” is called “Higher Steaks,” it wasn’t hard to guess what the remaining 13 chefs were in for. The competition continues …
Quickfire challenge: Guest judge Dean Fearing, owner of Fearing’s Restaurant in Dallas, arrives to test the cheftestants’ skills as sauciers, which means—you guessed it—making sauces. Each is to cook a dish with a new sauce that stems from one of five mother sauces they are assigned to randomly: béchamel, hollandaise, velote, espagnole or tomate.
Elimination challenge: Work together as one team to create a four-course steak dinner for 200 guests, incorporating steak into two of four courses at the Cattle Baron’s Ball, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society at Southfork Ranch. Thank the Texas lords there are no Chicagoans in the bottom three at judges’ table this time around. Whew!
-The show opens with a pack of the guys smoking outside the cast condo. Chris Jones, how could you? Doesn’t smoking ruin your palate? -1 point.
-He draws espagnole for his quickfire sauce, but his dish isn’t shown in the footage, which you know by now means it wasn’t the best or the worst. 0 points.
-He caught the keys to the prize Toyota when Padma tossed them to the group. Though it doesn’t mean he gets to take it home, he’s hoping. “Man, I would love to win a car. I would love to win anything, just win something. $2. Just don’t want to walk away empty handed.” We’ll give you $2, Chris! +1 point.
-He ends up on the second course team preparing a seared New York strip steak carpaccio with a vegetable salad. The judges weren’t impressed with the dish overall (“There’s no point of view in this dish,” said Tom), but agreed that Chris cooked the steak impeccably. It even landed him in the top three. +2 points.
-When the third courses’ steak goes awry, he offers a telling analogy. “Flashing the steaks early is the same as when the meteor hit the earth and made the dinosaurs extinct. It’s that big of a deal.” +1 point.
TOTAL: 4 points.
-Last week, Heather busted Beverly’s chops for leaving her colander lying around. This week, the digs start early on. “Bev always cooks Asian food. If I were the judges I would be bored with her.” Honesty appreciated, but isn’t a clear point of view a good thing? 0 points.
-She works her pastry chef background again on the dessert team, though Ed criticizes her for supposedly repeating a recipe from a previous episode. She makes a right-side-up Texas peach cake, which doesn’t sound the same as the tres leches cake she made in a past episode. 0 points, if only because we don’t quite get what happened there.
-She’s not impressed that Beverly’s only working on shrimp for the gazpacho and makes that abundantly clear. “When you’re working on a team, you can’t be selfish,” she said. “If that was my prep cook and he’s working on shrimp for two days, I would be through the roof.” Can’t argue with that. +1 point.
-Dakota called Heather a bully and said she would be the first one she would boot from the island. Eek. -1 point.
-The Bev bashing continues. “If I go home today, that’s gonna piss me off that other people are here still in this competition that worked on shrimp all day.” Alright already, Heath. We get it about the shrimp! -1 point.
-Bad blood aside, Heather takes the win for her not-too-sweet cake. “It feels good to finally win something. I haven’t been in the bottom but riding in the middle doesn’t feel so good.” +2 points.
TOTAL: 1 point.
-Sarah draws velote for her quickfire sauce challenge and right off the bat, admits that she’s afraid of overthinking her dish. But when her dish doesn’t appear in the footage, we know she doesn’t win—or lose. 0 points.
-Her grandfather has been a member of the Cattleman’s Association. Again with the Texas cred. +1 point.
-She’s on the first course team with Beverly and Dakota making tomato-watermelon gazpacho. She also represented her team when serving the dish to the judges, and though the judges thought they played it safe, they seemed to like it overall. +1 point.
TOTAL: 2 points.