'Top Chef' episode 7 recap

In which we award points for kitchen fires and throwing other chefs under the bus

December 14, 2011|By Lisa Arnett

If you saw the teasers, then you knew what was coming for the remaining 12 cheftestants: The dreaded double elimination! And of course, continued conflict between Heather and Beverly, which we knew was coming.

Quickfire: Guest chef Tim Love of the Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Forth Worth challenges the chefs to create a dish using a tequila of their choice.

Elimination challenge: Cook a six-course game dinner to a panel of game-savvy chef guests -- and each other. Each is assigned the favorite meat of a different guest: Sarah is paired with Paul to cook squab for Anita Lo from Annisa in NYC, Chris teams up with Grayson to cook elk for Tim Love, while Heather and Beverly must cook duck for John Currence from City Grocery in Oxford, Miss. The cheftestants themselves get to comment on the dishes, but the judges decide which team -- that's right, two chefs -- to send home. Oh, and the winning team gets to split $10K.

-In the quickfire, Sarah cooks fennel risotto and seared sea scallops with blanco tequila, inspired by a tradition her and Spiaggia's big boss chef, Tony Mantuano, have of taking a shot of blanco at the airport before they fly (to Italy, I presume). +1 point.
-When Tim says he found her risotto underdone, she is incredulous. "I've been training with experts in Italy in how to make risotto. I'm not going to change how I cook risotto due to somebody's palate." Maybe I'm biased, but I believe the chef of the best Italian restaurant in Chicago over this Texan dude. +1 point for confidence.
-Her challenge partner Paul gives her props, noting that she's a great chef. +1 point.
-After an ordeal with her squab sausage not cooking evenly, she has a mini-breakdown in the kitchen. "This is not like cooking normally. This is the hardest thing I've ever done," she confesses. -1 point for the tears.
-She's the only Chicago chef not to end up at judges' table facing elimination. +1 point.
TOTAL: 3 points

-He embraces the quickfire, because even though he says it's difficult to cook with spirits because of their high alcohol content, he "looooves" tequila. +1 point for enthusiasm.
-Massive fire at the stove! Oh look, it's Chris and his chicken, which -- surprise -- ends up dry and got stuck in Tim's teeth. Ick. -1 point.
-During the elimination challenge, he tells Grayson that he wants to soak sweet potatoes in a salt solution and then carve them into some kind of chain-link structure, which he will then fry and use to garnish their elk dish. "You promise me they're gonna be bangin'?" she asks. "I promise you," he says. "This is something I've done a hundred times." Only it totally, totally bombs. -1 point.
-When the chefs at the game dinner ask him what he was going for with the potato links, he admits that they didn't turn out the way he intended. Grayson does a 180 and spouts off some rushed nonsense about it being exactly the way they wanted it to be. +1 point for honesty.
-At least the salvaged potato links elicited a hilarious reaction from Hugh Acheson. "The potato was like, 'Whaaa?'" +1 point.
TOTAL: 1 point

-She shows deft catching skills when Nyesha tosses her a bunch of basil. Well played. +1 point.
-Her quickfire dish of rock shrimp with mango, avocado and corn fails to impress guest judge Tim, who compared it to a special at a "new chain restaurant." As Heather said herself, "Ouch." -1 point.
-She doesn't hold back when she finds out she's paired with Beverly. "I've seen selfish behaviors from her. She doesn't think like a chef." We got the memo last week, Heather, and we don't really need to go there again. -1 point.
-Heather seems to have quite a bit of say in the dish her and Beverly are creating, insisting that it not seem "too Asian" and that they keep onions in the dish even though Beverly doesn't like them. "This is part of my rustic style, so we're going to have to compromise." But in the stew room, she tells Bev she had "no say" in the dish and "You didn't listen to any of my ideas." When you see it all played back, Heather, you'll see it ain't so. -1 point.
-In an ultimate move of under-bus-throwing, she knocks Beverly's work ethic and brings up her slow shrimp preparation from the last episode. Are we seriously (seriously?) talking about the shrimp again? -2 points.
-"Abrasive," "bossy," and "total bitch" ... the compliments are not racking up for Heather, here. -1 point.
TOTAL: -5 points

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