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'Top Chef: Texas' episode 12 recap

In which we award points for butcher hats, bleepin' bleeps and tofu emulsions

  • Chicago chef Chris Jones with fellow cheftestant Grayson Schmitz
Chicago chef Chris Jones with fellow cheftestant Grayson Schmitz (Courtesy of Bravo )
January 26, 2012|By Lisa Arnett | RedEye

It’s episode 12 and the six-member cast is 33 percent Chicago! I like the looks of these odds. The cheftestants remain in San Antonio, where they’re joined by Padma, Emeril and guest judge Cat Cora.

Quickfire challenge: Split into three teams of two, the chefs have 40 minutes to complete a series of speed-based cooking drills—peeling shrimp, shucking corn and making pasta—and then use their remaining time to cook a dish using the ingredients. The winning team scores $10,000.

Elimination challenge: Go head-to-head against your quickfire teammate to cook the same dish for 200 people at a block party fundraiser that Healthy Choice hosted for the San Antonio Food Bank. Party attendee will vote for their favorite, and the three judges with the least votes face elimination. Oh, and the dishes have to be healthy, Padma tells the chefs after they have already picked what kind of dish they are going to cook. And they have to do it all in about 2 hours.

-Paired with Lindsay for the quickfire, it’s no surprise that Sarah immediately starts with the pasta. And rocks it. +1 point.
-She and Lindsay finish their quickfire dish early while the other two teams struggle. “That’s f---ing delicious!” she says after tasting it. “I would eat it every day and be happy.” +1 point.
-Guest judge Cat Cora doesn’t agree, insisting their dish is too tarragon-y. -1 point.
-When she and Lindsay are pitted against one another for the elimination challenge, they decide to cook meatballs with a vegetable salad. Sarah makes hers with whole-wheat bread and turkey, which is no doubt healthier than Lindsay’s choice to use lamb and veal. +1 point.
-“She is a ball buster and she will tell you how it is,” she says about Lindsay. Maybe that’s why the two of them get along so well, since Sarah hasn’t been known to hold back either. +1 point. 
-Tom raves about Sarah’s salad with different kinds of veggies, while guest judge Dana Cowin from Food & Wine complains she only got arugula and zucchini. If you’ve learned anything by now, Sarah, that depriving the judges never ends well. -1 point.
-Block party attendees preferred Lindsay’s meatball, so Sarah ends up in the bottom three. Paul won the challenge for his turkey and eggplant kalbi. -1 point.
-Even then, it’s clear that the judges don’t think her dish is the worst. “She made a very good meatball,” said Tom. “Lindsay made an excellent meatball.” And so she’s safe. +1 point.
TOTAL: 2 points

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