Top Chef S09E06: Welcome To Steak Town, Population: Steak

Everyone is out on the balcony drinking beers and smoking cigarettes after last week’s intense brush with high society. So far, everyone who has been eliminated has been a guy, which makes Ed unhappy, because Ed is awful. “I don’t want it to get down to two guys and eight girls. We’ve got to get it together.” Huh? Why? If you’re one of the two guys how on Earth could you possibly care? Don’t you still just have to cook better food than the other contestants to stay in the game and possibly win? Does it matter what kind of genitalia and/or hair product the other contestant has? Also two guys and eight girls is still so many contestants. Relax, Ed. Scrunchie Chris says “guys vs. girls, this vs. that, I just need to focus on the food.” That’s the right attitude but somehow this also bothers me just as much as Ed getting wrapped up in the rivalry. For one thing, “this vs. that” is not a real rivalry. Use your words, Scrunchie Chris. Second of all, it’s mostly just people making chit chat on a balcony after a long and stressful day. You aren’t a better or more dedicated chef just because you refuse to make the lightest of social pleasantries with the other people involved in this surreal and unnatural experience. Everyone’s just looking for connection, Scrunchie Chris. You don’t need to be a Food Robot. Ease up. The next day, the chefs file into Le Cordon Bleu’s teaching kitchen for their Quickfire challenge. Did you know that there was an outpost of Le Cordon Bleu in Dallas? I didn’t. Check your local listings. This week’s guest judge is Dean Fearing, who we are told has a long culinary career and classical training, but who we can see is a model for an affordable teeth whitening program with a side business as a used speedboat salesman.

Everyone draws knives with different KA-RAZY words on them like “tomate” and “hollandaise.” These are Escoffier’s “mother sauces,” and everyone must make a dish featuring a personalized variation on a mother sauce. Winner gets immunity. Nyesha interviews that she wants immunity so bad “it’s ridiculous.” That is ridiculous, Nyesha. Because it is week four, or whatever. Immunity only applies to the next stupid challenge on this show, it doesn’t count for anything in the real world and doesn’t even count for that much on Top Chef. Nyesha also says that she loves making sauces and if she could do one job for the rest of her life it would be saucier. So, why doesn’t she go do that? If she was good enough to get on this show, she should probably be good enough to get a job as a saucier? And then she wouldn’t even need to worry about this precious immunity that she so desperately craves.

Cook cook cook. Velouté velouté velouté. The one mean lady is angry that the Asian lady always makes Asian food. Hahaha. Uh huh. Actually, for as much as I was annoyed by Scrunchie Chris’s opening gambit of trying to extricate himself from the in-fighting, there are still way too many people on this show for everyone to be getting up in everyone else’s business. Like, if the Asian lady only cooks Asian food, that will probably be an issue for her down the road, so why do you even care, Mean Grouch? She will probably get eliminated for the weakness that you have pointed out. If anything, you should be glad that there’s someone around that does not seem as skilled as you because that’s one less person to give you genuine competition for the top prize. And if she did get automatically sent home for the thing you think she should be sent home for, then you would still have to deal with Paul and Gay Chris and the other talented people, so shove something in your mouth and shut it.

Dean Fearing keeps asking people if they used a roue in their mother sauce and people keep saying no and he keeps smiling but you know on the inside he is not smiling. Does anyone on this show know what they’re doing? It does seem early still in the season, but this really is starting to feel like the worst group of contestants ever. Anyway, Dean’s least favorite dishes were Dakota’s scallop and peaches with bechamel (yuck!), Nyesha’s tomato something or other (with coconut? what up?), and Beverly’s sushi roll with steak that was supposed to have a mother sauce on it but it turns out “soy” is not a mother sauce. Eek to all three of these clowns. The best dishes were Grayson’s scallop and ravioli, Paul’s quail with espagnole sauce, and Gay Chris’s halibut with velouté. The overall winner is Grayson. Good job, Grayson.

For this week’s Elimination Challenge, the chefs will be cooking a four course steak dinner for a bunch of Total Steak Heads. And the dinner will take place at…wait for it…South Fork Ranch. Everyone LOSES THEIR SHIT.

Except, uh, sorry, I don’t want to sound like an idiot, but what is South Fork Ranch? Padma is like, “you knew it was coming.” WE DID? What is it?! It turns out that this is the location of the popular TV show Dallas. Well, sure. Fine. Except let’s go back to everyone’s LOSING IT face.

Everyone on this show is, like, 28 years old. How do they immediately recognize the name of the ranch where Dallas took place? I call shenanigans. Anyway, two of the dishes have to include steak in them. Sure. It would be more of a challenge if ALL of the dishes had to include steak in them and we got to see some steak ice cream but oh well. They have 30 minutes to divide up the labor and plan the menu. Then it is the exciting shopping montage. Then they will have three hours to cook and prep the day before, and three hours to cook and serve the day of. That seems like plenty of time. Everyone rushes around. Ty-Lor used to work at a steak house so he knows he can cook steak, but he’s worried about having to deal with other people. Wait, was his steak house a one person operation? Didn’t he have to deal with other people when he worked at a steak house? Mean Grouch is going to make the same cake she made for the quinceanera, which makes Ed mad, because that was his recipe in the first place, and he thinks it’s time for her to start actually cooking. Again, it would be very easy for the judges to dismiss her cake and/or get mad that she made the same cake again, so why does Ed care? Also, why did he give her his recipe in the first place? You know, just to ease tensions, we should probably eliminate Ed.

They shop. They prep. They cook. Ty-Lor cuts his finger pretty badly. “I need a medic,” he says. Poof, there is a medic. But then the medic says, “You need stitches, dude.” Where did this medic come from?! He asks her to just wrap it up so that he can keep cooking and she is like, “alright,” and it’s like, OK, so a medic’s only job is to wrap gauze around someone’s hand? Because that is not that hard. They should just make Padma the medic. She’s over by the white wine.

After the day’s prepping, we see Ty-Lor WALK into the Emergency Room.

Hahaha. Man oh man. This show spares no expense for its contestants. The next morning no one even knows if Ty-Lor is alive anymore. Maybe he got MRSA in the emergency room and died. Ty-Lor shows up at the last second and explains that he had to sit in the emergency room for six hours. And walk home, probably. He says it took all night because people were in there with gunshot wounds. Bullshit. I mean, people might have been in there with gunshot wounds, that’s totally possible, but saying that you had to wait in an emergency room because people were in there with gunshot wounds seems like something you say when you’re in a made for TV movie in 1983. He’s got four stitches in his hand and has had no sleep, but he is going to drink 18 cups of espresso and power through, he says. Good luck, Ty-Lor.

It is a real scorcher today. Everyone preps. Beverly has spent two days deveining shrimp, complains Mean Grouch. Well, you also made the same cake you already made from someone else’s recipe, so maybe you shouldn’t be such a BEYOTCH. (Hahah. Beyotch. LET’S BRING IT BACK, GUYS. The time is now.) Ed asked Whitney the night before if she shouldn’t be further along in her potato gratin but she insists it will be fine, but now here it is the next day and she has to take off a layer of potatoes because they got discolored over night, which she says is a thing that happens to potatoes, which is correct, so she sounds like she’s doing great. The real trouble starts when there is no organization and people aren’t done with their second courses but the chefs start firing the steaks for the third course, but then the steaks are done and sitting around for 10 minutes so they’re overcooked and also cold at the same time. WHOOOOOOPS. I mean, hey, cooking for 200 people is super tough no doubt and there are literally too many cooks in the kitchen, but also when you are serving a steak dinner the ONE thing you kind of want to get right is the FUCKING STEAK. This is the face that Scrunchie Chris makes.

Good point, Scrunchie Chris. It also seems particularly lame of them to fuck this up because all the steaks are being served at the same level of doneness so they do not even have to struggle with varying cook times. Way to go, boneheads. Please see my earlier comment about how this is the worst crop of contestants ever. Not that any of the “real people” eating at what looks like the world’s most fabulous gala event (jk it looks like the one day a year the prisoners are allowed to have tablecloths, and also for some reason the prison is a Holiday Inn. Built in a barn. By the airport) take any notice, but the civilians never do.

In the stew room, before anyone even goes to Judges’ Table, Mean Grouch calls out Beverly for spending so much time on shrimp. “I don’t even know what else you did.” She tries to do it super casual, too. “As a team, I feel like who even knows who did a good job and who did a bad job because we’re a team and we’re all in this together for sure, but like, say for example and I know this is hard to imagine but pretend that we weren’t a team. It’s hard to even picture that but if you could picture it I would say that Beverly, just for example, sucks and I hate you.” Beverly is upset at being called out, and she should be. I mean, I guess Mean Grouch didn’t “throw her under the bus” in front of the judges, the way everyone is always complaining about people doing, but still. It definitely comes out of nowhere and for no real reason since they haven’t even been criticized for anything yet. And when Mean Grouch, along with Scrunchie Chris and Nyesha, gets called to the Judges’ Table and is one of the winning chefs it makes her look like even more of an asshole, which is hard, because she already looked like SUCH an asshole. Speaking of the Judges’ Table, what’s up with this week’s actual Judge’s Table? Were they out of the good tables?

They liked Nyesha’s bone marrow compound butter, and Scrunchie Chris’s steak carpaccio was cooked perfectly, but in the end it is Mean Grouch’s rehash of the quinceanera cake that earns her the win, which includes a brand new Toyota. Fuck her.

The losing chefs are Ty-Lor, Whitney, and Ed. Whitney feels a little better about being on the bottom since guest judge Hugh Acheson was her mentor. Gross. I mean, I kind of get it, but that is about as respectable as crying in front of a police officer to get out of a speeding ticket. Why should Hugh Acheson give you any special treatment if you did a bad job at cooking on this show that is about doing a good job at cooking? They must have fucked or something. They probably fucked or something. Ty-Lor takes full responsibility for the steaks, which, Ty-Lor is annoying starting with the fact that his name is Ty-Lor, but considering the fact that he was really just marking the steaks on the grill before they went into the broiler, which is the part everyone else messed up, is pretty honorable of him. Lot of people could have been thrown under the bus on that one. Although Tom does point out that he should have been able to cook all 200 steaks by himself on the grills. Sure. I don’t know. Relax, Tom. The judges also disliked Ed’s tomato and asparagus salad, which really was nothing. Ugh, Ed. But it seems like the real disaster was the potato gratin, which was undercooked and uninteresting, not to mention too heavy for a hot Texas day, combined with the fact that Whitney took six hours to botch it. Tom says “usually it is hard to send someone home, but this week you made it really easy.” Ouch. TOM BURN! Whitney goes home. On her way out she says once again how hard it is to be eliminated by Hugh Acheson. OK, they DEF fucked.

Aw. Whitney! I did not even really know you were on the show until this week, so maybe that should have been a red flag. Goodbye!

Next week: stuff.