Ed Got Game
by Monica Y. Hong
This week’s episode of Top Chef Texas was a bit stressful so if you’re looking to be calmed by this week’s recap, think again. The stress was caused by Beverly Kim being the target of a bully chef and the threat of double elimination.
Without further ado, let the games begin. The quickfire challenge required the chefs to cook a tasty dish to pair with their choice of Don Julio tequilas. This week, however, there was no shot at immunity.
To pair with an añejo tequila, Chef Edward Lee made his interpretation of a lettuce wrap using bok choy and marinated lamb T-bone accompanied by a cactus mango salad and Korean fermented chili paste. Chef Beverly cold-smoked an oyster with green tea to pair with a reposado tequila. (Chef Nyesha Arrington’s dish was not featured so I guess it was nothing to write home about). None of our Korean American chefs were in the top or the bottom.
For the elimination challenge, the chefs were divided into pairs and must cook a six-course dinner for Chef Tim Love and his fancy chef friends at his restaurant, The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, in Fort Worth. The theme was game night — game as in boar, duck, elk, quail, squab and venison — not Monopoly, yut noree or gawee bawee boh.
The kick in the pants was that this week was a double elimination challenge with the three least favorite dishes chosen by the cheftestants themselves. The judges will select the losing team and both members will have to pack their kahl and anyonghee gahsehyo. Good grief. Like I said, suh-tress baduh.
Chef Ed is paired up with Chef Ty-lör Boring with whom last week he was on the bottom at judges’ table. They better cook up some mouth-watering quail because I will not have Ed going home. Remember he is our hero, people. Nyesha and Chef Dakota Weiss are assigned venison aka Bambi’s mom. Lastly, Beverly is teamed up with Heather Bossy McBossboss and boy, does she live up to her name. Heather’s words cut deep when she remarks that she “would rather be paired up with anybody else besides Bev,” then calls her selfish and even dares to say that Bev “doesn’t think like a chef.”
The two have to cook up some Donald or Daffy. You decide. Throughout the quacking elimination challenge, we either see Heather refuting most everything Beverly says or ordering her around. It is quite the dictatorship but Beverly manages to keep her cool in an effort to be a team player. We learn that she knows how to stay strong despite the strain, but it is neither fun for her nor fun to watch.
“There was a time in my life I was in a very abusive relationship,” says a choked up Beverly. “Someone who physically, emotionally abused me. And then one day when he was at work, I ran away. I took all my stuff out of there and since I’ve been out of that, I’ve learned so much because now I have such an amazing relationship. I’ve become such a strong person and will never let that happen again.” Amen, sister.
“Beverly and Heather are having a little bit of friction,” comments Ed. “I respect Beverly. She’s a talented chef and honestly, Heather is being a complete bitch.” We respect your opinion, Ed!
Dinner is served and Ed and Ty-lör present a sorghum quail with pickled cherries and eggplant with a farci of quail. At judges’ table, Ed and Ty-lör prevail with their quality quail and get to split ten grand. Cha-ching!
Beverly and Heather’s dish of five-spice duck breast with creamy polenta and pickled cherries is seen as confusing and unfocused by the judges. They are also not completely satisfied with the rendering of the duck. Nyesha and her teammate do not fare well either seeing as their meat is undercooked. The judges find their roasted rack of venison with kabocha squash and a beet gratin delicious, despite the fact that the game is not cooked properly.
In the stew room, you can cut the tension with a knife. The chefs are given 15 minutes to decide which three teams will head to judges’ table to face the guillotine. In the end, they decide on Team Duck, Team Elk and Team Venison, an opinion that was concurred by the judges.
At the judges’ table, Heather lets it all out, claiming she and Bev have not seen eye to eye and that their work ethics are completely different. She even brings up last week’s challenge. I can’t believe she’s still hung up on the shrimp! Beverly defends her work ethic as do her peers at judges’ table.
Heather goes on to question Beverly’s self-confidence while everyone else questions why Heather is sabotaging her own chances of staying in the game by throwing Beverly under the bus. Furthermore, watching Heather yammer on in the stew room afterwards continues to grate on everyone’s nerves, including mine. For crying out loud!
“Heather was holding it against Beverly for something that happened in previous challenges,” points out Acheson as the judges deliberate.
Tim Love says it best, “You gotta have a baseball memory. You strike out one time you go to the plate, you can’t talk about the strikeout you had last time. So you come in the next challenge, you gotta make it happen.”
Despite all the petty nonsense, the judges decide Nyesha and Dakota got no more game and send them packing. The venison was too rare to forget.
Never fear! Hope is not lost on Nyesha as she still has a chance in the secret Last Chance Kitchen, airing online. She takes on the challenge and cooks the best cactus in a wok over her two competitors. Wok on!