Top Chef Episode 7 – Double Down

Last night’s episode was one of the best of the season, but if you’ve been following along you know that’s not a high bar to clear.  This is two weeks in a row where the quickfire challenge seemed to really bring out the creativity of the chefs.  I loved the elimination challenge too.  Finally one which really challenged their skills!  It was still a bit flawed in the set-up and the chefs seemed to continue play it safe but the concept was perfect.  And we finally had a drama explosion!

Big name Texas chef and restaurateur Tim Love was the guest judge for the quickfire and the chefs had to pick a tequila (Don Julio brand tequila that is) and pair a dish with it.  Now I think that’s pretty challenging, mostly because my creative brainstorming would probably start with “it goes salt, shot, then lemon right?”  Yeah I’d be at the bottom on this one.  However, it’s not too far off when you look at the winning dish Ty-Lor made of steamed clams with a Thai fish/caramel sauce paired with the Don Julio 1942.  Ok, maybe it is a little further away than I thought.  No immunity for winning but he did get $5,000.

The chefs then learn what the elimination challenge is…a game dinner for Tim Love and a few friends where the chefs themselves will taste each other’s dishes and decide who gets sent to judges table for elimination.  Get out the claws!  Oh and they’ll be once again cooking in teams, paired up with the person next to them (seriously, enough with the teams already).  Oh and it’s a double elimination with the losing team going home.  I love the idea of having the chefs cook game.  There’s usually a lot less fat in game so you have to make sure the meat doesn’t dry out when cooking.  The whole team thing is getting really tiring and this time you can get screwed by your partner, which is harsh.  Six teams of the remaining twelve chefs go head to head cooking venison, squab, quail, boar, elk, and duck.  The winning dish was Ed and Ty-Lor’s sorghum quail with pickled cherries.  They split $10,000 so Ty-Lor has a great comeback, going from the overcooked steaks in the last episode to double win in this one.  Impressive!

Now for the bottom three.  The venison, duck, and elk dishes were all selected for elimination by the other chefs which did not sit well with Heather.  I’ve been waiting for her to explode.  She does not like Beverly one bit and as luck would have it she got paired with her.  Let the throwing-under-bus begin!  Throughout the episode she seems to go out of her way to belittle Beverly and make snide comments so you know this is only going to end one way.  Sure enough, at judges table she claims she didn’t know why they were there and then proceeds to blame everything on Beverly.  The other teams stick up for Bev and you can sense they are all getting tired of bossy Heather’s crap.  Of all the dishes up for elimination I didn’t think the elk team of Grayson and Chris J were going anywhere since their elk was cooked right and tasted fine.  I thought it was between Heather and Beverly (duck not fully cooked out) and Dakota and Nyesha for waaaaaaay undercooked, almost raw, venison.  As you know, undercooking sends you home and Dakota and Nyesha are told to pack their knives.  Heather continues to sulk.

Down to 11 10 left.  Hopefully they’ll get an individual elimination challenge soon.

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