That’s it. For me the season jumped the shark with this week’s episode. Pee Wee Herman? Really? I know they’ve had some odd judge choices before, like Cookie Monster, but at least there was a reasonable tie-in, they were in NYC, the quickfire challenge was making cookies, and the Muppets didn’t judge the elimination challenge. Pee Wee’s relationship with San Antonio? Well in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure it was a stop on his search for his stolen bike where he was told he could find his bicycle in the basement of the Alamo only to arrive there and discover there is no basement. That’s it. That’s also it for me taking this season seriously. This season has become such a joke. I feel sorry for the chefs. This group has been given some ridiculous tasks and put in some terrible circumstances which they have no control over.
The quickifre challenge was to make some pancakes for Pee Wee. Great we’re down to the final 5 and they have to make pancakes. Now there’s a challenge. Pee Wee stops at the first one. Best he’s ever tasted. Second one, best he’s ever tasted. Third one, well you get the picture. They are all the best he’s ever tasted. We’ve reached a new low on this season of lows. Even the Muppets were more critical from what I can recall. Ed wins with his re-creation of the crispy pancake edges. That’s right, we now have the crispy pancake edge to add to the pantheon of truly inspiring winning dishes for Top Chef Texas like the watermelon cube, meatball, and chicken salad. He wins some money.
Now for the elimination challenge. And Pee Wee is staying on to judge it (and Gail’s back too, guess they brought in the C team for Pee Wee). In fact the theme for the challenge is sending the chef on their own big adventure complete with Pee Wee Herman bicycles. They are each charged with making a family style dish for a lunch at the Alamo based on what Pee Wee’s favorite foods are. So they ask him and he basically says chicken, chicken, chicken. Oh he also likes to eat healthy. Wonderful. Ok so the chefs are all given a budget and their bikes. They have to buy ingredients, find a kitchen to cook in, and transport their dishes to the Alamo for lunch. Am I watching Top Chef or Amazing Race here? So everyone takes off on their bikes and oh look there just happens to be a farmer’s market on their route. They get ingredients, everyone is pretty much using chicken except for Lindsay who grabs some beef cheeks. Now they all have to find a place to cook. So the chefs stop at restaurants and ask if they can use the kitchens and borrow some ingredients. No one’s turned away. Ed goes to a B&B where they even get him to make some eggs for a breakfast order. I’ll admit, that was pretty funny! The chefs all have a laugh about it later when Ed realizes no one else was asked to help out.
Lindsay’s beef cheek stuffed zucchini wins. Paul is also safe. Ed, Sarah, and Grayson are all targets for going home. For the most part everyone did well on this challenge and it’s down to little things. Ed’s chicken was a little undercooked, Sarah’s egg salad with crispy chicken skin was underseasoned, and Grayson’s stuffed chicken breast was too large and she had tomatoes with roasted squash. Tom was not a fan of this combo. The rest of her dish was cooked and seasoned well though. So you’d think undercooked (especially borderline raw chicken!) or underseasoned (and btw the egg salad was a soft cooked egg on some greens with piece of crispy chicken skin, how do you not season it properly?) would be going home right? Wrong. They send Grayson home basically for adding the tomatoes, or so it seems by the editing. Horrible episode. One of the worst ones I’ve ever seen. I do not hold out much hope for the remainder of the season. The chefs are all surprised at the end when Padma informs them there’s been a secret cooking battle going on where the eliminated chefs go head-to-head for a chance to get back in. I’ve always disliked this concept. If you lose you lose, you shouldn’t get a second chance. In life you can, but not in competitions. Anyway, either Grayson or Bev is coming back next week and I’m guessing they’ll have to win both challenges to stay in. Who knows, maybe they’ll have a Survivor-like challenge to determine a winner where they’ll have to gather coconuts and make a snack out them.