Top Chef Episode 7: The Game Is Real

The episodes just keep getting meatier and more psychologically torturous, don’t they? Kinda like watching a loop of non-stop torture porn, only one where the killers are a former model and an angry, bald millionaire and the victims all make delicious sauces before being dispatched.

This week, we start things off with a bunch of tequila and Tim Love, a Top Chef Masters alum and chef/owner of Lonesome Dove in Fort Worth. Tim explains to the cheftestants that tequila, much like craft beer and whiskey, is meant for sipping. Whether he means out of the lint-strewn belly buttons of Cancun bartenders is unclear, but no matter what the drinking vessel, the chefs must create a dish that pairs well with the sponsor-ified Don Julio tequila of their choice. If it were me, I’d probably try and make something that would taste as good coming up as it did on the way down, but that’s just because I know where that first sip of tequila typically leads. Instead, the chefs make some pretty elegant plates and Tim and Padma get drunk enough to call Heather the Hutt’s shrimp dish “a chain restaurant special” before declaring Ty-Lor and his clams the winner.

The chefs are then paired with the person closest to them for the Elimination Challenge–which is to prepare a game dish for Tim Love and a few of his closest friends, including Anita Lo, Bryan Caswell, John Currence, the really hip dudes from Animal and (shocking twist!) the cheftestants themselves, who will choose the bottom three dishes for a double elimination.  Much to Heather’s dismay (but to the joy of the producers), she happens to be next to Beverly, and the mental abuse begins right out of the gate. The balance of the teams take the “united we stand” approach and keep the infighting to a minimum (which probably pisses off the producers just as much).

At this point, I feel guilty for calling Beverly annoying because she plays the abuse card, and then Heather makes it worse by going into full-on high school bully mode. But take heed of yet another Top Chef life lesson: If you waste your time chiding your teammate, you will not create a successful dish, and then guess what happens?

Before you do, though, let’s see how the rest of the teams fare. Lindsey and Handsome Chris make a rack of boar with peach barbecue sauce, kohlrabi slaw, and farro fried rice, all of which isn’t too exciting to the judges. Grayson and Less-Handsome-Chris are given elk, and they nail the temperature, but Chris’ attempt at getting technical with the sweet potatoes is a misstep. Ed and Ty-Lor go next, and their sorghum quail is very well received by both Tim Love and Anita Lo. Second-to-last are Dakota and Nyesha with venison, and while the beet gratin is a success, their venison is way undercooked. Finally, Paul and Sarah G have squab, and they prepare it two ways before Sarah has a TV-ready breakdown over her sausage, even though the judges were happy with the results. With that, another sweaty elimination challenge is finished, and it’s Ty-Lor and Ed who secure the win, along with $10,000 and the unfortunate task of kicking off the infighting that goes along with a 15-minute Real World/Road Rules Challenge-style majority vote for the bottom three. Too much deliberation leads to a final show of hands, and it’s Beather, Nykota, and Chrayson that are destined for a place in the Last Chance Kitchen. Then it’s off to Judges’ Table we go, where “When Heathers Attack” continues. She basically calls Beverly lazy and admits not liking her for the hundredth time while Beverly snivels. I’m convinced that they’ll be sent home, but someone in Bravo’s Dramatic Engineering Department must’ve intervened at the last second because it’s Dakota and Nyesha’s undercooked venison that that get them sent packing.

Next week, we head to Austin, where Heather tries to eat Beverly, and Sarah G faints when she sees Patti LaBelle. I can’t wait.