Top Chef Texas: All About the Mentos. Or Mentors. One of the two.

Disclaimer: This is in no way, shape, or form a “serious” recap/review of Top Chef Texas. Instead, my self-imposed assignment is to bring to light how the State of Texas pissed away somewhat over $400,000 of taxpayer funds, with the City of San Antonio adding another six figure amount to the pot. If you are looking for “real” recaps of the show, I would suggest you check out Kate Shellnutt’s post on the subject over at’s Tubular blog, or – if you prefer your recaps on the spicy side, liberally seasoned with f-bombs – you can try Katharine Shillcutt’s recap over at Eating Our Words.

Last week, we (and the chefts) were left in a cliffhanger, as the existence of the Last Chance Kitchen was revealed. The big question: Beverly, or Grayson? My money is on Beverly, because she is the one who will piss off the other chefts the most. Also, because she is a kick-ass kook cook. Sure enough, it is Beverly who takes her rightful place among the Final Four wannabees. And, she is immediately served a helping of cold shoulder by Sarah, a treatment which will continue through the episode.

The QuickFire Challenge: go shopping in the pantry. Blindfolded. Make a dish with whatever they manage to collect. Lindsey admits to having “run into the wall” a time or two. Sarah mixes mushrooms and peaches and corn in a soup, and somehow manages to Make It Work. She is offered the choice of prizes: paying income taxes on a brand new car, or getting a golden ticket direct to the Final Four. Not surprisingly, she opts for the ticket to Vancouver. Cowardice on her part? Perhaps, but it is also a very, very smart move.

Now, it is time for the Elimination Challenge. But first, we need to introduce the guest tasters! Not to the chefts, however – the guests are, in fact, their first mentors. Each cheft is asked to try and give a brief testimonial to their mentor, without having a complete breakdown. While they are mostly successful, most all the chefts open up with the waterworks – and more than a few of the mentors join them.

Each cheft is given some time with their mentor, then they have to shop and plan and prep their #winning! dish. Except for Sarah, who is given the challenge off since she chose to bypass this nonsense and proceed direct to the Final Four.

Paul ended up taking the W, a place in the Final Four, and a new car (Sarah’s?) with a dish consisting of cold soup. Yes, you read that right: cold soup. Having seen what he delivered, all I can say is I hope they find some way to put that on the menu at Uchi. Because, it looked like teh awesome.

Beverly came in second, with an asian dish (did anybody expect any different?) made in a wok. She showed great skill in nailing the dish, as the timing had to be spot-on.

Lindsey had a good seafood stew, but for some reason decided to use cream to emulsify the fish stock. Ed trumped that bit of culinary suckitude by offering up a dish made with canned oysters. Admittedly, fresh oysters have been a bit hard to come by this season, but even so… Anyway, those oysters cost him a spot in Vancouver, and earned him a trip to PPYKAG land – without the possibility of redemption in the Last Chance Kitchen.

And so, Top Chef‘s stay in the Lone Star State comes to an end. We have seen the last of the Alamo, of the longhorn cattle, of the Cadillac with the longhorns as a hood ornament, of the statue of the cowboy. The rest of the episodes will take place in Vancouver, BC – ironically the 3rd largest city in Canada, which allows the folks at Top Chef to stick it to Houston yet some more. On a more positive side, we did get to see the Houston advertisement again, and it may air once or twice more before the finale.

Next week, it appears the chefts will be put through a challenge of Olympic proportions – including a stint on the rifle range. Ironic, isn’t it? They decide to give the chefts guns – and live ammo – in a country with very strict gun control laws, rather than in a state where firearms are considered members of the family.

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