Recap: ‘Top Chef’ – ‘Fit for an Evil Queen’

01.18.12 6 years ago 4 Comments


There’s no rest for the wicked, as the chefs must pack up and head back to San Antonio for their next challenge. But for this one, they’ll want to be at least a little wicked, as that’s pretty much the theme. I suspect that means Lindsay and Sarah will do exceptionally well, because these girls cannot stop being catty little monsters to poor Beverly. 

While Sarah and Lindsay try to ice out Beverly on the long drive back to San Antonio, in another car Chris J. is ranting and raving. He’s pissed that he’s the only guy who hasn’t won a challenge. I’m just amazed he’s still on the show, honestly, as each week he seems to get smacked down for doing something mildly gross and/or unappetizing. I’m not sure why the judges keep him around, unless they like that stupid topknot on his head. 

Beverly, who is probably relishing the silence in her car, thinks the other girls have sour grapes about her winning the last challenge. And she’s right! 

Anyway, soon it’s time for the Immunity Challenge, which looks like a fun one. Eric Ripert, chef of Le Bernadin, and a conveyer belt greet the chefs, and I think it’s pretty clear that the more intimidating player here is the conveyer belt. The chefs must grab three ingredients from the belt to make a dish, then can use whatever they like from the pantry. While better ingredients will pop up as time ticks down, the catch as that waiting for good stuff means less time to cook. Immunity is at stake. 

And wowza, the stuff that initially pops up on the belt is pretty grim. Pop Rocks, Oreos, bitter melon, nuts, Rice Krispies, Goldfish, eww. A bucket of lobster appears, then is yanked off the belt only to reappear later. Chris J. wants that lobster, though, so he keeps running for the belt and just missing it until his third try. I suspect that, even as excited as he is to get it, he’ll probably screw it up anyway.


Sauerkraut soup, shrimp and shaved truffle

These ingredients sound pretty nasty, but I trust Ed to make something surprisingly good out of them. I think.  

Chris J. 

Butter poached lobster with foie gras

Padma notes that the cauliflower brings out chocolate notes. Chris J. thinks that’s a good thing, although I can’t say chocolate and lobster sounds that great to me. 


Butter poached dover sole with Goldfish and rosemary

Padma thinks it’s clever to put Goldfish on fish. Eric declares it interesting. I don’t think I’d want Eric to declare my dish interesting.


Mussels in ginger with bitter melon broth

Eric looks a little grossed out, so I’m guessing Paul’s fear that the bitter melon might be too bitter is dead on.


Fried soft shell crab & cottage cheese sauce

Sarah can’t believe she’s serving Eric cottage cheese and saltines with seafood. I have to say, seeing how Sarah’s been such a bitch to Beverly, I have absolutely no sympathy for her here. 


Bouillabaisse in fennel-pernod broth

Eric call it a bouillabaisse idea, which may or may not be a good thing. 


Glazed sockeye salmon and black-eyed peas

She admits she forgot to put on the Rice Krispies. Padma and Eric ask to taste it with the Rice Krispies. They love it. Edward thinks she should have cheated. I think she should have found some excuse for sprinkling them on at serving time — can’t you do that without breaking the rules?

Time for losers! Eric names Chris J. (the ingredients didn’t come together), Grayson (the citrus was overwhelming) and Paul (his bitter melon was, well, bitter). He liked Sarah (the cottage cheese sauce was interesting), Lindsay (the dish was harmonious) and Beverly (the tofu made a nice sauce). Padma tells Beverly she would have won by a mile if she’d gotten her Rice Krispies on the plate. Arrgh!

The winner of immunity is… Lindsay, even though she didn’t deserve it, because Beverly screwed up. Oh, man. I hope Beverly doesn’t come to really, really regret this gaff.

No time for wallowing, though. The Elimination Challenge is to make a dish fit for a queen — Charlize Theron. Sarah looooves her. She’s the evil queen in “Snow White & the Huntsman,” so the challenge is a seven course gothic feast. Charlize explains that she’s not just evil, but kind of a serial killer. It’s not exactly a Disney take on Snow White, apparently. 

For some reason, we have to watch Chris J. call his wife while photos of their wedding, her pregnancy and Chris J. with more normal hair flip by. He loves his wife. She’s his best friend. Blah, blah, blah. Maybe she should support him less and tell him to stop screwing around with liquid nitrogen. Just a thought. 

The chefs scurry around Whole Foods looking for weird ingredients, blood substitutes and organ meats. It’s like Halloween, but gourmet! 

Things go smoothly in the kitchen, which might be due in part to Paul telling everyone, pre-cooking, they need to be polite and not grabby. This is, apparently, a bad habit of Beverly’s. I’m sure some of that stems from her feeling of constantly being under attack, but still, she should behave herself anyway. 

Time to eat! Emeril and Tom will be joining Eric, Padma and Charlize at the appropriately gothic looking table.


Tuna tartare with black garlic ponzu and Asian pear vinaigrette

Padma digs the fish scales on top. Eric thinks the sauces are excellent and even better when combined together. Charlize thinks the black garlic has a real punch and she could eat this dish every day. Tom is also impressed. 


Foie gras with bacon, pumpernickel, pickled cherries and beets

Charlize loves the bloody handprint. Eric hopes he wore a glove. Emeril notes it manages to come together. Eric likes the pickled jalapenos. This dish is a big hit.


Seared halibut with red curry coulees and forbidden black rice

Eric likes the pineapple. Charlize notes that her fish is perfectly cooked. Padma says so far, all the food has been really great. Let’s hope Sarah messes up, although I suspect Chris J. will, as usual, whiff it. 


Seared scallop over “witch’s stew” and dragon beans

Emeril loves the smell. So does Charlize. Tom thinks the stew is “so damn good.” Charlize loves the dragon beans. Even though it’s not an evil dish, the judges are happy.


Amarone risotto with lamb heart

Eric thinks it’s flavorful. Tom thinks it’s quite delicious. Charlize loves the heart. I’m sure it tastes great, but it looks like a blob of chili slopped onto a plate. 


Black chicken with beets, quail egg and foie gras

Tom says that if it tastes as good as it looks, it’s a winner. Charlize thinks it’s delicious. Tom notes that it has tons of flavor. Eric wants to hang his creepy looking claw from a chandelier. Everyone is pretty impressed that Grayson made such a creepy, roadkill-looking dish. 

Chris J.

Poisoned apple and cherry pie

Tom loves the drama. Padma likes the cinnamon. Tom thinks this is a case when a gimmicky approach works. Go figure!  

Charlize loved her meal. Eric thinks this is the best meal he’s had on “Top Chef.” Charlize wants the head of the loser on a silver platter. Oh, Charlize, let’s not go Method. Unless Sarah loses. Then we can talk about it.  

Everyone gets called before the judges Well, there’s only seven of them, so why not? Tom declares it one of the best meals he’s eaten on the show. Charlize says that, if she was a queen, she’d take them all back to her castle to torture them into cooking that well every day. Edward seems to think this is a pretty good idea, and I suspect with a little coaxing Charlize could probably get a few of them to follow her home, no problem. 

Charlize names the winner. And it is… Paul. He gets two tickets to the world premier of “Snow White & the Huntsman.” I hope he also gets plane tickets and a hotel room, but okay. 

Ed, Lindsay and Chris are also safe. We’re left with Grayson, Beverly and Sarah. Tom tells them to be proud of what they’ve done. Honestly, none of the dishes seemed to be even close to a bomb. Can’t they just keep everyone this week and do a double elimination next week? 

Tom thinks Sarah’s risotto was undercooked. Charlize thought her first bite was salty. 

Tom thinks Beverly’s sauce was sticky. Charlize thought her fish was perfect and she loved the rice. But, again, the sauce had a weird texture.  

Beverly gets a little weepy talking about her family and why she wants to stay in the competition. I think Charlize wants to give Beverly a hug.

Charlize thought Grayson’s chicken was great but the greens were salty. Tom thinks the egg should have been hard boiled. Emeril and Padma thought the foie gras wasn’t incorporated. But man, it looked cool on the plate! 

Ed thinks they should be proud of whoever goes home. Well, okay, that’s one solution. But that chef still has to pack their knives and go for a dish everyone seems to think was pretty damn good. 

The judges talk. Grayson’s greens were salty but her dish was crazy gutsy. Beverly made goopy sauce. Sarah had too much cheese and undercooked risotto. 

The chef packing her knives is… Beverly. Dammit! Why not Sarah? Argh! 

Beverly knows she has a lot to be proud of. She will go up against Nyesha in the Last Chance Kitchen. 

I’m sad to see Beverly go, as she’d become not only a little engine that could but a quirky underdog who always seemed to deliver the goods even after other chefs had counted her out. Plus, I wanted to see her wipe the floor with Lindsay and Sarah. Maybe I just have to wait for their turns in Last Chance Kitchen.

Do you think Beverly should have gone home? Whose dish looked the creepiest? And would you have waited for better ingredients on the conveyer belt in the Elimination Challenge?

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