Top Chef 9.14 – Mentors

Grayson got the boot last week, the cheftestants learned about the secret Fight Club (thereby breaking Rule #1, tchuh) and someone is coming back to shake up the Final Four. Guess who everyone wishes it wasn’t?


The chefs all show up for the final Quickfire where the Last Chance Kitchen winner will be revealed. And of course, it’s Bev. She’s a good chef, if socially awkward. No one is happy to see her, and good god, guys! You think she might be socially awkward because of the way y’all treat her? Daddy Tom is watching everything, children.

Quickfire: Nothing is more important than your senses as a chef. (Well, I’d say a pulse, having a kitchen and things to cook in, maybe food? Those seem pretty important, too.) so they’re going to be blindfolded and trust their sense of smell. What? Good lord. Okay, so they’re going to be blindfolded and turned loose in the pantry to find things to cook. Without being able to see. And everything they pick up, they’ll have to use.

The winner will either take a Toyota Prius V or a guaranteed spot in the Final Round (and will get to skip this next Elimination Round.)

Everyone plays Blind Man’s Bluff knocking things over, running into walls, and I think Tom arranged this as punishment for everyone being a whiny baby to Bev. All of the meat is vacu-packed in the fridge, so they can’t easily figure out what meat to use. This eats up about 10 minutes of their 30 minute over-all time limit for the challenge. Paul makes a point of saying that he wouldn’t take the spot – he came to win on the merits of his food. Well…yeah. The merits of your food get you a guaranteed spot, dummy.

Ed struggles to use pork casings, Bev doesn’t even get to her massive bass until five minutes remain, so that can’t be good. And….time’s up!

Quickfire Results:

  • Bev: Striped bass with pulped avocado and lime (Her fish was seriously undercooked, but the avocado was delicious.)
  • Paul: Sauteed prawn with Thai-style tomato salad (Tom thinks the prawn is slightly undercooked; Paul likes to barely undercook it so by the time it hits the table it’s perfect. Well, you aren’t in a restaurant, Paul, whoops.)
  • Ed: “Udon” with ribbons of zucchini, mushrooms and scallions (Padma cleaned her plate, Tom loved the pork casing broth.)
  • Sarah: Corn soup with onion red chili and peaches and mushrooms. (Mushrooms? And peaches? Really? They get that she had to force an ingredient because of the rules. And it’s deemed a success. REALLY?)
  • Lindsay: Fish with Bulgar wheat, mascarpone and broccoli rabe (The fish was perfect and the Bulgar wheat was a great touch)

Ed and Sarah are deemed the best of the bunch and the winner is: Sarah! She’s no dummy and takes the guaranteed spot. Ed says that tells him her confidence isn’t there. Whatever, guys, it’s a GAME SHOW.

Now it’s time for the Elimination round, but there are some guests brought out: everyone’s Mentor. (I think they have to fill out a questionnaire and that’s a question on it so they know to get the right person. Can you imagine if they guessed for them and had some asshole that they hated? Paul sees his and immediately bursts into tears and guys? HE IS MY FAVORITE.

Chefs and their Mentors: 

  • Sarah’s is Chef Tony Montano. He’s the one who sent her to learn how to make the god damned risotto and ravioli.
  • Lindsay’s is (no surprise) Michele Bernstein, and raise your hand if you think they’re in a relationship. I obviously have no problem with that, it’s just…they both got really emotional for each other, you know? It almost made me not dislike Lindsay. I said almost.
  • Bev’s is Chef Sarah Stegner, who I am not familiar with, but looks very sweet and surprisingly young with her glasses. She molded Bev into a “tough” chef. (Really?)
  • Paul’s mentor is also emotional and very quiet, Chef Tyson Cole. Eight years ago he took a chance on some punk kid and here they are today. Paul can’t even speak he’s so choked up. He squeaks out a “Thank you” as Cole wipes away tears. Oh, boys!
  • Ed’s mentor is a guy from the mafia. Well, he just looks like one. Chef Frank Crispo who took Ed’s punk, attitude riddled ass and showed him how to make Kentucky BBQ. Ed surprisingly gets emotional and seems horrified with himself, ha!

Challenge: Make something that fulfills and exceeds their expectations for you. So you know, no pressure. They’ll have two and a half hours to prepare today, then tomorrow they’ll have 1 hour to cook. The winner gets that Prius no one wanted earlier. Sarah doesn’t have to cook, so she gets to go do shooters with her old boss.

At the store, Ed can’t find fresh oysters, so he grabs smoked oysters in a can. Oh, Ed. Raise your hand if you’ve known from Season One that anyone who uses things from cans goes home? Lindsay panics about how much she has going on with her dish. Paul worries his might be too simple – it’s soup. Oh, Paul, I believe in you. Bev just feels good about coming back. Rock it out, Bev. I kind of want you to come in as runner up. (I want Paul to win the whole thing. He’s clearly been the strongest chef in the end.)

Elimination Results:

  • Bev: Gulf shrimp and BBQ Singapore noodles (she made all of this in the last 10 minutes in a bunch of woks, and it’s bad-ass looking. I love Singapore noodles, and I want to roll on top of this dish, it looks so good. Her mentor has a huge smile on her face, and Tom is more than impressed, knowing this was all wok’d at the last minute.)
  • Lindsay: Seafood “stew” over toasted couscous with emulsified cream. (Michelle loves the items in the stew, doesn’t care for the cream. No one does. Lindsay knew it was a mistake as she walked out to service, too. She’s devastated thinking that she’s disappointed her lover. I mean, mentor. I fully support you, ladies, if it’s true.)
  • Paul: Chilled sunchoke and dashi soup with summer vegetables. (This looks gorgeous. Delicate and light and everyone is blown away by how flavorful it is. Tom tells Cole that Paul’s done mostly Thai food, so this is a huge departure. And everyone drains their dish.)
  • Ed: Braised Pork Belly and Oyster Crema with Pickled Vegetables. (Tom hates the oyster crema. Gail can’t figure out what’s in it that she doesn’t like. If that wasn’t on the plate, it could have been a hands down winner. They loved everything else.)

Tom tells all of the guests that they should be proud of their proteges, and I always feel like he’s chastising people when he talks to them. Right? Like he’s looking at older siblings, telling them to be nice to their kid brother? Ha. Also, Padma’s dress is fabulous. I want it in all the colors.

Judges Table:

Paul – Tom tells him that his dish “spoke of a lot more experience than you actually have.” His restraint in knowing when to stop adding is fab. Gail sobs softly into her empty bowl wishing for more.

Bev – Tom thinks it’s really ballsy of her to have wok’d food for 8 people. Padma loved the noodles for not being greasy, and everyone loves all of the flavors.

These are the two best dishes, it seems! And the winner of the Prius and our hearts, is PAUL! Bev starts crying after being told she’s in the finale and starts giving an Academy Award speech until Padma tells her to leave. Sarah is hanging in the stew room, sees Bev is still in the game and gets angry. Fuck you, Sarah, you know? Christ. She’s a good chef; she’s just dorky. I’ll take dorky over bitchy any day.

Bottom Two:

Lindsay: What the hell was up with the cream? Blech. Also, everyone had dried herb bits stuck in their teeth and that was gross. Other than that, it was perfect! She starts crying because she’s embarrassed Michelle (wow, we know who wears the pants in that relationship). Padma tries to make her stop by telling her Michelle really liked it. You know, except for the cream. And the dried bits in her teeth.

Ed: The pickles were amazing. The crispy pork cracklings were crazy-delicious. But what the hell was wrong with the oysters? Oh, they were smoked oysters from a tin. Yeah, that was stupid, bro. Gail tells him that Frank loved it, which means they all think ill of Frank. (Right? You got that, too?)

Tom says it’s hard sending either of them home but yadda yadda. Padma puts on her “I’m sorry” face and says, Ed, please pack your knives and go. Nooooooo!! Oh, ED.


Well, shit. Paul and the Mean Girls. (Minus Bev, of course.) Hey, guess who I want to take it all? We’ll find out if he does next week!

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  • Cate

    My hand to god, when they announced that Sarah had won the quick fire and she took the automatic spot, I said to my empty living room, “I’M NOT SURE I CAN GO ON.” What’s been driving me has been my hope that she would leave leave LEAVE. UGH.

    Have you noticed her nodding, considering face that she puts on during judges table? It’s about as authentic as Padma’s sad!voice when she asks people to come out to be judged.

    ANYWAY. Loved Paul, oh my god, he was adorable getting choked up over his mentor, and I wanted all his soup. BEV. I want Bev to come out ahead of the other two women JUST to rub their noses in the fact that being a horrible human being is not okay! So I am also rooting for Paul and Bev, and I sneakily hope that Sarah and Lindsay do something terrible, like mix up salt and sugar in their final dishes.

    (p.s. typo in the rundown of everyone’s final dishes: under Ed’s bullet point, you’ve got Gial instead of Gail.)

    • HAHAHAHA. I stood up (almost spilling my glass of wine) and shouted, “OH MY GOD, NO!” I really wanted her to leave. Her or Lindsay, to be honest. Blech. OH ED. *pours a little out for my homie* Sarah is just nasty. And it feels like it came out of left field. I think Heather infected her with her spirit when she was booted.

      How wonderful is Paul?? Just a sweet, unassuming guy that makes gorgeous food. I draw hearts on my recaps around his name as I take notes, ha. I want Paul to win and Bev to be runner up. And Sarah and Lindsay to be shamed. I want Tom to tsk tsk them so badly.

      Thanks for the heads up! Fixing now (I raced to get this up, whoops.)

      • Cate

        Ooooo, a shaming! I am so behind a shaming! I want Tom AND Padma to shame them, and I want Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert to be guest judges so that Tony can be cutting and Eric can make his face of profound disappointment at them. I’m going to daydream about that for a little now . . .

      • Betsy

        You know if this was Project Runway I’d suspect Sarah’s about face into bitchery was Producer interference (pst someone’s gotta be a bitch so… we’ll keep you around longer :D) but maybe it actually is a type of possession. Some kind of “Mean Girl” demon possessed Heather and then moved on to Sarah when Heather got kicked off. Has she said “I”m not here to make friends”? That’d be like Stigmata number one for possession of Mean Girl/Guy demon.

  • Vyola

    I am with you on the Paul winning and Bev being a stunning second and the shaming of the other ladies. Shut your faces, girls.

    While I really, really, really wanted Sarah to go, Ed’s departure was find with me. His food may be great but every time he opens his mouth I want to cram his words back in forcefully. Sarah’s venomness is all aimed at Bev but Ed is snide — and not in an amusing way — about everyone. He is unable to comment on anyone else’s actions without comparing them negatively to himself. If another chef ran into a burning building to rescue a child, Ed would tell us how he would not only have done it better, but how he would have put out the fire first. Possibly with his super ice breath. (Okay, clearly I have issues with Ed. Maybe if he was rendered mute and just cooked? IDEK.)

    TL; DR: Go, Paul! Go, Bev! DIAF, Sarah! Go home to Michelle, Lindsay!

  • Betsy

    I swear to Zeus if Sarah doesn’t get eaten by a British Columbian Yeti I will never forgive Top Chef. NEVER! And we all know Paul’s gonna win. How much money has that man made from Health Choice alone? And now a car? In my head at the end of the episode he and Beverly get in the Prius and drive off laughing at the mean girls standing in their dust. They’re going for some beautiful Asian food.

  • The second Sarah won and had an Insta-Spot in the finale, I wanted to finish the episode just to read blogs and forums. She’s just so bitchy about Bev. At least Lindsay was being civil at dinner in the house.

    I heart Paul so much. I really hope he takes the whole thing.

    And yes, cans = pack your knives. Anyone who doesn’t know that or hopes they can con the judges is just deluding themselves or asking to leave.

  • Brunettepet

    That blind man’s pantry raid was excruciating and I didn’t think anyone hit the food out of the park. Nothing looked fantastic and Sarah’s corn and peach and mushroom thing sounded nauseating. Of course she’d take the spot over the car. At this point when under salting could get you eliminated, who wouldn’t? Oh, Paul, why didn’t you cook that shrimp thirty seconds longer?

    I can’t believe the two bitch faces are in! I thought Lindsay’s over-thyme and emulsified cream would sink her, but Ed’s canned smoked oyster sauce was such a huge error. Ed! Canned? Do you not watch this show? Seriously. Ack! It was such a stupid mistake and now I have to watch the Lindsay and Sarah show for another episode. I hope their sour attitudes slip into their food. They are awful.

    Paul sees his and immediately bursts into tears and guys? HE IS MY FAVORITE. I love his wee, weepy face so much! His food is always something I want to be eating right that minute. Right now I am so pulling for him and Bev it is at the point of ridiculousness. They’d better leave Sarah and Lindsay in the weeds, but Bev really needs to get her time management together. She’s a bit of a train wreck some times.