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!