Top Chef Season 9

Previously on Top Chef: Beverly gets sent home and Charlize Theron was awesome and beautiful.

We return to Top Chef:Texas with the chefs in the stew room going over Beverly‘s departure. Grayson talking-heads that she’ll miss her while the other chefs are either hiding their feelings or just don’t seem to care.

All of a sudden an angel walks in, a.k.a. Charlize Theron, and she thanks the chefs and calls herself a “huge nerd.” No, Charlize, people currently on their 98th consecutive hour of playing Skyrim while on a Mountain Dew drip are huge nerds. You are a pretty actress.

With the stew room properly blessed, we move on to the rest of the episode and the quick fire challenge, this time being judged by Padma, Emeril Lagasse and Cat Cora, who also has a new Bravo show coming up soon, Around The World In 80 Plates (Bravo doing cross-promotion, SHOCKING!!)


The chefs are broken up into three teams: Grayson and Chris; Ed and Paul; and Lindsay and Sarah. In the absolute worst dubbing job of all time, Padma tells us that the chefs must complete three skill challenges (de-shining and deboning shrimp, making fresh pasta, and shaving corn) before making a dish using all of those ingredients in 30 minutes!

Everyone gets to work. Grayson talks and talks, which Lindsay bad mouths in her interview because Lindsay hates joy. Everyone more or less completes the challenge, except that Paul forgets to saute the shrimps for their dish, so they don’t get the chance to win.

In the end, even Grayson messing up her pasta can’t stop Chris and her from winning the challenge, which also means they get $10,000 dollars. Cue the cute family photos of Chris, his wife and their baby! He even gets a shout-out at the sponsor and thanks Healthy Choice! Good job, Bravo minion!

Poorly dubbed Padma now announces the twist to the episode — their partner is now their opponent for the elimination challenge, which is to make a dish for 200 people attending a fund raiser for the San Antonio Food Bank. The teams decide their dishes, which they announce to Padma, who declares all of the choices to be too heavy and announces the second twist: they must now make their chosen dishes healthy, because HEALTHY CHOICE is the sponsor.

The chefs groan because fat is what chefs run on. I groan, too. We run off to Whole Foods, where we get to watch the chefs be demanding and request all the ground turkey and agave syrup! Because those are HEALTHY CHOICES. Except Whole Foods doesn’t even sell that brand. Oops. The Whole Foods dude who makes fun of Lindsay behind her back after she asks the employee to accompany her through the store with a cart full of watermelons is my hero.

When the time comes to cook the healthy food, we learn that none of the cheftestants know what a block party is. This is strange because block parties are pretty common. Are these Amish chefs? Who are these cheftestants who grew up without block parties? In any case, Chris mentions that the the go-to in healthy food is seasoning, which why we see Chris dumping an entire container of cayenne seasoning into his chicken. That’ll do it!

We get to the party and all the nice-looking attendees arrive , all bearing canned foods for the food bank. Grayson doesn’t budget enough time to make her sandwiches in advance, so she must make her sandwiches to order. Ed puts out his steam buns to make his short-rib sandwiches open faced and doesn’t realize folks are mad greedy and he actually yells at a kid not to take too many pieces of bread.

The judges arrive, and look Ryan Scott from Top Chef Season 4 is here! He and Padma exchange some scripted words about the charity the meal is supporting and they move on. Dana Cowin from Food and Wine magazine is here, which scares Paul.

The judges try Paul and Ed’s Korean food first. Padma calls Ed’s short rib sandwich “hard and dry” and I could make a Salman Rushdie joke here, but I won’t! Because I’m classy. They stop at Grayson and Chris’s table and appear to like Chris‘s food a bit more. Final stop: Lindsay and Sarah. Lindsay is the clear winner, especially since Dana’s side salad was a mess.

Finally, we arrive at judge’s table. Grayson, Paul and Lindsay are the winners, chosen by the diners at the block party! Yay, all of Paul’s pacing was for a good cause! Before we get to the overall winner, Tom Colicchio questions Grayson’s choice of chicken salad for a block party. In hot weather. We’re all questioning her choice, too. Grayson sasses Tom back and says she wanted to make elevated chicken salad and that a meatball was the boring decision. Tom disagrees.

It doesn’t matter, because Paul wins with his turkey lettuce cup! He wins $15,000 from Healthy Choice. I hope no one tells him about the clause that he can only spend that money on Healthy Choice frozen meals (that’s a joke and I made it up. He can spend it on anything he wants, like Healthy Choice canned green vegetables.)

The winners go back to the stew room and call in the losers: Ed, Sarah and Chris. As the losers walk over to Judges Table, Grayson has a fit over her chicken salad comments, realizing the error in talking back to Tom.

Tom delivers the first blow and tells Ed he took all the good out of short ribs (the fat!) instead of genuinely trying to make a healthy dish like Paul did with the turkey. Chris gets yelled at for not making the sandwiches to order, but gets points for not ratting out Grayson and letting the judges know that only happened because she failed to manage her time properly, which a lesser cheftestant would have done.

The chefs get sent away and Tom nails it in his assessment of Chris: lots of great ideas, but can not execute anything properly. It wasn’t surprising at all to see that Chris gets sent home. Grayson blames herself for making the chicken salad choice that got Chris sent home, and she’s probably mostly right.

Next week: Pee-wee Herman is our celebrity judge and the producers find more ways to torture the chefs in the heat by making them ride bikes!