Top Chef Texas Episode 11: Chef Ed ‘Red’ Hardy on the Snow White Redemption

In between shooting, Padma entertains the crew with her version of The Bump.

He’s ready to get busy living, but we’re dying for him to rehash the latest episode of Top Chef: Texas with Ed Hardy of Red Rooster Harlem.

Everyone looks mad that Bev won. Yeesh! The boys look dejected. And who knows what awaits them in San Antonio! This show is relentless.

Relentless? Yes. It relentlessly shovels the same formula at us overand over again. I caught myself counting the remaining episodes this week like a prisoner waiting for his release. At Top Chef-Shank Prison, time can draw out like a blade. I’ve spent some long nights, but none longer than this.

Chris J. is amazed he hasn’t won, and I’m amazed he hasn’t gone home yet.

Yeah. It’s seems like he’d better get busy cooking, or get busy dyin’. I hope before he goes home he at least redeems himself a little.

Eric Ripert is waiting for them. I think I’d be shaking in my shoes and praying that I didn’t have to cook anything involving seafood!

Well, it’s the 27th episode of the season so it was about time that Chef/Prisoner Guard Eric Ripert showed up to survey all the “new fish.” He’s intimidating, but I know from firsthand experience that he’s actually a nice guy all the way to his delicious nougat core.

A conveyor belt challenge. Zoinks! I’m picturing Lucy and Ethel and the chocolate factory. I’m thinking people should wait for a great ingredient. Anyway, what basics are you grabbing for your basic mis en place before you take an ingredient?

Whoever grabbed the crackers (Sara? What, you actually expect me to pay attention?) made a smart move. Breading, filler, thickener, humble Ritz and Saltines have a million uses, even for Top Chefs. The conveyor belt was kind of tricky. They said that “some really great ingredients will come out near the end, but I didn’t see truffles, caviar and wagyu. Just that elusive lobster. Mise en Place? I’m throwing some chicken stock on immediately and grabbing onions, herbs, celery and garlic. The stock will be useful somewhere, even as a poaching liquid and the rest go in just about everything.

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller. Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone."

If Ed wins with macadamia nuts and sauerkraut, I will eat my hat. And, bouillabaisse in 10 minutes for Ripert? Crikey!

I’m amazed that he made it taste decent! Although I can’t explain it. Sauerkraut shouldn’t go with anything except bratwurst. If Lindsay starts with a good fish stock, it could work fine.

We grow and ferment our own sauerkraut, and my fave way to eat it is slow-cooked with Flying Pigs Farm pork ribs. That said, Eugenia Bone suggests serving sauerkraut over spaghetti. Since she’s, you know, Eugenia Bone, I’ll bet she knows of what she speaks. I wouldn’t recommend doing that with the store-bought stuff, though. Anyway, Lindsay wins! Maybe now she can get over her bitterness over losing the last EC. Or not.

This Quickfire challenge was all a blur for me. I was sort of fixated on that hypnotic conveyor belt and Chris’ efforts to secure the lobster. Did Lindsay win? Ok, sure, why not?

The EC. A dish fit for a queen. I’m so sick of stars on this show, even ones as pretty as Charlize Theron! And, holy product placement with the movie. Yeesh. So, a gothic feast with indulgence and risk taking.  What ingredients come to mind when you think of gothic indulgence?

Squid ink. Definitely would have grabbed squid ink. And caviar. How about a Forbidden Black “Dirty” rice with mussel / squid ink sauce and “blackened” Black cod with caviar? Hey, I just surprised myself. That actually works!

Charlize can't figure out if it's Tom's or Padma's hand on her knee.

Ruh roh. Sarah is making risotto. We’ve had this conversation before, but I think it’s safe to say that no one should make risotto, unless they want to go home. And here we come with scallops from Lindsay.

I’m just glad Chris made something that made sense. It would’ve made Wylie “Andy” Dufresne proud. Can we just go ahead and agree that the finalists should probably be Ed and Paul? With Grayson getting a solid third place? Would that make this thing end earlier? You’re right Caroline, no one should be making risotto at this stage of the competition where the scrutiny is much higher. If you make scallops on Top Chef the rule should be:  You might not go home, but there’s no way in hell you’re winning.

Everyone’s dishes seem very inspired, but Paul wins – two movie tickets? He was robbed.

It turns out the producers are the real criminals on this show. They take gobs of money from product placements, ads and municipalities (think about that, taxpayer money!) Only folks who watch Bravo would actually think that owning a Toyota Venza or Sienna or whatever could be a good idea. Blagh! But don’t worry about Paul, he’s crawled through a river of product placement and come out a rich man. He’s already won something like $40,00 from challenges alone. Good on ya, buddy.

Hard to be on the bottom in this episode, as everyone really seemed to bring their A game. I am most surprised that Grayson was, as her dish was so visually stunning, out of all of them. Bev’s departure is kinda bunk, in my opinion. I really think that Sarah should have exited. 

She should have. She’s just as guilty as Bev for not showing any willingness to get out of her comfort zone. But, the lamb heart was inspired! Beverly had to get her dish to work with the theme a bit more, but she should be proud on what she has accomplished during her time here. Warden Potter Ma’am? I’ve learned my lesson. I can honestly say that I’m a changed chef. I’m no longer a danger to society. That’s the God’s honest truth. Can I go now?

Parole denied. You will always be a danger to society as long as you’ve got your knife roll, Ed.

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