Top Chef Texas Episode 14: At Cloche Range with Chef Ed ‘Cowbell’ Hardy

"Do these shoes go with this napkin?"

I’ve got Valentine’s Day on my mind lately, but, thanks to all the cloches, we’re getting dark, Brad Whitewood, Sr.-style, on the latest episode of Top Chef: Texas with Ed Hardy of Red Rooster Harlem.

Hey, Ed! You scared yet? You oughta be. So, first up, why does Bev scare everyone as much as Christopher Walken in At Close Range? She’s not at all creepy!

Are we doing a Christopher Walken 80’s movie this week? It had better have Crispin Glover in it, or I’m outta here [Checks IMDB] Okay, it does. But, next time run the theme past me, okay? Much like Crispin Glover, Beverly creeps out everyone anytime she’s in the room. From Paul the Monk to Ed the Clown to Lindsay the Southern Drawl Ya’ll, they all don’t seem to be comfortable with her. Even Tom seems to pre-defend her by saying that she has been doing a good job. There is obviously something going on here. Having a lot of faith in yourself and your abilities is no substitute for actually having those abilities.

So, the blind-folded pantry QFC definitely has a very marching-to-my-doom feel to it. I wish they’d done a total smell test to choose things, as this seemed more an exercise in luck than skill.

Did you see them smoking in the opening? I’ve never understood why my peers insist on pursuing a habit that will directly affect their palates and careers. So, to answer question, Caroline, I don’t think these guys would be able to pass the smell test anymore. Did you see Paul sniffing and tasting? He was like the calm in the middle of the storm. Vegetables should be easy enough to feel out. I think with the right idea for a dish and a simple plan, you can rule out luck.

"Ha! Did you see the look on Ed's face when Bev walked through the doors? I thought he was going to wet himself!"

In terms of the QFC, two contenders’ fish dishes are undercooked, which, in light of  the chef-judges’ reputations makes me believe that they were REALLY undercooked because slightly underdone is almost the sweet spot. Thoughts?

The devil is in the details. Tom seemed to be giving Paul and his underdone shrimp a chance to argue the point. Beverly’s underdone bass seemed like a forgone conclusion, especially since we saw her start to butcher the fish with about five minutes left. Bass is a fish that just doesn’t taste good underdone. The flesh gets really chewy. Shrimp, however, is a little more forgiving.

Ed comes close, but Sarah wins, and she takes ultimate immunity. Isn’t this the smart choice? And, why are people calling her chicken for not taking the car and heading straight to the final EC? Will she live to tell?

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