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Top Chef Texas Recap: Restaurant War of the Sexes

By L. Stolpman in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 12, 2012 4:20PM

Pictured: (l-r) Edward Lee, Tylor Boring, Chris Jones, Padma Lakshmi, Paul Qui, Emeril Lagasse, Tom Colicchio, Hugh Acheson -- Photo by: Vivian Zink/Bravo

It's time for restaurant wars and it's men versus women. This makes us sigh. All the previews imply that the women cave in on themselves, crash and burn. We suspect a fake-out. But maybe it's a double fake-out and we're about to watch their destruction.

The teams gather to start on their menus and it is clear that the men are finding agreement amongst themselves much more quickly than the women. Over on the women's side of the fence, Beverly's ideas are being PEW PEW PEW! shot down by either Sarah or Lindsay. Sarah says, "You want to do braised short ribs AGAIN?" And Grayson ends the bullshit with, "Why not? She's f*cking good at it." Well, it's hard to argue with that. Grayson often seems like the only contestant with a grasp on both her cooking and social skills.

The chefs scramble to buy decorative items for their respective restaurants. Ed will be front of house for the men, Lindsay for the women. The teams scramble to prepare their restaurants and get their mise en place completed. This season, the judges and opposing team will dine in the restaurant. Men will cook first and the next night, the women cook.

Restaurant Canteen. The men get off to a running start except that they forgot to choose someone to expedite the orders. This results in some chaos in the back of the kitchen and the communication between it and the front of house. The judges arrive and notice that the customers seem to be happy.

First course is Ty-Lor's Thai-style crab and shrimp salad with caramel fish sauce and peanuts, along with Paul's ham and pork with mushrooms, braised mustard seeds and duck fat crostini. Ty-Lor's dish falls flat for Chef Hugh Acheson, but the other judges enjoy it. Paul's crostini is too greasy for Emeril Lagasse.

Second course: Ty-Lor and Paul's poached salmon in warm tomato water, clams, salmon skin and tomatillo jam, and Paul's crispy skin pork belly with green apple and sweet potato puree. Judges notice that mushrooms are missing from the salmon but the fish is cooked well. The pork belly wasn't as flavorful as the judges had hoped.

Dessert is Edward's almond joy cake with malted chocolate mousse and banana coconut puree, and Chris J's homemade cracker jack, cherries and peanut butter ice cream. Judges are impressed with Edward's dish but disappointed that it does not contain more coconut flavor as the name implies. Chris J's dessert doesn't impress Emeril, but Tom and Padma like the salt in it. Tom says that for opening night, they did pretty well but need to work on some of the dishes.

Restaurant Half Bushel. We can't even bother ourselves to rehash all the F-bombs and crabbing that happens in the back of the house. It mainly consists of Lindsay repeatedly finding something about Beverly that irks her and vocalizing it. Sarah is upset that Grayson is taking the time to cut blueberries in half when she (Sarah) feels that other things are more important. Service starts and things sort of go to hell quickly in the back. At one point, Sarah's tone to Beverly sounds like an impatient mother; to another adult, it's just patronizing and bitchy. The judges arrive and Lindsay fails to seat them promptly.

First course is Grayson's peach salad with pickled shallots, bacon vinaigrette and candied pistachios, and Sarah's mozzarella filled arancino, sweet and sour eggplant and celery salad. Emeril loves that his arancio is piping hot. Tom liked the summer flavors in Grayson's dish.

Second course is Beverly's braised short rib with thai basil potato puree, apple slaw and kimchi, and Lindsay's grilled halibut with spinach chorizo, fennel and sherry salad. Hugh says Beverly's short rib is the most flavorful thing he's eaten thus far. The halibut is just a bit overdone.

Dessert is Grayson's schaum torte with vanilla meringue and champagne berries, and Sarah's hazelnut cream Italian doughnuts with banana sugar glaze. Judges love the torte but feel Sarah's doughnuts were too heavy and did not have enough banana flavor.

Judge's Table: Half Bushel is called in to face the judges. They are left hanging while Padma asks Lindsay how she felt front of house went. Padma then lets the chefs off quickly and informs them that they have won restaurant wars because their food was better than Canteen's food. Grayson gets glowing remarks for her first course, as does Sarah. Emeril states that the kimchi raised the bar. Hugh announces that the winner is Beverly. Grayson graciously hugs her. Lindsay's and Sarah's faces don't hide much.

Canteen is called in and read the riot act. It wasn't evident at service itself but Tom acts like he hated the entire experience. Chris J. is questioned about how much he did in the kitchen and all foreshadowing seems to indicate that he is slated for the shelf. However, when called back after contemplation by the judges, Padma asks Ty-lor to pack up his knives.

Next week: Eric Ripert and Charlize Theron. We love Eric Ripert! And Charlize...well,... she has a very symmetrical face.