Film and TV

Tesar Cries His Way to the Top Three on Top Chef

Last night’s Top Chef was full of surprises. And crying.
Last night’s Top Chef was full of surprises. And crying. Courtesy of Bravo
John Tesar is crying. Brooke Williamson says, "John is crying." He says, "No, I’m not." But he’s crying. He’s in shock that he’s safe from another elimination round of Top Chef. I’m in shock. The other three remaining chefs hug and congratulate him. I hug my life-size Tesar cutout.

This episode’s quickfire challenge is putting the chef’s communication skills to the test. A mystery partner is on the other side of a wall and the chefs have to guide the partner through making a dish. Whoever’s dishes come out looking and tasting the same wins.

Tesar’s mystery partner is his wife, and he has no idea. No, like he literally has no idea. He can’t figure it out. I have about 1,000 questions regarding this, but here are five.
  1. How does he not recognize her voice?
  2. Do they not talk?
  3. Is this what marriage is like?
  4. Tesar recently told me they are now separated. Is this what broke them up?
  5. I’m distraught?
The challenge is finished and Model Host Woman asks Tesar if he knows who is on the other side of the wall. He says he doesn’t have a guess. You don’t have one guess? Not one? Are you asking to sleep on the couch for the rest of your life? I’m not even your wife, and I hate you right now. Tesar’s wife’s grin says, “Oh really?” His wife is revealed and they hug and kiss even though she wants to murder him. Their scallops weren’t good enough to win, however, because Sheldon Simeon and his wife prove they are perfect and they win.

Model Host Woman explains the elimination challenge. They must make a dish that represents their time in South Carolina, and the winner of the challenge gets to cook at the James Beard house. The contestants cannot believe this is a prize. The! James! Beard! House! Tesar casually mentions he’s a four-time semifinalist for the award, but good thing that award means nothing to him.

The chefs go back home with their mystery partners from the quickfire challenge. Model Host Woman has agreed to graciously cook for the group, but she made sure to include her own line of organic frozen rice. This woman never stops amazing me.

Tesar tells the camera he came back to Top Chef to leave a better legacy for his young son. He used to be a rage-a-holic, but he wants his son to be proud of him. He and his wife sit across the table from each other and talk about whether their son has scored any runs in little league yet. Daddy is trying to win Top Chef, so I think the least the kid can do if score a run to make the family proud.

But there’s no time to think about Lil Ryder and his baseball games. Daddy has sofrito-crusted scallops to make for Model Host Woman and her gaggle of judges. She says, “It looks so beautiful.” Tesar says he wanted to keep things simple, like chef Edna Lewis. The judges about absolutely love this reference. Their student was paying attention all those weeks ago. But Tom Colicchio is mad because Tesar didn’t peel the peppers. He spends about 15 seconds too long saying that’s a pet peeve of his.

Tesar and Williamson’s dishes land them in the bottom two. I am sweating. Tesar is freaking. Williamson looks over it. She threw a damn egg in with her pork. She truly doesn’t give a shit anymore. Model Host Woman tells Williamson to pack her knives and go. Tesar is safe once again. He begins crying. I start crying. This is a miracle. Tesar has made the top three of Top Chef. We’re off to Mexico for the finals!
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Paige Skinner has written for the Dallas Observer since 2014.
Contact: Paige Skinner

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