Food News

Tesar Faces His Rage-Demons On Top Chef Episode 9

The ranks are thinning – how long will Tesar last?
The ranks are thinning – how long will Tesar last? Courtesy of Bravo
John Tesar and Casey Thompson are still wiping the tears and sweat of last week’s restaurant wars. They appear to be dealing with an emotional hangover as they question why Katsuji Tanabe would be such a dick and turn on Tesar.

But out with one contestant and in with a new judge to intimidate the seven remaining challengers. For the quickfire challenge, former Top Chef contestant Michael Voltaggio comes in to judge and Emily Hahn calls him “superior” and “beyond amazing” and she won’t just say he’s hot. Just say hot. It’s what we’re all thinking.

Model Host Woman and Voltaggio announce that this week’s quickfire challenge is a blindfolded taste test. Every chef needs a good palate while blind because chefs are often blindfolded in their own kitchens, so this challenge makes sense. Then Model Host Woman lets us in on more than we asked for. “I like a good blindfold every now and then,” she tells the contestants. Thank you. We didn’t know we needed that, but thank you, I guess?

Brooke Williamson dominates the entire challenge. She shows off by correctly identifiying a cucumber while blindfolded. And an avocado. And pimento cheese. Congrats. Do you want an effing medal? Tesar, on the other hand — sweet, sweet Tesar – incorrectly thinks the cream cheese is flour. Or maybe flower. No one knows. Tesar does not win that challenge. Williamson wins but instead of earning immunity, because who would want that, she wins 14 cases of wine. Congrats.

For the elimination challenge, the chefs must create a dish that’s inspired by their childhood. Easy. Throw some mac and cheese in a pot, cook it with almond milk to make it fancy and healthier, and sprinkle some pepper on it to add seasoning and color. Turn The Brady Bunch on the TV in the background and you have everyone’s childhood right there.

But these chefs had different childhoods than mine. Tesar remembers his childhood of being at the beach all day. He heads to Whole Foods and buys every piece of king crab they have to make butter poached king crab with some garlic flavoring.

On the drive to Kiawah Island, the site of the elimination challenge, Tesar can’t stop thinking about last week’s restaurant wars and how Tanabe almost drove Volcano Tesar to erupt. Tesar is angry that old Tesar almost came out, and mentions therapy for the 45th time this season. He assures himself and his fellow passenger Sheldon Simeon that old Tesar is gone. Viewers at home secretly hope that isn’t true. In the other car, we see Thompson tell her carmates that she’s known Tesar for awhile and he has demons he’s been working on.

The chefs arrive at the site and begin preparing their plates. The judges like Tesar’s king crab. One judge calls it “beautiful, rich” and “delicious.”

Those words however aren’t enough to land Tesar in the top three dishes. But he also isn’t in the bottom three dishes. He’s the only one who skated by right in the middle. Hahn and her icebox cake went home.
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Paige Skinner has written for the Dallas Observer since 2014.
Contact: Paige Skinner