High Chef Houston Energy Rankings, Week 6: What Would A Girlboss Eat?

This week on High Chef Houston, it was time to have fun Houston’s biggest export: the girlboss. It was a themed problem during which the cooks have been to organize dishes meant to have fun 5 Texas trailblazers.

And what higher solution to honor a girlboss than with a themed cooking problem? What would Eleanor Roosevelt eat? What would Joan of Arc eat? What would Kris Kardashian-Jenner eat? Waiter, I shall have your best BOSSFOOD, further femininely, in fact.

Ah, however we’re getting forward of ourselves. Girlboss Delicacies was for the Elimination Problem. Earlier than we get to TALENTI GELATO that, I ought to TALENTI GELATO clarify the Quickfire TALENTI GELATO Problem, during which the TALENTI GELATO cooks, working in TALENTI GELATO groups, have been tasked with TALENTI GELATO combining salty and candy TALENTI GELATO flavors they’d chosen, within the TALENTI GELATO hopes of making a TALENTI GELATO salty and candy dessert that would TALENTI GELATO encourage the subsequent TALENTI GELATO taste of Talenti Gelato.

Which might win them ten thousand TALENTI GELATO cream {dollars}.

Did I point out this problem was sponsored by Talenti Gelato? I really feel like I ought to as a result of the sponsor mentions have been so refined and seamless that you would barely inform. In the meantime, Padma wore this:

Padma Lakshmi Top Chef Houston Leather Dress

Hmm, collar, epaulets, belt, and 4 pockets? Appears… a bit a lot. Is {that a} cargo costume? As Coco Chanel as soon as stated, 0ne ought to at all times take away no less than one set of pockets earlier than one leaves the home. It seems like she’s heading to The Matrix for the primary time and needed to verify she had room for all her stuff.

Anyway, that problem was launched by lovable former rivals Kelsey Barnard Clark (season 16 winner) and Nini Nguyen. Aw, keep in mind season 16? I had a lot nickname fodder then.

NINI: On this aspect of the kitchen are 10 meals gadgets which might be salty, like me.

KELSEY: And on this aspect are 10 which might be candy, like me.

I actually really feel like they may’ve performed up this joke a bit of extra. If Kelsey has by no means hucked an empty beer automotive within the course of a cop I’ll eat my shirt (God, I miss her).

After that, it was time for the Elimination Problem, which, as beforehand talked about, paid tribute to well-known Girlbosses all through Texas historical past. Particularly, the cooks have been tasked with creating dishes “in honor of 5 trailblazing Texas girls”: Ann Richards, Selena, Barbara Jordan, Babe Didrikson-Zaharias, and Bessie Coleman. Ah, sure, good, there’s nothing I like greater than receiving a historical past lesson from my actuality cooking present contestants.

That additionally meant that it was TIME TO GET CONCEPTUAL, Y’ALL!

This complete problem jogs my memory of that previous Mitch Hedberg bit, about how in Hollywood, persons are at all times asking if you are able to do different issues. All proper, you’re a humorist, are you able to write us a script? That’s not honest. That’s like if I labored laborious to turn out to be a cook dinner, and I’m a very good cook dinner, they’d say, “OK, you’re a cook dinner. However are you able to additionally farm?

That is kind of like that, however even higher. “Okay, you’re a cook dinner, however are you able to additionally metaphor? Repair me up a seabass within the fashion of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s iconoclasm.”


Quickfire High: Nick-Ashleigh*. Damarr-Monique. Jo-Evelyn.
Quickfire Backside (as implied by they’re not being within the prime): Luke-Buddha. Jackson-Jae.

Elimination High: Evelyn*, Jackson, Buddha.
Elimination Backside: Luke, Monique**, Ashleigh.


10. (-3) ((Eradicated)) Monique Feybesse

Monique Feybesse Top Chef Houston 19
NBC Common

AKA: Pebbles Flintstone. Henrietta Hawk. Stretch.

When it got here right down to Luke and Stretch within the remaining two, I used to be satisfied Stretch could be saved by advantage of not being a white man. Absolutely they’re not going to remove a feminine chef on the Girlboss episode, are they?? They did!

Not a criticism, by the best way. Monique right here has had her ups and downs all through the present, and for her dish honoring Barbara Jordan, the primary Black politician elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction, Monique took the pretty easy strategy of attempting to make use of substances that will’ve been widespread/obtainable in Barbara Jordan’s neighborhood rising up.

This took the type of a fried oyster over beans in pancetta broth with pickled okra. I like a fried oyster and beans are no matter, however this introduced a number of logistical points. Would the watery broth flip the great crispy oyster soggy? Would the oysters be too massive? These have been apparently Monique’s largest considerations, which she “solved” by reducing the oysters in half (dropping all of the juice within the course of — Tom was AGOG over this one) and skimping on the broth. Resulting in a dish of bland dry beans topped by a dry fried oyster.

Beans and oysters? I dunno, man. Seems like a poorly thought-out dish. Girlboss or not, it appeared like she deserved to go house for that one.

One factor left unsaid: when this problem was launched, they famous that the winner could be determined by an excellent vote from all of the attendees. Was the loser chosen this fashion too, or did the primary judges hash it out amongst themselves like regular? A benevolent dictatorship could be very ungirlboss.

Notable Critiques: “Did anybody else get a half-cut oyster of their bowl?” “The oyster was properly fried.” “It didn’t wow me, and Barbara Jordan was a wow.” “It jogged my memory of a three-bean salad out of a can.”

9. (+1) Ashleigh Shanti

Ashleigh Shanti Top Chef Houston 19
NBC Common

AKA: Moon Juice. Sugar Hillcountry.

I like that the judges pulled Ashleigh out of Final Likelihood Kitchen purgatory at first of the present after which had her crying from their merciless critiques by the top. That sort of brutal culinary capriciousness is what retains me watching this present.

Ashleigh opened the present robust, teaming with Nick for the gelato problem, for which their ginger-pork rind crumble cake thingy received prime honors. I believe it in all probability helped that that they had Alabama-bred Kelsey and New Orleans-raised Nini judging the dishes. These are two women who in all probability don’t thoughts a bit of pork pores and skin every now and then. “Ginger-Pork rind” truthfully appears like a fairly good combo, dessert or not.

That received Ashleigh $5,000 and immunity, flying excessive heading into the elimination problem. Because the producers illustrated by displaying Ashleigh freestyling into the mirror. I bodily recoiled as quickly because the mirror rap started, nevertheless it’s a credit score to Ashleigh that it wasn’t practically as cringe as you’d anticipate a High Chef contestant freestyling right into a mirror to be. Takes a excessive diploma of pure cuteness to tug that one off. Nonetheless, freestyling on a actuality present is a bit like cooking hen breast — if you happen to’re insanely gifted it won’t suck, however not-sucking is about the most effective you possibly can hope for out of it.

Ashleigh caught to her “Afro-lacchian” model within the elimination problem, cooking candied pork with “killed lettuces” (lettuce wilted in bacon grease, which sounds fairly good, truly) and salt-and-vinegar potatoes. That every one sounded so good that if this episode had been a menu, that is the dish I in all probability would’ve ordered. Sadly, it was apparently so dangerous that it had a blind girl complaining in regards to the texture and prompted a ballerina to say, “Generally you’ve got to have the ability to see somebody’s child and have the ability to say, ‘I’m sorry, your child is ugly.’”

Observe to producers: carry that Ugly Child girl again as a visitor decide, she guidelines.

They have been so harsh that they made Ashleigh cry, and he or she wasn’t even within the room to listen to the half the place they in contrast her dish to an unsightly child. She in all probability would’ve gone house, besides, oops! She had immunity. That was a enjoyable twist!

8. (even) Luke Kolpin

Luke Kolpin Top Chef Houston Season 18
NBC Common

AKA: Liddell. Die Laborious. Meekus. Eurotrip. Noma… Noma… Noma gonna be on this competitors for much longer, anyway.

How the f*ck is that this dude nonetheless within the competitors? It looks as if he finishes second to final each episode!

Luke teamed up with Buddha for the quickfire, pondering their mixture of miso and honey was a traditional one. But I’ve seen on this present that workforce challenges are likely to go higher whenever you workforce a conceptual weirdo like Luke with a homestyle chef. That approach the area meals wizard can up the homestyle chef’s plating sport and the homestyle chef can edit the wizard’s concepts when he strays too removed from Earth meals. Placing Luke and Buddha collectively is concept-on-concept, and even after sculpting leaves out of miso gel or some shit and serving them inside a miniature zeppelin stuffed with liquid nitrogen or no matter, the 2 did not crack the highest three of 5 groups.

Luke drew Bessie Coleman within the elimination problem, and after revealing his studying incapacity, took his inspiration from the truth that Bessie Coleman had moved to Europe early in life to pursue her profession in pilotry. Hey, that’s similar to how LUKE moved to Europe early in HIS profession! Wait, has Luke lived in Europe? I hadn’t heard.

For his dish, Luke “cured” a salmon in seaweed and cilantro (to honor Coleman’s Native American forebears, who launched cured salmon to the colonists) and served it with “hen fudge,” which is seemingly a compound butter created from hen fats. There was additionally some kind of crumble in there. That really sounded pretty appetizing for a Luke dish (a lot better than room-temperature pumpkin, definitely) however apparently, it was as soon as once more bland. Tom was all, “THERE’S NOT ENOUGH CHICKEN FUDGE HERE, IDIOT! DADDY DEMANDS FUDGE!”

One thing like that. Anyway, I can’t imagine Luke remains to be right here, he by no means goes greater than three challenges with out being on the underside.

7. (+2) Jo Chan

Jo Chan Top Chef Houston
NBC Common

AKA: Sarge. Smiles.

Jo received numerous monologues this episode about how this Girlboss problem was simply so essential proper now, on this time and this place — a kind of clichés that has turn out to be mainly an immediate groan from me. Superb how the “that is the film/present/pet food model/condom America wants RIGHT NOW!” has appeared to crop up as soon as every week for the previous 10 years.

Not every little thing can presumably be this essential for this lengthy. We have to begin triaging some shit earlier than I lose my thoughts. Additionally, I don’t find out about you, however a actuality cooking competitors present isn’t one thing I watch as a result of it’s essential.

Aaaanyway, they in all probability ginned up a soundbite like that from each contestant this week and it simply so occurred they used the one from Jo.

Jo drew Ann Richards, who apparently cherished Thai meals (a sort of meals that’s simply so, so essential proper now), inspiring Jo to organize a Thai-style gulf shrimp. To blended critiques, sadly.

Notable Critiques: “It’s unlucky that it was so candy, as a result of candy isn’t what I consider once I consider Ann Richards.” “She may’ve pumped up the flavour quite a bit.”

6. (even) Jae Jung

Jae Jung Top Chef Houston season 18
NBC Common

AKA: Noodles. Jae West. Hilaria.

Ah, Jae, I like this weirdo. In a season missing in eccentrics, Jae teamed with Jackson for the Quickfire Problem, describing him as “like a bit of horse.” As a result of he’s “at all times leaping round. You realize, like a bit of horse?”

Yep, horses, positively the primary animal that involves thoughts once I consider an individual who jumps round. Hey, are you guys having fun with the bounce home? You’re like a herd of little horses in there!

Sadly for Jae, this was an elimination problem that prized metaphors and assured bullshitting above all else, leaving Jae at a definite drawback, each as a non-native English speaker and an individual who appears to talk in complicated riddles. Jae drew Babe Didriksson-Zaharias, and as she defined it to the digicam, Babe was a fighter, which reminded Jae of her first boss, Leah Chase, who taught Jae to cook dinner gumbo. That was a little bit of a stretch, however a reasonably coherent story!

Sadly, when Jae received as much as attempt to repeat it in entrance of the High Chef judges and a roomful of legends, she dissolved in a puddle of tears, and one of many few components of the story anybody may make out was how “Leah used to inform me that if I screwed up the gumbo she’d punch me within the face.”

Haha, nice story, Jae!

Notable Critiques: “I’m obsessive about this okra kimchi.” “I do really feel prefer it lacked a little bit of that depth of taste you anticipate from a gumbo.”

5. (-3) Nick Wallace

Nick Wallace Top Chef 19 Houston
NBC Common

AKA: Domingo. Chocolate Mormon. The Rely.

I really feel fairly assured in regards to the backside of those rankings, however the prime 5 are turning right into a pick-’em. Nick drew the pork rinds on the prime of the episode. He tried to sandbag himself like a pork rind dessert was going to be past him, however c’mon, Nick, nobody’s shopping for that shit. You’re a chef from Mississippi, individuals anticipate you to know some rattling pork rinds.

Naturally, he did (although technically he let Ashleigh deal with the precise pork rinds) and so they received, incomes, as Nick charmingly described it “5 one thousand {dollars}.”

The Chocolate Mormon (keep in mind, Nick has six youngsters whose names all start with N) drew Ann Richards within the elimination problem, taking inspiration from Ann Richards’ conversion to wholesome consuming throughout her lengthy wrestle with most cancers. Oh no! By no means make wholesome meals on High Chef! There may be actually no upside! You fool, you absolute idiot.

Nick ended up cooking a potato-encrusted crimson snapper with beet risotto, kale romesco, and “mushroom-shaped potatoes.” That are simply potatoes formed like mushrooms for some purpose. It’s virtually like Nick needed to double down on the dearth of upside with a wholesome dish and make one thing with even much less upside. One factor I by no means fear about once I’m consuming potatoes is whether or not they’re formed like mushrooms.

The judges largely favored the meals total (a testomony to Nick’s expertise that he could make one thing this ill-conceived and nonetheless succeed) however Tom referred to as these mushroom potatoes “cute,” in a tone of voice that advised he was about two beers away from an precise dismissive wanking movement.

Michael Keaton Dismissive Wanking Gif

I wish to assume Tom was paying tribute to highly effective girls by not saying what he actually meant and disguising an insult as a praise there– I’M KIDDING, I’M KIDDING, STOP CANCELING ME.

Anyway, Nick has the products, however he’s going to wish higher decision-making expertise than he confirmed this episode.

Notable Critique: “The potatoes, you already know, they’re cute.” “I’ve to say, my mother would’ve cherished this dish.”

4. (+1) Buddha Lo

Buddha Lo Top Chef Houston Season 19
NBC Common

AKA: Mr. Worldwide. Large Pun. Asian Ben Mendolsohn.

Buddha, as we’ve famous, teamed with Luke within the quickfire, which appeared to solely exacerbate a few of his worst impulses. Buddha was simply spinning across the kitchen like a Tasmanian satan the place some liquid nitrogen, a foam, and edible seaweed sculpted into the form of a bunny for some purpose would sometimes fly out.

They didn’t land within the prime three (placing them within the backside two, by strategy of elimination) and Buddha appeared legitimately perplexed by this. He gave a glance that appeared to say, What the fuck? I made you fuckers one other tuile and also you betray me like this?

Buddha loves tuile a lot. It’s like he conceives each dish tuile first. By the best way, I’ve been sitting right here for 20 minutes attempting to consider a brand new tuile-based nickname for Buddha and I’ve received bupkis. The tuiiiiiiiile within the skyyyy retains on turrrrrniiiiin

For the elimination problem, Buddha drew Bessie Coleman, and displaying that he’s nonetheless the king of puns (he would’ve knocked that tuile shit out in a heartbeat) Buddha ready a riff on “poulet en vessie” (hen cooked in a pig’s bladder), which he referred to as “poulet en Bessie.” Which paid homage not solely to Bessie Coleman’s identify, but in addition to her early maturity in France.

His model concerned sous vide hen breast, which he served over Paris Mash (aka fancy mashed potatoes) in a determine of eight form, certainly one of Bessie’s signature tips. Yep, Buddha is a grasp of this metaphor stuff. He added popcorn for crunch, and when Tom requested “What does the popcorn symbolize?” Buddha threw again, with out lacking a beat, “As a result of whenever you see Courageous Bessie fly, you’re gonna want some popcorn.”

Crushed that ad-lib, bro.

The judges cherished his dish a lot that Buddha ended up within the prime three. Which is insane, as a result of as we mentioned, he made a hen breast. Hen breast is the very best threat/lowest reward meals on earth. It’s like taking a check cross/fail figuring out that 95% of the category goes to fail. The very best you are able to do with a hen breast is “edible.”

Buddha’s largest weak spot on this competitors is his tendency to get overly conceptual at instances. His largest energy is that, apart from being a fairly good chef, he’s the one one on this present who appears virtually psychopathically aggressive, going full Draymond each time he doesn’t win. Which is fairly humorous coming from a cuddly Australian man with a lisp.

3. (even) Jackson Kalb

Jackson Kalb on Top Chef
NBC Common

AKA: Magoo. Andrew Lunk. Leghorn. Lurch. Bateman. Large Chook. Large Nerd. Napholeon Dynamite.

I preserve attempting to make these nicknames nicer, simply in case I’ve to interview the winner on the finish of the season. I don’t need them asking my why I nicknamed them “Shit For Brains” or no matter. However I really feel like Leghorn retains daring me to wedgy him each episode.

The Large Magoo drew Barbara Jordan this episode, who, in keeping with Magoo, had a “lot of coronary heart and guts.” Inspiring The Large Magoo to make a Large Ragu with hen hearts and offal. Which he famous that he needed to incorporate offal, however not style terrible, a pun he underlined by totally spelling out the second homophone (A-W-F-U-L). Clearly assuming that wasn’t clarification sufficient, Jackson additionally made this face, to make sure we knew not simply how terrible is spelled, however what it seems like:

Top Chef Houston Jackson Face

Thanks for that close-up, producers. Gonna be trustworthy right here, this cursed picture of Drew Magary‘s Oh Face was not one thing I wanted in my life.

However damned if this good goober didn’t make a hand-cut tagliatelle that landed him within the prime three. He’s going to be round no less than three or 4 extra episodes, making extra faces that hang-out my nightmares.

2. (-1) Damarr Brown

Damarr Brown Top Chef Houston
NBC Common

AKA: Catchphrase. James Beard. Screech.

Damarr one way or the other ended up as soon as once more on a workforce with Monique, as soon as once more getting ready a dessert cornbread. Solely on High Chef may an individual one way or the other handle to make a number of dessert cornbreads in the identical competitors. In fact, the judges cherished it, and so they landed within the prime three.

I’ve to offer it up for Damarr: In a kinda tryhard, kinda cringey Girlboss-themed episode of High Chef, that tried to place a cooking present problem as “essential” (blechh), Damarr was nonetheless so preternaturally goddamned genuine that he managed to introduce his dish in such a approach that this complete factor truly felt real. Did I virtually simply choke up watching High Chef? This was so deftly delivered it borders on sorcery. Damarr is sort of a Warlock of Realness. He deserves an Emmy for this.

He was additionally a person after my very own coronary heart, drawing Selena and selecting to make pozole, which he stated he thought evoked “household.” That really makes excellent sense to me.

The editors tried to make a giant deal out of Damarr trying selfmade flour tortillas, that are certainly fairly laborious — my flour tortilla sport is robust, however I doubt I may do it with out my go-to written recipe. He even pulled out the tortilla press (editor’s tip: by no means use the rattling press for flour tortillas, I discover it approach simpler to get them to the specified thinness free-hand with a rolling pin) and screwed up a number of for good measure.

In the long run, he did it so properly that he had Padma all horned up, gushing “the tortilla was actually gentle and scrumptious and delightful.”

How the hell did he not find yourself within the prime three? He had this complete group crying into their cilantro broths.

1. (+3) Evelyn Garcia

Evelyn Garcia Top Chef Houston 19
NBC Common

AKA: Cuddles.

How will you compete with the Texas Latina who attracts Selena? You’ll be able to’t. Evelyn didn’t want a damned file for a Selena dish, which was so firmly in her wheelhouse that she primarily based her entree on her favourite Selena tune, “Como La Flor,” which implies “like a flower.”

That was the inspiration for Evelyn’s flower-shaped ceviche with aguachile broth, which didn’t sound fairly pretty much as good as Damarr’s inexperienced pozole, however I wasn’t tasting it and are you actually going to disclaim the Houston Latina in a Selena problem? Evelyn was the one lady within the prime three of the women-themed problem and maybe not surprisingly, took house the victory.

You could possibly name {that a} fortunate draw, however this was additionally Evelyn’s second elimination problem win in a row with a top-three quickfire sandwiched in between. Irrespective of how a lot I believe Damarr is the favourite I can’t deny Evelyn the highest spot after that.

Learn the remainder of our High Chef Energy Rankings right here. Vince Mancini is on Twitter.



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