Top Chef Houston: Leaving it all on the field

TOP CHEF -- "Friday Night Bites" Episode 1902 -- Pictured: Damarr Brown -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)
TOP CHEF -- "Friday Night Bites" Episode 1902 -- Pictured: Damarr Brown -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo) /

The first chef of Season 19 of Top Chef has been sent packing and now sits and waits for the arrival of her opponent in Last Chance Kitchen. Meanwhile, the 14 cheftestants still in the competition are doing everything they can to stay right where they are.

Once they had gathered they were informed that the Quickfire Challenge would involve a Tex-Mex staple: queso dip. They had to put a new spin on queso and then create something to dip into it that wasn’t a tortilla. Add in that Houston culinary legend Irma Galvan would be judging and it got really tense in the Top Chef kitchen really quick.

While there were plenty of hits and misses, the biggest miss was presented by Jackson. Instead of a traditional gooey queso and something to dip into it, he created a crispy queso instead. Unfortunately. It backfired spectacularly with both Padma Lakshmi and Galvan saying that while they respected the idea, the results just didn’t work on any level.

The winner of the Quickfire and the immunity that went with it was Demarr, whose cheddar queso served with picked Serrano chili peppers was a big hit. He was joined by Evelyn and Nick in the Top 3 and it helped all of them get noticed in the tight field.

Which cheftestant was sent home this week on Top Chef Season 19?

Next up was the Elimination Challenge and it is safe to say that it was the most needlessly confusing and ridiculously convoluted challenge Top Chef has ever had. It was based on the premise of football, which is huge in Texas and the chefs had to create carb-forward dishes.

There were all kind of rules about offense, defense, gaining yards and how a team could win immunity that had my head spinning by the time Padma was done explaining it all. The bottom line was that the first team to make it down the field would win. If neither team scored a “touchdown” then the cheftestant that was sent home could come from either team.

I think. I’m still not 100 percent sure.

By the time it was all said and done, neither team made their way down the field so all bets were off as far as who would be going home and who would win best dish. A handful of the chefs showed off their skills and demonstrated to the judges exactly why they deserve to be on Top Chef. Jo and her black garlic congee, Nick and his sweet potato with potlikker and Jackson’s polenta cake were all highlights of the Challenge.

But it was once again Demarr who walked away with the favorite dish of the day. His dirty farro impressed the judges and made him one to watch this season.

That just left the task of sending someone to Last Chance Kitchen. Sarah, Luke and Stephanie all ended up in the bottom three for a variety of reasons, most of which were either fundamental cooking mistakes or poor ingredient choices.

But it was Stephanie who was told to pack her knives. Her feijoada didn’t even really qualify as being feijoada and her rice was seriously overcooked. She would go on to meet Leia in Last Chance Kitchen for a shot at returning to the competition.

So our Leaderboard sees a bit of a shakeup this week as some names move up while others move down.

  1. Demarr
  2. Ashleigh
  3. Buddha
  4. Robert
  5. Jo
  6. Nick
  7. Monique
  8. Jae
  9. Jackson
  10. Nick
  11. Evelyn
  12. Sarah
  13. Luke

With a couple of solid wins Demarr shoots to the top of the Leaderboard as Buddha drops a few slots. Sarah plummets to near the bottom after a rough week and unless he can get it together, Luke will be the next one sent home on next week’s Top Chef Houston.

Next. Everything we know about Next Level Chef Season 2. dark

What did you think of this week’s Top Chef Guilty Eaters? Did Stephanie deserve to go home? Leave a comment below and let us know or join the conversation on our Twitter and Facebook pages.