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Hugh Acheson blogs 'Top Chef Texas': Heather and Beverly duck it out

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As told to Nuzhat Naoreen.

[This] was a game-cooking challenge and each game had a visiting chef as well. Everybody’s standing next to each other and boy, as happenstance happens the two people [Heather and Beverly] who do not want to work with each other are on the same team. You know sometimes you got to grin and bear it and boy, some people did not grin and bear it. So, it was a little exciting.

[Ed and Ty-Lor] did not put out a good product the first time they were paired up with each other. This time, they knew how to work together really well and they were just total and utter pros about it. It was pretty evident that Ed and Ty-Lor had the superlative plate. I think it was easily [one of the top] two plates so far this season. It was just all integrated. It was stylish and modern and interesting. A lot of the other [dishes] just fell into the quadrant of, “Let’s go to a 1992 game house in Idaho and eat food,” so they just didn’t rise to the forefront as much as [Ed and Ty-Lor’s] did.

I thought Sarah and Paul were a good team, they just had some bad luck. Sarah was having a lot of trouble with her sausage and obviously the heat of the kitchen was getting to her. It was evidently really, really hot in the kitchen and a close confined space will raise the drama that much more. I thought [their dish] was good. They had squab and I thought it was interesting to do a squab sausage. The sausage was a little dry, it was a little discombobulated but they got it done. Paul brings a lot to the plate and Sarah knows what she’s doing, so they got it together in the end. Then [Sarah] just welled up and let it loose. I think that whole challenge was just stressful on all of them.

I thought the wild boar was probably the more difficult [meat to work with]. Boar can be very gamey and if you don’t cook it right it’s not going to be great, but [Chris and Lindsay] pulled it off.

I thought [Chris’ potato links idea] was just nonsensical stuff. Though he assured [Grayson] it could work, it didn’t. He is a really skilled cook, he just has the most wacky ideas of how to waste time.

Dakota and Nyesha are both really [capable] cooks in a lot of ways. Nyesha has been through this stuff. I know a lot of the people that Nyesha has worked for and she has worked for bad ass chefs who are very big disciplinarians in massive structured kitchens and she knows how to pull this stuff off. You know, when it comes down to the center point of the plate, no matter who is responsible for it, you’re a team of two and you both should be checking it. There was almost too much [effort] on Nyesha’s part to just let it go and trust [the meat] in the hands of Dakota. You know that two of are you going to go home. You’ve got to analyze the rules, you’ve got to understand that pitfalls can occur and you need to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. If I was Nyesha I would have been all over that meat.

You couldn’t find somebody who felt worse about the scenario than [Dakota]. It was really sad because I think Nyesha probably would have gone really far but [this is] the name of the game. I have to tell you though it’s tough when two are eliminated at once and one brings the other down. That’s hard.

[The drama between Heather and Beverly] was just strange. Some people are going to be on the side of, “Look you’re a chef you need to get a hold of things. You need to advance what you think and make sure people are following your directions,” but that’s not what Heather was doing. [She] was so belittling. Then, in the middle of it, we got this really sad story of what Beverly’s been through in the past and it’s really hard to fathom that type of abuse and especially getting out of it and being strong in this world and then being battered down by another person. I don’t know, I don’t get it. It’s not my shtick. I yell at people in my kitchen when they’re being unprofessional and silly and not listening to what needs to get done or not delivering what we do everyday but other than that I pretty much let them be and they do great work and they’re trusted. I’m surprised that they got out a relatively ok plate of food. The one big flaw in the dish [was that] I didn’t think the skin was crispy enough [on the duck]. [Duck] is cooked badly by 90 percent of America and 10 percent do it really well. In this case, it was [Heather’s mistake because she was] barking orders as she was unceremoniously doing the whole day, to Beverly to pull [the duck] out of the pan at that juncture.

If you’re the one person in the room bringing everybody down all the time by belittling your co-workers, then yeah maybe somebody’s going to want to vote you off the island faster than the others.

Read more about the episode: ‘Top Chef’ recap: We Have a Villain!

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