Quickfire Challenge: Make pancakes for guest judge Pee-wee Herman. They don't bother revealing the top three or bottom three, but Ed wins for making a play on the crispy edges of pancakes with some berries. It was definitely the most creative take of the bunch, although Paul's champagne Dippin' Dots were interesting as well.
Elimination Challenge: Make a family-style lunch for Pee-wee Herman and the judges. But they get a bike, a hundred dollars, and a map to the Alamo. They have to figure out where to buy food and where to cook it. This leads to a bizarre segment where the cheftestants have to ride bikes around and beg local restaurateurs to be allowed to cook in their kitchens. It's so weird and pointless. Like if I got eliminated because I was the last one to find a kitchen, I would be hella pissed because this is Top Chef, not Top Amazing Race. Anyway, this is what they served:
Sarah: summer vegetable egg salad with chicken skin vinaigrette. Gail thinks the eggs are cooked perfectly and she loves the vinaigrette, but Tom notes that the eggs have no seasoning.
Grayson: egg, spinach, and gorgonzola stuffed chicken with butternut roasted squash. The judges like the egg in the chicken as well as the butternut squash, but Tom's not sure why she included fresh salad ingredients, because they didn't fit the overall dish.
Lindsay: stuffed zucchini with beef cheeks, rice, and goat cheese. Gail likes the presentation, but Padma thinks there's too much goat cheese and vinaigrette.
Ed: chicken and grits, raw corn, kale salad with red-eye gravy. The judges love the grits but think the chicken is almost undercooked.
Paul: roasted chicken, red curry gastrique, summer salad with basil blossom oil. The judges like the Thai flavors, although Padma wanted more heat. Tom thinks the flavors work together perfectly, though.
The winner is Lindsay, even though the judges seemed to like Paul's dish better while they were eating. It smacks a little bit of, "Paul's totally going to win but we need to make it look like it's not a foregone conclusion." The bottom three are Ed, Grayson, and Sarah, although the judges are quick to say that all of the food was great. Sarah's dish lacked seasoning, Ed's chicken was almost undercooked, and Grayson couldn't decide if she was making a summer dish or a fall dish. Ultimately, the judges eliminate Grayson, and then they tell the remaining cheftestants about Last Chance Kitchen. To be continued?
We open the morning after Chris's elimination. Grayson feels bad because she and Chris were very close. She doesn't mention that her dumb chicken salad idea may have helped him get eliminated. Ed wakes up wearing shorts, a button-down shirt, and a jacket. Did he plan this ahead of time? Did he pass out drunk last night in those clothes? He stumbles into the kitchen explaining that he's all business today. It's a funny visual but I need some backstory. Paul and Lindsay are amused, at least. Lindsay interviews that she wants to make the final four, and that her family wasn't "ecstatic" about her becoming a chef, mostly because very few chefs make much money (not to mention that it's a tough lifestyle). But, she adds that her family has always been supportive. So she's either winning or going home today.
Quickfire Challenge! Padma stands there with a table full of pancakes. Stacks and stacks and stacks of pancakes. She explains that their challenge today will be making the favorite food of the guest judge: pancakes. Grayson supposes it's a kid of a child star "like Miley Cyrus or something." Oh, Grayson. Miley Cyrus is not a child, and she's not so much a star anymore. Your reference is about three years too late. Padma reveals that the guest judge is Pee-wee Herman! He rides in on his bike. Oh, Pee-wee. You kind of make me sad now. And note that the guest is Pee-wee, not Paul Reubens. Like he's clearly losing his hair so he has to comb his hair forward and...ugh. I don't know why this makes me sadder than the competitions with, like, Sesame Street characters as guest judges, but it does. Grayson totally invents a memory of eating pancakes while watching Pee-wee when she was a kid, like how convenient that she remembers that! Anyway, the winner gets $5000, and I'm not even going to report Pee-wee's "jokes" because they all fall flat. His schtick only works if he's in the Playhouse or in Pee-wee's magical world. In the real world, it's all kind of depressing.
Sarah is making confetti cake pancakes. Lindsay also has a memory of eating pancakes while watching Pee-wee. Come on. Ed reports that his favorite part of pancakes are the edges that get crispy, so he's doing "a play on that." In other words, he's burning some batter and calling it a dish. Paul is making champagne Dippin' Dots using liquid nitrogen. Didn't that company just go bankrupt? If only they had been able to hang on until Paul discovered their next big thing - alcoholic ice cream of the future! Seriously, I think that could have caught on. Grayson and Lindsay are both using ricotta in their pancakes, but Grayson is making hers look like Minnie Mouse for the whimsy factor. Sarah's sprinkles are dying the batter pink, which is not a great look, so she's worried.