'Top Chef: Houston' Episode 5: Ashleigh's drowned brisket sets her up for elimination
Bravo's 'Top Chef: Houston' is a constant treat albeit not a good one for the nerves of those watching. Just after the previous episode of 'double-elimination', the newly aired episode takes on another iconic food in Texas, the brisket. While it can take many years for pitmasters to make the smoke ring perfect, this challenge might be slightly controversial.
In 'Top Chef: Houston' Episode 5, titled 'Don't Mess with BBQ', all the contestant chefs met Brooke Williamson at Houston's J-Bar-M, where she assigned them the task of putting their own spin on a brisket dish for some of the best BBQ pitmasters based in Houston along with their guest judge, pitmaster Greg Gatlin. Every chef can play great in a kitchen line, but BBQ is a different and challenging job to handle. In the previous episode, Robert Hernandez and Sarah Welch were sent home as part of the double elimination. After their elimination 10 contestants -Damarr Brown, Jo Chan, Monica Feybesse, Evelyn Garcia, Jae Jung, Jackson Kalb, Luke Kolpin, Buddha Lo, Ashleigh Shanti, and Nick Wallace were left in the kitchen. Before they could discuss what went down in the previous episode host Padma Lakshmi visited them backstage to prepare them for their next challenge.
As soon as the elimination round started, the contestants were given only 30 minutes for the challenge. The chefs had 30 minutes to choose their brisket, trim it, rub it and get it settled in the smoker before leaving for the supermarket to get the rest of the ingredients. After that, had until midnight to work. However, the chefs initially thought there was no quickfire round as the episode started with an elimination round. But that wasn't true, there was a quickfire round as well. For the brisket round, each chef had to think of a dish to save them from elimination and another for the quickfire round that will give them a chance to win $10,000.
Nick and Evelyn thought of it as a good opportunity to show off their skills while Monique and Buddha went down the French route. Ashleigh misjudged the whole timing thing and was wondering how she make more for her dish, fatal mistake there if you ask us. When the chefs returned from their grocery shopping and saw Tom Colicchio waiting for them with Brooke, they knew there had to be more trouble. Colicchio tasked them with making Texas toast and needless to say the winner of the challenge would get immunity from elimination along with the prize money. Nick’s Texas toast BLT with pancetta and cheese gave him immunity, so Nick had one thing less to worry about.
Back to the brisket, though Jo’s brisket was well done she was struggling to pair with her pasta dish. Monique’s meat lacked flavor and she hoped a brioche would compensate for that. Ashleigh’s brisket was under-salted, so she had to worry about the flavors in the rest of her dish to cover up for this. Jackson who had second thoughts about his ground-brisket idea was satisfied with the final outcome.
When the moment of truth arrived, Ashleigh and Jackson were sent to the judges' counter first. Ashleigh’s kitchen pepper rubbed brisket in cream of collard soup flopped: the brisket was sliced too thick and the meat was under-seasoned and drowning in the soup. But Jackson’s brisket-stuffed scarpinocc brought through the smoky barbecue flavor even within the pasta and he earned Gail Simmons's praise. Damarr’s dish was dubbed “fantastic” and “flavorful, while Nick had a bit of a disappointment, however, with immunity on his side, he sailed through as well.
Evelyn was clearly the best in the show as she got even more praise when Tom made a revelation that she might have the first curry in Season 19 that Padma liked. Undoubtedly she was declared the winner. Buddha and Jackson took the next two spots. When it came to elimination Monique, Ashleigh, and Jo were in the line of fire. Ashleigh's drowned brisket saw her head home, but wait there is a twist! She would have a chance to save herself in “Last Chance Kitchen,” which meant that the winner between Ashleigh, Leia Gaccione, and Sarah Welch will get to return to the main competition next week.