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Top Chef, Season 9, Episode 8: Tribute Dinner

Reminder: there will be spoilers.

Let’s cut to the chase: thankfully, Heather is gone. And not just because she’s a bossy, mean, bitch who got caught retweeting naughties and so had to protect her Twitter feed. But because, as she demonstrated last week in her own commentary, she’s a simple-minded chef, who says she has a “rustic style”, and who mishandled the beef in her, you know, BEEF Stroganoff. Good riddance.

Unlike the last few episodes, I liked both challenges. They’ve recognized that Quickfire challenges are just kind of puffery, so they let it be run by Twitter (I loved the ‘hand an ingredient to a chef that they’ll have to use” twist, but was disappointed at how unimaginative the chefs were with it). Paul wins with a bizarre combination of ingredients, once again proving he’s some kind of flavor-combining savant, like a Neo of the palate.

I have no idea why Patti Labelle was a guest judge — apart from being a performer, she has no connection at all to Austin. At least she was charming and even witty.

I really dug the elimination challenge. I even teared up hearing a couple of the stories (and I watch while exercising). I love challenges where there are no excuses, no real limits — just cook something great. And the connection to someone they loved finally pushed some people to go beyond safe or merely good, and try some really interesting stuff.

And some who failed. Maybe instead of calling Chris C “Malibu,” they’ll call him “Albumen” now. And Grayson. I’m actually a fan of the Wisconsin schtick, but that slab of meat just looked unappetizing. And, um, don’t say, “True ‘dat.” (Also, if you’re not the fanboy I am, you might not know that Chris C and Grayson are the leaders in the “fan favorite” poll on Bravo’s site. Chris C’s wide margin suggests Top Chef‘s audience skews female and/or gay.)

I very much want to eat Ed’s bibimbap and Sarah’s cabbage roll-stuffed-with-sausage. Maybe at the same meal!

I think Nyesha might prove herself to be the Ozzy of the Last Chance Kitchen. She’s enough of a badass that I’d like to see her wield a katana as she slices through the competition.