John Tesar, the so-called bad boy of the Dallas culinary scene, was eliminated from Top Chef: Seattle Wednesday night. Having served one of the night's worst two dishes -- a badly cooked risotto -- he was forced into a cook-off with the night's other underperforming chef, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Binder, from San Francisco by way of South Africa, who served foul and ill-cooked scallops. (They're in good company though. Both scallops and risotto have been the banes of many previous Top Chef competitors.)
Tesar blamed the lack of a flat pan for his botched risotto, something which openly amused competitor Joshua Valentine, another Dallas-based chef who has been Tesar's moustachioed nemesis all season.
After serving their mistaken meals, Tesar and Binder each had to make a healthy version of a hamburger with the loser getting the "pack your knives and go" farewell from judge Padma. Binder's was voted tastier and juicier so it was Tesar who got the knife.
But all is not lost for Tesar. With Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen, an online spin-off in which eliminated cheftestants compete for a spot to re-enter the televised contest, he just might make a grand and glorious return. He also can take comfort in the gushing word-of-mouth over his new restaurant, Spoon, located in Dallas' Preston Center.
UPDATE (with spoilers) from Robert Philpot, DFW.com writer: Here's how
extended Prius commercial Last Chance Kitchen played out. Takes about 10 minutes, but there's a quicker recap below.
Tesar goes up against C.J. Jacobson, a popular contestant from season three who returned for Seattle, which is season 10, and was eliminated surprisingly early. C.J. has been on a roll in Last Chance Kitchen, beating four chefs in a row before taking on Tesar.
The challenge: cook anything you want, but there's a catch: after Tesar's complaints about the cookware that he blamed for his bad risotto, Tesar and Jacobson have to use cookware scrounged up from yards sales around Seattle.
Jacobson lets Tesar have first pick of the cookware. Tesar makes butter-roasted lobster with seared foie gras on top, corn veloute, and corn and bacon succotash. Jacobson makes scallops with foie gras dashi and mango and caviar.
There is much padding having to do with describing dishes and terrible cookware, including Jacobson getting a pan that loses its handle midway through cooking.
Tom Colicchio tastes the dishes. Jacobson is worried that his is too spicy. Tesar says he's mostly OK with the cookware. Mostly.
Colicchio says that pans do matter, vindicating Tesar slightly, and that the cheap cookware prevented either dish from being perfect. Spiciness is an issue in Jacobson's dish; Tesar's foie gras is a little too salty. Both dishes are strong, but (SPOILER) Jacobson's streak continues and Tesar goes home.
BUT it's not over yet for Tesar. Beginning at 11 a.m. Central Time on Thursday, Save a Chef gives fans a chance to save Tesar -- the type of personality who divides viewers. To save Tesar, all you have to do is retweet #savechefjohn on Twitter, where Tesar has been busily campaigning for votes.