Thierry thought he was working with yucca root, which a starchy tuber, close to a potato. When he starts chopping up the Banana Yucca he discovers they are actually the flowering fruit of the cactus, and look more like figs. He's befuddled what to do with them.
Clark and Kerry are making beef with sage pistou, red berry fondue, and chili ragout. So their strategy is rhyming things.
Aaaaand here come the rain clouds! The rain starts, and it's putting out the fires on the grill.
Chris disassembles his grill to turn it into a plancha so it stays hot. Way to go, McGuyver! He also kindly shares with others.
Thierry decides that whatever Banana Yucca is, it will taste good if he fries it. Solid logic.
While the other Chefs are laughing and playing their reindeer games, Clark and Kerry are silently souring on each other. Clark is irritated that Kerry is taking too long to plate his dishes in a fancy "New York style" when it's family-style service. He snaps at Kerry as everyone hustles to complete their dishes.
The tribal council arrive, looking incredible in their traditional dress. Curtis thanks the council for inviting them onto their land. James Oseland says it's so beautiful he never wants to leave. He then asks Louise from the Council if she's single because he wants to marry her. She declines but points out the single lady at the table for James to focus his attention on.
Art and Lorena go first, and launch into a long diatribe about how food is about love and spirituality and they love each other and you take food with you in your heart and blah blah blah. Patricia explains the rest of the gang is worried their food is going to get cold if Art and Lorena don't put a sock in it.
Dinner is served. The critics dissect each dish. The members of the Hualapai mention more than once how the food reminds them of their childhood. One of the tribe members says that when they hunt and cook they just EAT the food. They don't take time to say "Oh this seasoning is just exquisite!" and pokes fun of the judges, which gives everyone a good laugh.
Interstitial: The Hualapai women perform a traditional dance on the edge of the Canyon. It was beautiful and moving, until they grabbed the chefs to join in. Then the whole thing took an awkward turn.
Curtis calls teams Chris + Patricia and Takashi + Theirry to the Critics' table and announce they had the favorite dishes. Takashi and Theirry take the prize with their venison and Banana Yucca.
Theirry shrieks "Holy S---!" and then covers his mouth like a little boy caught by his Mom. It's adorable. He has won using an ingredient he had heretofore never even seen, which is very impressive.
Quote #3 of the episode, from Kerry as they await elimination: "Maybe they're going to say that some spirit of the Hualapai has come down and say that no one is getting eliminated tonight." No such luck, Kerry. "Top Chef" is a cruel and fickle mistress.
The critics all loved Lorena's sauce, and she's got immunity, so we know she's in. Most of the criticism is about uneven cooking, which is no surprise given the rain splattered grills.
Clark gets asked to go for his substandard corn dish. He thanks the judges and other chefs and walks away, though considering they're on the edge of the Grand Canyon, I'm not sure where he's wandering off to. Don't do it, Clark!
Next week: A pool party hosted by Playboy Bunny Holly Madison, where we see lots of shirtless men and James Olmstead breaking out with some poolside push-ups. This may be the first Top Chef in history that's preceded by a parental warning. Until then!