"You just need to mature in cooking more, and for that, Ashley, I can't put you through," judge Hugh Acheson pronounced.
Villaluz, a self-employed caterer, was confident throughout her challenge, which required contestants to select an ingredient and cook it in the time dictated by a stopwatch initially hidden under a silver cloche. Villaluz briefly equivocated between selecting mushrooms and oxtail, but lost her chance at the fungi in an impromptu rocks, paper, scissors match with Andrew Curren of Austin's 24 Diner.
Villaluz opted to prepare her oxtail in the style of a kare-kare she'd learned from her Filipino grandmother-in-law, a recipe which required a stubborn pressure cooker. "Shit, who can I ask to help me?," Villaluz mumbled as she tried to work the contraption.
But by the 40-minute mark, she'd regained her composure.
"Do you need any help?," she asked a cheftestant struggling with a pot of risotto. "I can help you plate."
Her offer was rebuffed, and the witless competitor was sent home for presenting empty plates.
After releasing her oxtail from the pressure cooker, Villaluz discovered the meat wasn't as tender as she intended. The judges noticed.
"It didn't do it for me," Tom Collichio said.
Padma Lakshmi offered to put Villaluz "on the bubble," giving her another chance to cook for the judges, but Acheson refused to extend her tenure. Her Top Chef run ended before she was granted a cheftestant's coat.
Top Chef resumes next week -- without any Seattle chefs.