December 8th, 2011
12:10 PM ET
Last night’s episode of “Top Chef: Texas” had it all: bickering, classical cooking, steak and a visit to the ER.
For the Quickfire, our chefs pulled knives labeled with one of five froufrou, Frenchy words: veloute, bechamel, espagnole, hollandaise and tomate. We’re told these are the five mother sauces, which I think means they’re the primary colors of the sauce world.
Each cheftestant had to make a dish based on the sauce picked. This season’s supposedly new judge Emeril Lagasse was subbed out again, this time for Dean Fearing - with an emphasis on “fear.”
December 1st, 2011
01:29 PM ET
Last night on “Top Chef: Texas” we saw the contestants cook low-end and high-end, and four unlucky souls were tasked with dessert.
But first they packed up and drove to Dallas, where a highway patrolman pulled over their contractually-obligated-to-say-Toyota Sienna caravan. The cop was so clearly a plant that I expected him to ask, “did somebody call...the POLICE?” before ripping off tearaway pants as a groovin’ bass line kicked in.
Alas, it was merely Quickfire time. The chefs had to cook on the side of the road using propane burners and ingredients from a survival kit. And they turned out some impressive stuff, considering they used canned foods you wouldn’t even crack open during a nuclear winter.
November 24th, 2011
01:45 PM ET
Tuck in your wattles because “Top Chef: Thanksgiving Edition” is here. And what says “Turkey Day” like chili peppers and cattle wranglin’?
OK, so the producers decided to forgo a themed holiday episode, but when the challenges are this good, who cares.
For the Quickfire, cheftestants had to make a dish highlighting a chili pepper of their choosing - the hotter the pepper, the more money the chef could win.
November 17th, 2011
12:36 PM ET
Now that we have 16 cheftestants competing, "Top Chef" Nation can pretend the first two episodes never happened and return to skewering a manageable number of chefs and excoriating a manageable number of dishes using only our eyes. Otherwise known as normalcy.
After hitting the reset button, we were given a quick introduction to a few of the chefs. Like Beverly Kim, who had
Back in the kitchen, we saw the first Quickfire of the year, and the show’s first chance to embrace Texas. So what Texas “staple” did they reveal? Rattlesnakes, which the guest judge assured us are “traditional in Texas cuisine.” OK, then.
November 10th, 2011
01:31 PM ET
If you read last week's recap, then you'll know I was disappointed that the producers expanded the pool of cheftestants and extended the trimming-the-fat phase into two episodes.
I would love to tell you which chefs looked like the real deal and which should go back to flipping burgers (and which had the best tats or dumbest mohawk), but I honestly can’t yet because we had enough cheftestants to fill Kitchen Stadium. Wait, wrong competitive cooking show. See, too much going on! I’m so confused!
Thankfully, though, last night gave us the conclusion of Chefsplosion 2011, wherein the last of the 29 chefs were sorted out.
November 3rd, 2011
11:00 AM ET
The ads promoting “Top Chef: Texas” featured head judge Tom Colicchio wearing a sheriff's star, so I was hoping he'd have that baby fastened to his lapel all season. No such luck - during Wednesday's season 9 premiere, the star was nowhere in sight.
That was the first of a few disappointments in the episode, but even a subpar offering of “Top Chef” is enjoyable. Wednesday’s premiere had its moments, particularly the elimination that came before the first commercial break, which was legendary and wonderful. We’ll get to that.
The problem was that the show crammed in double the contestants and two new judges, presumably because everything’s bigger in Texas and you go big or go home, etc., etc. As a result, the episode overwhelming, and it watered down the series’ best traits.
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