There’s no place like home for the holidays, and on last night's “Top Chef: Texas,” the contestants looked back home for inspiration.
But first, the gang drove to Austin, and along the way we learned Paul was a weed dealer until he was 22. So you know he’ll KILL IT when they have that processed food challenge; dude’s surely a mad scientist with some Cheetos and Nutella.
Once in Austin, it was Quickfire time, wherein fans tweeted the instructions to the chefs. The first tweeted rule was simple - cook a dish with bacon. About 15 minutes later, the next rule was announced - cook a hash (“Ha, he said HASH,” Paul giggled, probably).
This week on “Cold Case: Emeril Lagasse,” the 12 remaining cheftestants took on booze and boars.
But the biggest hurdle was Heather The Steamroller, who has gleefully embraced the path of villainy like some sort of comfort-food-cooking Harvey Dent.
We began with the booze. For the Quickfire, chefs had to pair their dishes with tequila. But not just any tequila! Tequila Don Julio, “the original ultra-premium tequila.” Because mere regular-premium tequila just wouldn't be good enough.
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.”
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.
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.
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 a vision board crumpled piece of paper that looked like it survived the Constitutional Convention and read, “Congratulations Beverly, you have won Top Chef Season 9.” Ugh. Chefs are a delicate bunch.
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.
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