Recap/Review – Top Chef: Texas – 11/2/11

Top Chef Season 9 – Texas Edition premiered last night on Bravo (Wednesday 10/9c). For some reason, I am more than excited about this new season. Maybe because it’s a Texas edition, and even though Top Chef, for whatever reason, didn’t come anywhere near us in Houston, I still have Texas pride. If you know a Texan, then you know we’re a proud bunch…some of us a lot more than others (I’m looking at you, Dallasites).

Remember the Alamo? Top Chef did. It is one of the biggest tourist traps…I mean, destinations in Texas. Season 9 and Padma welcomed the very large group of 29 contestants, or as some like to call them…cheftestants…in front of the Alamo. There didn’t appear to be many tourists around, but that could have been because the Top Chef powers-that-be must not have researched Texas weather before filming in the summer. And this past summer was one of the hottest and driest ever.

Jump with me to read the rest of my review.

So the 29 hopefuls thought they were automatically in already. They had their little knife purses and everything. After the golden goddess sun halo evaporated from around Padma, she dropped the eggshell…All 29 cheftestants would have to cook their way into the competition. Imagine that…they have to show their stuff to earn that illusive blue chef’s coat.

Oh, and yes, it’s blue (confirmed by @BravoTopChef tweeter). I thought it was black, because my cable company “hasn’t finished upgrading all of the accounts,” so I don’t have Bravo in HD just yet. It’s a little disappointing to be watching a blurry Tom Colicchio on a 60″ tv. But hopefully, I will soon have the grandeur of seeing every speck of fresh cilantro to every spread of remoulade.

But back to the battle. The 29 were separated into 2 groups.

The first group had to choose a pig part. It seemed fairly easy for some, who just picked up an ear or tail and ran to their skillet, but some parts had to be butchered. I felt bad for the girl – I think her name was Grayson or GreySkull or something – who picked the tenderloin because 1) she thought it was easy, and 2) she had to encounter the eyebrows de jure, or lack there of, from Tyler Stone. Oh, and his Edward Scissorhands.

Tyler Stone…no one will remember his name, but everyone will remember that he was the 22-year-old personal chef from California who came to Top Chef with an ego bigger than Texas and who got kicked out of Top Chef a mere 12 minutes into the competition. This kid didn’t look like he could cut up an apple, let alone a side of pork. After he hacked his way to nowhere and ruined a beautiful pork tenderloin, Tom Colicchio had seen too much and ordered Tyler to pack his knives and go. I wonder if he had a Blue’s Clues knife bag?

One guy should have just disqualified himself after setting a plate in front of the judges that can only be described as looking like a baby had just puked its pureed veggies back onto the plate. He was subsequently shown the door as well.

Some of the cheftestants impressed Tom, Padma, Gail, and Emeril Lagasse enough to earn a chef’s coat right away and a ticket to episode 2. But some were, as they mentioned so many times, “on the bubble.” Whoever was placed “on the bubble” would be forced to cook again to prove their culinary prowess.

The second group picked rabbit as their main ingredient. Oh, and just a side note: rabbits cry when they get shot at. It’s very sad. But I digress…This group did fairly well. Pay close attention to Chis Crary. He’s an early favorite, it seems, but don’t mark him down as my pick to win just yet.

I’m interested in watching the internal competition between Chris Jones, chef de cuisine (that sounds so fancy), and Richie Farina, sous chef, from the same restaurant, MOTO, in Chicago.

Our initial impression of these contestants are their physical attributes. Tyler will be remembered for his lack of facial hair (I’m not sure if he’s hit puberty yet). I think most of the chefs have tattoos. It was even joked in the “on the bubble” room that the ones put “on the bubble” aren’t inked like the others. Discriminatory? Highly doubtful. And it wouldn’t be Top Chef without at least one mo-hawk. My friend was looking for the Top Chef “token hot lesbian.” I don’t know if she found her or not. I’m kind of digging Keith, but I’m not digging that beard. My mind immediately went to Chef Gordon Ramsey: “no pubes in the food!”

The episode was over before I knew it, and only next week will we find out whose bubble was popped and who gets a coat to round out the Sweet 16.

Stay tuned…

– Tara

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2 Responses to Recap/Review – Top Chef: Texas – 11/2/11

  1. Kyle says:

    Was able to catch up on this one over lunch today. Why didn’t they make this a super-sized premiere and just get down to the top 16 in one night?! I didn’t think it was fair to cut Tyler Stone just on his ability to break down a pig. He should have at least been allowed to serve them something to taste!
    I like that they have some chefs who know and/or work together as that always makes it interesting. It sounded like one chef worked with Hugh, so I don’t understand how that will work when it comes to judging–there’s always some bias or trying to not show bias..
    What’s with all the tattooed contestants?! It’s like how all the chefs on Hell’s Kitchen seem to smoke! I was thinking the same thing as the “on the bubble” folks when I saw all the inked folks getting through. There were two women who got through that I thought looked so much better when their arm/neck tattoos were all covered up. No offense to anyone who has tattoos, but I’m just not a fan of tattoos, particularly on women, and especially when they are excessive.

    • Tara says:

      I think a lot of it was of course for the drama. It’s like weeding thru the American Idol rejects. But, yes, it should have been a 90 minute show to set up the rest of the season. Now we have to wait two more weeks before the season actually gets started. I think Hell’s Kitchen makes those people smoke. I can’t image every single chef they have every season is a smoker. You would think they would discourage it. I’m not sure where they are going with that but I’m sure it’s all staged.
      I didn’t understand picking someone who has worked with Hugh before either. I would be a little bit pissed if I was a contestant.