Top Chef Texas: Do’ the ‘Que

Disclaimer: This is in no way, shape, or form a “serious” recap/review of Top Chef Texas. Instead, my self-imposed assignment is to bring to light how the State of Texas pissed away somewhat over $400,000 of taxpayer funds, with the City of San Antonio adding another six figure amount to the pot. If you are looking for “real” recaps of the show, I would suggest you check out Kate Shellnutt’s post on the subject over at chron.com’s Tubular blog, or – if you prefer your recaps on the spicy side, liberally seasoned with f-bombs – you can try Katharine Shillcutt’s recap over at Eating Our Words.

As far as tech-related cooking challenges go, you can’t get much more tech-y than the QuickFire Challenge this week. Molecular Gastronomy isn’t a Texas thang necessarily, though the tie-in with patent trolling (which is, even though it is centered to the north-east of Austin) and bar-b-que gave it somewhat of a Texas flavor. Kudos to Ty-Lör for getting the W! Good try, Chris Moto, on the whole Miracle Berry thing (though I am surprised that the judges actually ate that thing, as I hear it tends to affect one’s taste buds for some time – maybe this is why he went last?) Condolences to poor Beverly, who couldn’t seem to do anything right (did she also spray Grayson with her “creme”?) And Malibu, all I  have to say about your “modern art collection” is ewwwww.

And now, on to the Elimination Challenge. It was yet another overnight catering event, this time serving up bar-b-que to 300 guests at the Salt Lick. Hopefully, this will be the last such event of this cycle.

Beverly provides more comic relief, while almost setting her trailer on fire with a pan full of bourbon.

By the next morning, the chefts are (mostly) all punch-drunk from lack fo sleep. Which goes a long way toward explaining Grayson’s attempt to top Malibu’s ewwww moment, when she compares the taste of her team’s food to “SEX IN YOUR MOUTH.” For realz. Poor Tom Colicchio, I am sure he wished for the ability to remove that image from his mind, going into the tasting.

And, if we thought we had seen the last of the REALITY TEEVEE DRAMAZ when Mistress Heather and her knives were sent packing? We would have thought wrong. The Elves set up a new feud – Edward vs. Sarah – at the very beginning of the episode, and it continued to build through the Elimination Challenge. Edward is getting the “villain edit”, and Sarah taking the role of the “victim”. The feud hits a crescendo when Sarah comes down ill (with what looks like a case of heat exhaustion), and ends up being taken off in an ambulance. At which point, Edward asks (rhetorically) if Sarah is still alive, and quips that he “would have just pushed though it.”

No, Edward. You would have either seen the medics, or you would have most likely collapsed. And maybe died. A heat index in the range of 135 can do that to a person.

One bright spot in all this: the other chefts (including team mate Ty-Lör) were shown as caring human beings. A good contrast to Edward, whose reactions included a hefty dose of throwing inanimate cooking implements and food lids around, and required a liberal application of the [BLEEP] filter by the editors.

Sarah did manage to return just in time to serve her chicken to the judges, which contributed even further to Edward’s state of pissed-offedness.

Prilosec OTC commercial: an inadvertent product placement, or an omen of what to expect?

After the tasting, comes the Judges’ Table. Getting the W (and splitting a prize of $15,000): the team of Paul and sous chefs Lindsay and Grayson. This, despite Brussels Sprouts that were deemed “undercooked”. However, the bar-b-que was deemed the best (despite being “Asian”, which must have worked Mistress Heather’s last nerve when she saw this.)

The other two teams (Edward, Part-time Sarah, and Ty-Lör; Malibu, Chris Moto, and Beverly) shared the bottom spot. The decision of Edward and Ty-Lör to pre-cut their meat resulted in “cafeteria food”, while Sarah’s chicken lacked smoke flavor and had rubbery skin. Beverly’s baked beans were undercooked and deemed “inedible”, and the “beer can chicken” was deemed not Texan enough. However, the ribs and brisket from ChrisSquared were the worst, as the dry rub that Malibu prepared for them turned both into a salt lick (pun intended.) Again, the Word of Death – “inedible” – emanated from Tom Colicchio, and since this was for the meat, it was just a matter of which Chris was going to get the axe. As the one who created the Rub Which Shall Not Be Mentioned Again, Malibu was the cheft invited to PPYKAG.

One more Texas reference: Malibu also created a BBQ sauce with Dr. Pepper, which surprisingly didn’t pass muster, being panned by both Tom and Gail. In fact, Tom was highly dismissive of this sauce, upon hearing that Malibu created it on account of Dr. Pepper being from Texas and all. I don’t know if there was something wrong with the flavor (did they use Dublin DP? I can see a reduction of anything based on HFCS having flavor issues), or if Dr. Pepper didn’t pay the Elves for the product placement Tom and Gail were just unaware of the place Dr. Pepper holds in the hearts of both Texans and geeks.

Next week: RESTAURANT WARS! Either they head back to San Antonio, or someone from that city ought to be right pissed for Austin getting this particular gem. There is a twist, in that this cycle it is a BATTLE OF THE SEXES! Which, given the calibre of the remaining chefts, puts Team Grrlz as the distinct underdog. Will Beverly blow up the entire kitchen? Will the Health Department shut down the restaurants before the service for “failure to have a certified manager on duty” or “lack of proper permits”? Will we see anything as hilarious as Grayson’s Bullfrog Song?

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