Top Chef Canada Texas: Hot and Cold. And ASIAN.

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 posts on the subject over at’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.

We are now down to the Top Three, and it is time for the finale… oh, wait, no it isn’t. Bravo and the Elves apparently decided to twist the knife into the hearts of the taxpayers of the State of Texas a little further, and so they extended the “finals” by an extra episode. Which means that there will be as many episodes filmed in Vancouver (which is in freakin’ Canada, eh!) as were filmed in Dallas. Which is three more than were filmed in Houston, just saying.

Now, I know the spiel: the finals for Top Chef are always filmed somewhere else – normally somewhere exotic, like Puerto Rico or Hawaii or Singapore or New Orleans or someplace not named “Houston”. But let’s face it: this is the first season where the “regular” competition took place, not in a single city (Miami, New York, Chicago, DC, San Francisco, Las Vegas) but in an entire state. Given that we already had this departure from tradition, maybe the Elves could have allowed another. Because, as things stand now, the last thing people remember about Top Chef, Texas will be a city full of folks who talk funny and have to bundle up against something called “snow”.

So, Governor, do you still feel we got our money’s worth for that $400,000 we “invested” in this show? Hmmmm???

One thing I won’t miss, when this show is over, are the Honda “Leap List” commercials. The one this week, featuring Gail Simmons and… wait a sec? Isn’t Toyota the automotive sponsor of Top Chef? What happened, did their sponsorship check bounce or something!?

Anyway, on to the show. For the QuickFire, the chefts have to undergo a cooking relay race. In an Asian restaurant. With (mostly) Asian chefs. Guess what type of food they’ll be cooking?

Somewhere, I can see crazy Beverly huddled over her crystal ball, rubbing her hands in glee, and asking in a high-pitched voice:

Could it be… ASIAN!?

The only thing that could have been better, would have been had Mistress Heather been participating. But almost as good, was the fact that Heather 2.0 Sarah took the W, and along with it another $10,000 $20,000. The dual irony of winning all her money outside of Texas, and winning this last prize while cooking Asian, caused her head to explode.

For the Elimination Challenge, the Elves decided to combine the themes from the last two challenges of last week into… a Catering Challenge! In addition to the “Fire and Ice” theme, the chefts have to create a cocktail as part of their dish (for 150 guests), because OF COURSE THEY HAVE TO CREATE A COCKTAIL EVEN THOUGH MOST REAL CHEFS HIRE MIXOLOGISTS TO DO THAT SORT OF STUFF FOR THEM.

The chefts give various interpretations on the “fire and ice” theme (none of them take my suggestion of opening up on the assembled guests with an AK-47, then finishing off the survivors with an ice pick), none of which are deemed especially successful. Of course, when Tom Colicchio goes off like a madman on Paul for the crime of GARNISHING HIS DISH WITH A SINGLE PIECE OF ARUGULA, the collective judgement of this panel is deemed somewhat suspect. Of course, the context of this criticism is a total fabrication on the part of the Elves, as Chef Tom himself admitted on Twitter,

Arugula is what happens when you really don't have anything negative to say
Tom Colicchio

and, in fact, Paul ends up taking the W for the Elimination Challenge, as well as a spot in the finale and a cash prize from sponsor Healthy Choice. Sarah joins him, which leaves poor Lindsay as the odd (wo)man out, and the last cheft to take the Walk of PPYKAG.

Next week: it is the actual finale. The end. When either Paul or Sarah will win the $125,000, and the title of Top Chef. It is only fitting that the last two standing are from Texas (Sarah is a native Houstonian, and while Paul wasn’t born in Texas, he got here as fast as he could.) Rumors are that Hugh Acheson and his unibrow will put in one last appearance. And, the teasers show former chefts in the kitchen: could we please please PLEASE have Heather, Lindsay, and Beverly put on Sarah’s team? The resulting fireworks would be worthy of a Texas 4th of July celebration!


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