Real Time Web Analytics Foodie Gossip: Top Chef Texas Episode 3 Recap: Quinceañera

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top Chef Texas Episode 3 Recap: Quinceañera

On week three of Top Chef: Texas the competition starts getting personal as we become better acquainted with the cheftestants! As rivalries and friendships form in the show, we begin to have preferences based not just on cooking performance, but also on personality traits. Episode 3’s guest judge is none other than Johnny Hernandez, chef and owner of La Gloria restaurant. Joining him are our favorites, Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Hugh Acheson.

On to the Top Chef: Texas Episode 3 Recap: Quinceañera… 

Chris Crary prepping for his dish
Beverly Kim starts the show off by taping a note onto a mirror that said, “Congratulations Beverly Kim… you have won Top Chef… $125,000!!!!!” She said it will help her stay focused on her goal. Keith Rhodes introduces himself as a chef/owner who, as a child, went to jail but has been given a second chance by cooking. Now he has been nominated for the James Beard Award. He also doesn’t like snakes and didn’t know he was in for a surprise!

The Quickfire Challenge
The Quickfire Challenge tested the cheftestants’ nerves of steel, which they will need to win Top Chef. Cheftestants were given a rattlesnake and 1 hour to win immunity and $5,000. While other contestants were clueless as to how to cook a rattlesnake, Chuy Valencia and Paul Qui felt right at home and almost felt an obligation to win the challenge. Beverly was concerned that her snake was chewy, but “from a Korean background,” she said, “some things are supposed to be chewy.” Chris Jones and Richie Farina work together in real life, and as very good friends, work together in the show. I’m always amazed at how much they are willing to help each other even though they are competing against each other. What a predicament, don’t you think?

When Padma asked Johnny what his least favorite dishes were, he immediately said Paul’s. Paul was extremely surprised and couldn’t believe it because he thought he had plenty of experience working with snake as an ingredient. Richie’s dish was also one of the worst ones because, like Paul’s dish, the condiments were so strong that the snake could not be tasted. Nyesha Arrington was unfortunate to have overcooked the snake, so hers was also a least favorite.

Johnny liked Beverly’s dish because it was elegant, Dakota Weiss’ dish because it was “a good nod to Texas,” and Sarah Grueneberg’s dish because it was cooked to perfection and it showcased the flavor of the snake. In the end, he picked Dakota.

Team Challenge
Next, the chef-testants picked knives that divided them into green and pink teams. One person from the losing team would be going home. Padma introduced Blanca Flores and Edward Lee commented that he did not know who she is, “maybe she’s a Mexican rock star.” Pretty funny for a very serious chef. Turns out, the next day was Blanca’s quinceañera. The teams were to cook traditional Mexican food and as Padma put it, a “fabulous cake.” To begin with, the contestants had 30 minutes to plan a menu. They interviewed Blanca to see what she likes, asking questions like, “does your family usually eat spicy food?” “Do you like ceviche?” “Do you like Tres Leches (for the cake)?” After the questions they agreed on what they would cook. After the chefs bought the food, they had 3 hours to prep the kitchen.

The first point of contention for the pink team was that Keith ordered pre-cooked shrimp to save time. Lindsay Autry was very disappointed that he bought pre-cooked shrimp in a cooking competition.
The green team had Heather Terhune, who had previously trained as a baker, to bake their cake. The pink team, however, had Dakota making their cake. Dakota was very nervous about it, since even though she has made small cakes, but never for a crowd of 150 people. The green team had Chuy on it, the self-proclaimed “Mexican resident of the bunch.” He took it upon himself to taste people’s dishes so that they tasted good to a Mexican palate. 

The teams had 2 and a half hours to cook. Heather’s cake, with three layers, started tilting due to the extreme heat in the kitchen.

Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Hugh Acheson, Johnny Hernandez
The quinceañera was an awesome party! There was a huge banquet hall, a lot of food, a great

dress (worn by the quinceañera), and a mariachi band! This episode was actually very funny in the sense that while the judges were ripping on the food, the Mexican guests were enjoying the Mexican food, all saying they loved it. Except for the cabbage and the mole. The mole, a very difficult sauce, was unconvincing and had too much cinnamon. Dakota’s cake had too much frosting. The Tres Leches cake was adored as a “classic Mexican cake (said one of the guests).”

At one point during the party, the quinceañera and her father had a dance. Beverly could not hold back her tears and confessed that she was thinking about her dad. Beverly wants to show her dad that, as a daughter, she can accomplish as much as a son can. 

The judges concluded that, as Tom said, “one team pushed a little further, (was) a little more authentic, and (was) a little truer to what we were looking for.” That team was the green team. Someone in the pink team will have to go home. After the pink team talked amongst themselves, trying to figure out who deserved more blame, Padma asked for Ty-Lor Boring, Sarah, Lindsay and Keith. They had the least favorite dishes of the pink team. Dakota, with immunity, was not called forth (even though the Tres Leches cake was better).  

When the subject of who bought the cooked shrimp came up, Tom had one question, “were you shopping by yourself?” Hugh said he would be yelling at Keith too (talking about Sarah), if Keith brought him pre-cooked shrimp. Sarah smirked at the comment. Ty was excusing his fritter by saying he didn’t have time to create a new appetizer. Tom coldly asked, "certainly that’s not the reason it was dry?” Ty accepted responsibility and said, “no sir, that’s a cooking failure.”

Keith Rhodes explains his decision to use a flour tortilla
Keith made enchiladas with flour tortillas, usually they’re made with corn tortillas. Sarah and Keith got into a squabble over the mistake. Keith claimed that if she would’ve said something about him making a mistake, he would’ve fixed it. Sarah was unconvinced. In the end, Keith’s mistakes with the pre-cooked shrimp and the flour enchilada cost him the competition. It was an agonizing farewell for Keith and everyone agreed that he’s a gentle man. Everyone was sad to see him leave. 

But wait! It’s not entirely over for Keith, as he gets to cook against Andrew Curren in the Last Chance Kitchen.

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