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Showing posts with label top chef texas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label top chef texas. Show all posts

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Top Chef Texas Episode 7 Recap: Game On.



On week seven of Top Chef: Texas the game is on as the cheftestants prepare a dish for a game dinner! In episode 7, we are graced with the presence of guest judge Tim Love, chef/owner of Lonesome Dove Western Bistro alongside our fantastic Top Chef judges, Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Hugh Acheson.

There are 12 cheftestants left, and Nyesha Arrington starts us off by remembering how rude Heather Terhune was during last episode to call out Beverly Kim in front of the entire group. Just as a reminder, when all the chefs were waiting for Padma to call the losers to the judges’ table, Heather made sure to let the whole group know that Beverly had taken too long with the task of skinning shrimp. Basically, Heather was saying that if anyone was going to get kicked out, it should be Beverly. Nyesha said that Heather’s actions say “a lot about her integrity.”

Back at the Top Chef Texas headquarters in Dallas, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, the remaining “dirty dozen” chefs met Tim Love. Edward Lee introduces Love as a very well-known chef in Fortworth and a Top Chef Master.

Quickfire Challenge

The challenge was to pick a type of Don Julio Tequila and create a dish that goes well with the choice. The cheftestants had 30 minutes to work for the reward of $5,000. This episode, however, they would not be getting immunity for winning the Quickfire Challenge.

Again, Ty-Lor Boring claims that he has an advantage because he “has been to Jalisco.” Then again he has been saying that for every episode. Last time he claimed that he had worked in a steakhouse in New York and therefore he had the advantage. Let’s remember that he almost got disqualified. I can’t wait to see what happens this episode. Although I would love it if he wins this challenge, for a change. Chris Jones was careful with his dish because he was weary of the high alcohol content. Therefore, he wanted to make something that would dull the flavor.



Love said that while some chefs really used the tequila as a pairing, others really didn’t live up to the challenge. For instance, Heather’s dish seemed like it was prepared as if she liked tequila and she cooked rock shrimp. Chris J.’s chicken was too dry. Sarah’s risotto was undercooked. Rather than accept constructive criticism, she said “I’ve been training with experts in Italy on how to make risotto. I’m not gonna change how I cook risotto due to somebody’s palate.” Well Sarah, who are these so-called experts when an American is telling you you’re doing it wrong? Admittedly, we can’t blame the experts if you can’t learn your lesson.

Maybe Sarah got defensive with them as well.

One of the favorites were Chris C.’s who matched the caviar nicely with the Tequila Blanco. Lindsay’s salmon was “cooked really nicely” and the flavor of the tequila could be tasted throughout the dish. Ty’s spiciness in the dish was a really good contrast to the tequila, “and the greenery was really good too.” The winner of the $5,000 was Ty! Finally! He says he has an advantage and he won!

Elimination Challenge

For this challenge, the cheftestants were paired up to cook one course for a game dinner. In an ironic twist, Heather was paired with Beverly. It’s ironic because Heather hates Beverly. Edward was paired with Ty. Last time that happened, they got “their asses handed” to them (according to Edward).

Tim Love invited his friends, who are also chefs, to the show. Each friend would pick a protein that one pair of cheftestants had to cook. The cheftestants would also have to cook for each other because in this challenge, everyone gets to judge! The winning team gets to split $10,000. Also, in this challenge, there will be a double elimination. That means if a team loses, both cheftestants go home.

Unfortunately, the irony in this challenge of pairing Heather and Beverly served as a very unpleasant match. Mainly because Heather was being a complete bitch. And those aren’t my words, they’re Edward’s. He’s the one that mentioned Heather was being a “complete bitch” to Beverly.Lindsay Autry and Chris Crary prepared Roasted Wild Boar with Kohlrabi Slaw and Farro Fried Rice.



When Padma walked in she asked for Ed and Ty. Everyone thinks they’re the winners so they clap and congratulate them. Sure enough, when they got to the judges’ table Tim Love was the first to congratulate them for winning.

Once they found out who the winners were, the cehftestants had the difficult task of choosing the three worst teams to send to the judges’ tables. Now they had to criticize each other without blatantly insulting each other. Edward made an interesting observation that they could try to backstab someone, but the next episode they could be teamed up with the person who was betrayed. He finished by saying “the claws aren’t fully out yet.”

The three teams chosen were Dakota and Nyesha, Heather and Beverly, and Grayson and Chris.

At the judge’s table, there was an extremely nasty moment where Heather condescended Beverly in front of the judges. Heather claimed that Beverly had a bad work ethic. However, Dakota could not take the unpleasantness and stood up for Beverly saying that “she kicks ass in the kitchen.” Then when Heather and Beverly rejoined the rest of the cheftestants, Grayson also stood up for Beverly.

In the end of the episode, the team with the worst dish was Dakota and Nyesha’s. Dakota felt terrible because Nyesha did her part of the teamwork, while Dakot under-cooked the venison. However, Nyesha didn’t check up on Dakota, which is why the judges decided to make their team “pack your knives.” Nyesha and Dakota aren’t entirely done, since they still have to face Whitney Otawka in another double elimination for the Last Chance Kitchen.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Top Chef featured in Food & Wine



Are you a big fan of Food & Wine magazine? So am I! I’m also a big fan of Bravo TV’s Top Chef, currently on Season 9, Top Chef Texas. That means that January’s issue will be one to remember. According to Adweek, Food & Wine will feature Top Chef on a 24-page section. Part of the reason to print Top Chef is that Food & Wine has been its sponsor for a while now. By devoting a whole section to Top Chef, Food & Wine is actually killing two birds with one stone. They are advertising for their show and creating content at the same time. Sounds like a reasonable strategy.
For a fan like myself, this is great news as I will have a place to read more about my show and its stars. Stars like Tom Colicchio,


Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons. Not only will I read more about the main stars, but I will also find out more about the current contestants and their recipes.

Speaking of added content, in order to add more value to you, my reader, I have added a couple of links to some goodies.

In order to leave you with some food for thought, I have a couple of questions that you can answer in the comment section if you want. What do you think of Food & and Wine’s decision to advertise for its sponsee? Do you think it’s smart or shameless? Do you think the majority of Food & Wine’s readers will enjoy the 24-page section on Top Chef?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Top Chef Texas Episode 6 Recap: Higher Steaks.


On week six of Top Chef: Texas the competition gets saucy as the cheftestants make their own sauce and serve a Texas-style four course steak dinner! In episode 6, we are honored by the presence of Chef Dean Fearing alongside our fabulous Top Chef judges, Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Hugh Acheson.

There are 13 cheftestants left, 5 guys and 8 girls. Episode 6 starts off with the guys concerned about evening the playing field. That is, all the guys except Chris Jones who made an effort not to worry about how many women or how many men were left, rather he chose to concentrate on winning. The cheftestants were taken to Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, which they would make their home base in Dallas. When they arrived at the college, Heather Terhune saw Dean and made the observation that since he was classicaly trained, their challenge was most likely going to be extremely difficult.

Quickfire Challenge

This challenge tested the cheftestants’ skills as sauciers. Nyesha Arrington mentions that being a saucier is an “artistry of itself” and that she would like to be one for the rest of her life. The cheftestants drew knives to select which sauce they would be preparing. Grayson Schmitz was confident because she has been a saucier before and because she was clasicaly trained. She boasted that for her, “sauces aint no thang for me.” The cheftestants were asked to create a sauce based on their mother sauce in one and a half hours. For example, Chris Crary had to create his own sauce from velouté. This challenge would earn the cheftestants immunity, but no money.

Chef Fearing thought the overall technique used for the sauces was “well done.” His least favorites were Dakota’s, also Nyesha’s because it had too many flavors, and he thought Beverly’s “coriander wasabi was more sauce than the mother sauce.” His favorites were Grayson’s because he was impressed by how she made ravioli in just an hour and a half, Chris C.’s and also Paul’s because they both had a great combination of flavors. In the end, Dean thought the best dish was Grayson’s with the mother sauce cooked to perfection! And so she got immunity for the next elimination and her boasting was validated.

Elimination Challenge

Padma introduced the elimination challenge as “the toughest you will ever have to face.” The cheftestants were to create a four course dinner for 200 guests. Ty, as usual, was confident in his skills since he worked for a steakhouse in New York. We’ll see if this time he will actually be good at the challenge. For the challenge, the cheftestants were to create a four course steak dinner for the Cattle Baron’s Ball. The steaks had to be served medium rare. They had 30 mins choose a menu, 3 hours to prep and 3 hours to cook at Shouthfork Ranch. The winner of the event will also win a Toyota Venza.

Nyesha was focused on the Toyota Venza, which she got to see as soon as they went outside and stepped into, what else? A Toyota Venza. Thank goodness for product placement, otherwise all these chefs would no way of getting their shopping done! Chris Jones hilariously said, “I would love to win a car, I would to win anything!” Ty gave an homage to his dad, calling him his everyday inspiration. Ty also had a scary moment when he cut his finger and the nurse who looked at his hand told him he needed stitches. He decided that he wanted to wrap his hand and keep cooking. Major bonus points for toughing it out and staying focused on his goals! That’s especially impressive when he returned the next day and had four stiches! Four! Props to Ty, I mean, the man was at the hospital until 6 a.m.

Once the judges were done with their meals, they felt like the cheftestants could have performed better. Ty was disappointed because the main point of the challenge was to serve 200 steaks at the same time. Unfortunately, Lindsay Autry got so over-anxious about having the steaks ready, that she freaked out and put the steaks in the oven too early. The steaks were cooked for too long and came out dry. Overally, the cheftestants were worried about ending up at the judges table because they knew they had served a mediocre meal.

Padma, as usual, came out and asked for Heather, Nyesha and Chris J. They made the best course in the challenge. Nyesha and Chris J. were that much closer to getting their wish of winning a car, or at least “anything.” Heather was the one to win the challenge, even though she used Edward Lee’s recipe for her cake. Don’t get me wrong, normally I really like her. Unfortunately, today she assumed the leader position and had a horrible attitude towards Beverly. Today, I would not have made her a winner.

Now for the losing three: Ty, Whitney and Ed. The ultimate loser who had to “pack her knives” was Whitney Otawka, for making something very ordinary and simple, yet serving raw potatoes. Tom said a very mean and unnecessary line, “usually it’s very hard for us to eliminate somebody, but tonight, you have made very easy for us.” Unfortunately, the other chefs warned Whitney to start cooking her potatoes the night before, but she refused. This is not the last we see of Whitney though, as she will face Chuy Valencia in the Last Chance Kitchen.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Top Chef Texas Episode 5 Recap: Don’t Be Tardy for the Dinner Party.



On week five of Top Chef: Texas the competition gets classy as the cheftestants make a sophisticated spread at a high-society dinner party! In episode 5, restaurateur and renowned chef John Besh, Chef/owner of Lüke in San Antonio and August in New Orleans, is this week’s guest judge alongside our fabulous Top Chef judges, Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons.

There are 14 cheftestants left. As they recover from an all-nighter of cooking, Padma walks onto the set. Sarah Grueneberg freaks out a little because she thinks they will get a Quickfire. That would have been brutal for the mental and physical state of fatigue everyone was experiencing. Padma just wanted to tell them to prepare to go on the road. They were going to Dallas! Edward Lee was regretting that they would have to leave their comfortable house in San Antonio. Beverly Kim thought of the Dallas Cowboys, country singers, and Dolly Parton. Chris Jones was excited about the opportunity to show what he can do in a new city. Almost like a fresh start. I think I would be a bit of an optimist like him. Heather Terhune told a funny story about how she grew up taking road trips with a brother that would get carsick. She said her brother has thrown up on her several times… with a smile! She seems super-nice and I hope they keep her in the show for a long time.

The car ride seemed like it was a lot of fun. The cheftestants got to know each other and Ty-Lor Boring told his car mates that he has a boyfriend. I didn’t see that coming. Chris Crary told his car mates that he used to be 70 pounds heavier. Since Chris is this season’s pretty boy, Paul Qui asked “big? Buff?” And Chris said “no, like fat.” I didn’t see that coming either. Turns out Chef Works photographed Chris at his restaurant and his friends told him “hey looking good in that magazine fatty!” Chris lost 70 pounds in two years! I’m impressed!

As they were driving, the cheftestants ran into a road block by state trooper. Dakota Weiss confessed that she was pulled over in Texas and got a big ticket for it. She thinks that “there is a warrant out there for my arrest.” The state trooper asked them to pull over and when they did, they ran into Padma and John.

Quickfire Challenge

In order to win $5,000 and immunity, the cheftestants had 30 minutes to cook a dish with the ingredients found inside a survival kit. That’s right, dry, packaged food. Lindsay Autry told a story of her dad eating Vienna sausages out of a can. She thought it was disgusting. Now Lindsay was going to use the canned sausages to try and win $5k and immunity.

John’s least favorites were Whitney’s Dakota’s and Chris. Favorites were Edward’s attention to detail, Lindsay’s whole dish and Chuy’s canned, smoked trout. The winner was Lindsay for being inventive and resourceful.

Elimination Challenge

For this challenge, the contestants had to create a course for a progressive dinner party. Chris Crary gracefully explained, and I didn’t know this, that a progressive dinner is when friends live in neighboring houses and start the appetizers in one house, move on to the next, eat the main dish at the second house, and finish dessert at the last house.

Ty-lor was confident that because he has cooked for Bill Gates and rock stars, he knows the expectations that the client will have. Dakota was pissed because she was placed in the dessert group. We all remember that she made the cake for the Quinceañera and it didn’t come out well at all. In other words, Dakota’s terrible with desserts, and she knows it.

The first group, or the appetizer group, had the challenge of making appetizers for a couple that doesn’t want their food to be adventurous. Also, the wife does not want her guests to have bad breath or get food stuck on their teeth. The second group, or the entrée group, could not cook with spice, cilantro or raspberries. The problem was that the wife was very high maintenance and the husband was very adventurous. I couldn’t help but wonder how they would please both members of the household. The dessert team also had an interesting challenge. They had to make a dessert that was “worth every calorie.” The husband said he’s a gummy bear fanatic. Edward could only lament and said, “I can’t compute that someone with so much elegance is asking me to cook with gummy bears.” Tough lesson to be learned there Eddy, money doesn’t necessarily buy elegance.

The difference between this elimination challenge and the previous ones, is that each cheftestant was cooking alone instead of in a team. They had 30 minutes to shop, and a budget of $250. They each had 2 hours to cook. Chris Crary was concerned about baking because “baking is such an exact science.” Chris Jones was making a dish that looked exactly like a cigar, which Paul condemned saying that at these dinner parties, you need to “impress the lady, because if you impress the lady of the house, the guy is just going to agree with it.” Both Heather and Nyesha Arrington were annoyed with Beverly for taking over the kitchen. Beverly complained that the other two were singling her out because they were getting in the way just as much as she was.

When Padma walked out, she asked for Sarah, Grayson, Paul, and Dakota. It was so the judges could tell them they made the best dishes! So much for Dakota being bad at desserts. The winner was Paul Qui! Well, seems like his strategy to “please the lady” really worked well for him. He was very happy to be the only chef to represent Texas in Top Chef Texas. The cheftestants that the judges wanted to see next were Chris C., Chris J., Ty and Chuy for serving their least favorite dishes. Chris and Ty used too many ingredients, Chuy basically made overcooked salmon, and Chris should’ve let go of his cigar idea (nobody liked it). John said, “In the end, it was the overcooked salmon in a dish that wasn’t thought through that sent Chuy home.” Chuy had a graceful exit letting us all know that he felt honored to have lost to all the great talent that is still in the competition. However, Chuy still has another chance at the finals by beating Keith Rhodes.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Top Chef Texas Episode 4 Recap: Red Hot Chili Cook-Off

On week four of Top Chef: Texas the competition gets red hot as the cheftestants whip up chili pepper-themed dishes! In episode 4, we meet guest judges Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, the chef/owners of Border Grill Restaurants and former Top Chef Masters contestants. Mary Sue and Susan join our fabulous Top Chef judges, Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons.

There are 15 cheftestants left. The other cheftestants asked Sarah Grueneberg and Lindsay Autry why Keith Rhodes was eliminated. They speculate whether Keith would have been eliminated, if they hadn’t turned against each other. Sarah and Lindsay deny the possibility. After all, Sarah and Lindsay didn’t turn against each other – they were too busy teaming up against Keith! Sarah went so far as to claim that Keith did not go home because of the shrimp, but because of his use of flour tortilla instead of corn tortilla for his enchilada. Last episode she had gotten into an argument with Keith over the enchiladas, but she did not reveal that to the group. Nyesha Arrington made the astute comment that all of a sudden, the completion got cutthroat.

Quickfire Challenge

Create a dish highlighting one chili pepper from a set. Chuy Valencia explains that the Scoville Scale measures how hot chili peppers are. Depending on how high on the scale the peppers are, the cheftestants could receive up to $20,000 furbished by Tasbaco brand sauces. Cheftestants were advised to find the balance of tasting the chili without destroying the palate. They were also given 30 minutes to cook.

Beverly Kim chose the Anaheim chili because it’s fresh and you can eat it raw. Smart decision, and yes, she did actually taste the chilies raw by taking a healthy bite out of them. Richie Farina felt apprehensive about the challenge because he does not like spice. Sarah and Lindsay were very buddy-buddy when competing against each other, asking if it was ok to use each other’s space. Makes sense, since they both recently teamed up to get Keith kicked out. Chris Jones wanted to go for the ghost chili, but decided to go for the Manzano chili since it’s a step lower. He claimed his stomach has issues with really spicy food. Perfectly understandable! Paul Qui decided to use the ghost pepper because, as he said, he was “in the bottom of the last competition.” Go Paul! I commend you for choosing to use the world’s spiciest pepper, good luck!

· Beverly Kim used Anaheim Chili to prepare Anaheim Chili Crudité with Samjang Paste.

· Sarah Grueneberg used the Fresno Chili to prepare Salmon Belly Seared with Fresno Chili Relish.

· Richard Farina used Fresno chili to prepare Fresno slaw with pineapple curd and seared bay scallops.

· Chris Jones used Manzano Chili to prepare Seared Chicken with Manzano Vinaigrette.

· Chris Crary used Thai chili to prepare coconut soup with Thai chili.

· Heather Terhune used Thai chili to prepare date and pistachio cous cous, pickled cucumbers, red onions and thai chili.

· Chuy Valencia used habañero chili to prepare sautéed scallop with achiote.

· Grayson Schmitz used habañero chili to prepare Habañero Popper with Cream Lime Sauce.

· Nyesha Arrington used habañero chili to prepare Baby Fennel & Rock Shrimp Salad with Orange Habañero Vinaigrette.

· Paul Qui used the Ghost Pepper Chili to prepare Chilled Coconut Soup with Kaffir Lime, Ghost Pepper Relish.

The least favorite dishes were Beverly’s, who didn’t cook the chili to change it or highlight it, Richard’s was too sweet and lost the power of the chili, and Chuy’s canned tomato overpowered the chili. The favorites were Heather’s, because the thai chili brought heat to it, Grayson, because she used a whole habañero and served it as a dish showcasing the chili, and Paul’s for using the most difficult chili and making it delicious. And the winner of the quickfire was Paul! For using the hottest chili he won $20,000 along with immunity.

Elimination Challenge

As promised by the title of this blog, the challenge was going to be a Chili Cook-Off. The cheftestants were separated into blue, white, red, green and black teams. Nyesha was not happy with her team because Richie has been on the bottom for the quickfire challenges, and Beverly is meek. Nyesha did not want to carry the team on her back. Chris C. was worried about being on a team with Sarah because he thinks her “interactions with Keith is what brought the team apart.” Cheftestants had all night to cook and had until 7pm the next day. They would serve over 200 cowboys and rodeo fans, who would judge their chili. Nyesha, Beverly and Richie had a plan of what each was going to take for cookware. It paid off amazingly as Heather screamed “oooh bitch, she took all the beer (referring to Nyesha).” A+ for planning Nyesha!

Tom surprised everyone when he walked into the house to ask what each team was cooking. He actually really freaked out Heather when he asked her if she was using peaches for her dish, but she wasn’t.

When it got late at night, and the chefs were getting delirious, Chris complained that Chuy was drinking too much beer, telling too many stories of his accomplishments, and too many stories of his dad inventing chili. Chris therefore dubbed Chuy “the most interesting man in the world.”

· Green Team (Sarah, Chuy, and Chris C.) Chili Con Carne.

· Red Team (Dakota, Whitney Otawka, and Chris J.) Braised Brisket & Short Rib Chili.

· Blue Team (Heather, Edward Lee, and Paul) Smoked Brisket Chili With Summer Pickles.

· Black Team (Nyesha, Beverly, and Richie) “Chili Mole” With Cornbread.

· White Team (Lindsay, Grayson, Ty-Lor Boring) Three Bean & Three Beef Chili Poblano.

As the judges deliberated, they claimed the black team was less successful (too sweet for chili). The Red team’s shredded meat wasn’t good. The White team had no heat in its chili.

Beverly once again started crying, this time because she missed her husband. That and the lack of sleep probably didn’t help either. Nyeasha was weirded-out because professional chefs don’t cry. Even though, on a personal level, Nyesha was compassionate she did not want to let her emotions show out of fear of being perceived as weak.

The green team won, most likely because they had someone from Texas. The black team lost, but had one last chance to prove themselves and were given 30 minutes to turn their losing chili into a winning dish. Now they were all competing against each other.

· Beverly prepared seared tuna with habañero creamed corn.

· Nyeasha prepared a frito-encrusted black tiger shrimp with roasted corn salsa.

· Richie prepared frito-encrusted pork tenderloin, potato hash and ricotta cheese chili puree.

Beverly’s was the favorite. Nyesha’s dish was nice, but didn’t go far enough. For Richie’s dish, imagination was no issue, but there was no acid or spice to it. Richie was asked to pack his knives. I felt so bad for him, he started crying for not being able to show what Moto can do. Being a great friend of Richie, Chris shed a tear for his pal. And now for Last Chance Kitchen, Richie gets to cook against Keith.