Top Chef: Texas Recap

By David Mumpower

December 6, 2011

You can tell by the face that he didn't win.

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Previously on Top Chef, a very nice young man with tragically terrible hair was eliminated from the competition. We like Richie Farina, the pride of Moto, quite well and hope that he does well in life. We will not miss the skunk-head look, though. Also, most of the cast got drunk and Beverly cried. The former was much more entertaining than the latter. Tonight’s episode promises to be another instance of teardom, and I am not looking forward to it.

Still at the rodeo, the chefs are still exhausted from the chili cook-off and its aftermath, Padma walks over to them. She displeases many of the mentally fatigued competitors by informing them that they will be making their way to Dallas for the next round of Top Chef. It is readily apparent that the thought of a good day of recovery at their “home” had kept many of them going over the past few hours. Now, they don’t even have that. A night of sleep is all that separates them from hitting the road. Edward is so homesick that he takes his pillow with him for the trip.

Now that the herd is thinning a bit, the road trip provides an opportunity to define the chefs a bit more. Edward reveals that he has been happily married for a year (his wife is stunning). Ty has a boyfriend and swears a lot, even to me, a frequent X-Box Live player. Heather worries about car sickness issues since she has a brother who throws up on her a lot. I guess it makes sense in context, at least to her. “Beautiful Chris” (Chuy’s term, not mine) reveals that he recently lost 70 pounds in two years after a picture of him led to teasing from friends who called him “Fatty”. The other thing I will note about Chris is that he seems to flirt with anything that moves. Chuy and Lindsay have both noticed.


As if anticipating my column months in advance, Chris arrives at the destination, a cornfield, and immediately starts to fixate on the attractiveness of John Besh, the guest judge for the week. Sidenote: Chris must have non-alcoholic beer goggles. John Besh is not “a handsome man” as he states. I guess “Beautiful Chris” likes potential sugar mommies and daddies.

After the 14 remaining players reach the cornfield, Padma informs them of their plight. They will be cooking outdoors and their ingredients will be the survival kits in the hatchback of their cars. The chef who wins will win $5,000 and immunity; all 14 dishes will be terrible. We saw this toward the end of Top Chef All-Stars when Richard Blais tried to use something similar to spruce up his dish. It…didn’t work.

The most aggressive move during the Quickfire challenge comes from Moto Chris. He sprints headfirst into the cornfield, a huge no-no in any horror movie, and finds “fresh corn”. His idea is that by utilizing the environment in his dish, he will impress the judges with his creativity. Clever. Alas, the plan falls apart the moment he realizes he has dry corn that is inedible. He decides to use the corn husk for presentation purposes instead. Everyone else realizes that their meal choices are just as inedible. I would not want to be a judge for this. I think the product placement is sponsored by ptomaine.

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