The dust of more than a dozen would-be cheftestants hauling it back to where they came from has finally cleared, and now it's time to really start the new season of Top Chef: Texas. The show promises to move around the state, but for now we're stationed in the Alamo (which, according to Pee-Wee Herman, has no basement).
The cheftestants walk into the kitchen for their first real quickfire challenge, where they're met by Padma, a big aquarium, and a bunch of wood boxes with air holes. The boxes are too small to house a longhorn steer, so what other Texas varmint could be holed up in the container? Armadillo?
Padma says the ingredient of the day is rattlesnake. Guest judge Johnny
Hernandez tells the cheftestants that he serves 700 to 800 pounds of the
venomous critter every year. Padma tells the gang that their
ingredients are in the boxes in front of them and that she had "better
see some motherf**king snakes on some motherf**king plates." Every time
a hot woman says f**k, an angel gets his wings. It's written either in
the Bible or in Ron Jeremy's memoirs. Can't remember which.
Anyway, the cheftestants open the boxes to find dead, skinned snakes.
What's the fun in that? If you're going to eliminate contestants, let's
just kill them off instead of sending them home. We're thinking that
each week, the cheftestants have to fight a different lethal animal in
order to cook it. Snakes, Cape buffalo, bear, moose -- the list is virtually endless. Hey, it worked for the ancient Romans. That Colosseum was
booked solid every night.
The cheftestants work their magic with the snake. We've got jerk snake,
adobo snake, snake fondue (ewww), but in the end, when you don't know
what in hell to do with a questionable protein, dip it in beer batter
and fry the sucker. Which is what Dakota did, winning her $5,000 and
The cheftestants draw knives and are split into two teams, pink and green. They meet little 15-year-old
Blanca Flores, who is having her quinceañera. Chuy explains the quinceañera is a
beautiful Mexican coming-of-age celebration that girls have when they turn 15.
The boys? They get to slaughter a goat. This is the third
goat-slaughtering reference by Chuy thus far in the evening. More to
come, we assure you.
Blanca meets with the teams. When they ask her
what she likes to eat, she mentions goat. All right! Chuy volunteers to
make some goat. Because, ya know, that's what he does. Kill goats with
his bare hands and cook them.
The cheftestants are sent shopping, and they act like they've never been
to a market before. Green team's Beverly starts yelling for a butcher. "I know that
there are people waiting, but I'm important and I need a butcher now."
The pink team does a bang-up job shopping. They buy frozen shrimp, boxed
cake mix, and store-bought flour tortillas. Heinous crime. Apparently
they forgot that this is not an episode of Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee.
Back in the kitchen, south Florida's very own Lindsay Autry says she's
got this in the bag because she spent time in Mexico with Michelle
Bernstein. Then she unpacks the supplies that Keith Rhodes bought -
frozen pre-cooked shrimp, pre-made flour tortillas, and canned shit. Hey
Lindsay - the first rule of survival is always pack your own parachute. Just saying.
The quinceanera is here and Blanca is wearing my old wedding dress.
Between mariachis playing and people dancing, Blanca is a pretty damn
good food critic. Wonder if she has her own food blog... "I can't taste
the avocado in the avocado fritter", she notes. "The chicharron could be
crispier." Chuy is right. Tonight, Blanca becomes a woman. And, as a woman, she already knows the disappointment of being served crappy food at a catered affair.
Hugh Acheson is appalled by the short cuts the cheftestants took.
Pre-made cakes and tortillas are not the stuff top chefs are made of.
The pink team is on the chopping block. Cheftestants Sarah, Lindsay,
Ty-Lor, and Keith are up for elimination. Keith says he was thrown
under the bus and Sarah was behind the wheel. Sarah says that he bought
frozen shrimp. Bingo!
Hugh Acheson tells Keith that since he used a flour
tortilla in his enchilada, he technically made a burrito. Bingo!
Keith says that he's never heard of a corn tortilla. Game over. Keith is
sent packing. Keith, who reminds us that he was nominated for a James
Beard (I didn't know there was a category for best frozen seafood
entree), tells us to "dream big, dream hard, because dreams come true".
We hope his dream was to be the first contestant to be thrown off a
cable television cooking show.
Next week: Padma on a horse, a chili cook-off at a rodeo, and a lot of crying.
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