Top Chef Texas, Week 9: Things You Don't Say

The cheftestants are smoking. Literally.

That joke isn't funny anymore.
That joke isn't funny anymore. (by BravoTV.com)

Previously on Top Chef: Heather is eliminated. No one is sad. Later, in their Driskill digs, Ed smack-talks Heather because she achieved success twice thanks to his genoise recipe. Sarah is not impressed, introducing a layer of tension between the two. This will be important later.

Room service arrives with a set of the Modernist Cuisine cookbooks (list price $625) and instructions from Padma that the Quickfire the next morning will be inspired by the books. Naturally, Beverly and her tattoos stay up all night studying the tomes. The next morning, she splatters curry foam all over Padma and the professorial co-author of the series Nathan Myhrvold. Sweet. Chicago Chris interprets “modernist” cuisine as using a miracle berry to alter the flavors of the food. Whatever. Miracle berries are so 2009. Paul Qui rightly talking heads that it’s a gimmick, but maybe that’s some ugly bitter buildup from landing in the bottom of the Quickfire?

On top: Chicago Chris and his miracle berry, Sarah and her egg ravioli, Ty-Lor and his watermelon and magical olive oil. Ty-Lor wins, and we all wonder how in the hell he’s going to get that behemoth cookbook collection home. Can he check that with his luggage? Does it count as a carry-on?

Padma announces that the Elimination Challenge is “the most traditional Texas food,” barbecue. (I seriously, seriously beg to differ on this point. While barbecue is certainly a central part of Texan foodways, to call it “the most traditional” food of Texas is to elide a troubled racial history connected to slavery and cotton culture and exploitation of workers, as well as completely ignoring Native Americans’ presence in Texas, as well as the cultural flows that pre-date barbecue, which brought Spanish, Mexican, Czech, and German foodways with them. What I’m saying is: KOLACHE CHALLENGE, MOFOS!!!!)

A barbecue challenge! Everyone squeals! “I love grilling!” Sarah squees. Ahem. A word, Sarah. We’ll be revoking your spurious claims to Texan heritage now, thank you.

Oh, look. The Salt Lick. “The best barbecue in Texas.” Ahem. A word, Top Chef. And that word is NO. Moving on. And a word about that pit: If you think that the meat you eat at the Salt Lick is cooked on that big pit in the main dining room, you are fooling yourself. That is a finishing pit. And true Texas barbecue isn’t swabbed/drenched with sauce (sacrilege!!!!) during cooking/finishing/plating. True Texas barbecue needs no sauce. Amen.

In yet another overnight stunt, the cheftestants must cook overnight for 300 people, with small-scale replicas of the main pit to “cook” on. They have caravans in which to cook/sleep. (As if.) This whole season is just one stunt after another, and it’s getting tiresome. Bev sets some bourbon on fire in one of the caravans, then nonchalantly stirs a pot on the stove, then takes the burning pan outside and sets it in the grass to burn, whapping it flaccidly with a towel. Ye gods, someone get this woman a brain. “Beverly is really book smart, but when it comes to common sense, she’s missing a few chapters,” says Formerly Fat Chris. Well done, Chris. Beauty and brains! You truly are the complete package.

Blue team (Paul, Lindsay, Grayson): Asian-style barbecue. White team (Chicago Chris, Formerly Fat Chris, Bev): beer-can chicken, Dr. Pepper ribs, crunchy beans. Red team (Sarah, Ed, Ty-Lor): Texas, Kentucky, Kansas City barbecue styles. Tom comes to do his sniff and sneer and Grayson tells Tom that they haven’t slept, then tells him that their barbecue will be like “sex in the mouth.” That's what she said?! (*weeps*)

Sarah’s heatstroke happens. Ambulances happen. Service happens. Ed’s meltdown happens; basically, if Sarah is not dead, she should be there with her team. I sort of agree. I worked at the Salt Lick my senior year in high school, before they had air conditioning, clad head-to-to in denim and bandannas. It was hot and it sucked, but you sacked up and did your job. Ty-Lor says “plate strokes.” Hee hee. Eating happens. Music happens. Judging happens. White team wins; this brings Paul Qui’s prize kitty to $35,000. Sarah’s grilled chicken didn’t taste like barbecue (go figure). Ty-Lor’s ribs were rubbery. Ed’s brisket was DOA. Chicago Chris wore an assholish t-shirt reading “I Eat Vegans.” Bev’s coleslaw was too traditional and didn’t show the judges who she was as a chef. (WTF? It’s coleslaw. It’s hard to have a point of view with fucking coleslaw.) Formerly Fat Chris’s Dr. Pepper-coffee ribs (that’s a totally legit rub, by the way) are apparently too salty, but my informants from the Salt Lick taping report that they were delicious. So long, beautiful, slender Chris. Who will Grayson rub up against in her sleepless delirium now?

Next week: Restaurant wars, boys v. girls. Snoooze.

Last Chance Kitchen: Nyesha retains her death-grip on her Top Chef jacket, knocking out FF Chris in a convenience store battle.

Sign up for the Chronicle Cooking newsletter

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

If you want to submit a recipe, send it to food@austinchronicle.com

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Top Chef
SXSWi Panel Recap: Top Chef: How Transmedia is Changing TV
SXSWi Panel Recap: Top Chef: How Transmedia is Changing TV
Bravo gadfly Andy Cohen brings Watch What Happens Live to SXSW.

Melanie Haupt, March 10, 2012

Top Chef Texas, The Finale. Finally.
Top Chef Texas, The Finale. Finally.
Whose cuisine will reign supreme?

Melanie Haupt, March 6, 2012

More by Melanie Haupt
Desert Door Distillery Rolls Out Large Hand Sanitizer Production
Desert Door Distillery Rolls Out Large Hand Sanitizer Production
Local sotol makers offer the critical commodity free of cost

March 20, 2020

Tibetan Dumplings Shine at Yak & Yeti in Cedar Park
Tibetan Dumplings Shine at Yak & Yeti in Cedar Park
Dishes for sharing (or not) at this tiny Nepalese restaurant

Feb. 14, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Top Chef

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle