Of Rattlesnakes and Quinceañeras: Top Chef: Texas

Categories: TV

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It turns out that wearing orange Crocs does not, in fact, give you Mario Batali's superpowers.
This is the time at which I should point out that I don't have a DVR and in fact only recently got cable (which is awesome and, whoa, so many episodes of House Hunters!). That means that each week at 9 p.m., I quit whatever awesome thing I'm doing and come back to my 430-square-foot apartment to watch Top Chef: Texas on my TV with no remote control and a tenuous Internet connection.

Tonight's awesome thing that I left was a mead dinner by two of my favorite chefs. A dinner that featured an entire roasted cow femur -- a veritable marrow trough -- and a dinner which I had to quit before the whole roasted suckling pig was even presented. At least I had the marrow...

I called my mother as I raced from the dinner back home to see if I was missing anything important. Her response: "Meh. They're doing something with snake."

Me: "What kind of snake? Rattlesnake?"

Mother: "Yeah, I guess. Whatever. It's Texas, so you know it's probably rattlesnake."

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Remember this: It's what a normal tres leches cake looks like.
Home, finally, and it looks like Dakota won the Quickfire competition -- the one with the rattlesnake -- and is granted immunity for the episode's larger challenge. And now the contestants are being told that they're cooking for some VIPs. It turns out that it's a quinceañera and some guy yells "Orale!" Ay, digame, brother! This quince is "expecting elegant Mexican cuisine" and I'm thinking, you clearly did not attend the same quinceañeras that I did growing up. The chefs are divided into two teams and given 30 minutes to create a menu.

Heather throws out tres leches as a dessert option -- nice. But the nearly-15-year-old wants cabrito, too. ALSO NICE. She tells the chefs that her favorite Mexican food is cochinita pibil and I'm really pleased to see all three of these dishes represented on this show.

The teams take their $1,500 budgets and head to two different semi-upscale grocery stores. One of the teams is asking for stuff in Spanish at the seafood counter and one of them is rightly freaking out that they're having to get store-bought tortillas. Again, seems right so far.

The Pink Team's menu contains some dishes that sound like they have potential, except that the entire thing is derailed by the discovery that their shrimp are pre-cooked and frozen. The team is pissed at Keith, who clearly thought that buying pre-cooked shrimp was the solution here, time constraints and all. Big mistake. Big. Huge! He's mad that one of the lady chefs is "talking shit" about him, but all I hear is regular, frustrated kitchen talk that happens when someone fucks up a major ingredient. That's to be expected, Keith.

"I'm the resident Mexican of the bunch," says Chuy. It pains me that Chuy (CHUY) is the token Mexican in a cooking show about Texas. I don't need to say that Mexicans and Mexican cooking are the freaking backbone of our state, right? Okay.

Keith is still pissing me off because he's attempting to cook a meal by committee, which is as terrible an idea as they come when you're under the gun and need to make swift, decisive choices. Someone has to step up; a kitchen isn't a fucking democracy when you're in the middle of service. This complaint should have been voiced earlier on when the menu itself was still being created.

He and Lindsey and Sarah all want to be the boss, which is not sitting well with the other team members. But you know what? You're all gonna be done and off y'all's damn pink and green teams in less than three hours, so TOUGH IT OUT.


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21 comments
Ali
Ali

Katherine, you clearly need to stop reviewing food and start review cooking shows instead. I felt like we were sitting on your couch, drinking margaritas and yelling at the tv together. I want to give you, like, a million high-5's right now.

MadMac
MadMac

"I never expected the show to be this tedious."

Not as tedious as the snark content of this article. Maybe you should ask the good editor to pass this assignment off to some one who wants to do it.

Kelly Cousins Adams
Kelly Cousins Adams

I was originally boycotting this season of Top Chef for snubbing Houston (typical), but decided to catch the reruns today. I should have stuck with my boycott... rattlesnake and a quince? Really? And if you're going to go with the whole Texas stereotype thing, at least get your shit right... you should be punched in the face for trying to make enchiladas with STORE BOUGHT FLOUR TORTILLAS. Gross. And don't even get me started on that "Tres Leches." Sad, on so many levels.

Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

Finally got to watch it last night. What a clusterfuck just looking for a place to land. I have been able to watch all previous seasons of Top Chef in happy oblivion - Liquid Nitrogen as a cooking utensil? What the Hell is that about? But Richard Blais is my new hero. However I really am getting weary of these idiots trying to throw in every stereotype ever created about Texas into each episode. Rattlesnake? Seriously? This is the best we could think of for our first Texas themed quickfire? Are tacos being saved for the finale? Who the fuck eats rattlesnake as frequently as the shows guest judge stated? All I can say is I pity my poor soul when these Fuckflakes tackle chili next week. I predict a sushi inspired chili and someone is going to use beans. Shoot me now, Please.TA

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

A few points:Tex-Mex is ONE of the backbones of Texas cuisine.  Not cochinita pibil.  Not Mole sauce.  Not cabrito.  Not chicharonns.  Not huaraches.  Not anything Mex-Mex.  Not by a loooong shot.  The other two being BBQ and chili, which will no doubt be coming up as this thing is nearly racist with all of the "Texas" stereotypes.

Also, Dakota made the freaky rainbow clown cake.  It was Heather who made the Tres Leche.

Finally, Keith should've called it an Enchirito and been done with it.

Erin Rodriquez Gilbert
Erin Rodriquez Gilbert

Btw...for those who don't know, using flour tortillas to make enchiladas is pure BLASPHEMY!!!!!  (and grounds to be deported out of our great state of Texas.)

Raf
Raf

"Fuck fuck fucking fuck fucking fuck fuck."

Okay, then.

GUest
GUest

$15,000 budget?

Brendamcnary
Brendamcnary

Why is it that all the black chefs go first even when some of the other chefs do worst. Last night was a good example. I have watched every season up until you judge unfairly.

MadMac
MadMac

I like your take on this episode. You clearly like the show but you can still be critical of the content, (rattlesnake, who the fuck but tourists and assholes eats this?) and best of all I don't have to know anything about how big a pain this article is on your social schedule.

Big ups on Richard Blais. My favorite remains Kevin Gillespie from season six, he did some fantastic cooking. I just remembered a line from "Bitchin' Kitchen," (I know, I only admit to watch it here, where my Mrs. won't know) that applies to the snake. Nadia, the host, says her ancestors didn't come on all the way from Italy, 51 days on a boat to eat mule gizzards. That's kinda how I feel about any type of reptile or rodent. My ancestors came from Ireland and ate squirrel, rabbit, and guts of all kinds. Then they made/stole money and bought MEAT, from cows and shit.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Welcome to the Houston Press! Let me show you around. Make yourself comfortable.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Oh, for God's sake. I really need to drink some coffee before I recap these shows...Fixing now.

MadMac
MadMac

I dunno, Brendamcnary, I've watched from the begining as well and while I'll say some of the black chefs were sent home unfairly, (Tre comes immediately to mind) they're seldom sent home first. Nimma, from season four was sent home in the first round but she seemed as in over her head as Clay, (the first chef sent home in season three).

Oh, Laurie, I do think if Cliff Crooks had "suddenly turned white," he would've had a longer stay on season two. Instead, they cast him as the scarry black man and dropped him. 

Laurie
Laurie

This is total hooey. Some of my favorite chefs (that mind you have gone far on this show) are Carla, Tiffany and Tre. When did they suddenly turn white?

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

It was my default "Texas chef with a rattlesnake" picture when I was trying to wrangle up some art last night. I was tired.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

....and I've removed it now and put in something more appropriate.  :)

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Remember the part where I said I was tired? I actually confused an eel with a rattlesnake. Yeah.

Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

For the record. I wouldn't file it under "Texas Chef with a rattlesnake". It appeared he was holding a mackerel maybe. But it was a fish. I'm just sayin'....

Anyway. I will watch the episode tonight and read the review tomorrow. Should be fun.TA

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