Chiles and Chili: The Most Obvious Episode of Top Chef: Texas Yet

Categories: TV

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Above is is how I imagine the initial planning meetings for Top Chef: Texas went. I'm also imagining future episodes where the contestants will be forced to shoot their own horses and grill them over a fire of cactus paddles. Let's go, Top Chef: Texas! DO THIS SHIT RIGHT.

Until then, we'll have to deal with tonight's episode, in which we're dealing with -- what else? -- chiles and chili.

This episode's Quickfire Challenge is a table of chili peppers. Each basket of chili peppers is assigned a dollar value, which I think ranges from lowest amount/least hot to highest amount/hottest. Or not. The camera cuts from scene to scene so quickly it's like I just snorted eight cups of espresso.

Wait -- the prize money comes courtesy of Tabasco? That shit's from Louisiana. Way to showcase Texan foods and culture, Top Chef: Texas and Texas tourism dollars.

Anyway, Beverly heads straight to the table and starts biting huge chunks out of the peppers. I really like her, as do I like Greyson, who has the chutzpah to serve an entire fried habanero pepper to the judges, who include previous Top Chef: Masters contestants Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, along with Padma.

The GE product placement shots are incredibly distracting and not at all subtle. It's just insulting. I'm actively going to avoid purchasing GE products in the future, despite all the goodwill they built up with me by allowing 30 Rock to continuously and mercilessly mock their company.

Paul Qui goes whole hog and takes the ghost pepper in the Quickfire Challenge, which comes with a $20,000 bounty, and he's nervous until the judges start talking about the "wimpy" chiles that other contestants wussed out with. Meanwhile, Chuy gets called out for using canned tomatoes -- as well he should have been.

Paul takes his fingers away from his mouth long enough, where he's nervously nibbling at them the whole time, to hear the judges' compliments on his dish. And, unsurprisingly, he wins. Go, Paul. We hear you're in it to win it, dude.

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Fig. A: Top Chef research material, Part I
Oh, and speaking of squandering goodwill earlier...Top Chef just squelched the goodwill that came with Paul's win by announcing that they're cooking CHILI AT A MOTHERFUCKING GODDAMNED RODEO WITH OVER 200 MOTHERFUCKING GODDAMNED COWBOYS.

I quit.

Because, seriously, if the rest of the episode is going to be contestants screaming at hapless Whole Foods employees (DAKOTA) and the bitchiest straight guy ever hating on my girl Sarah and one shitty stereotype after another, I am going to lose what little interest I had in this show to begin with.

Granted, I just judged a chili cook-off a few weeks ago, and then a wine competition at the rodeo. And a few weeks before that, I was at a rodeo in Henderson with my family. Hell, my first job out of college...was at a rodeo.

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Fig. B: Top Chef research material, Part 2
But that doesn't mean I like a TV show picking and choosing small, out-of-context portions of our larger lives in Texas and broadly papering them into stereotypes that only serve to portray Texans as the one-dimensional characters the rest of America already thinks we are...it gets under my skin. I mean, I get that this is what America wants to see, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. If I were to watch a show about Russia, for example, I'd want to see more than just vodka, fur hats and the Kremlin.

Anyway, I honestly can't understand why this cooking chili challenge is freaking out the contestants so much. It's not like Padma or Tom or Gail know what proper Texas chili should taste like anyway... The proper Texans on the show -- including the ones judging the chili at the rodeo -- at least point out that none of the chilis should have beans in them. Of all the chilis, the Black Team's mole-inspired chili sounds (and seems) the worst. But we'll have to see what the "cowboy judges" say.


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7 comments
Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

Just finished watching. Rainy days do have some merit to them. However this particular episode had me actually thinking about mowing the lawn. Anything to avoid the train wreck slowly developing before me. But like a train wreck, I couldn't look away.

No sense in really picking on the shit they threw in those pots and called Chili. That was done better by Katharine and MadMAc and by simply watching them cook and prep. But I must say - Peaches? Really? Isn't this the same idiot who massacred Tres Leches last week?

I must agree with everyone before me, the stereotypes are slowly growing old. I knew Richi was doomed the second he stenciled Yee-Haw on his James Coney Island hat. Rightfully so. Now if we can just rid ourselves of his compatriot, Chris, we get a double play. And while I'm at it - what the hell is it with the sunglasses he constantly has screwed to his head but never really wears? Does he take fashion tips from Fieri?

Chuy, I thought I was really going to side with you after last week. But when I saw you in those 1980's baby blue work-out shorts, that shit went South quick. I kinda was hoping your teammates were using that rope to tie your ass up and throw you in the pool.

Padma, you still look sexy even if you can't ride a horse.

Spoetzel, Do you really need the exposure?

And for smoking a brisket over an outdoor fireplace and on a propane grill all of you deserve to be put in a chute and sent out in that rodeo arena to be steer wrestled. And then have your fucking pants pulled down and branded.

On a happy note - next week we get John Besh. Every time I think of Dallas he's the first name that comes to my mind. I guess Tim Love was booked on the Food Network. TA

Ed T.
Ed T.

Brisket in chili? Shredded meat!? SRSLY? That must have made some nasty-ass chili! And, what was this nonsense about "extracting flavor from the meat by slow-smoking it"? Chili is about taking crappy meat and cooking the hell out of it in a spicy sauce, until it has (a) fully cooked and (b) disintegrated. I mean, outside of "competition" chili, you grind up whatever meat you have, sear that, then dump it in the pot!

(The above is MHO. YMMV, and other acronyms.)I think the Elves really need to do a better job of research.And, I noticed that "Tabasco" product placement... er, sponsorship. It isn't like they couldn't have found a Texas source for hot sauce. But, better Louisiana than New York or some place like that...

~EdT.

MadMac
MadMac

You know, I watched last night's episode with your article in mind Ms. Shilcutt. Taking notes, (well, I would have if I could've got my lazy butt off the couch to get a note pad/pen) and constructing arguments against your jaded, cynical reporter's mien. Sadly I can't really pick a fight with anything you typed here. So, I'll quibble.

"It's not like Padma or Tom or Gail know what proper Texas chili should taste like anyway..."No kidding, I saw that brisket chili that everyone hated in an issue of Bon Appetit.

Maybe Princess Padma was uncomfortable because she was worried that Alpo the pony was about to drop dead. That horse looked older than my mother. I swear that thing limped on it's orthopedic horse shoes.

I like Nyesha, too, (no need for my Mrs. to know that) but anyone that touched Fritos shouldn't still be here or there or wherever.

Oh, and "and the bitchiest straight guy ever hating on my girl Sarah..." he's straight? Really, cause isn't he the same one with a stiffy for John Besh?

I didn't hate the GE/Toyota/Tobasco placement as much as you did, Pimping Ain't Easy, (Too Short ain't dead, damnit!). The minivan is like product-placement karma on these cool kids.

BTW, did you notice the grimaces on Padma, Susan, and Tom's faces while they pretended to drink the Shiner?

Is Sarah the chick from Houston? That called it a "cowgirl" hat? My CATTLEMEN uncles would've boxed her ears for perpetuating that ridiculous terminology. 

Your best comments was, "But that doesn't mean I like a TV show picking and choosing small, out-of-context portions of our larger lives in Texas and broadly papering them into stereotypes that only serve to portray Texans as the one-dimensional characters the rest of America already thinks we are..."

My Mrs., the college educated, healthcare professional subjects me to reality TV as a term of her good company and this (exploited/reinforced stereotypes) is what I rail against in most reality TV, (in regards to the depictions of women and minorities) and why TC is the only reality TV I voluntarily watch. 

I sincerely appreciate that you pointed this out in a way that's accessable to most folks. Now, after our ABC-After-School moment, we call agree that mole chili sounded like ass.

MadMac
MadMac

Completely forgot about the peaches. Good catch. I can't wait for Besh; though I'm not as enthusiastic (sp?) as Chris. Just saying.

MadMac
MadMac

Better, yes. Willing to pay Bravo's excessive fees? Probably not. In fairness to the contestants, (on the chili anyway) they over thought a simple dish prone to regional variations. That stated, I don't remember a sausage contest in TC Chicago, or a buffet competion in TC Las Vegas, or a let's-make-food-taste-like-shit throw down in TC New York. Kidding.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

This kind of idiot is what bugs me about insisting upon themselves.  If you you were being ironic, let me know.  Otherwise, ironically, bugger off.

MadMac
MadMac

Uh, yeah. Say, FFB, if you have a point, you know, one that makes sense to the people outside of your head, let me know. Otherwise, take your Seroquel EVERY day for optimal efficacy.

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