Snakes on a Plate: The Top Chef Texas recap

It’s incredibly obvious that Beverly is either a really big Journey fan (“Don’t Stop Believin’!”) or that she has read—and possibly memorized—that Oprah-powered paean to blind optimism, The Secret.

Because last week, she was all “I can, I must, I will!” and this week she has a sign over her bed that reads: “Congratulations, Top Chef Beverly Kim!”

Must be awkward for her roommates.

Anyway, up until this point, the show has been fun, but has seemed a bit like throat-clearing, right? An amuse bouche, if you will. 

Now we’re really in the thick of it. We’ve got our 16 finalists, and I even know some of their names!

(Although, quite literally, as the show ended, I saw some chick allegedly on the Green Team and I had no idea what her name was, what she had cooked, and whether she was some sort of Borat-like imposter or if she was an actual contestant on the actual show).

(Edited to add: It was the riveting and unforgettable Whitney Otawka.  . . .).

Also, speaking of names, I’m extremely annoyed that I have to create a special little macro on my damn computer just so I can do a one-click typing of Ty-lör Boring’s name. (Or should I just call him Ty? That’s so ugly American of me. But then again, I don’t think his name is European. I think it’s from the region of Pretentioustan.)

Quickfire time: Padma is standing there with Chef Johnny Hernandez of La Gloria and a bunch of rattlesnakes.

“I don’t like snakes,” says the ginormous Keith Rhodes. He really meets both the criteria for “Gentle Giant.”

As for Dakota Weiss, who is not my sister—my actual sister’s name is Carolina Weiss—she is really not a fan of snakes.

“I have this massive fear of snakes. Slithering and coiling and ewww.” Geez, when you put it like that, ’Kotes. . .

“When the time is up, I better see some motherf*cking snakes on some motherf*cking plates,” says Padma, inexplicably channeling Samuel L. Jackson from Snakes on a Plane (Snakes on a Plate?).

Everybody has a little wooden box in front of them and—good Lord, are there going to be live rattlesnakes in those boxes?

(If so, and if Edward gets stung, he will have someone suck out the deadly venom as he continues to cook). (After last week’s wound-be-damned heroics, Edward has at least temporarily graduated from “Unsteady Jaw Guy” to  “Chuck Norris in an Apron” guy . .  .).

Anyway, they open the boxes and. . .psych! The rattlesnakes are already dead. (Or maybe they were just frightened to death by all the tattoos?). But still tricky to cook.

Surprise! In an hisstorical upset (sorry), Dakota Fanning Weiss (yeah, I’ve done that about 3 times already) wins the Quickfire—and immunity—with her fried rattlesnake fritters.

If she keeps this up, I may have to search for some sort of genealogical connection.

It’s time for the Elimination Challenge. The contestants are divided into two teams: The Green Team and the Pink Team.

“You’ll be creating a meal for a very important event.”
And in walks in
  . . . a very cute, very unassuming, very unfamiliar 15-year-old girl.
“Hey,” she says.

The contestants exchange looks: Is she some bigwig on the Disney Channel they are just not aware of? Has she created a viral video—“Viernes” perhaps?—that has made her a beloved/reviled YouTube sensation?

Nope, she’s just Blanca Flores, a cute kid having a Quinceañera—or a big 15th birthday party.

The teams will compete to make the best upscale Mexican food for the party including a—gasp!—birthday cake.

Luckily, Dakota has immunity, so she can sacrifice herself to the cake gods for the Pink Team (and create a cake so tacky it looks like My Little Pony threw up on it). Meanwhile, Heather, from the Green Team, used to be a pastry chef (apparently in a region with no gravity, but more on that later), so she can leche it up with the best of them. Done and done.

Cutie-patootie Blanca huddles with the teams and tells them what she likes (napa cabbage leaves) and what she doesn’t like (too much spice).

The Green Team definitely has an advantage because Chuy is on their side. He is Mexican, and although boys don’t get Quinceañeras where he comes from—“they’re just taught to kill a goat,” he sighs—at least he
knows the difference between corn and flour tortillas. 

I think the teams go like this (don’t shoot me if I’m wrong): 

Pink Team:

Bossypants Lindsay and her undersecretary of Bossiness Sarah.

Plus “Gentle Giant” Keith; Ty-lör  “You can call me Ty” Boring; Nyesha “hoping to get a speaking part in future episodes” Arrington; Chris “Not People’s sexiest man alive”  Crary; Dakota “not maxthegirl’s sister” Weiss; and Whitney “even I’m not sure who I am” Otakwa. 

Green Team:

Chuy “the goat murderer” Valencia; Chris “just call me the Skipper” Jones; Richie “but don’t call me Gilligan” Farina; Beverly “I think I can, I think I can” Kim; Paul “Keep on (food) Truckin’” Qui; Edward “Chuck Norris Fears My Jaw” Lee; Heather “Leaning Tower of Leche” Terhune, and Grayson “Is it Tequila o’Clock yet?”  Schmitz.

So Pink Team’s Keith makes the horrible mistake of purchasing cooked shrimp for the shrimp cocktail and Lindsay and Sarah really let him have it. 

Who would buy cooked shrimp in a cooking competition?” says Sarah. “The point is to cook the shrimp!”

 (Okay, fair enough. But by that logic, why did they buy premade tortillas, too? Isn’t the point to cook the tortillas? But I digress.)

There’s too much food to go into specific detail—especially since, let’s face it, this blog is really more about the “making fun of people” than it is about the “food”—but some of that shit looked delicious:

Exhibit A: Delicious looking shit (Beverly’s Beef Short Rib Asada with Pina Kimchi):

Still, there are some duds,  mostly on the Pink Team:

Ty’s boring fritters (heh). Keith’s enchilada that was actually a burrito. Lindsay and Sarah’s surprisingly bland conchita pibil (pork). And Dakota’s cake that was apparently as sickening to eat as it was to look at:


Over on Team Green, most things are great, except for Heather’s tres leches cake, which a strong gust of wind away from being a total party foul.

Aaaand. . .The Green Team wins! No surprise there. (But there is no individual winner? Isn’t that unusual? Is it just sort of Chuy by default? I’m a bit confused.)

From the Pink Team, Keith, Lindsay, Sarah, and Ty are asked to go in front of the judges.

Keith smells something coming and it’s the exhaust fumes from bus that he’s about to be thrown under.

It’s actualy funny to watch Sarah and Lindsay fight for their lives because they are both obviously very talented and very confident and have massive chips on their shoulders and are pretty much FREAKING OUT at the prospect of possibly going home first.

I mean, I think I actually see smoke coming out of Lindsay’s nostrils at one point.

But yeah, it’s blame Keith for everything time.

Your fritter sucked? It’s because Keith bought cooked shrimp.

Your pork was underseasoned? It’s because Keith used flour tortillas.

You got a late fee on your credit card? Keith’s fault.

You get the point.

That being said, Keith’s default excuse was “nobody told me not to”—which would make sense of this show was Top Chef: Apprentice. But it’s Top Chef and dude should’ve known not to buy cooked shrimp and he should’ve known not to use flour tortillas.

So he goes home. But  he still sees it as a triumphant story of man conquering adversity.

“Dream big, dream hard because dreams come true and I’m a testimony to that—peace,” he says.

Apparently, the size of a man’s dream can not be measured by the size of his. . .chef’s coat. Keith really should’ve hung out with Beverly so he could dream a little bigger.

5 thoughts on “Snakes on a Plate: The Top Chef Texas recap

  1. Did you notice how Beverly manhandled the meat section? “I'm sorry everyone, but I need attention here. Mine is the important dish!!” I have a feeling things are going to get interesting with her later on…

  2. Yes! I totally had that in my notes but forgot to write about it. In her own way, Beverly is as bad-ass as Edward!

  3. So glad you're doing recaps! It makes watching the show much more fun. As for Keith, while I can sympathize with him for feeling like he was being blamed for everything, I agree with you. As a chef, he shouldn't have to be told not to buy cooked shrimp, and flour tortillas. I consider myself one of the worst cooks around, and even I wouldn't buy cooked shrimp for the very few seafood dishes I attempt to make.

    I'm going through a divorce right now, and I think Beverly is going to be my role model when it comes to being assertive, and trying to visualize the positive. She's fun. She could also seriously annoy her fellow chefs. Yikes.

  4. Am totally making a video for “Viernes” now! I can make this work.

    Did I mention that I went as “Friday” for Halloween? Fun! Fun! Fun! Paryin'! Partyin'! Partyin'!

  5. @Beth: Yes, Beverly's fierce combination of skillz, self-help platitudes, and Whole Foods domination makes her force to be reckoned with (and good role model!)

    @Cliff: Yay! Someone got the Viernes joke!

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