Since your favorite whiskey-swilling food critic cut off her cable and can't watch the show, I'm here to recap "Top Chef" for her. For us. I'm more of a wine drinker than a whiskey drinker, so if these recaps end up sounding a little too sexually confident, you'll know why. And when I fall asleep in the middle of a post, you'll also know why.
Speaking of sexy, when did Tom Colicchio start modeling for JC Penney?
"Top Chef" got its requisite Texas stereotyping outta the way quick with a montage including a Texas state flag, neon boot sign, "Don't Mess With Texas" sign, actual boots, and ginormous steer horns attached to the hood of a car before arriving at San Antonio's culinary heart, the Alamo.
It's a pig feast! A rabbit feast! It's a blood bath!
The competition starts with 29 people who are somehow broken up into various groups sent in to the kitchen where they will cook to earn their "Top Chef" blues. Padma explains with Padma logic (requires lots of Pantene Pro-V and zero sense of humor) how chefs will be judged based on a 2/3 majority: It's either pass, fail or "the bubble." What? You've never heard of being "on the bubble?" Oh. Sorry. It's just this phrase Padma uses, like, all the time. I can't believe you've never heard of it. That's so funny. Well, anyway, it just means that you don't suck enough, not yet at least, to get kicked off. Or that you don't have enough tattoos, according to Janine. So the solution is simple. Either cook better or draw on a tattoo with a Sharpie and you'll get a coat and be able to cook along side Ty-Lör. No, not Tyler, that douchebag who destroyed Grayson's tenderloin and got kicked off without even cooking - a "Top Chef" first I can get behind! (Colicchio: "There's just no tenderloin left. That's just really fucked up. That's a good lesson. Don't ever trust anyone.") No, I'm talking about Ty-Lör with an umlaut. Ty-Lör who has "stah-ged" with the best. Ty-Lör whose mustache was the model for every horrible mustache accessory currently being sold on Etsy.
I don't totally hate him. YET. On principle, (and I'm referring to the principle of umlauts here), I think we pretty much have to, though. Also, his last name is actually "Boring." Really. I'm pretty sure Bravo made him up.
Still, 10:12 p.m. and we've already got one elimination. I always knew these episodes didn't need to be an hour. So far, it's like speed dating, and I'm judging people fast. Nyesha is hot. She'll probably stay. Simon learned to cook on YouTube? Ehhhhh, not feeling too good about that one. Is there a law in Chicago that requires chefs to wear pink bandanas? Oh Colin, you work at a vegan restaurant? In Seattle? Well, that's just cruel. They totally set you up there. Toodles. I like Keith.
Janine calls the sight of the judges upon entering the kitchen "breathtaking...like being in a wax museum" (except at Madame Tussaud's there's Johnny Depp instead of Gail Simmons) and Chuy tells a terrifying story about killing his sister's pet rabbits and forcing her eat to them. The kid's got talent, though. We'll watch and see what he can do.
Colicchio gives the chefs a chance to brag a little during the self introductions before making them all look like assholes. Janine and Chris both refer to themselves as "Culinary Artists." (Which reminds me, from now on when you and your friends are talking about my recaps, please refer to me as a "Lexical Artisan.") When Whitney introduces herself to the gang, she mentions being named one of the "Top 5 Chefs to Watch in Atlanta 2011." I believe you were referring to THIS, Whitney?
By the end of the hour, I wasn't really sure how many people we went through, but know that there are 11 who've received their "Top Chef" blues, a couple of un-tattoo-ed freaks on the bubble, and a handful of other chefs-in-waiting. At least we got to see the two contestants from Atlanta-ish, Whitney and Janine. Next week, Hugh Acheson will complete the Top Chef season 9 Georgia trifecta.
Until then, here's Fabio's Domino's commercial to help remind you why we all watch this show in the first place.
@TheGorgeousJR: "[It is] very inexpensive; we sell it at the shop. You can get it…
Where can you buy caul fat?
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Love pork belly.
Some food just doesn't photograph well, even if it is tasty.
Nothing wrong with grease on the walls if the burger is tasty.