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Another episode, another great set of challenges I thought that the Quickfire Challenge was clever and gave viewers insights into the way this season’s chefs think. While it wound up paying off for Paul to shoot the moon by working with the Ghost chili, he and some of the other chefs were mistaken to think that the hotter the pepper, the more challenging the task of highlighting it. I thought that while it ultimately seems that Beverly could have worked more with her Anaheim, she was thoughtful in her decision to pick a chili with qualities she liked and wanted to feature, rather than going for the big money. Still and all, it was quite dramatic to see Paul win for a dish featuring a pepper with a Scoville rating of over a million. I’d have liked to have tasted that dish.
The Quickfire Challenge paved the way neatly for the Elimination Challenge: the Chili Cook-Off. The Quickfire was a good warm-up for our chefs, a way to put them into the right mindset for making chili good enough to win over Texan cowboys and rodeo aficionados.
I will acknowledge to you that they are the experts on chili, not I, which is why it was fitting that they select the winning team. Chili is not something that I make with any kind of frequency or eat with any kind of frequency. There are many chili aficionados out there who will have a lot to say about this episode and about which chili should have been on top and on the bottom based on their opinions about what constitutes an authentic Texan chili. I will say, however, that all of the teams worked hard to execute their own concepts of what would make a successful chili, and that at the end of the day, the chili that tasted the best was the chili that those at the rodeo selected as the winner, while the one that tasted the most one-note (in this case, sweet) and unbalanced was the one we judges selected as the loser. While we judges don’t profess to be experts on every type of dish, we applied our usual standards for judging dishes to those presented this week, and it seems that our opinions were in accord with our fellow rodeo attendees.
This season has been disappointing in that there has not been much in the way of educating the viewer.
I KNOW how I'd have made chili....but none of the teams' dishes gave me any new ideas at all. It's disappointing.
Step it up, Top Chef! I am still looking forward to episodes that expand my culinary horizons, instead of just a soap opera in the kitchen.
This was an insanely cruel challenge this week.
So Tom when are we going to see you in a cowboy hat ????
If you don't wear one this season you owe us on the reunion show....
SO glad to see this season with all the new additions. The process of picking the chefs, the twists in the show and my favorite the last chance kitchen. Each season w,e as the audience, have seen contestants eliminated that were either (for lack of a better term) corralled into their place in the lineup for elimination and then asked to take their knives and go based on a problem that was not entirely their own was frustrating and a little sad. especially when your wondering later what would they have done if they were still here? but now, to have a team deconstructed after a loss and then made to stand out on their own once again.. only to be given 1 last chance to get it back... We really are seeing if the best was over looked or truly let go based on their merits. I'm a great admirer of the show and truly impressed with the way this season is unfolding. and to see Tom on his own in the last chance kitchen is refreshing. I enjoy watching your reflections on the food you judge. You are very well spoken and interpret the food verbally in such a way that I feel as though I am able to taste it as well. you truly think of the audience as you speak.
Hi Tom and happy VEGETARIAN TDAY!!! :)
Two comments/questions: 1) I have always wondered what you and the other judges actually see as far as behavior from the contestants/chef's, responses, vulnerabilities, etc... I saw your comments on Beverly's dish and while I suppose I agree that she may indeed have been the only one to incorporate mole into her dish (wasn't memorable) whatever it may have been I have always thought that she is the weakest players so to speak. Again, not sure if you see behind the scenes footage WHILE the show is filming but Beverly's entire character emotionally speaking is weak, timid and overly emotional. She has broken down and cried now for little to no reason 3 or 4 times and there's only been a few episodes! On top of that, the food she makes almost always seems to have an Asian flair which seems very convenient. It would be like me making Italian food all the time because I am Italian! No offense here to anyone, it's just a noteworthy observation. I notice this with other chef's as well. They pretty much stay in their comfort zone, which leads me to my next comment/question.... 2) Chili Cookoff- Now I am a BIG chili fan. I would consider myself a connoisseur as I have honed in on my skill of chili making and perfected it over the years. I make chili a lot and I often get rave reviews. I should first tell you that I am a vegetarian and have been a devout vegetarian for 18 years. I have to admit I was more than annoyed when Sarah (who seems conceited) kept spouting off about how Texas she was and how only authentic chili has ONLY meat and no beans- NOT TRUE!!!! If anything Tom, I would have loved to see some chef's make something OTHER than just a bunch of different bathes of meat chili!!! I make mine different everytime and evebn though it has beans I guarantee it's still "real chili" and I have had meat eaters tell me that they prefer my vegetarian chili over any meat chili they have ever had :) So my question is why can't there be more meatless and vegetarian and vegan type challenges? There is so much meat in every episode it's becoming redundant. What about a NEW top chef? Vegetarian?!!!! I love the idea and hope you do too for all of us fellow vegetarians and vegans out there. There are myriad things you can still do without meat. By the way, this still includes fish. Hope you like my idea and thanks for reading. -Alissa
I loved the "Nope, not sharing the secret ingredient of our Chili". And yes, there are NO BEANS in Texas Chili. The comment I get most about my Chili is that it's not red. No, my Chili isn't red. It's brown - it doesn't have any tomato products in it. However, It does have acid in the form of vinegar in it and of course, a secret ingredient or two in it. Although I do have to say that I've never stayed up all night to cook Chili - but I do try to cook it a minimum of three hours when I do cook Chili. It's fall in Texas which means a pot of Chili becomes more frequent in my household. Thought the sides offered were interesting. I'm a fan of simplicity when it comes to sides with my Chili - chopped onions, shredded cheese, crackers or cornbread, and occasionally jalapeno peppers. But Chili is like Spaghetti Sauce/Gravy, there are many forms and each has it's own merits.
This season is amazing. Your challenges are just that: Challenges. I love Chili and I'll bet you tasted some good ones. Our church holds a chili cook off and it is a very popular event. I think Padma looked very elegant on the horse. It also sounds like you made the right choice for the loser. I am sorry to see Ritchie go but there you have it. Keep up the good work. Love your blog, Tom and I really like the Last Chance Cookoff.
Great episode all the way around! My favorite use for leftover turkey is in fact a chili - a white chili. Maybe it wouldn't be the winner in Texas, but it is a taste I love: turkey, cannellini beans, white corn, diced chilis, a wild/brown rice blend, with a little lime juice at the end. One thing TC has taught me is the value of acid in so many dishes. Garnish any way you like: cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips. Yum!
One of my favourite things to do with Thanksgiving leftovers is to make soup out of the root vegetable puree we serve every year. Add chicken stock & a little bit of cream to the left-over puree & you have a delicious lunch. And cranberry-orange relish goes into muffins. Both yummy.
This episode was fun for me as I make chili a lot for my coffee shop/cafe'. We are on the East Coast so we do use beans! Anyway, my birthday is always close to Thanksgiving and a tradition for us is to make turkey pot pie for my birthday with turkey and gravy with added veggies. I will miss seeing the Today Show as I will be serving coffee and cooking for a crowd, but the recipe sounds yummy! Thanks for entertaining me each week!
Happy Gobble Gobble Day!
Alas my husband is 50 and too young to be old and set in his tastes but he is. As much as I'd love to concoct new meals with the leftovers, my husband prefers to just warm enough leftover turkey to place between 2 slices of bread with mustard added. Me? I can't stand turkey. I just cook it.
A Texas chili cook-off with Top Chef contestants was original and fun to watch.
Question: I'm allergic to so many foods including peppers and wheat. Are there any foods you're allergic to or any foods you just can't stand the taste of?
I was sad that Richie's gone. Now we have to see Chris without Richie. I wonder how he would be without his buddy? The green team's chilli looks delicious! I think Chris C. is the smoked corn expert in this season.
Shoulda put the 3-bean team in the bottom - then making them cook again? This was extra brutal. Brutal.
this might not be an original thought when people think of you, but i must say YOU MAKE ME WANNA KISS THE COOK! my favorite cooking show, and you'll always be my dream top, chef!
Loving this season's cast. The All-Stars just needed to get over themselves. Can't wait to see when you insert the Last Chance winner into the season.
This episode made me seriously hungry, which is rare when watching Top Chef. Perhaps because the bowls of chili weren't particularly beautiful to look at so all I could think about was how good they'd taste?
In response to Alissa W's comment about Beverly: "the food she makes almost always seems to have an Asian flair which seems very convenient. It would be like me making Italian food all the time because I am Italian!"
I agree that most of the chefs rarely venture outside their comfort zone. However, its important to note that Asia is an enormous continent and Italy is a small country. Comparing the two is ridiculous. A better comparison would be Asian and European cuisine. Many of the chefs on the show primarily cook European food. Similarly, Beverly has cooked dishes with a variety of different Asian influences. I don't think this makes Beverly is any less creative than the other chefs just because most viewers know more about the differences between different European countries' food cultures. I have to admit, Beverly does irritate me though.
It's not about how tough we as the viewers perceive a chef to be. Or how much they cry. Or if they yammer endlessly in the kitchen and drive the other chefs crazy. It is about what makes it on the plate. Criticizing Beverly for cooking with Korean ingredients and flavors in different challenges is also silly. She's playing to her strength. Plus it leads her into fusion cooking, which is actually very of the moment.
Here's what I don't get. The chefs were working in 3 person teams, so I don't understand at all why they all stayed up all night. Make a sleep rotation, and they could all be decently rested and still always have someone tending the chili.
I have to admit, the best Chili I ever had was from Brendan Walsh (Arizona 206, Coyote Grill) His 5 chili chili was amazing!
Love the Last Chance add-on to Top Chef...it's a good idea for a great show! Twist and turns just add to the skill that it takes to be Top Chef!
The look on Colicchio's face when Richie left was pretty shocking. Rewind it back and you'll see. Lost some respect for Colicchio when I saw that. Let's show some class after you put someone through a ridiculous ringer like that. Very sad to see Richie go.
Chili is a tricky dish because it depends on completely subjective preference. Subtle taste is my dish. BBQ is neaters.
I find this season to be a convoluted mess. 1. There are too many cooks (who spoil the sauce)... 2. There are too many group challenges. That makes it difficult to root for an individual based on skill. 3. There are too many gimmicks. 4. There are too many judges. Hugh is a judge? He was eliminated on TCMasters at the first challenge and was brought back only by pure luck. Throughout his season, his offerings swirled at the bottom. 5. The eliminated chefs play a concurrent contest in an online purgatory format. The endless second chances given diminishes the main event in progress. It's "no time for losers". I don't find any single chef or show memorable. I don't bother to watch the reruns.
I flew into TX for Thanksgiving, thus wasn't supposed to bring something. Yet my MIL and I cooked for hours every day to make the day special. My reward was flying home and making pizza Sunday night while everyone else eats leftovers. But the highlight of my trip was helping transfer and transport two feral sows, 250 lbs. worth of prime pork, to the Hog Station in the middle of nowhere. Hopefully you make these folks do this and cook this in your Texas venues. It was a first for me. Photo on the blog, just add .net to the screen name and look up wild hogs. There's art.
I'm wondering why the vote tally wasn't made public. Tom voiced his opinion about the chili versions, and Padma stated they had to get the vote. Then we saw scenes suggesting that a lot of people liked the black team chili - so why not tell us the votes, huh? I suspect Tom made the call independently. This was a brutal challenge, and the lack of transparency doesn't help.
I repurposed by Thnaksgiving Dinner by throiwing it all into a large microwave safe bowl, added 2 cups of Bernauslesse, nuking it at 60% power for 5 minutes, mixing once int he middle, then chowing it down while I watched the Macy's parade on CBS which kept interrupting the countless boring commercials with the parade itself.
I loved watching the chili cook-off and what a great idea to have the people at the rodeo judge the different dishes.
Tom, the event was to make "Texas Chillie" for cowboys. When cowboys was annouched, it thought great, real men will judge this event. When I watched the show, the contestants were Urban Cowboys Cowgirls, and kids. Texas Chillie is A) Hot, so hot that your mouth burns, and B) simple. Its meat, tomatos, and heat. Your judges would never make it through a real Texas Chillie cook off. So I wan very disapointed. Uppies in cowboy hats are not cowboys. If you would have provided food to th guys and girls participatng in the rodeo you would off had a very different opinion. The contest was Texas Chillie, but the show missed the mark. Badly. Pick it up ( the pace), your not in NY, your in Texas..........
I have watched Top Chef for numerous seasons, and I am bored with the same concepts presented repeatedly. A true chef can mimic all concepts of cooking to any etnicity, Asian, Italian, Spanish, Soul, American. The poor reception is in the judges who favor an certain palate for the same type of foods over and over again. The judges don't widely represent the backgrounds of the different chefs presenting the foods. A blogger mentioned earlier, why not a vegetarian, or vegan judge who can understand that meat is not the only ingredient necessary to satisfy the palate of all America, and International interest. So just like you expect your chefs to be creative, Bravo can recreate Top Chef to appeal to all palates and not just the few represented by the judges now present on the show.
Beverly has no diversity in her skills. Cooking with Asian influences is fine but she cooks pedestrian Korean food that seem exotic because the judges aren't familiar with them. And when she cooks the one non Asian scallop dish twice, its mediocre. She even put kimchee in a Mexican challenge. And I can't believe her behavior in the butcher dept when she announced loudly for everybody's attention behind the counter for her order because she had the most important dish.
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This is a general comment, but I loved the series most when you have the big personalities, where the contestants are passionate like Jen was and not afraid to show their emotions. The new twists are great, mixing things up keeps the show fresh. I like it when constestants are willing to really fight to remain on the show, and so far so good for season 9.