Thursday, November 8, 2012
Dallas chefs take over spotlight on Top Chef: Seattle
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Editor's note: This story examines the three Top Chef contestants from Dallas almost solely. We'll begin comparing them to the other non-local chefs once the season unfolds.
The first episode of Top Chef: Seattle was really like the last audition day. Twenty-one chefs still had to prove to the four judges -- Emeril Lagasse, Hugh Acheson, Tom Colicchio, and newcomer Wolfgang Puck -- they were worthy of the special Top Chef coat, which comes with a ticket to Seattle for the true competition. Of the nine coats handed out, all three Dallas chefs got a place in the kitchen.
How different the three Dallas folks are. We have:
Think about that: Three of the nine chefs are from Dallas. It's like last season's Top Chef: Texas part deux.
The very first contestant introduced on the premiere was Tesar, with this on-camera quote: "I've been given a natural talent." He's set up to be a know-it-all, but when he gets into the kitchen to prove to Colicchio he can cut and cook, he does what he's told and keeps his head down. Chef coat.
Valentine's task with judge Lagasse is to make soup in one hour. He turns out a mussel and corn coconut soup that Lagasse pretends to hesitate on. He tells Valentine to "keep pushing," as if he's not a top contender yet, but good enough. Chef coat.
McPherson is asked to make a "beautiful salad" for judge Acheson in 45 minutes. She chooses to do a grilled watermelon and tomato salad with charred tomato vinaigrette. Co-contestant Gina Keatley immediately criticizes McPherson for flaring her tomatoes over the grill with oil, calling it "ridiculously amateur." Acheson calls it "very Texas," tells her to be more careful next time, and sends her through. Chef coat.
(And Gina? Her overconfidence pushed Acheson's buttons. She was the only chef in her section not asked back.)
Our prediction: Tesar will be the chef to turn up the drama, as the previews for upcoming weeks tease Tesar as the bully. Valentine's likely to go under the radar if he keeps cooking consistently and quietly. McPherson could either be the young surprise or a quick flop.