‘Top Chef: Texas’: Diners are all hat, no cattle

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The hook of Wednesday’s “Top Chef: Texas” was catering a progressive dinner party, but given the flat-as-a-pancake palettes of its Dallas diners, it should have been called a regressive night out.

If any more proof was needed that money can’t buy you taste, the well-heeled hosts for the cooking competition’s three-stop dinner party (appetizers, main courses, desserts) proved at every stop that they might be happier eating at a local Black Angus. One host, who considers herself an expert in entertaining, admitted she doesn’t like to try anything new. Another said his favorite dessert involved gummy bears. Another disparaged a beautiful dessert by saying it looked like Elmo. And another mistook a red wine reduction for blood. They then capped the dinner party with a classic after-dinner drink — margaritas!

When Padma remarked of Ty-Lör’s poor pork tenderloin, “so much and nothing at all,” she could have been talking about the diners themselves, and we can’t blame the remaining 14 chefs for mostly struggling to figure out what the heck the three couples really liked or wanted.

Fortunately, the Dallas dilettantes weren’t judging the finished food, because they might have given the top prize to Chris C.’s cupcakes, which the real “Top Chef” judges detested. Paul won for his roasted brussel sprouts (we cooked the same thing for Thanksgiving, although not nearly as nicely), and while we were relieved to see that Chris J. wasn’t eliminated a week after his colleague Richie was dispatched, it did feel like Chuy was properly expunged for a disastrous salmon dish that he admitted he cooks in his own restaurant.


Texas may have a rich food tradition, but let’s hope “Top Chef” can find diners in its upcoming episodes just a bit more adventurous than 5-year-olds.


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‘Top Chef: Texas’: A last-chance kitchen that has many problems

-- John Horn