Top Chef Texas Recap: Bubble Bobble

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Top Chef Preseason keeps rolling along with Top Chef: Texas Episode 2, entitled “The Heat Is On” (or “The H Is O”, if you’re in a rush, which we are because we have 9 trillion chefs to eliminate before we can start the competition. Literally 9 trillion! They hired the earth’s population many times over this year through advanced cloning techniques, and it’s still surprisingly nonengaging to watch.)

Our colleague Noah Garfinkel (aka “Noah Garfinkle” in randomly angry comments) summed up our early-season boredom pretty accurately, saying that the only genuinely gripping aspect of Top Chef comes once you’re familiar with the contestants and are rooting for or against certain ones, and the Texas Twist is merely extending the portion of the show before it becomes engaging. Which makes sense. On the other hand, EMTattoos:

This week, we’ll finish up Round Negative One when the third of the three groups cooks and then the “On The Bubble” chefs will have a cookoff to get the last couple remaining spots and then the last two eliminated Bubble chefs will have a cookoff on Bravo’s “Last Chance Kitchen” online and the loser of that will literally just go home and cook dinner and if they lose that they’ll be placed in a consolation bracket and cook against the highest-seeded eliminated team from the College World Series in an eight-game Round Robin-style tournament to earn a qualifying spot in Survivor’s Redemption Island against eliminated contestants from The Bachelorette, Celebrity Apprentice, and VH1′s Money Hungry, where the winner will compete in a Glee Project “Last Chance Performance” to remain in the running for a three-episode arc on Glee at a date to be determined by the concurrent online Twitpoll results of the Ice Road Truckers “Slippery Road Glee Redemption Ice Person: Bing And Decide” poll which will be held online in 2075 by a council of clairvoyant robo-druids who will then send the results back to our current time along with numerous medical advances that ultimately blow our feeble 2011 minds and end up causing more harm than good.

Let’s get started! Here’s the Round 3 Guest Judge, Hugh Acheson, whose palate is hopefully more refined than his eyebrows:

In Round Three, the chefs each get to pick an ingredient, then they lift up little silver domes to see a surprise clock showing how much time they have to cook their dishes, and some get stuck with only 20 minutes to prepare their ingredients. This seems like an oddly twistful turn of events, given that the first two groups cooked with essentially no twists, but whatever, it’s Top Chef Texas, and you NEVER MESS WITH TEXAS’ TWISTHAVING (BE IT A TWIST OR NOT A TWIST).

Just when we’re not sure who to root for, Bravo reads our mind and shows us a picture Beverly’s cool baby:

All right! Go that baby!!! On top of this motivation, Beverly has also written down some excellent advice that gets blocked by the lower-third:

JOKE’S ON YOU, graphic! Beverly advances anyway. She celebrates by doing her “Street Fighter 2 character after they win a round” animation:

A couple more chefs advance (Lindsay really wows Tom), a couple more get Bubblefied, and a couple more get eliminated, including Chaz Brown, who had a poster of Padma on his wall in Middle School but never owned a poster of putting risotto onto plates in time. To be fair, the judges never like anyone’s risotto (it’s the ‘scallops’ of being risotto) so he probably would’ve lost anyway after Tom says “risotto has to spread” and they all agree that foods must do certain specific verbs to merit being eaten.

Over in the Stu Room, Molly, Edward, Janine, and why are we even learning these names because it’s wasting valuable brain space on people who won’t be in the competition in like five minutes (learning the names of the other Top Chef chefs is an excellent use of brain space, however), but anyway, they’re all in the room and Edward laughs at Molly when she says she cooks for a cruise ship (even though he cooks in Kentucky and needs to prove himself to the ‘big boys’). Good one, Edward! You’ve earned an INSULTZ jacket (which is actually just Diceman’s leather jacket from 1988).

Anyway, after another quick look at Twitter people once again not understanding questions…

…We move to the not-anticipated-at-all Bubble Round, which brings Emeril back into the fold. Emeril, hilariously, looks super intense any time they introduce him, then only has nice things to say about everyone’s dish:

The Bubble people are all largely indistinguishable, save for jerky Edward and some 50-year-old French chef who says that in France everyone grows up to be either a chef, priest or army guy. That’s so stereotypical! There’s plenty of other jobs for people in France: Organ Grinder, 19th Century Impressionist Painter, Bicycle Rider With Baguette Sticking Out, Surrender Consultant, Eiffel Tower Builder – the list goes on and on.

During the Bubble Cookoff, where the chefs are allowed to cook whatever they want, Edward viciously and karmically cuts himself while preparing his duck:

Let’s move onto the Bubble Judges Table, says shadowy Texas “Judges Table animation” guy:

Even with his setup-villainy and cut finger, Edward earns a jacket for his bloody good duck dish:

The last spot comes down to three Bubble chefs, and at this point, even Tom’s growing weary of this extra round crap:

Molly’s shrimp is overcooked so she loses, and Andrew made the classic Top Chef mistake of making two dishes, adding a panna cotta to his mussels for no reason and allowing the judges to copy-paste their annual “I just don’t know why this second dish was here, if you had stopped at one you’d be fine.” The final spot goes to Grayson, who earns the jacket with her bacon-wrapped shrimp with fig. Good job, Grayson! Unless you’re bad, in which case boo! We literally have no idea.

So that’s it! Down to just 16 chefs. I’ll start figuring out who’s who and who’s good and bad and who I care about and whatnot in a couple weeks, but until then, I’ll just be sitting here making Friday Night Lights references…

Aww man, “Work Of Art” started – I thought that was a teaser clip from a future episode in Dillon, Texas. Got excited for a sec. Hoping for a good Top Chef season when it starts next week! Wake me when Pee-Wee arrives.

Top Chef Texas thoughts? Thoughts on the extra Bubble round? Early favorites / least favorites / predictions? Leave ‘em in the little comment bubbles down below.

- See Also – Top Chef Texas Premiere Recap: Texas Forever (Literally)

- Also, watch Top Chef: Dads if you haven’t yet, it’s really great.

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