Top Chef Texas Episode 5: Money Can’t Buy Chef Ed Hardy (and a Few Others) Class

"John, before we start, I just want to see a show of hands. Should I stay with the khaki shorts or do I rock some Daisy Dukes?

We return with Top Chef: Texas and Ed Hardy of Red Rooster Harlem as we talk turkey (ha!) about this week’s highly quotable episode.

My best friend Michele has a theory about why this season stinks. It’s because it followed ‘All Stars’ and we just really all knew and kinda loved — or kinda hated — the folks competing. These poor people can’t live up to that. Plus, the challenges are getting stale.

I think it’s the predictability of the entire thing. You already know what’s coming with the challenges and whatnot. After the excitement of the 5,000 chef battle royale, the show settled down. Even the cheftestants look bored. And, where’s the really irritating personality like Marcel?

On account of the holiday, I didn’t tune into last week’s Top Chef on time, but all I have to say is that the mole chili was so obviously doomed to fail.

There’s a lot of recipes that use a bit of chocolate in their chili. So, mole chili wasn’t the worst idea ever, but the chocolate taste is hard to control. Best just to pack a ton of smoke / beer / meat / whatever in and call it a day. And, no one made their own cheddar crackers for the chili? That would have been perfect. I did like the cornbread side, though.

"It's meeting the man of my dreams, and then meeting his beautiful wife. And isn't it ironic...don't you think?"

Is it really chili if it has beans? Sub-question: Forgetting authenticity for a moment, which do you prefer — with our without beans?

It absolutely can include beans and be authentic chili. Maybe not authentic Texas chili, but chili, nonetheless. I prefer without beans, please.

QFC is…survival kits. I thought they’d be like MRE-type stuff. But the ingredients aren’t as terrible as the cheftestants clearly think they are. Anyway, I had hoped they’d put them in a real farm and tell them to pick four ingredients and give them 10 minutes or something. Who’s eating food like this?

I’ve always enjoyed this type of challenge because it exposed the food snobs who whined about the ingredients. It showcases, for better or worse, what Americans eat when they’re eating badly. But this one just looked terrible. No one complained, so it wasn’t interesting. The field looked dreadful and muddy, and it must have been a 1,000 degrees out there. Did Top Chef run over their budget? Even after San Antonio paid them off? I do hope they do a challenge like one you described.

I cannot believe that Lindsay won with that Saltine sammie over Ed. Ed put out an amazing, elegant dish — and his back! Could a Saltine be *that* good?

The flavors might have been great. Sardines, Vienna sausage, and onion soup are a great flavor combination. Sardines pack some powerful umami in them and are a natural favorite of any food critic. But where was the effort? Ed’s dish had great flavors and a ton of effort to bring everything together. It’s not even close. We’re talking, like, three steps versus 30 steps. I’m a little disappointed.

If someone misuses ‘irony’ one more time, I will scream. It’s not ironic to win a QFC with a Saltine sandwich. It’s LUCKY. Somebody get that girl a dictionary!

And a new head. Lindsay’s head is really starting to bother me. Almost as much as when you’ve got 10,000 spoons in there, when all you need is a knife. I’d like to see her get a death row pardon two minutes too late. Wait? Alanis’s song isn’t ironic either? Now that is irony!

The Skipper tears up as he thinks about how much he misses his Little Buddy.

I know, right? So, have you ever been to a progressive dinner party? It probably requires walking between the houses. With the way I drink vodka, that could be a problem. Are cabs frowned upon? Horse and carriages? Sherpas?

Never been to one. I think that’s something people used to do before all of our free time was taken up by commenting on each other’s status on Facebook.

Bite your tongue. I don’t want to think about those dark days, Ed! So, um, these couples are frightening to me. It is immediately clear that, as Countess LuAnn de Lesseps says, money can’t buy you class, at least not where a palate is concerned. The comments! “It almost looks like there’s blood outside decorating it.” Dissing Ed’s elegant panna cotta?!? Also, the guy with the inner fat kid comments? That inner kid is actually an outie. He’s not fooling anyone.

These folks are why I don’t mind foodies. Say what you will, foodies actually do learn something about food. I hate these new-money McMansion types. One couple had 1,200 people at their wedding? Gummi bear cakes? The biggest culinary adventure these wastrels have been on before this was the mystery meat at the SMU cafeteria. Give me some old-money East Coast types any day. At least they might have been to Europe or something.

Oh man… I cannot believe Paul won for Brussels sprouts. I love ’em and have actually eaten them the last five of eight days, but…wow.

Finally! One of my favorites actually wins something! He’s turned in a pretty solid performance so far. He’s stayed out of the bottom, avoided criticism, and kept a low profile. He should be able to build on this victory.

Paul gives thanks to the patron saint of Brussels sprouts.

That cigar should send Chris J. home. But I am not surprised that it doesn’t. That was totally a producers’ choice, in my mind. So that down the line they can reunite him with his little buddy and they can hug it out.

Absolutely agree. Let’s hope that he can dispense with the Moto craziness and get down to cooking good stuff. I know he’s got the techniques; he’s just got to apply them.


  1. domynoe says

    Honestly, I think this group of chefs is having trouble finding their inner Top Chef. They’re all staying in their comfort zones instead of pushing themselves. There have been lackluster seasons before, but I think this one rests squarely on the chefs’ shoulders.

    Just hoping TC doesn’t do anything like the muppet episode again. THAT was stupid.

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