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TV Thu Dec 08 2011

Top Chef Texas, Episode 6: What's at Steak

Half the fun of recapping "Top Chef" every week is coming up with a headline pun. I do it for you, people! As always, three thoughts on this week's episode.

The Chicago chefs were safe this week, with Heather Terhune of Sable even pulling out the win (and a new car) for her dessert -- a mild victory, given that the judges seemed less impressed with the dish than they were disappointed with most of the other components of the four-course Cattle Baron's Ball service. (Not to be confused with the Robber Barons' Ball. That was last week.) Heather seems to have made some enemies this week, with a few chefs complaining to the camera about her bossiness. So if we're organizing camps, allow me to plant myself in her favor. I like this chick. I like that she's a realistic-looking, experienced, kitchen-savvy professional woman (who looks DAMN GOOD for being 40). I like the food at Sable -- not that you wouldn't like just about anything they set down in front of you after a few of those cocktails -- whew! Of all the Chicago talent, Heather seems the most mature and well-rounded in her skill. For now, I hope she goes far.

Speaking of people I like, Ty-lor Boring is kind of great. I was really poised to dislike him based on the way he spells his name, but now I'm starting to think that maybe if MY last name was Boring, I'd want to spice things up in the first name as well. It's like the inverted mullet of names -- party up front, boring in the back. Zing! The way he shouldered the blame for the unevenly cooked steaks, and didn't whimper at judges' table about the heat, his lack of sleep, or the spurting blood coming from his hand the night before -- highly respectable.

I don't know if anyone else has this experience, but I often feel like the dishes that come out of "Top Chef," while beautiful and innovative and often mouth-watering on screen, are more than a little inaccessible -- and not just because there's a panel of glass and diodes between me and them. Sometimes I just can't taste with my mind's eye (with my mind's tongue? Ew) what these dishes are supposed to be like for the diner. So while the judges were super-unhappy with this week's fare, its predictability, its lack of risk -- I was fully enjoying the sense memory of the potatoes au gratin my Mom would make for Sunday night steak dinners with my grandparents growing up, and the mushroom, asparagus salad that she'd make with any leftover meat. Sometimes safety is a good thing -- comfort food is comforting for a reason, and that reason is rarely avant garde. Though if you mess it up, as Whitney did with her undercooked gratin, it becomes pretty dangerous pretty quickly.

 
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Penny / December 8, 2011 2:31 PM

I agree! I like Heather's "call it like it is" attitude!

Andie / December 9, 2011 10:57 AM

And the fact that she said something about looking up information on a Google machine. Big props to this girl.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
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