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Sunday, December 3

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« Top Chef, Episode 8: Making Mama Proud Achatz Teases Next: Thailand Ebook, elBulli Menu »

TV Thu Jan 05 2012

Top Chef Texas, Episode 9: Modernist 'Que-sine

It's all Top Chef Texas all the time here on Drive Thru this week! Yeehaw!! Without further ado, three quick thoughts on last night's episode:

If you're anything like me, you perhaps spent some time a few short weeks ago reading some of the various gift guides for chefs and foodies that sprouted all over the interwebs. Maybe you even received a set of Nathan Myhrvold's 5-volume, $450 mother of all cookbooks, Modernist Cuisine, you lucky dog. But if you've merely heard about it, last night's episode gave us some sense of why it's so coveted (and so expensive -- those pages looked super-glossy), but also why modernist cuisine matters. Having Mhyrvold preside over not only a forward-thinking, avant garde quickfire, but also the couldn't-be-more-cliche Salt Lick barbeque challenge highlights the line drawn between the two, and the crucial role of technique in cooking. And despite doing their homework and staying up all hours with the book, the chefs who ended up on the bottom (everyone but Paul, Grayson and Lindsay) strayed from the bbq technique by roasting rather than smoking, not cooking properly, or over-seasoning rather than letting the meat speak for itself -- all failures of technique rather than vision.

This was sort of a weirdly personal episode, physically speaking, wasn't it? From Malibu Chris's nude art collection (good thing he didn't try out for that other Bravo show, amiright?), to Chris J.'s ass kissing with guest judge Nathan. Hey, remember when we saw his butt last week? "Crack kills," cracked Malibu Chris, which I thought was a nice gesture toward reaching for all age groups with the show this year, including 12 year old boys. (Which clearly I am, because I'm writing about it and it happened two weeks ago.) To stuffing beer cans up chicken, ahem, cavities (Chris J., again) and pelvic thrust-approval of a sauce from Grayson, who also also promised Tom her team's Asian-inflected 'que would be like "sex in the mouth" and generally seems like she'd be super-fun to invite to a stay-up-all-night sleepover. Which essentially...was what this episode was. In any case, I think we've all learned some things about each other, haven't we cheftestants?

And finally, this week saw Chicago talent seriously in peril again! While the show ultimately lost its "beautiful person" with the exit of too-salty Malibu Chris, this was a week with little redemption for our home team. After voicing my Heather-fandom in my last post and seeing her almost immediately pack her knives, I'm hesitant to pick a new favorite. (This is why I didn't watch sports for year, incidentally -- it always seemed like I jinxed my team as soon as I started to care about them.) Suffice to say, I'm still rooting for all of you, Chicago chefs. But with Restaurant Wars coming up next week...maybe it's a good thing I'm watching the late re-run of the show. Fingers crossed.

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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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