Film and TV

Of Rattlesnakes and Quinceañeras: Top Chef: Texas

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Home, finally, and it looks like Dakota won the Quickfire competition -- the one with the rattlesnake -- and is granted immunity for the episode's larger challenge. And now the contestants are being told that they're cooking for some VIPs. It turns out that it's a quinceañera and some guy yells "Orale!" Ay, digame, brother! This quince is "expecting elegant Mexican cuisine" and I'm thinking, you clearly did not attend the same quinceañeras that I did growing up. The chefs are divided into two teams and given 30 minutes to create a menu.

Heather throws out tres leches as a dessert option -- nice. But the nearly-15-year-old wants cabrito, too. ALSO NICE. She tells the chefs that her favorite Mexican food is cochinita pibil and I'm really pleased to see all three of these dishes represented on this show.

The teams take their $1,500 budgets and head to two different semi-upscale grocery stores. One of the teams is asking for stuff in Spanish at the seafood counter and one of them is rightly freaking out that they're having to get store-bought tortillas. Again, seems right so far.

The Pink Team's menu contains some dishes that sound like they have potential, except that the entire thing is derailed by the discovery that their shrimp are pre-cooked and frozen. The team is pissed at Keith, who clearly thought that buying pre-cooked shrimp was the solution here, time constraints and all. Big mistake. Big. Huge! He's mad that one of the lady chefs is "talking shit" about him, but all I hear is regular, frustrated kitchen talk that happens when someone fucks up a major ingredient. That's to be expected, Keith.

"I'm the resident Mexican of the bunch," says Chuy. It pains me that Chuy (CHUY) is the token Mexican in a cooking show about Texas. I don't need to say that Mexicans and Mexican cooking are the freaking backbone of our state, right? Okay.

Keith is still pissing me off because he's attempting to cook a meal by committee, which is as terrible an idea as they come when you're under the gun and need to make swift, decisive choices. Someone has to step up; a kitchen isn't a fucking democracy when you're in the middle of service. This complaint should have been voiced earlier on when the menu itself was still being created.

He and Lindsey and Sarah all want to be the boss, which is not sitting well with the other team members. But you know what? You're all gonna be done and off y'all's damn pink and green teams in less than three hours, so TOUGH IT OUT.

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Katharine Shilcutt