Top Chef: Texas is the ninth season of American reality television seriesTop Chef and was filmed in various cities in Texas, including San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin, before moving on to British Columbia for the finale. The season premiered on Bravo on November 2, 2011 and concluded on February 29, 2012. The reunion episode for this season aired on March 7, 2012. This season of Top Chef features a much larger number of contestants than any previous season; 29 chefs began the competition. The prize money awarded to the Top Chef was $125,000.
This season also introduced a new competition to the series; in addition to the Quickfire and Elimination Challenges featured in televised episodes, the "Last Chance Kitchen" competition allowed eliminated contestants to compete head-to-head in a series of webisodes, with the winner eventually returning to the main competition. The webisodes are available on Bravo's website.
^Note 1 : Did not win immunity. ^Note 2 : Beverly was cited by the judges as having cooked the best dish. However, she was disqualified for not having several of her required elements plated when time expired. ^Note 3 : Beverly won Last Chance Kitchen, and returned to the competition. ^Note 4 : As a reward for winning the Quickfire Challenge, Sarah was given the choice to receive either a new car or a pass to the next round as her prize. Sarah opted for the pass, allowing her to sit out the Elimination Challenge.
(WINNER) The chef won the season and was crowned Top Chef.
(RUNNER-UP) The chef was a runner-up for the season.
(WIN) The chef won that episode's Elimination Challenge.
(HIGH) The chef was selected as one of the top entries in the Elimination Challenge, but did not win.
(LOW) The chef was selected as one of the bottom entries in the Elimination Challenge, but was not eliminated.
(OUT) The chef lost that week's Elimination Challenge and was out of the competition.
(IN) The chef neither won nor lost that week's Elimination Challenge. They also were not up to be eliminated.
IN (+) The chef was on the winning team in the Elimination Challenge, but was not chosen as one of the judges' favorites.
IN (-) The chef was on the losing team in the Elimination Challenge, but was not selected as one of the judges' least favorites.
Most episodes includes two challenges. The Quickfire Challenge is a short, simple challenge with a varying reward each week; in the initial episodes of the season, it usually guarantees the winner immunity from being sent home that week; however, in some episodes the Quickfire winner is instead given an advantage in the upcoming Elimination Challenge. Sometimes, the winner of the Quickfire is given an additional prize, including money. The Elimination Challenge is a more complex challenge that determines who goes home. One or more judges join the show each week to evaluate both the Quickfire and Elimination challenges. Each week's elimination is announced in a segment called "Judges' Table."
Episode 1: Everything's Bigger in Texas (Elimination Rounds One and Two)
Qualifying Challenge #1: Create a feast with an entire pig, that has only been partially butchered. Each chef must use one part of the pig, with the group having collective responsibility to butcher down to their assigned cuts. Based on the results, each chef will either be in the Top 16, out of the competition, or placed "on the bubble" — asked to cook again for a second chance at earning a Top Chef coat. This challenge was judged by Tom, Padma, and Emeril.
IN: Chris J. (Caramel Apple Stuffed with Braised Pork Belly and Sweet Applesauce), Sarah (Pig Skin Ravioli), Nyesha (Tex-Mex Pork Shoulder Ravioli), Heather (Maple & Citrus Glazed Baby Back Ribs with Bacon, Corn & Bleu Cheese Grits), Richie (Onion Soup with Braised and Crispy Pig Ears, Pickled Shallots and Frozen Parsley Powder)
ON THE BUBBLE: Molly (Smoked Sweet Potato Soup with Pork Cheek and TequilaCilantro Lime Cream), Grayson (Haricot Vert with Toasted Hazelnuts and Mushroom Stuffed Tenderloin)
OUT: Tyler (Eliminated during preparation), Colin (spilled dish), Simon (Ham Roulade Stuffed with Fig Confit and Goat Cheese)
Qualifying Challenge #2: Create a dish using a collectively-shared ingredient. The chefs choose rabbit. This challenge was judged by Tom, Padma, and Gail.
IN: Whitney (Rabbit Sugo with Tomatoes, Shallots, Asparagus and Bacon), Keith (Seared Tenderloin, Chicken Fried Rabbit, Yukon Potato Hash, Braised Rabbit Confit), Dakota (Roast Rabbit Crépinettes with Bulgar Wheat), Ty-Lör (Confit Rabbit Leg With Pickled Cucumber and Tomatoes in Fish Sauce), Chris C. (Duo of Rabbit — Confit Leg and Butter Seared Tenderloin with Carrot Polenta), Chuy (Rabbit Loin with Cashew Pipian and Grilled Zucchini)
ON THE BUBBLE: Edward (Butter Poached Rabbit with Butternut Squash Purée), Janine (Rabbit Nugget, Rabbit Rack and Rabbit Loin Saltimbocca with Mushroom Hash)
OUT: Nina (Incomplete dish)
Original Airdate: November 2, 2011
Episode 2: The Heat Is On (Elimination Rounds Three and Four)
Qualifying Challenge #3: Chefs must each choose an ingredient from a provided assortment. Hidden from each chef is the fact that each ingredient also has an associated time limit of either 20 minutes (Andrew, Kim, Paul), 40 minutes (Berenice, Chaz, Jonathan, Laurent), or 60 minutes (Ashley, Beverly, Lindsay). This challenge was judged by Tom, Padma, and Hugh.
IN: Paul (Grilled Trout with Southeast Asian Tomato Salad), Lindsay (Braised Veal, Creamy Polenta and Warm Salad), Beverly (Korean Style Octopus "Nakji Bohum")
ON THE BUBBLE: Andrew (Roasted Mushrooms with Brown Butter Vinaigrette, Crispy Spinach and Poached Egg), Laurent (Duck with Lemon Yuzu Curd and Arugula)
OUT: Kim (Lamb Chop with Kalamata Olives and Arugula), Chaz (No dish), Jonathan (Brussels Sprouts with Tomato Sofrito and Hazelnut Gremolata), Berenice (Asian Style Short Rib with Cabbage Slaw), Ashley (Braised Oxtail "Kare-Kare")
Final Cookoff: The last-chance qualifier for all the contestants on the bubble is a 45-minute challenge with no other restrictions. The final six chefs (Andrew, Edward, Grayson, Janine, Laurent, and Molly) may use any ingredients in the Top Chef kitchen to make a dish to get them into the competition. Tom, Padma, Hugh, and Emeril judged this last challenge.
IN: Edward (Duck with BBQ Sauce & Sweet Asian Custard), Grayson (Polenta with Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp and Port Wine Fig Sauce)
OUT: Molly (Jumbo Stuffed Prawn, Mousseline of Shrimp with Soy Glazed Watermelon and Rice), Laurent (Scallop Two Ways: Tartare & Seared on a Bed of Fennel with Saffron), Andrew (Mussels with Sherry, Fregula, Charred Corn Panna Cotta and Shrimp), Janine (Seared Scallop with Baby Clams, Bacon, Corn and Watermelon Garnish)
Original Airdate: November 9, 2011
Episode 3: Quinceañera
Quickfire Challenge: Chefs must cook a dish using rattlesnake. The winner receives immunity and $5,000.
Quickfire Challenge: Create a dish using an assortment chiles, ranging from mild to hot on the Scoville scale. The winner receives immunity, as well as a cash prize associated to each ingredient. The hotter the chile used, the higher the possible prize.
Elimination Challenge, Part 1: Participate in a Texas chili cook-off. The teams are randomly divided into five teams of three and have all night to cook. The dishes must be cooked at the house where the contestants reside rather than the Top Chef kitchen, which limits the cooking supplies available. Winners are selected by crowd vote.
Red Team: Chris J., Dakota, Whitney
Green Team: Chris C., Chuy, Sarah
Blue Team: Edward, Heather, Paul
Black Team: Beverly, Nyesha, Richie
White Team: Grayson, Lindsay, Ty-Lör
WINNER: Green Team (Chili Con Carne with Roasted Corn Salsa)
Elimination Challenge, Part 2: Upon being told they were the losing team, the members of the Black Team must compete against one another to rework their losing chili into a winning dish.
ELIMINATED: Richie (Frito-Encrusted Pork Tenderloin, Potato Hash and Ricotta Cheese Chili Purée)
Episode 5: Don't Be Tardy for the Dinner Party
Quickfire Challenge: Create a dish using only the ingredients provided in backpack survival kits. The winner receives immunity, as well as a $5,000 cash prize.
Top: Chuy, Edward, Lindsay
Bottom: Chris C., Dakota, Whitney
WINNER: Lindsay (Triple Club with Tuna and Sardines in French Onion Soup with Vienna Sausage)
Elimination Challenge: Each chef must create a dish for a course in a progressive dinner party in the exclusive Dallas neighborhood of Highland Park. The chefs are divided into three teams: appetizers, entrées and desserts. Each team is given $250, 30 minutes to shop and two hours to prepare its meals.
Team App: Chris J., Lindsay, Paul, Sarah, Whitney
Team Entrée: Beverly, Chuy, Heather, Nyesha, Ty-Lör
Team Dessert: Chris C., Dakota, Edward, Grayson
WINNER: Paul (Fried Brussels Sprouts with Grilled Prosciutto)
ELIMINATED: Chuy (Sockeye Salmon Fillet Stuffed with Goat Cheese)
Elimination Challenge: Chefs must work as a team to cater a four-course steak dinner for 200 at the annual Cattle Baron's Ball. Two of the courses must contain steak. They will have 30 minutes to menu plan, 45 minutes and $4,000 to shop, and three hours to prep on the first day. On the day of the event, chefs will have three hours to cook and serve at Southfork Ranch in Dallas.
First Course — Soup: Beverly, Dakota, Sarah
Second Course — Appetizer: Chris J., Edward, Paul
Third Course — Entrée: Chris C., Nyesha, Ty-Lor, Whitney
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs are shown several varieties of tequila. They then are given 30 minutes to create a dish that pairs well with the tequila of their choice. The winner will not receive immunity, but a prize of $5,000.
Top: Chris C., Lindsay, Ty-Lör
Bottom: Chris J., Heather, Sarah
WINNER: Ty-Lör (1942 Brand — Steamed Clams in Thai Style Fish Caramel Sauce)
Elimination Challenge: The chefs are asked to create a game dinner. They will work in teams of two to serve dishes using six well-known chefs' favorites as the primary proteins. Each team will have 30 minutes and $200 to shop, three hours to prep, and 90 minutes to cook and serve at Tim Love's restaurant. The chefs must decide among themselves which three teams had the least successful dishes. Judges will then choose one of those teams to be eliminated along with the winners.
Team Boar: Lindsay and Chris C., cooking for Jon Shook
Team Duck: Beverly and Heather, cooking for John Currence
Team Elk: Grayson and Chris J., cooking for Tim Love
Team Quail: Edward and Ty-Lör, cooking for Vinny Dotolo
Elimination Challenge: Make a dish honoring their cooking influence as part of a tribute dinner. The chefs have 30 minutes to shop, then two hours the next day to cook and serve their meals to the judges at the Driskill Hotel in Austin.
Judges' Least Favorites: Heather, Grayson, Chris C.
Judges' Favorite Dishes: Beverly, Sarah, Edward
WINNER: Sarah (Pork Sausage Stuffed Cabbage & Spinach with Browned Butter)
ELIMINATED: Heather (Beef Stroganoff with Herb Spaetzle & Roasted Wild Mushrooms)
Quickfire Challenge: Chefs are given 45 minutes to create a dish that best illustrates Modernist Cuisine (an encyclopedia and a guide to the science of contemporary cooking). The winner receives immunity and a copy of Modernist Cuisine.
Top: Ty-Lör, Sarah, Chris J.
Bottom: Beverly, Paul, Grayson
WINNER: Ty-Lör (Watermelon with Vanilla Bean Honey, Saffron and Salted Olive Oil Powder)
Elimination Challenge: Create a barbecue meal for 300 guests. Chefs form into three teams. Each team must use brisket, pork ribs, and chicken in addition to serving two side dishes. Chefs will be able to cook through the night and have access to individual pits, a smoker, and a trailer kitchen. The chefs will have $2,000 to spend for food.
Blue Team: Paul, Lindsay, Grayson
Red Team: Edward, Sarah, Ty-Lör
White Team: Beverly, Chris C., Chris J.
WINNER: Blue Team (Smoked Brisket with Bourbon BBQ Sauce, Curry BBQ Chicken, Caramel Miso Pork Rib, Watermelon Salad and Patis)
ELIMINATED: Chris C. (Sweet 'n Sticky Pork Ribs with Dr. Pepper Glaze)
Elimination Challenge: Open a restaurant to serve meals to 100 guests, including the four judges. Each team will receive $7,500 to transform its raw space, and five hours to cook their dishes — two each of appetizers, entrées, and desserts. A coin toss determines that the men will serve first, and that the women will serve the next night. Each team will get the chance to dine at the others' restaurant.
Canteen: Chris J., Edward, Paul, Ty-Lör
1st Course: Thai-Style Crab & Shrimp Salad, Caramel Fish Sauce & Peanuts (Ty-Lör) or Ham & Pork Pâté with Mushrooms, Braised Mustard Seeds & Duck Fat Crostini (Paul)
2nd Course: Poached Salmon In Warm Tomato Water, Clams, Salmon Skin & Tomatillo Jam (Paul and Ty-Lör) or Crispy Skin Pork Belly with Green Apple & Sweet Potato Purée (Paul)
3rd Course: Almond Joy Cake with Malted Chocolate Mousse & Banana Coconut Purée (Edward) or Homemade Cracker Jack, Cherries & Peanut Butter Ice Cream (Chris J.)
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs pair off for a mise en place relay where they have to 30 minutes to both prepare ingredients for the judges' inspection, and combine all those ingredients into one dish. The prep tasks include making fresh pasta, shelling and deveining shrimp, and husking corn. The winning team receives $10,000.
Top: Chris J. and Grayson, Lindsay and Sarah
Bottom: Edward and Paul
WINNER: Chris J. and Grayson (Fettuccine with Poached Shrimp, Toasted Corn, Chili, and Bacon)
Elimination Challenge: In the same pairs as the Quickfire, the chefs must cater a neighborhood block party. Each pair must decide together on a common main and side dish, but are competing against each other to separately prepare their own versions. As a twist, after selecting their dishes, the chefs are told that they must prepare healthy, low-fat, low-sodium dishes. The crowd's favorite for each pair is eligible for the win, and the crowd's least favorite is eligible for elimination.
WINNER: Paul (Turkey "Kalbi" with Eggplant and White Peach Kimchi)
ELIMINATED: Chris J. (Curried Chicken Salad with Tofu Mayonnaise, and Watermelon Salad with Pineapple Ice)
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs must select ingredients from the pantry while blindfolded and incorporate all of them into a dish. The winner receives a choice between either a Toyota Prius V or a place in the finals.
WINNER: Sarah (Corn Soup with Onion, Red Chili and Peaches) Elected to pass to the finals
Elimination Challenge: The chefs must each prepare a dish inspired by a chef for whom they had previously worked. These mentors act as the guest judges.
Challenge 1: Each chef must create a dish using equipment and ingredients found in a gondola lift vehicle while it is in motion. When the gondola reaches the next station, each chef must briefly exit and choose one from an assortment of ingredients laid out for them, which must then be incorporated into the final dish. The chef will need to complete the dish by the time the gondola finishes its return trip.
Challenge 3: Beverly and Sarah must take part in a biathlon competition to collect ingredients. After skiing back and forth on a cross country course, they must use a rifle to shoot at targets representing one of a variety of ingredients. Each chef is allowed to use the ingredient represented by any target she hits, but is also limited to ten shots total, hit or miss. Once the ingredients are determined, the chefs have 20 minutes to make a dish incorporating them.
Quickfire Challenge: Chefs are each paired in a tag team challenge with a previous Top Chef Masters contestant: Takashi Yagihashi, Anita Lo, and Floyd Cardoz. The teammates are unable to speak to each other during the challenge, and only one is able to be in the kitchen cooking at a time. Each chef has two 10 minute rounds to cook. The winner receives $20,000.
Final Challenge: The remaining two chefs are asked to lead their own restaurant and have to create a four course tasting menu. They can select four sous chefs from candidates who are either Master chefs (Marco Canora and Barbara Lynch), or other contestants eliminated earlier in the competition. The chefs must choose their assistants from a tasting of dishes that they have prepared, without knowledge of who prepared each dish.
Paul: (with Barbara Lynch, Chris C., Keith, and Ty-Lör)
First Course: Chawanmushi, Steamed Egg Custard, Prawns and Pea Shoots
Second Course: Grilled Sea Bass with Clam Dashi, Pickled Radishes and Mushrooms
Cast and judges reunion. The Fan Favorite was revealed on Watch What Happens Live on March 8, 2012.
FAN FAVORITE: Chris C.
Original Airdate: March 8, 2012
Last Chance Kitchen
The Last Chance Kitchen is an online-only series of challenges (available for viewing on BravoTV.com) in which the ousted chefs competed for a chance to get back into the competition. Each week, two or more chefs competed against each other in the Top Chef kitchen, with the results judged solely by Tom Colicchio. The winner each week continued on to face the next eliminated Top Chef contestant(s), while the loser was eliminated from the competition for good. The winner of the final battle was allowed to re-enter the main competition and compete for the grand prize.
Last Chance Kitchen Progress
(WIN) The chef was crowned the winner of the Last Chance Kitchen and returned to the main competition.
(WIN) The chef won that episode's Last Chance Kitchen Challenge and continued in the competition.
(OUT) The chef lost that week's Last Chance Kitchen Challenge and was eliminated from the competition.
Episode 1: Andrew vs. Janine
The final two chefs to be eliminated during the qualification rounds are given 30 minutes to cook a pizza for Tom to judge.
Andrew — Mediterranean Pizza with Anchovies, Capers, Fried Calamari and Arugula.
Keith — Clam Ceviche With Lemon Zest and Steamed Clams With Pancetta.
Episode 3: Keith vs. Richie
The chefs are asked to prepare a dish using at least three ingredients provided from the leftovers of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
Keith — Turkey and Sweet Corn Hash, Ham Fritter, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin Pie Smear
Richie — Turkey, Green Bean Casserole, Macaroni and Cheese Fritter and Cornbread Purée
Episode 4: Keith vs. Chuy
Tom directs the chefs to Bolner's Meat Market in San Antonio, where each is given an entire rib rack of beef. They are then given 45 minutes to butcher five bone-in ribeyes, and cook one of them into a "perfect" medium-rare steak to serve to Tom for final judging.
Episode 5: Chuy vs. Whitney
Tom asks the chefs to create the classic American burger with one of two assigned proteins in 30 minutes. Andrew, Keith and Richie are on hand to offer opinions and moral support.
Chuy — Ostrich & Ground Pork Burger with Fresno Chili Aioli and Onion Straws
Whitney — Elk and Pork Sausage Burger, Shallot & Garlic, Egg Sunny-Side Up
Episode 6: Whitney vs. Dakota vs. Nyesha
The chefs must cook a dish using only a wok, with cactus as the main ingredient, in 30 minutes.
Dakota — Shrimp Tostada with Watermelon and Prickly Pear Shooter
Nyesha — Asian-Style Scallops with Prickly Pear Garnish, Cilantro and Thai Basil
Whitney — Cactus and Chicken Fried Rice with Sriracha and Soy Sauce
Episode 7: Nyesha vs. Heather
The chefs have 30 minutes to create a dish using three different cooking techniques: frying, injecting, and foaming.
Nyesha — Brown Butter Foam and Beignet Injected with Caramel Sauce
Heather — Fried Gulf Shrimp Injected with Smoked Paprika and Porcini Mushroom Foam
Episode 8: Nyesha vs. Chris C.
The chefs have 30 minutes to create a dish using ingredients found in a gas station with a budget of $20.
Nyesha — Beer-Glazed Smoked Sausage with a Pork Rind Tuile & Chili Cheese Sauce
The chefs have 30 minutes to create a pastry dessert with the help of a sous-chef. Helpers are chosen from remaining eliminated cheftestants. Nyesha chose Heather; Ty-Lör chose Chris C.
Nyesha — Coconut & Lime Tart with Coconut, Crème Fraiche Mousse & Caramel Sauce.
Ty-Lör — Puff Pastry with Dark Chocolate Mascarpone Cream, Vanilla Bean Rum Cherries & Caramel Sauce
Episode 10: Nyesha vs. Beverly
The chefs have 30 minutes to create a dish using Black Drum. Chefs will only be allowed to go through the Top Chef Kitchen once to gather all necessary ingredients and equipment. With 23:30 remaining, Tom instructed chefs to switch stations and surrender all ingredients to the opposing chef.
Beverly — Seared Black Drum with Oranges, Fennel, and Black Olives
Nyesha — Seared Black Drum with Julienne of Tri-Pepper, Slaw & Pineapple Chutney
Episode 11: Beverly vs. Chris J.
The chefs have 30 minutes to make a dish that incorporates all of the ingredients found in a "mystery box", which cannot be opened until time begins. As the challenge progresses, the chefs are given two additional ingredients to use in the final dish.
Beverly — Grilled Lamb Chop with Parsnips, Curry, Radicchio & White Anchovy Vinaigrette
Chris J. — Grilled Lamb Chop with a Sweet Purée, Radicchio Salad with Pancetta, Pine Nuts & Apple
Episode 12: Beverly vs. Grayson
The chefs have 30 minutes to cook a dish worthy of competing in the finale.