Or else the John Tesar Show
Top Chef Seattle should have been called Top Chef Dallas
Bravo may be calling it Top Chef: Seattle but it seems like they got the name of the city wrong on this 10th season, which premiered November 7. Not only are three chef-testants from Dallas, but those three chefs – John Tesar, Josh Valentine and Danyele McPherson – stand out as the most colorful of the contestants, giving Dallas a real ka-pow in the series opener.
The competition uses a plot twist not seen in prior seasons: It forces the contestants to cook at the restaurants owned by judges Tom Colicchio, Hugh Acheson, Emeril Lagasse and new judge Wolfgang Puck, who evaluate their performance and eliminate the losers on the spot.
It feels more cheffy-chef than prior seasons and also gives their restaurants a handy promotional tout. You're welcome!
The three chefs from Dallas stand out as the most colorful of the contestants, giving our town a real ka-pow on the show.
Padma Lakshmi never appears on-screen during the premiere, instead phoning it in with a narrative voice-over. Wisely, the show's first quote comes from Tesar, who quickly references Anthony Bourdain and his profile in D Magazine.
"I've been given a natural talent," Tesar says. "Anthony Bourdain says I'm probably the best natural cook he's ever worked with. D Magazine decided to make me the most hated chef in Dallas, but it really was a lot of back-handed compliments saying I'm one of the best chefs in Dallas."
That's our Tesar. Happily, he has plenty more to say, and the camera cannot tear itself away. Colicchio, who calls Tesar a high-quality chef "but maybe a bit of a hothead," asks him why he's on the show.
"I'm in Dallas, I'm starting my own company, I have a 20-month old son," Tesar says. "I want the acceptance of my peers, and I want to show the world that even a 54-year-old guy, there's no reason to stop. ... I came up with the Mario Batalis and Bobby Flays, and I owned a hot restaurant in the Hamptons. It was the mid-'80s and disco era, and casual drug use turned into self-medication."
He never disappoints.
McPherson and Valentine also make their mark. McPherson starts a potentially dangerous fire on the grill where she's dousing tomatoes with oil – a move that provokes tongue-wagging from a fellow contestant, who describes it as "culinary 101" and "ridiculously amateur."
But then Judgy McJudgerson contestant is sent home. McPherson won't have to put up with that again.
Valentine is one of two contestants sporting one of those pointy-tipped waxed mustache deals that you used to see only in silent movies but has been revived as a token of hipness. Luckily, the other chef with the pointy-tipped waxed mustache gets eliminated for bad butchering, after bragging cockily about his butchering skills; they never learn, do they?
That leaves the pointy-tipped waxed-mustache category entirely to Valentine. That's a relief, as you only need one pointy-tipped waxed mustache in a group. Honestly, you don't even need one. But you definitely do not need more than one.