We're baaaaacccckk!!! I might be a bit rusty in recapping, and I'm working on a new laptop, so please bear with me.
It's going to be a confusing first couple of episodes, as there are 29 initial cheftestants who think they're going to be competing....but 13 will be eliminated early. How hard would that be to show up in Texas only to be sent home with 12 others before you really got to show your stuff? I know it's happened to *one* other cheftestant in seasons past, but this is going to be a bloodbath.
Tom Colicchio, Padma, Gail Simmons, Hugh Acheson, and Emeril Lagasse are the judges.
So - 29 cheftestants show up at The Alamo. They all realize there are too many cheftestants to actually compete - it's always said that everything's bigger in Texas and so is this first challenge! Padma tells them they'll be split into 3 groups - and they'll all complete in their group challenge to earn their spots in the Top 16.
A whole pig is the main ingredient that Group 1 sees walking into the TC Kitchen. Emeril Lagasse and Tom C. are there to meet them and explain the challenge. Tom asks them to introduce themselves and give a bit of a background on themselves....There's a chef who works with Joel Robuchon, a couple of chefs who work with each other at the same restaurant in Chicago. Good pedigrees from what I'm hearing.
Tom C. and Emeril will be walking around while they prepare and cook from sub-primal cuts from the pig (they have one hour to cook), and will keep an eye on how they butcher, prepare, and how they work in the kitchen. There's a chef who runs a vegan restaurant who said "This is my worst nightmare!" working with pork. He hands off the butchering to another on his team. Smart move. :-)
Right off the bat, the 22yo Tyler from California seems like he would be the irritating "Marcel-like" cheftestant - at least IMO. He claims he knows how to butcher, BUT he's totally butchering the piece of pork he's trying to cut up. Tom Colicchio is alongside when Tyler passes over the tenderloin to another cheftestant (her choice of meat), and both he and Emeril are appalled at how poorly the chops and tenderloin were being broken down - and Tyler is GONE! Tom C. tells him to get outta there - Tyler is told to pack his knives and go!
Tom Colicchio goes to the cheftestant who was going to use the pork tenderloin, and there's literally 3 oz of tenderloin to use. Tom tells her "never trust anyone else who you're competing against!" LOL
The chef from Spiagga in Chicago is preparing a dish that looks REALLY good. Lots of the cheftestants are realizing how difficult it is to prepare and plate within the hour they had to cook...and sure enough, one is sent home with very poor plating of his soup.
Majority rules on how the chefs get a TC coat. If all judges say no, they're out. If two judges say they're in, they get a coat. However, if the judges are undecided, the cheftestants also have a chance to "be on the bubble" and get a chance to cook in yet another challenge to win a coat.
I can't wait to see some of these dishes put up on the Bravo website (PLEASE Magical Elves, PLEASE put all of the recipes up on the Bravo website!) There were several dishes in Group 1 that I'd like to try making.
And those that have already received their TC coats from Group 1 get to go to the TC house and check things out - but they have to wait to see who else shows up.
For Group 2, Gail Simmons and Tom Colicchio are the judges. Group 2 goes through their introductions, and then they get to see what they get to use - there's a table with lots of ingredients - rabbit, sea urchin, sweetbreads - but ALL in Group 2 have to choose the SAME ingredient. They choose rabbit as their ingredient. One of the cheftestants tells a story about his mother raising rabbits and his sister naming them, and every once in awhile, one would disappear....and "chicken" would appear on the dinner table. LOL And one chef compares himself to Richard Blais and Michael Voltaggio. This ought to be interesting to see if he survives!
One chef loses track of time and doesn't even get the rabbit on the plate - yup, she's gone. Keith in Group 2 is funny - when Tom asks what he's thinking, he said "I'm too big to pass out!" Sure enough, having watched Gail enjoy his dish, he's through to the Top 16. No passing out for him. :-)
And here comes the Blais/Voltaggio comparison cheftestant, Chris...his technique seems to be very good and Gail said his is the best cooked rabbit of the day. So he's in.
In the in-between, those on the bubble are trying to figure out why they didn't make it through - and they realize that many of those who have made it are heavily inked - and the 4 of them in the Bubble Room don't have a lot (or any) tats. So one of them uses a Sharpie and draws one on her arm. :-) And we come back to Judges Table, and the last from Group 2, Chuy Valencia, who I liked from his earlier comments, makes it through as #11.
Looks like Group 3 is next week - and they have no idea how many have made it through OR how many are on the bubble. What do we see in the previews? Someone's got blood all over their hand. That doesn't bode well.
So that's it for tonight's episode! I hope I got most of what went on - the NAMES of the cheftestants will have to come later, as they're not even up on the Bravo website.
Enjoy, everyone! We're in for a bumpy ride! LOL