It’s Tuesday, December 12, 2017 and 62°F in Austin, Texas

Top Chef Heads to Austin

Popular Bravo TV Show is here

Back in August Austin was abuzz with the news that Top Chef was on our way.  The following was from the Bravo website:

"From All-Stars to Lone-Stars Top Chefis headed to Texas.

Fans hungering for a taste of Season 9 have some new information to satiate them until Top Chef returns -- the ninth season of the Emmy-Award winning (and recently nominated once again) show will head South, to the great state of Texas.

Whether Padma Lakshmi will be donning a cowboy hat remains to be seen, but we know she'll be saddling up with the regular judges chef Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and new two new faces -- famed chef and restaurateur Emeril Lagasse and critically acclaimed chef Hugh Acheson. Emeril is known for bringing the heat, and Hugh's certainly not known for holding back (just relive some of his best zings from his run on Top Chef Masters for a refresh), so it seems like they'll fit right in.

And since everything's bigger and such the competition will be in not one, but three cities -- Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. We hope the cheftestants cowboy boots are made for walking (sorry, had to!)

What other Texas-style beans are there to spill? Season 9 also promises many surprising twists and turns and never-before-seen challenges and events when it returns in the fall."

On November 1, 2011 Top Austin food writer, Addie Broyles (close friend of our Austin Wine Guy, Rob Moshien) wrote in the Austin American Statesman (read the complete article here):

"Austin isn't just one of the cities featured in the upcoming season of "Top Chef: Texas," the reality cooking competition that premieres on Bravo at 9 Wednesday, two Austin chefs — Paul Qui of Uchiko and 24 Diner's Andrew Curren — are among the 29 contestants, almost twice as many as usual.

With more contestants, judges and cities, Bravo is taking the old saying of "everything is bigger in Texas" quite literally, but with unintended consequences.

The chef competition reality show traditionally starts with 16 contestants who stay, for the most part, in one city. But this year, producers picked 29 contestants that are whittled down to 16 within the first two episodes, and the show was spread across San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin, which is where the unintended consequences start.

As soon as Bravo announced that they were lumping together three large metropolitan areas in one season, critics pointed out that not only were they leaving out Houston, which is the biggest and arguably, most culinarily advanced city in Texas, they were also homogenizing and short-changing four distinct cities worthy of having an entire season to themselves....

Ultimately, the show isn't about the place it is hosted; it's about the competition between the contestants. Colicchio, who owns a restaurant in Dallas, said that viewers will see plenty of barbecue and Tex-Mex, but that the chefs from Texas — both the ones who made it on the TV show and the ones working outside the bright lights of reality TV — are the ones who really dispel the notion that that's all we have here. (Barley Swine, Bryce Gilmore's small restaurant on South Lamar Boulevard, left a particularly good impression on the judges, including Lakshmi. "That restaurant could stand up to any great restaurant in N.Y. or L.A.," she said.)

Austin, in particular, is an example of a food revolution happening all over the country in medium-to-large cities that you wouldn't necessarily think of a culinary destination, Colicchio said. "Hopefully after seeing the show, people will go to Texas to find people who are doing things outside of what they expect."

Addie wrote a follow-up on November 10, 2011:

“Top Chef: Texas” finally got interesting last night, if only for the fact that we finally got to see Austin chefs Paul Qui of Uchiko and Andrew Curren of 24 Diner....

Qui and Curren were among 10 chefs who cooked for the first time last night. Qui appeared to be cool and relatively calm, soaring past the first round of judging with a grilled trout with southeast Asian tomato salad. He makes the whole thing look so easy, it’s no wonder he’s an early favorite.

Curren roasted mushrooms, but tripped up on a poached egg. Miraculously, even though the judges called the dish “greasy” and “gritty,” they sent him to the bubble, which meant he had to cook again in the second half of the show.

When the bubble contestants went head to head, Curren tried to impress the judges with mussels and panna cotta, an odd choice that ultimately sunk him. He wasn’t one of the two bubble chefs who earned a spot in the top 16, but don’t count Curren out just yet."

The following about Addie comes from the Statesman, we will follow-up on Top Chef in a few days with more from Addie:

"Hailing from the Ozarks, Addie Broyles expanded her cooking (and eating) skills on the West Coast and Spain before settling in Austin, mainly for the aguas frescas at the taco stand down the street from her house where she, husband Ian and son Julian are now attempting to grow their own food in the backyard. They recently welcomed another baby boy and two chickens to the family."

Bob Atchison

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