'Top Chef' Recap: 'Let's party like it's your birthday!'
'Top Chef' Recap: 'Let's party like it's your birthday!'
"Winning Top Chef requires nerves of steal!" Padma announces ominously at the beginning of the episode. "That's exactly what we're testing today." Which means the cheftestants have to cook rattlesnake in just one hour.

"I want some motherf####ng snakes on my motherf####ng plate!"

Apparently it's a very delicate meat and is very popular in Texas. Unfortunately, they don't have to kill their own snake. The meat is provided to them. Bummer. Immunity and $5,000 are on the line and the ingredient Is new to most of them.

Immediately Richie and Chris J., who work at the same restaurant, conspire, which seems to annoy some and foreshadows some possible drama between candidates later in the season.

Texas Honor

Paul announces early on that since he's from Texas his honor is pretty much on the line with this quickfire challenge. Snake meat expert? Not so much. His dish is among the judge's least favorites.

Dakota wins the challenge with her beer-battered snake although she and the editors make it very clear before that she "doesn't like snakes and snakes don't like me." I guess the producers also want to make sure we all know that the contestants from Texas are not having a home field advantage.

Mexican Fiesta

For the elimination challenge the contestants are divided into two teams: Team Green and Team Pink. Teenager Bianca Flores is turning 15, which in Mexican culture is as much of a big deal as sweet 16 in this neck of the woods.

Over 100 guests are expected and they want "authentic Mexican cuisine" and a "fabulous cake." The contestants can ask her questions about what she likes. Her answer? Cevice, mild food, goat, tres leche, and boys. Good to know.

"Me against my team"

The subsequent shopping at Whole Foods turns out to be a disaster for the Pink Team. Keith decides to buy a boatload of pre-cooked shrimp. Back at the kitchen, Sara and Lindsay freak out over it and decide to not use it. It is, after all, a cooking competition.

"Is it my team against me now?" asks Keith. The friction between Keith and Lindsay only grows during the party. And Keith makes enchiladas with flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas. As Arnold Schwarzenegger would say: "Biiiig mistake!"

When it comes to the cakes, the Pink Team is outlucked again. Their cake looks much better, but the Green Team makes a tres leche cake that convinces everyone of its superiority.

First Elimination

So it only makes sense that the Pink Team loses and is cited at judges' table. There, some dirty dishes are whipped out. Sara laments the lack of leadership and the fact that there was no menu, the shrimp debacle comes up again and Keith strikes back by criticizing that there was no teamwork. Where he lives, enchiladas are done with flour tortillas. He didn't know that he was supposed to use corn tortillas. No one told him. And in the end, he was eliminated.

He seemed like a good guy but surely not an interesting TV character. No leadership, no real menu, bad shrimp. Dry fritter, flour tortilla for enchilada, the list goes on ... Bye, Keith!

Jan Cee
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of Bravo)