The Telefile
<I>Top Chef</I>: What Went Wrong With the Texas Season

Tonight's the finale of Top Chef... if you still care. We lost non-professional interest weeks ago. Perhaps it's because we were coming off an all-star installment, so this was bound to be a letdown, or maybe the show just tried to change too many things and failed. Here's what we felt fell flatter than a soufflé this Texas-based season:

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
Why did this show start out with 29 chefs? It seemed pointless and just there to pad the season by two extra episodes. We didn't know enough about any of those people to care if they stayed or went, but yet, so much televised time was devoted to them.

Last Chance Kitchen
By contrast, "Last Chance Kitchen," which we might have actually had interest in, was tacked on as an internet bonus instead of being integrated into the on-air show. The fact that it was a secret from the other chefs was creatively unnecessary, and we didn't like seeing Tom just arbitrarily deciding on who will win. Of course he picked Beverly, since that created the most drama, even though Nyesha clearly deserved that second shot in the game. The whole thing reeked of Survivor's Redemption Island, and we all know how well that worked out.

Weird Challenges
What does carving food out of an ice block or riding around on a bike to a predetermined restaurant kitchen have to do with how well someone can actually cook? We know plenty of people who can't ride a bike but can cook, so what's the correlation? Same goes for shooting at targets. Few chefs source their own game via hunting, so these silly "events" gave the show more of an Amazing Race feel while resulting in less fantastic dishes.

Traveling Around the State
We get that they wanted to show the various aspects of Texas cuisine, but having them road-trip from city to city was a little ridiculous. And then they had to go to Canada? It just made no sense. The Texas thing mostly seemed like a joke about how things are supposedly bigger in the Lone Star state, though it also led to people suffering from heat exhaustion during their outdoor-based challenges. Because that's always fun to watch.

Meat, It's What's for Dinner --Always
There were so many challenges that featured the chefs having to cook giant pieces of meat outdoors. Be it chili or steaks or other sorts of game, the whole thing made us consider going vegan.

Forget About Me
All the girls ganged up for a strong amount of Beverly hate, but then Beverly acted rudely oblivious in the kitchen and we weren't sure exactly who we were supposed to hate. Aside from the giant topknot on Chris' head. We definitely know we hated that.

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