What I Learned About Dallas From Watching Top Chef: Texas

As mentioned earlier, last night’s episode of Top Chef: Texas was the first set in Dallas. A sampling of what outlets across the country learned about our city.

Esquire:   “What we learned here is that rich people in Dallas are freaking weird. One couple revealed that they had 1,200 people at their wedding. Another proudly reminisced about their gummy-bear wedding cake – they were hosting dessert, and dessert-team member Ed Lee, he of the facial expressions, shot them a look that said, ‘You people are from another planet, but okay.’”

Baltimore Sun:  “The couple that owns the first insane mansion is Kim and Justin Whitman. Kim is an entertaining expert and seems to be auditioning for Real Housewives of Dallas … Keep an eye out for her on Bravo in the future. Kim hates cilantro, bell peppers, grease and things she has never tried. Basically she is a chef’s dream.”

Entertainment Weekly: “Cilantro is apparently public enemy number one on the Dallas version of Wisteria Lane.” Sisters Kim Whitman and Kari Kloewer both remarked on their hatred of cilantro. So maybe it’s more of a Canadian thing than a Dallas thing.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution:  “The only thing more ridiculous than having 800 people at a wedding is feeling the need to one-up your rich friend by mentioning that you had 1200 at yours.”

Culture Mob:   “Team Appetizer consists of Ugly Chris, Whitney, Paul, Lindsay and Sarah.  Their hosts are the kind of people that shouldn’t be allowed on TV, ie the kind of people that Bravo trades in.  They don’t like bell peppers.  They were thinking of having all the food pink. They think it should be easy to eat.  They are not adventurous.  Basically, they’re auditioning for the Real Housewives of Dallas.  Team Entree consists of He-Cat, Chuy, Heather, Beverly and Nyesha, and their hosts are slightly better than the first team in that at least the husband displays a marginally likable personality.  The wife should be punched in the neck.  Team Dessert is Beautiful Chris, Ed, Grayson and Dakota and they definitely got the hosts with the most personality.  Unfortunately, that personality is being displayed with statements like “I’m obsessed with bananas” and ‘My wedding cake was a giant gummi bear.’  I can’t waste time hating on the chefs when these people are around.  They’re awful.”

Los Angeles Times: “The hook of Wednesday’s “Top Chef: Texas” was catering a progressive dinner party, but given the flat-as-a-pancake palettes of its Dallas diners, it should have been called a regressive night out. If any more proof was needed that money can’t buy you taste, the well-heeled hosts for the cooking competition’s three-stop dinner party (appetizers, main courses, desserts) proved at every stop that they might be happier eating at a local Black Angus. One host, who considers herself an expert in entertaining, admitted she doesn’t like to try anything new. Another said his favorite dessert involved gummy bears. Another disparaged a beautiful dessert by saying it looked like Elmo. And another mistook a red wine reduction for blood. They then capped the dinner party with a classic after-dinner drink – margaritas!”

Houston Chronicle: “The rest of the show appeared to a decidedly fancier demographic (though perhaps not the most sophisticated palates in all of Texas). The chefs crashed the kitchen’s of Dallas’ 1 percent in Highland Park, where they had to impress a group of rich diners without scaring them away with ingredients they refuse, like cilantro, bell peppers and garlic. Seriously.”


  • Melissa

    Was this filmed during the summer? All I was thinking was how hot it must have been out in that field, and no one looked like they were sweating. And anyone who doesn’t like cilantro gets an eye roll from me.

  • Taylor

    It was embarassing! Who lives in Texas and doesn’t like cilantro? It was extremely obvious that Tom couldn’t wait to get away from this bunch! Too bad the AJC didn’t know those were the Schlegel sisters…talk about one-upping. Will we be graced by the cast of Most Eligible while they visit our fine city? Just pile the embarassment on Bravo!

  • Beda

    Surely the L.A. Times didn’t say “flat-as-a-pancake palettes.” And the Houston Chronicle:”The chefs crashed the kitchen’s of Dallas’ 1 percent .” Have all publication fired all their editors??

  • Epifanio

    What The Fudge? People (People who probably don’t read FrontBurner comments), please stop embarrassing yourselves in reality TV. Stop. It. And you’re representing Dallas badly. We’re embarrassed too.

  • Where did they find these people? I don’t know anyone here who eats like that. Not a true representation of Dallas’ finest.

  • TheKid

    Just wait. As I was walking to the Katy Trail yesterday, I noticed they were filming Big B*@#h; Texas at Toulouse.

  • scott c

    bravo is helping dallas create the ultimate doosher stereotype. i guess we deserve it.

  • No “cilantro, bell peppers and garlic” =’s “No soup for you!”!

    Merry Christmas , Happy Holidays and Seasonings Greetings

  • anon

    I’m baffled as to why people care about what these spoiled, boring, and absolutely personality-less people think.

  • In all fairness, aversion to cilantro may have a genetic component. But besides that, the douchiness of these couples was both unforgivable and fascinating to watch

  • RossG

    I can’t tell you how often I have been pulled over by a state trooper and then asked to cook a meal in 30 minutes on the side of the road. There ought to be a law against it.

  • Hogie

    As a Texan and Dallasite, I am embarrassed by the hosts in the show. Please America do not be deceived that these “1%” represent the rest of us. Tex-Mex is a staple and it contains cilantro, onion, peppers – all of which these displaced Yankees apparently abhore. We have personalities and like to take risks! Ever read about the Alamo battle…declaring ourselves an independent Union….Sam Houston for heavens sake???

    I too feel that this was an audition for “Real” Housewives of Dallas – another boring, cat fighting, installment of the franchise. By the by, it has already been done. Flip on over to the Logo channel and watch their version of cat fighting boys.

    I refuse though to hang my head in shame at this “representation” of our fine community. Next time Bravo, please find the other “99%” of us who are true Texans and love to eat!

  • Bubba

    As a non-Texan who watched this episode, I’m glad to see their are folks from Dallas who were equally annoyed as the rest of the country at these nitwits. Sorry that’s who they picked to represent.

  • freddy

    One has to laugh at all the people clamoring to get into HP so that their kids turn out “right”.

  • Arec Barrwin

    To most of America, Cilantro tastes like metallic soap. The New York Times wrote an article a couple of years ago on Cilantro.


    Bottom line – anyone who likes Cilantro is nuts

  • Arec Barrwin

    Culinary sophistication is no guarantee of immunity from cilantrophobia. In a television interview in 2002, Larry King asked Julia Child which foods she hated. She responded: “Cilantro and arugula I don’t like at all. They’re both green herbs, they have kind of a dead taste to me.”

    “So you would never order it?” Mr. King asked.

    “Never,” she responded. “I would pick it out if I saw it and throw it on the floor.”

  • ca

    Im a big fan of the show, but agree with most others that Bravo’s choice of guest judges was a huge miss. There are plenty of notable people in Dallas that probably would have been far more entertaing, open-minded, and ‘real’ than those chosen. Maybe I missed it, but did Bravo even provide a qualifying statement during the show on why these 3 couples were the guest judges. Did they all start succesful companies? Do they run a large charity? or was the only qualifer that you live in a terribly expensive home, whether you paid for it or not.

    In any event, I cant complain too much, Padma is still a judge week in-week out, and that never gets old 🙂

  • Was Julia Child “drunk on her own authority” or “egg nogged up” when she said “I would pick it out if I saw it and throw it on the floor.”? That would be very naughty behavior and could have gotten her thrown out of many dining establishments. Julia definitely would have been placed on Dad’s Naughty List for that one!

    Hate cilantro? Blame your brain

    Sailors’ Nog

    “How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?”
    Julia Child

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, the good ole days of Big D and the smell of fresh baking Mrs. Baird’s bread, dancing alongside the white suited and tanned George Hamilton at Da Vincis followed by those wonderfully seasoned early morning dishes at Guadalajara’s on Ross! “Crew Driving” with Troy Aikman at the Deep Ellum Adair’s wasn’t bad either!

  • Sausage on a stick

    I actually thought it was an episode of “Kim Schlegel prostitutes herself to let it be known that she has written a gabazillion books on etiquette”.
    She and her vapid ilk have the personality of a sheet pan. Why oh, why do people think that having money makes you important (or liekable).
    WHy couldn’t Bravo have picked someone like Paula Lambert to be a guest judge? Oh well, enough ranting, I’m still hooked to the show!

  • Sausage on a stick

    Make that likeable.

  • Steve

    As a 24-year resident of the Dallas area, I’m glad that “Top Chef” is finally exposing Dallas for the culinary wasteland that it is. Maybe it’ll finally spur some improvement in the restaurant scene here. Go to any other major US city, and just picking a restaurant at random and you’re likely to get a better meal than you will at the “best” rated restaurants here. After watching this episode, now I’m wondering if the lack of quality restaurants in the area is due to the pathetic tastes of the local monied crowd, meaning there’s never been a demand for quality at the high end that would then filter down to the remaining restaurant scene.

  • Fosett

    OMG These progressive dinner hosts are why dallas gets a bad wrap nationally. Embarrassing. Where do they dig these people up???