When it comes to cooking competition shows, there’s only one that matters to us. (At least until Bravo produces The Real Male Model Cook-off Strip-off.)
For now, though, it’s Top Chef or nothing. And the ninth Texas-themed season premieres tonight with plenty of new twists, including competing in multiple cities: Austin, Dallas and San Antonio.
What’s most shocking this time around (especially for the contestants) is the selection process. 29 chefs show up at the Alamo and learn that they have to compete head-to-head for one of 16 spots in the actual show. Presenting dishes to Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio and a third judge like Gail Simmons or Emeril Lagasse, they are critiqued on the spot American Idol-style and given either immediate elimination, a permanent slot, or one more chance at one of those coveted chef’s coats.
The drama is as intense as ever and there are some gay contestants we hope make it far (though we’ve sworn not to tell either way). Though with guest judges like lesbian chef dynamo Cat Cora and over-the-top celebrities like Pee-wee Herman and Patti LaBelle, there’s plenty of gayness to keep us as excited about who’s on screen as what’s on the plates.
And, of course, what gay man doesn’t love sexy bear Tom Calicchio? Sure, he’s straight. But he’s made it clear he loves us back. Who knows, we might just be one delicious butter-poached rabbit ravioli away from luring him to our side of the kitchen.
Talk about delicious.
Top Chef: Texas
Premieres tonight 10 p.m. ET/PT