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'Top Chef: Texas': Heather goes catty whompus

December 15, 2011 |  7:30 am

Top Chef

The stakes were twice as high in Wednesday’s “Top Chef: Texas”—in a double-elimination challenge, where the test was cooking game, two chefs would be cut loose. The judges considered the failed dishes carefully, and there were several two-person teams that easily could have been dispatched. But they still picked the wrong loser.

Heather should have been sent home—twice.

If you’re simply evaluating the food, it was a close call. Chris J. and Grayson’s elk was uninspired, Dakota and Nyesha’s venison way undercooked, and Heather and Beverly’s duck neither crispy nor ambitious. But this is reality television, and while the judges may not see what happens behind closed doors, they did witness how hardheartedly Heather trashed her partner, Beverly, and not so much for how she cooked the night’s meal, but for how Beverly prepared shrimp an episode ago. Cooking is a team sport, and just because Heather was paired with Beverly in the kitchen—in terms of chemistry, imagine Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich trying to be civil as each other’s date at a gay wedding—didn’t mean she didn’t have to try to work out their differences.

“You guys clearly didn’t work together, and it really showed,” lead judge Tom Colicchio said.

To say that Heather threw Beverly under the bus is an insult to Greyhound. It was more like Amtrak, United Airlines and the Queen Mary put together. Worse, Heather refused to man up to the behavior she so publicly displayed.

“I felt I had no say in our dish,” she said, a statement refuted by all of the commands she barked Beverly’s way. “I’m not selling her out,” she also said, again about as credible as a radio commercial touting 2% home loans. But Heather wouldn’t stop there. She also had to psychoanalyze Beverly—“She doesn’t trust herself,” “She doesn’t think like a chef”—but failed to examine her own conduct, or even her own cooking. When the other 11 chefs nominated Heather and Beverly’s quail for potential elimination, Heather assumed they were getting back at her “because I was on the top last time,” a reference to her win last week for her (borrowed and repeated) cake recipe.

While we’re all for a little bit of drama, it’s disappointing that Heather survived. Perhaps she could take a cue from Dakota, who had the courage and class to admit to her own shortcomings in the kitchen, plating a dish of venison so rare we thought we heard the “Bambi” theme song playing in the background. Sarah remarked early in the show, “karma’s a bitch,” and we wonder, in fact hope, if Heather’s going to get hers soon.

--John Horn


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Photo: Heather Terhune in "Top Chef: Texas." Credit: Vivian Zink/Bravo.