Tucson lands ‘Top Chef’ finale: Here’s what to expect

The end of final week’s episode of “Top Chef” may perhaps have had some Houstonians scratching their heads: Why are the remaining two episode of “Top Chef Houston” set in Tucson?

Lovers of the Bravo series know that the demonstrate ordinarily moves out of the host city for the finale. That is not a shock. What is astonishing, in a quite superb way, is the preference of the desert town for the closing episodes, airing May 26 and June 2. Tucson is 1 of only two U.S. metropolitan areas (the other San Antonio) that has acquired the difference as a UNESCO Inventive Town of Gastronomy, recognizing an spot for its foodstuff traditions, indigenous elements, eating places and culinary neighborhood, and regard for the natural environment and sustainable regional products and solutions. Located in the Sonoran Desert, Tucson has the longest agricultural record of any town in the state with a 300-yr tradition of vineyards, orchards, livestock, and a wide range of neighborhood heritage foods. Insert to that the foodways of indigenous men and women – Mexican and indigenous American traditions – and you have the aspects that make Tucson a gastronomic vacation spot.

EPISODE 12 RECAP: Alison Cook on the final Houston episode ahead of “Top Chef” moves to Tucson for finale

The four chefs heading into the two-component finale – Damarr Brown, Evelyn Garcia, Buddha Lo and Sarah Welch – will be working with regional foods, checking out beloved Tucson websites, and cooking for guest judges that are aspect of the Tucson culinary material. Garcia, who has amazed judges with her command of Mexican meals, may well have an higher hand when doing work with dishes these types of as nopales and chiltepin peppers as teased on the remaining Houston episode established in Galveston.

There will be an elimination on May perhaps 26 3 cooks will head to the June 2 finale.

Here’s some of the things to count on from the Tucson episodes:

THE Meals

Tucson’s community foodways are thrilling. It is a city that revels in indigenous beans (this kind of as tepary), great flour tortillas built with Sonoran wheat, cholla buds and prickly pear fruit, nopales (prickly pear pads), wild chiltepin peppers, meats grilled more than mesquite fires, mesquite pod flour, chorizo and carne seca, tamales, albondigas and pozole soups, red chile stew. Some of the beloved regional foodstuff include things like eco-friendly corn tamales, Sonoran sizzling dogs, birria tacos and enchiladas (particularly from Mi Nidito), cheese crisps (toasted open-faced, cheese-topped flour tortillas), chimichangas, artisan breads built with mesquite flour (this kind of as from Barrio Breads).

TUCSON’S TRADITIONS: Uncover a few legendary Mexican dining places that are culinary landmarks

THE Persons

“Top Chef” fans will figure out Maria Mazon, chef/owner of Boca Tacos y Tequila in Tucson, who competed in the series’ season 18 in Portland. Mazon, together with chef Carlotta Flores of the historic El Charro Café in downtown Tucson, will consider viewers on a culinary tour of Tucson. Flores’ terrific aunt Monica Flin founded El Charro in 1922, which claims the title of the oldest Mexican restaurant in the state frequently operated by the very same loved ones. El Charro is famed for its carne seca, sunshine-dried beef that is shredded and simmered with inexperienced chile, tomato, and onion. In accordance to visittucson.org, the nonprofit that encourages Tucson, chef Janos Wilder, who gained the James Beard Award for Greatest chef Southwest in 2000, will also make an visual appeal in the final episodes.

THE Destinations

Filming sites include things like the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Move Resort & Spa, the Tanque Verde Vacation resort, and Pima County Historic Courthouse. A trailer for Episode 13 showed contestants at Mission Back garden, a living agricultural museum of Sonoran Desert fruit trees, neighborhood heirloom crops, and edible native plants (think cholla buds, nopal cactus, cactus fruit, and chile). El Charro, the cafe the place the chimichanga was born, is also showcased.

Previous Word

“When looking for a finale area, we normally glance for prospects to showcase a city which is the two a visually beautiful place and a culinary concealed gem,” explained producer Diana Schmedeman with Magical Elves, the production company for the “Top Chef” sequence. “Tucson was all that and extra with its majestic mountains, lush deserts and superb resorts, all producing an epic natural environment for a amazing year finale. Acquiring been introduced to influential culinary figures and area growers who enable form Tucson’s scene, we knew we had observed every little thing needed to enable encourage our finalists for a memorable year finale.”

Greg Morago writes about foodstuff for the Houston Chronicle. Follow him on Fb or Twitter. Send out him information tips at [email protected] Hear him on our BBQ Point out of Brain podcast to study about Houston and Texas barbecue society.