Inside Fuego Cocina y Tequileria

Here’s something Fabio Viviani says in the premiere of Life After Top Chef: “This is a very interesting assorted group. Richard: family-oriented, freaks out all the time. Spike is like a 14-year-old with a credit card. Jen: super chef—very, very intense. This could be really, really good or really, really bad.”

That pretty much sums up the show itself. Having secured four of the most intriguing cheftestants ever to pack their knives and go, Bravo has set up the spinoff for success—these are people you can watch. The challenge is—based on the first episode, anyway—that not a lot happens. Whereas Top Chef’s tight format creates an ironclad, highly formulaic story arc, this is more like a Real Housewives setup, with the plot artificially built around travel and exhaustion. The producers will have to work hard to gin up the drama, and its stars will have to work hard to keep us involved. That said, they’re pretty fun to watch—and quote. Below, our favorite verbal outtakes from episode one.

The sidewalk-level bar, offering 110 tequilas and counting, is the place to snack on quesadillas, tacos, and queso. Photograph by Jeff Martin

Opt for a classic margarita, made with agave nectar, fresh lime, and Sauza tequila, or try more creative riffs, like one with hibiscus. Photograph by Jeff Martin

The coctel de mariscos—with shrimp, octopus, scallop, and chunks of avocado—has a V8 base, with ketchup for a touch of sweetness and a kick from spicy chilies. Photograph by Jeff Martin

“We’re trying to be as authentic as possible. No Velveeta, no flour tortillas, no bigger-than-your-head burritos,” says Tunks. This means the queso is made with bubbling chihuaha cheese and crumbles of fresh chorizo. Photograph by Jeff Martin

Pozole is a classic Mexican comfort dish with tender pork, green chili broth, and a squeeze of lime for brightness. Photograph by Jeff Martin

The former Market Tavern dining room gets a facelift with a linear fireplace and red-hued walls. In the corner, a former wine case is stocked with top-shelf tequilas. Photograph by Jeff Martin

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