Yeah, I don't agree with that about Tyler. I have known him to create dishes that are down home like chicken and dumplings, fish or brisket tacos, chicken wings, burgers, etc., etc., which are all on his tavern menu right now, and many of which I have had. I actually think he took the heritage challenge TOO seriously. The mistake he made was to look at what others were doing and think he had to copy them to compete with them instead of finding his own strategy. He saw others doing food that was very tied to their own ethnicity and thought that in order to compete with them he had to do the same thing. I think he was probably pissed that he let the show pressure him to do something that he didn't love doing, but in the end that was his mistake, and the same one that has tripped up other great chefs on this show in the past. I think there is a big difference between the talent it takes to be a great chef and the talent it takes to win a competition. Tyler has a lot of the former, but probably not enough of the latter to win a show like this.
I think Tyler may have hoped that Top Chef would be about him being able to showcase his "chef-y" talent because that's where he probably feels he has the edge over others. But I've had his non-chefy food, which I think is marvelous and just as good as anything else he creates, so perhaps that's in his own mind. He has not even shied away from embracing the "down home" trend himself so I don't agree that he is not one to embrace that kind of cooking. In fact, this past fall he opened a BBQ restaurant in my area. I haven't tried it yet but it's on my culinary "bucket list" for the near future. So the fact that he didn't showcase that side of himself on this show is regrettable.