Sunday, July 5, 2009

So Far, so Tasty

Yay more Top Chef! Granted, I don’t think Top Chef: Masters is as palatable (or some other lame food-related quip) as a regular installment of the show, but it is enough to satiate some of my cravings (ok, I’ll stop). Mainly, Masters falls short because it doesn’t follow the same group of people week by week – rather, it features four different, already established “master” cheftestants who face off head to head with one winning and going on to the Champions Round – thus making it more difficult to root for anyone in particular. Also, as a result of their “master” statuses, none of these chefs takes the competition too seriously – why should they? – so the whole thing feels a bit half-assed at times. Furthermore, because of the high caliber of chefs, the judges’ criticism is pretty bland (sorry, last food related adjective, I promise) and scathing reviews are one of the things that make normal Top Chef so fun. Also, I miss Tom and Gail (though apparently she’ll be on later this season) and yes, even Padma. This new host, Kelly Choi, is pretty but a bit lackluster (I avoided a food word there). And, notably missing from the lineup of competing chefs are the dreamy Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain both of whom I would love to see compete. But really, I should stop complaining; the show is still fun, and it is pretty impressive to see how talented these people are and how much passion they have for food.

So I think I’ll give you a week-by-week rundown and just share a few of my thoughts.

Week One – I was glad Hubert Keller won. He’s obviously incredibly talented and also has a good personality – I won’t mind seeing him again come the Champions Round. The best part of this episode though was seeing all the chefs confused by Whole Foods as they don’t do their own shopping and mystified by microwaves.

Week Two – My big problem here was that the woman who won – Suzanne Tracht – was by far the least interesting of the four contestants and I don’t care to see her compete again. Both Wylie Dufresne and Graham Elliot Bowles were fascinating to watch, had interesting personalities and a great bromance/rivalry. It’s a shame one of them didn’t win.

Week Three – I had a similar problem with this one as I did with episode two. I liked Rick Bayless least out of all the cheftestants – he reminds me of someone’s possibly gay overbearing father and just gives me the creeps – and yet he is the one who I will have to see compete again.

I also think it’s amusing to note that at the end of every episode when they add the picture of that week’s winner to the Champions Round in which six slots represent the six winning chefs, the unfilled slots all show Hubert’s silhouette. Weird, right? Anyways, I’ll report more next week. So far, I’m rooting for Hubert.

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