January 31, 2007

Top Chef Pre-Show

Filed under: Not Tech, Top Chef, TV — Chris @ 12:51 am

Are you psyched for the finale?! If Ilan wins, I think I might cry. Here’s my attempt at an objective assessment.


Pros: He’s creative and interesting. He has a sense of humor about himself and a remarkably professional attitude towards those who teased, taunted, and assaulted him. His colleagues at The Mansion seem to respect him, even if none of his fellow contestants did. He kicked ass last week.

Cons: He didn’t make a single memorably delicious-seeming dish all season. He seems to lack some basic cooking chops and gets lost when he doesn’t have access to xanthan gum or a thermal immersion circulator. He made foams at least as often as Sam made pickles. And, it must be noted, almost everybody on the show hated him.


Pros: He seems to be a skilled cook. He has prepared several dishes through the season that look delicious and which the judges all enjoyed. He showed some leadership skills in the course of the season.

Cons: The leadership he showed was in inspiring others to hate Marcel. So, more your cold prickly Hitler-y leadership,* not your warm fuzzy FDR-y stuff. He’s an asshole. Every successful dish he made (e.g., paella, fideos) could have come (did come?) from the menu of his restaurant. The things he made that weren’t classic Spanish recipes (e.g., chocolate-covered liver) were often disgusting. Both Gail and Padma seemed ready to send him home last week.**

My Prediction: Marcel by a nose.***

Bonus Prediction: The final Elimination Challenge will not bring back previously eliminated contestants to work under the finalists: this set-up hurt Tiffani’s chances last year (recall that all four helper chefs, including her own teammates, picked Harold to win) and it would probably be ruinous to Marcel. I could swear there was promo footage of Stephen Asprinio towards the beginning of the season… Maybe they’ll bring back last year’s contestants as kitchen helpers? Stephen and Marcel would make a great team…

* Hell yeah, I just went there.
** Although I am typically a very credulous reality television viewer, I must say that choosing Ilan over Sam last week seems to betray an interest in “good television” over “good food.”
*** The “by a nose” bit is meaningless. The judge’s always present it as if it’s “by a nose,” especially in the finale.

UPDATE: I meant to say, also, that it is obviously the case that neither Marcel nor Ilan can hold a candle to Harold (or even Tiffani) (and probably Lee Anne). That said, I will note that this is a cooking-themed reality television show and not an objective search for the Best Chef in the Universe. (I believe that’s called The Next Food Network Star.) You gotta play them as they lay.


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