December 21, 2008

Top Chef: Conspiracies Afoot

Filed under: Top Chef — Chris @ 2:28 pm

I’m not one to jump to the conclusion that producer interference has led to one cheftestant going home over another, but… is it a coincidence that the judges decided not to send anybody home this week, when Jamie—a strong contender and a one-woman Victorian melodrama—had a full-on judgment breakdown and served mediocre scallops raw and under-seasoned in a lukewarm vichyssoise? Her only hope was that Eugene stuck his neck up on the block by stubbornly defending his sickly-sweet poisson cru in the face of the judges’ criticism (Rule #8, people! It’s like you don’t even read the blog!). Here’s a tip for you, Eugene: if Tom Colicchio says your dish is too sweet, do not counter with “to me … it was tart.” Tom Colicchio has good reason to think somewhat highly of his own palate.

So what’s the deal with nobody going home? Was it always planned, as part of the holiday theme? Was it actually a response to the refrigerator snafu, in spite of the fact that neither of the affected cheftestants under-performed because of it? I’m getting progressively more weirded out by the pretenses and lacunae in the presentation of the show: Thanksgiving and Christmas in July, complete with disingenuous references to seasonal ingredients; Gail’s Potemkin bridal shower; the presentation of decisions most likely handed down by the legal department as evidence of the judges’ beneficence. Or how about a “one-pot wonder” Quickfire Challenge in which at least half the cheftestants (including the winner) didn’t make anything anyone would consider making in one pot, ever. For example, Fabio’s polenta and duck breast. Have you ever made polenta? Have you cleaned a polenta-caked pot? Would you seriously make polenta, clean the pot, then sear a duck breast in it instead of just using a separate sauté pan for the duck? Preposterous. I understand they want to present an show that is interesting and exciting without getting bogged down in unnecessary details… can’t they do that without insulting my intelligence?

Private to Padma: scallops are something I associate with winter, especially considering the New York State Atlantic bay scallop season runs from November to March (i.e., winter, more or less).

Private to Arriane: six kinds of deviled eggs? Six? As an hors d’oeuvre?



  1. Read Lee Anne’s blog for this show… It was because of the refrigerators. They could not send anyone home because it was not the cheftestants’ fault and it created an uneven playing field.

    Comment by Sharon — December 24, 2008 @ 2:55 am

  2. Well, fine. That makes sense. Why didn’t they just say that?

    Comment by Chris Conway — December 24, 2008 @ 8:56 am

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