November 22, 2009

How Do You Measure a Chef’s Worth? Just By The Pleasure He Gives Here On Earth

Filed under: Top Chef — Chris @ 11:16 pm

This week was a preview of how I expect the rest of the season to play out. Kevin made the smart Rule B play, sticking with simple, clean flavors over elaborate presentations. He risked being dismissed as an underachiever. But in truth it’s rare for a chef to go home for making delicious food that’s not “ambitious” enough. Indeed, Kevin has exactly the kind of approach the Judges like: not overly fussy, focused on flavor, and “soulful.” The Voltaggios are more technically proficient, but more likely to try something risky or conceptual that falls short on flavor. (Top Chef contestants need to spend more time studying Tom Collichio’s Diet Coke commercial—he is not a big fan of conceptual cookery.)

Predictions: I’m putting all my chips on Kevin to win. If you need more convincing, with this episode Kevin clinched the record as the all-time winningest Top Chef contestant, with 5 Elimination wins and 4 Quickfire wins (one, the blind-fold relay, as a team member). He’s won nearly half of the Elimination Challenges he’s participated in (recall he was excused from the Joël Robuchon challenge for his Quickfire win). He’s only been in the bottom once, in Restaurant Wars (that great inverter of Top Chef fortune). In comparison, Stephanie (Season 4) had 5 Elimination wins, including her Season win, and only 1 Quickfire win. Stefan (Season 5) had 4 Elimination wins and 4 Quickfire wins. (Let’s hope that Kevin doesn’t imitate his home stretch performance.)

I am fond of Jennifer, but she obviously has a problem performing under pressure. I expect her to go home next week.


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