Thursday, October 19, 2006

Top Chef Season 2 - Initial Thoughts

A recap is on its way but I wanted to give some initial thoughts. First off, the switch from Billy Joel's Child Bride to Salman Rushdie's Trophy Wife is a stroke of casting genius. Not only is SRTW gorgeous, but she's also completely competent as a host. I think her sylky (hee!) talking style gives the competition is more food focus. Unlike Tom Colicchio, she doesn't seem to be invested in stirring shit up. Best of all, she really knows what she's talking about. The second best bit o' casting this season was getting Harold from last season to judge the quickfire. First of all, Harold's gained a little weight, which has made him all the tastier. Secondly, he seems to give constructive criticism that is less about how smart he is (TOM!) and more about the actual food. Did anyone else think that Tom Colicchio's "I'm a judge not a mentor" speech was a direct reaction to the fan criticism that he can't hold a candle to the utterly lovable Tim Gunn? I'll give my opinions on the competitors in the recap.

Speaking of reality tv, I am crazy disappointed that Jeffrey won Project Runway. This was hardly as surprise as the judges have consistently gone for ugly and innovative over beautiful and well constructed.

Also on the reality tv news, J and I have gotten sucked into watching Master Chef At Large on BBC America. This is kind of the anti-Top Chef. It's a cooking competition that has a hundred people from all walks of life competing for a chance to work in a five star restaurant. I'm sure all of you in the food industry are like - that's a prize? They have a cooking challenge but also have a professional kitchen challenge where the competitors work in a restaurant kitchen. What's great about this show is the competitors are completely drama free and laid back. There is nothing to indicate that the competitors are fighting with each other. And then there are the two hosts. One is the restaurant guy and one is the food guy (yeah, I don't understand either). They are like the foodie Tim Gunn. Their comments are right on the money and genuinely helpful. They seems to really be looking out for the competitors.

What are you thoughts about Top Chef? Any frontrunners? Any divas you hate?


Hey Pretty said...
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JordanBaker said...

You forgot the third bonus about Harold: both he and his food look tasty as all get out.

I like the guy who won the Elimination Challenge, and the woman from Mexico who kept making fun of American cheese singles best so far. And the pastry chef who had a sense of humor about nearly cutting her fingers off seemed cool.

I was surprised that the British girl was eliminated so quickly. And the guy with the fright night hair is clearly getting the Steven Tool and Douchebag edit, while Fried Frogs Legs Lady might be too much like S1's Lisa to last. Beyond that, it's probably too early to tell.

Top Chef 2: From a Chef's POV said...

I think that Ilan (Elimination winner) is talented, *and cute, but that's another comment.* Otto, Michael, and maybe Marcel seem to be front-runners for annoyance.

But it all comes down to the food, and I think that Ilan's looked the best. It was a nice way to take on escargot, and looked great. I can't believe that, in the Quickfire, Elia chose red wine to flambe with. I was also surprised that this QF was so easy compared to last seasons (flambeing is nothing compared to line cooking), but in contrast, this Elimination Challenge was much harder than last years.

Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

I haven't seen episode one yet but am really looking forward to it. And according to the website it will be on again tomorrow morning and I just happen to be off from work.