Friday, October 23, 2009

Top Chef Blogging

Well, as predicted, since I couldn't get the information I needed, writing the goddamn brief took twice as long as it should.  Getting a straight answer from people is goddamn annoying. 

Anyway, while I try to break away from my legal woes for an instant - ugh - I want to do some more Top Chef blogging.  Yes, I am a foodie.  Or rather, I love watching people cook on TV.  Last Wednesday was the annual "Restaurant Wars" episode, and I ended up watching it like four times (Bravo reruns the episodes over and over again, there was nothing else on TV except for "Criminal Minds," and I'm in serious need of escape-ism right now).  So, for those of you who aren't following Top Chef, stop reading this now, because you won't get any of it.

As I've stated before, the level of competition is ridiculous this year.  In a typical year, the chefs are low-end sous chefs or even line cooks, or caterers (not that there's anything wrong with catering).  Anyway, this year, there are executive chefs everywhere.  Not just chefs at run-of-the-mill places, but chefs with Michelin stars, and proteges of famous chefs like Charlie Palmer and Eric Ripert.  One contestant, Michael Voltaggio employs Marcel Vigneron as a sous chef, and Marcel almost won the competition in Season 2 (and I think Michael Voltaggio employs Hung Huyuh, Season 3's winner).

So that said, here are my thoughts on the final seven:

The Contenders:

Michael Voltaggio - Personality wise, he's a total and complete dick.  He curses out his brother, and anyone else who gets in his way.  In the kitchen, shit has to be done his way, or else.  The thing is, he's a talented asshole, and has the personality that works in the kitchen environment (See Ramsey, Gordon).  In past seasons we saw chefs with the artistry, but not the flair or the natural understanding of flavor.  In this past episode, the judges were literally fighting over the last bites of his chicken.  If he manages to keep his head out of his ass long enough, he might pull off the win.

Kevin - Unlike Michael Voltaggio, Kevin is amiable, kind, and the kind of guy you want to hang out with.  He's also brilliant, but where Michael is brilliant in an Adria sort of way (changes your perception of food), Kevin is brilliant in making simple food amazing (like making "bacon jam"). 

The Almost Theres:

Brian Voltaggio - Michael's older brother is, sadly, not quite the chef his brother is.  This is a shame because Brian is exactly my age, and from all appearances is the professional and all around good guy his brother is not.   But at this point, I think he lacks the utter brilliance that his brother has.  In any other year, Brian would take this competition blindfolded.  But he's not the artist his brother is, nor is he the craftsman that Kevin is.

Jennifer - A protege of Eric Ripert, Jennifer is the fish cook extraordinare.  However, in the last few episodes she's had a real confidence problem, probably due to her perfectionism, if anything else.  So, she's a bit like Casey in that sense, only more talented.  If she gets her head in the game, she can run with the big boys.  If not, she's done for.

The Also Rans:

Mike Isabella - Mike is an asshole.  But Mike is the kind of asshole that you find among your friends - the guy who is so full of shit that you begin to ignore what he says because he'd give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.  He's a good chef, but not great.  At this point, he's trying to keep up, but ultimately, his days will be done.

Eli - Like Isabella, Eli is also an asshole.  Except, Eli has the excuse of being young (he's 23 or 24).  He's also quite talented for a young chef, but has a lot to learn.  Like Isabella he can hold his own, but is nowhere near where the Voltaggios, Jennifer and Kevin are.

Last and Least:

Robin - I feel bad for Robin because she's gotten shit on by the other chefs as not being worthy.  The truth is, Robin has been consistently the third worst chef.  That would make her bad enough to be on the bottom three, but not enough to be eliminated.  Plus, she's not bad, per se, just no where near the talent of the other remaining chefs.  The only people I thought should have left after her are Hector and Ashley (both good chefs but who screwed up royally).  Laurine leaving before Robin was all good.


  1. I still think Jennifer is the favorite...she has gotten smoked on a couple of the QuickFire's, but during the main game, she always brings it.

  2. After last night's performance, I'm not sure about Jennifer. She's got the chops but her head isn't in the game. If she makes the finals, though, the rest will do her good. It is amazing how consistently Robin is able to be the third worst chef. Okay, last night she was the second worst chef, but still, she's like Lisa from Season 5. On the other hand, there's no way in hell she makes it to the finals.