What a missed opportunity this season of Top Chef in NYC has been. Casting is the most glaring problem. They didn’t start with a full line up of contestants who could possibly win. Flat out they picked some people who wouldn’t deserve a job in my kitchen. With a line of qualified, proven, tested chefs the TC crew picks a kid just out of CIA for example. What a waste of a spot for someone who might have been a contender. We have had to wait until this week, with only 4 chefs left, for an episode lacking some obviously stupid or otherwise glaring shortcoming. Still nothing stunning, nothing unique, but this is part cast, part challenge. Some of the recent challenges have eliminated creativity (something this cast completely lacks) in favor of imitation. From the trip to Le Bernardin, to the last meal, to Creole cooking this week, no allowing for creativity. The cast as a whole is a boring lot that played into stereotypes and fallowed party lines, just like their food. The show would be much more entertaining if a group of qualified cooks competed against each other with a stricter more orderly system for judging was in place. Five seasons in and I can’t figure out what the judges are looking for. They seem to concentrate on a single event one week and eliminate a chef, then the next week glance over the same situation. It must be doubly aggravating for the chefs.
The wrong man was sent home! Fabio was robbed by his slacker euro trash buddy. Although Stephan has done a great job in the past, the attitude and food included in this week episode was rather disturbing. Prepared sausage, standard food, crappy arrogant attitude all are things we’ve seen other chefs get dismissed for. Fabio baked bread, and made pasta from scratch, in five hours! Assuming their food was equally tasty, the technique, and range Fabio showed far exceeded what was portrayed as a sloppy Stephan taking smoke breaks and patting himself on the back.
While I’m willing to stay a fan of TC, there are a good number of ways they can improve the show overall. The casting, judging and the challenges could all use an update. I’m hoping next season brings something new to the table because if I want to watch a bunch of un-inspired cooks wallow away at the ovens, I’ll just go to work.