Saturday, April 18, 2009

Top Chef Poll Results

We all agree there are great expectations put on the Masters series of the forthcoming Top Chef saga. The idea of throwing roughly two dozen accomplished chef/personalities in the Kitchen Aid, turning it up to 10, and seeing who flies out first is oh so tantalizing. Why will we watch is a more personal question. Will we watch for a masterpiece to be created, or a faux pas, exceptional knife skill or a sliced finger, imagination run wild or re-hash of the classics…do we want to see the masters triumph or succumb to the familiar failures we find in our own kitchens so often?

What scares me is how bad this idea can run amuck. Nobody wants to watch thirty people cut apples again, especially not the pick of the litter. Please don’t send the masters off to cook cafeteria food in Beverly Hills, on a ten dollar budget with guest judge Mr. Puck. With hundreds of years, thousands of menus, maybe a million services under their accumulative belts accomplished in restaurants kitchens, please don’t take them out of there! There will be no joy in watching, nor any sense of quality competition to watch this status chef cook breakfast on a beach over a charcoal fire for example.

There is a bright side! Assuming the silly competitions are eliminated….ok, limited at least, and the product placement doesn’t carry on to any more extreme measures, the opportunity to see a little bit of these chefs’s personality is very cool. Throw out the, “I’m so mean and yell at everyone. I’m supreme leader!” fake persona that most chefs tend to convey to the masses until you find them on a bar stool half in the bag. Even a twinkle of fascination, passion, or admission of fatigue or pressure will reassure to us their humanity. What emotion or who it comes from doesn’t really matter at this point; let’s just hope it can be incorporated into the show.

I’m looking forward to the next season of Top Chef, as are most of those who responded to the poll. I really hope we get to see the best of the chefs competing. I am looking forward to seeing something great come from their kitchens. With any luck, the best chef will win.


Cory said...

I agree i just want to see these chef's cook.... see what they can do... my vote is for Wylie Dufresne since im secretly a molecular sucker.... have you seen all the restaurant/cooking shows on bbc... heading to the food expo sunday/monday in rockside... pete ask me to go, ever been?

Scott Sebastian said...

I'm just the opposite, WD is a freak show. I say put the spoiled bastards throught their paces. They've been sucking of the teet of PR for too long. Make'em cry I say!

I would prefer to see any two of the soft handed corporate shills go at it in the octogan.

Can you tell I'm angry today?

Michael Walsh said...

Scott, I know exactly what your saying. Deep down inside i'd enjoy seeing the downside of these 'masters' but the producers of Top Chef are only gonna let things go so far. I'm sure we will get plenty of chuckles out of it.

Dine O Mite said...

I've been looking forward to this since last season's Top Chef was coming to an end. I'm a little conflicted though. Since I enjoy Top Chef so much, I don't know that I'll enjoy it as much now that Masters has come along.

My horse going into this thing is John Besh. I've been really impressed with what I've seen from him in IC and The Next IC. I know this is sacreligious in Cleveland, but he would have been MY next Iron Chef.

I just hope the "gas station" challenges are kept to a minimum.

One other thing, I find it funny that you can't get rid of Rocco DiSpirito, but when it's game time he's nowhere to be found. This was his chance to get some street cred. I've always found him to be particularly brutal as a guest judge.

Michael Walsh said...


I'm glad someone brought up The Next IC series because they seemed to do a adequate job matching the chef's skill level with challanges. Besh is very accomplished far beyond the Next IC crap. I'm not sure why he's the competition on these shows instead of the judge?

Rocco is an intersting animal. I read a sappy piece about him in the NYT about 6 months ago. How he loves food and cooking, but it was easier for him to be a rock star on camera than a chef, so he went with it. I'd like to believe it, but I worked with a cook who worked for rocco, and he didn't have much nice to say about the fellow. I'd trade places with him for a day just so i could see how it feels to fall asleep crying on a pile of MONEY!

If we get adequate challanges, and straight and narrow judgments, the next season of Top Chef could be the best.