Why You Shouldn’t Go On Top Chef (Unless You Should)

As the 300th season of Top Chef looms, a few predictions: in the first episode, there will be an arrogant know-it-all who claims a superior set of kitchen skills, only, when asked to debone a chicken, he’ll crumple into a heap and cry, “My mother never loved me!” A duo of lesbian sashimi experts, formerly inseparable, will have their loyalties tested when one is told to pack her knives and go and the other is told that her knife skills surpass Morimoto’s. A down-and-out hard-on-his-luck dishwasher, who hosts supper clubs in his spare time, will bring tears to Emeril’s eyes when he recreates his grandmother’s gumbo, beating out a chef from a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Napa for the final slot on the show.

Acquiring a Taste for “Top Chef Masters” (or, Corn Dogs as Metaphors)

[Hey, this is Adam The Amateur Gourmet. I’m on vacation in Barcelona, Spain and while I’m gone I’ve asked some awesome people to fill in for me. This post comes from one of the smartest people I know, a master of the written word and lover of pop culture, Mr. Mark Blankenship. Mark’s blog, The Critical Condition, is a playful, thoughtful, and insightful look at all things pop. When he’s not blogging, Mark writes features in the arts section of The New York Times. Take it away, Mark!]

Thanks to Adam for having me back. It’s a pleasure to be here!

So… let me acknowledge this up front: “Top Chef Masters” will never be “Top Chef.” Kelly Choi lacks that Padma Pizzazz, and though strangely-hatted food critic Gael Greene could have her own show, her fellow judges Jay Rayner and James Oseland are just… icky. Do you know what I mean? They’re perceptive and articulate, sure, but they seem so satisfied with themselves. It’s like, dude: The joke you made about the pig’s ear wasn’t funny, so stop chuckling about it. I’ve written that OTC (Original “Top Chef”) takes itself too seriously, but watching those smug smuggers strain to be lighthearted is even more irritating.

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