So, just watched my last episode before the final four go on to compete in Napa Valley (woot CaLiFoRnIa!)
I had mixed feelings about this year's top chef. Basically it was a yawn; especially compared to the drama and motely crew of personalities last season (come on, i still remember their names; Jamie, Carla, Stefan, the italian guy, leah and the meathead that actually won's fling, the older lady who i LOVED but obviously my love proved fickle since i can't remember her name... the older one.. i used her skate/cauliflower puree recipe once ... man her name is on the tip of my mind.. Dinah? no.. Dionne? something a little exotic i remember.. ARIANE!)
and this season, it was boring for a few reasons. To name the main reason, in my opinion it was way too technical. In the past part of the appeal was that you could see why chefs went home or stayed while also nursing the secret fantasy that maybe, just maybe if you got your act together, you could also go on to star and if not win, at least give Bravo a good run for its money. Not anymore. The culinary chemistry and gourmet chefs are no longer an exception but the rule. I mean we have Brian and his cocky brother (Michael! i forgot his name at first) who are both okay on the eyes, fabulous in technical skills and apparently whip it together to produce great food. The thing is, they never mess up; if they do, it's something lame like "oops, forgot my extra garnish"... nothing quite as cataclysmic as say, a dessert not setting or all your food going bad because the refrigerator was left open (i think this was last season too. WOW season 5! it was that wide-eyed indian girl i think). Sure Bravo tried to milk the whole sibling rivalry thing, but whatever; if we were interested in that sort of reality show, we'd go to MTV.
Not only is there Brian and Michael, there's also Jennifer. Perfect little Jennifer who is that girl in school that nobody likes. The focused one, who never smiles, who says all the right things, who does all the right things, who did all the right things, and who will probably continue to do so until she smoothly slides in and wins and nods and smiles. Lame. Yet perfect little Jennifer did throw us a twist; when she literally CRACKED. So glad there were so many incompetent chefs to eliminate before the judges got a chance to eliminate her. LOVED it during this episode when Padma smiles and coolly said, "Welcome back" after the quickfire. still, Jennifer's intense.
So not only do we have three super technically talented professionally trained chefs winning every quickfire and elimination challenge (i swear, in the beginning it was a pingpong match between the.. three), but everyone else is just... bumbling or boring. This season seemed to say, if you have no professional training, go home - you suck! which was pretty much the case for most of them.
Of course there were some interesting characters, and i'll get into the ones who stuck out.
Of course Mike: is cocky.. super cocky.. and annoying.. because he's so cocky. i can totally see him as a dad. a self-important dad of course.
then there's ooh what's that french dude. Martel? Milan? Jacque? hahahah whatever.. He was just cute. with zee fwench accent. too bad he couldn't cook for beans... or beans.
and also, just most of the people were just really self-deprecating, had self esteem issues, or tried to be really gay to stand out.. lame. Bravo should stop trying to be a platform for human-interest issues. it's about the cooking.
I think towards the end, though, Bravo wisened up and began trying to appeal to its average majority.. through the comfortable home cooking of Kevin.. gotta love him and his beard.. and then his little bald head that makes it look like he's wearing a yarmulke. Sort of reminds me of a dwarf! DUDE so wanna eat his meat though..... wow. hahaha. poor guy; he won't win.. unless others pull booboos. They also began focusing on Eli. The dreamer, aspiring chef, TV watchers can all empathize with Eli. trying new things, young to the scene. whee. Except.. peanut butter jelly .. .whatever monster concoction that was during last week's episode.. was horrific Eli ... good thing robin was still around.
Concerning Robin; was she there to appeal to the older demographic? Because they did an awful job of making her appealing. It was a little funny to see everyone sort of get irked by her, and i guess she is very talkative and a little too .. wannabe. BUT again, Bravo, this is a cooking show; not MTV.. not Disney. Come on, super petty. I think she was kept there to be the annoying factor to add fire to a collection of dull duds.
I like Brian though. He is just a likeable guy; especially in juxtaposition to his immature brother Michael... who probably seethes under the shadow of his perfect brother. Brian is so ... under-spoken about his talents, he's just very methodological, kind, has a sense of morals, humble.. he's a bore. I'm surprised he became a chef. but he's pretty dang good at it! and it's a fresh of breath air.. whoa there, breath of fresh air, to see a nice human being on TV. Poor Michael. Michael is a normal human being... and it must suck to not measure up to your older brother. Michael - you're a great chef too. Just stop acting spoiled or cocky.. but I guess that's applauded on Tv.. since you're sticking to your guns. Then in that case, stick to your guns.. not that you'd care about my blog post anyway...
Final comments: on the judges; every year I feel a pang of symapthy for the other girl judge.. the one who's not padma.... because HONESTLY, you know people are comparing you two, and Padma's beautiful. HA that's my sick, superficial side coming out. see i dont even know her name. if i didnt know any of the names it would be the bald judge, the hot judge, and the not as pretty judge. hahah actually no, it would be Tom, Padma and the other one. HAHAHAHAHA
And Toby isn't so caustic this year... glad that he left his weirdo analogies for.. whatever, not the dinner table.
In closing, the final four has been decided! You know, last season, the ending was pretty anticlimactic; and boy did i not like the winner.. and you know what's funny, nobody even sees him around anymore. ANYWAY it was kinda sad to see Eli go.. since Eli was pretty chills... but meh, didn't care much for him or anything.. ultimately despite the length of this rambling post, i didn't care much for most of them, really. i don't even remember half the ones who left.
the chefs in that stupid little top chef alumni reunion special they had (instead of a cooking episode that i wanted to see!) left more of an impression on me than this whole season. well, i'll always be interested in Jennifer's food........
Also location this season was pretty sweet. Las Vegas .. then Napa Valley? wooo!! The money themes were pretty crazy and man, M Resort was just showering the chefs with money.
I still haven't gotten to eat at Jamie's restaurant, Absinthe.