Top Chef: Season 6

Taking a break from shilling for Diet CokeI've cut way back on my cooking reality shows in the past couple of years. I used to watch Hell's Kitchen and Next Food Network Star, but I watch cooking shows for one thing - cooking - and so two hours a week got culled.

What remains boils down to the Iron Chef and Top Chef franchises. Of the two, Iron Chef wins, because the main show is a straight-up one-off fight without anybody staying in a goddamned house, and its spinoff (The Next Iron Chef) consists of a bunch of solid professionals cooking for fun.

Top Chef, on the other hand, has a bunch of people staying in a goddamned house, although its spinoff (Top Chef Masters) also consisted of a bunch of solid professionals cooking for fun.

Still, Top Chef does make a pretty solid effort to stay centered on the food, and the current season is better in that regard than most. Nobody really hates each other on camera. There's only one huge asshole (Isabella, of course), and a half-dozen excellent chefs who, week in and week out, turn out food that impresses jaded judges.

Of course, this means that the first six or seven weeks we've had so far is non-stop, surprise-free herd-culling, but I'm fine with that. I am, unsurprisingly, a meritocracy kind of guy, and the only problem I've had with any of the eliminations so far is that none of them have been the aforementioned Isabella, who will be around until at least the final six. He's the obligatory arrogant fuck who sometimes ends up on top, sometimes on the bottom, and sometimes in the middle. Last year, that actually got Hosea the win, but this year, it's not going to cut it.

Even the challenges have been fairly reasonable by reality cooking show standards. Sure, there was the obligatory "cook for the military" episode. With the obligatory voiceovers and cutaways to how honored everyone is to have their competitive TV show do something for the troops. An idea they then run into the fucking ground so far that even the most jingoistic, flag-waving reflex-patriot can't help but notice the freshly-dug trench. But they haven't even overstayed their welcome on their Vegas theme yet, which has been a pleasant surprise.

Plus, the clear leader at this point is a guy named Bryan. With the Y. Combine that with American Idol, and I have a decent shot at winning two of the most popular reality shows of the year.

 

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Top Chef!

I <3 Top Chef, and I pretty much agree with everything you say here. Mike Isabella is a huge ass, but I know he'll be there until the end. Unless there's some sort of a huge upset...one can but dream. I really like Eli and Kevin; realistically, though, I know they may not make it all the way. Jen and the Brothers V will, unless they make a horrible mistake somewhere. Shutting up now, as that's more than enough analysis by me!

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