I remember vividly getting off work early to go home and watch the first episode ever of Top Chef. I was excited to see a competition based on what I did everyday. I was exhilarated to see young chefs battle it out with food to see who would be the best chef overall. The episode took place at Hubert Keller’s Fleur de Lys, with Gail and a much younger Tom and the beautiful, but briefly-tenured Katie Lee. We saw the tension, the pressure, the fails and the attempts. We were hooked, and I still am.
But sometimes I hear this on the street, or from friends and fans: “These chefs just aren’t that good.” Sometimes you may be right, but that’s a red herring; it’s supposed to be about who’s the best in the group, not who is the best chef in the galaxy.
What I do know is that this is a great season that we’re just getting into, full of really good food, interesting social dynamics, and it fulfills what I think Top Chef strives for. If you say that these chefs are not good enough, you are kind of missing the point. Granted their omelet skills left me wondering about the state of food in America, but that was only a quarter of our lot and we have some culling still to do, on a weekly basis actually.
Last season we were very lucky to have a very gifted group who could really cook in the highest rung of the culinary world in America. I would say half of them are really going to be players in the restaurant world in the next decade, like really important culinary superstars. Paul ended up winning and I can’t think of a more just recipient of the title. He earned it over the course of a season doing what he does best: not strategizing, not creating drama, not finding faults and weaknesses with others -- he just cooked in the way he knows how. He rocked it. We were lucky to see him cook. In a similar vein, the past has shown us the Voltaggios, Stephanie Izard, Harold Dieterle, and Kevin Sbraga, gifted chefs all of them. Some seasons have had nobody ascending to be the next Paul Bocuse, but still we get great food entertainment. We get the purity of the competition and anxieties of putting all of what you know on the table.
I created a Bravo account just to say how much I like this blog. Fun to read. Kinda makes me want to go to Atlanta so I can try your food.
"Do you wear armor in the kitchen?' [Hugh to Belgian contestant]
Really?! Hugh?! Really?! Npo one laughed. At all. Go watch the tape. It doesn't lie. You're evidently a successful chef, but the humor is brutal. Please refine or stop. Seriously. Ask your producers and ask them to be truly honest with you.
PRODUCERS - don't be afraid to coach up your judges. Please.
JBourne10 I laughed - and again when I read this in your post. Hugh, I think you are hilarious!
Whoa, Chef Acheson. Have you been indulging in a little of that legal whacky tobbacky they have there in Washington? You did some serious rambling but it was kind of funny too. I'm surprised you didn't say anything about Stefan's lame excuses for his overcooked quail. I didn't understand the reasoning behind having those geoducks in mud. Really? Like those chefs don't have a lot of time to prep and cook much less clean mud off of the animal. Yeesh.
"Stefan talks about breasts a lot. There is a lot of innuendo whenever he talks. He sounds like a produce clerk with a tracking ankle bracelet: “Carrots? I show you a big carrot!”
Inspired words Mr. Acheson. In fact this whole blog filled with your outsize and hilarious witticisms and observations! In the approximate words of Mr. Colicchio...."if this blog is anything to judge by....we are in for some great reading!".
Hugh, love, love, love your blog, have to get a twitter account so I can follow you there!! Your comment to Micah to take a chill pill still has me chuckling ( but I think Carla could use one too), and Stefan and his big carrot, funny stuff. Good start to what I think will be an interesting season.
"Stefan, who looks like a shiny geoduck held upright in a Cialis trance..." frickin hilarious
My inner third grader just peed a little. Perhaps the adjective "sucks" wasn't the best one to use when describing something that looks like a "big penis". Or maybe that was your intention?
My first time commenting on your blog Hugh. :) I was worried when I checked last night and your blog wasn't uploaded yet. I'm glad I checked this morning!
I just wanted to say that I enjoy reading your thoughts, play-by-play writing, and DEFINITELY the POP CULTURE references!
They've all acted nervously about to ascend & summit onto City add which is painted in a new spruce design for xmas'time! To cover errors in knives slices make saner rules on lines to creation on guidelines? Mr.Douglas, for note exactly just was awarded from decades in political as by luckiness too!