Top Chef is back! There’s no impressions like first impressions — and you gotta love how they edit to make you biased from the start. First, who are all these people? I couldn’t keep them all straight, which forces me to resort to handles like “weird-hair guy” (Marcel), “big-hair guy” (Otto), and “glasses guy” (Ilan). What weird names they have anyway… Marcel, Otto and Ilan? Are the other contestants Pinocchio, Fabio and Chuck? Is there a Chuck?
And why am I so focused on the guys? My main impressions of the women were of “the Mexican woman” (Elia), “tight-clothes woman” (Betty) and the “basket case woman” (Suyai). So 1/3 of the women I recognize have been kicked off. This is poor. Plus, my nicknames are offensive.
I’m eager for the field to be winnowed down so I can digest the contestants and stop succumbing to typical reality-show snarkiness. (Who am I kidding? Why else watch reality shows!)
Seeing as how my wife has covered all the “important” things — hair, attire and nicknames — I’ll recap the, ahem, food happenings on the show. The first QuickFire challenge was flambe. I was highly impressed by the diversity and presentation of dishes — they ranged from savory to sweet, each of them seemingly restaurant quality and inviting. The elimination challenge was fascinating. Contestants were given a box of incongrous ingredients — things like artichokes, peanuts, escargot, potatoes and American cheese — that they had to use to make one dish. The offerings ran the gamut, from gourmet to unappetizing, to say the least. (I was intrigued, despite the fact that consuming peanuts or peanut butter — ingredients in both boxes — would kill me, since I’m allergic.)
My constant dissecting of the dishes, including musings about what I would cook with such ingredients, annoyed my wife. She, caught up in the more important aspects of the show (such as “how much product does Marcel use in his hair?”) impatiently paused the show to glower at me as I expounded. Ah, reality show viewing at its finest.