Friday, June 13, 2008

my thoughts on the outcome of Top Chef

To be honest, I haven’t yet read any of the reviews/comments/etc regarding the outcome of Wednesday night’s show. The boy and I didn’t watch it until I got home from work yesterday, because, frankly, I just can’t stay up that late at night, anxious and wide awake. I mean, I have stayed up that late at night, such as last Friday when I talked my friend Chris’ mom’s ear off at the bar at 5 Seasons North until 2 am. But that’s different. I didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn the next day and roll my ass into New Big Corporate wearing a power suit.

Not that I wear power suits. But I digress.

I’m sure what I’m going to write here has been written all over the innernets, so I’m not expressing a new opinion. But I’m really disappointed with the producers of Top Chef this season. Last week I read Chef Colicchio’s essay on the BravoTV website where he defends his position on why Lisa had stuck around. Lisa even says at the beginning of the final episode, “I got here by the skin of my teeth!”. I’m sure she’s a fine cook. But I can’t see her even remotely in the same culinary ballpark as a couple of the other chefs on the program. I’ll admit that I’m biased – I’m a big Richard Blais fan, and have been for a couple of years now, and my opinion of him is even more cemented after our lovely dinner at his restaurant, Home, last week. The guy is a phenomenal chef; he’s going places, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. (I’ll tangent off here for a sec to remind everyone who is in Atlanta that you must dash over there and order the marrow before it’s sadly taken off the menu – hoping that never happens!)

In regards to Chef Colicchio’s defensive blogpost, I had to shake my head at that. I understand that the chefs are graded for each episode and that episode only – none of their prior work is considered. I don’t find that to be necessarily fair. Blais and Stephanie had proved themselves as serious chefs to contend with throughout the course of the show. Where was Lisa throughout the show? Constantly showing up in the bottom. When the final three contestants were chosen, I looked at the boy and said, “Is this a joke?” As a viewer of the show, I thought it was a rip-off.

No matter what anyone on that show says, whether it be a judge or a producer, it was clear to the viewers that Bravo really geared this season’s show towards a woman winning. And I find that offensive. Sounds strange that I’d say that, seeing that I am a woman with dual citizenship who wears pants, occasionally doesn’t wear a bra, and who votes. Some of the women on this season’s show really held their own. I warmed up towards Antonia half way through the show, and I really enjoyed watching Stephanie cook. But it seemed as though the theme to this season was “We’re going to make a woman win this time!”, and I think that’s a serious shame. I find it very demeaning to fantastic women chefs out there who have been busting their asses for years to be as accepted and respected as their male counterparts. I’m not saying that Stephanie didn’t deserve to win, because she obviously proved herself worthy time and time again with her repeated wins, and in the end taking the whole shebang home. Good for her, she seems like a really sweet girl and a damn fine chef, and i'd buy her a beer and a shot any day. But I feel as though Bravo had already handed the win to a woman before the season even begun, thinking that it would make for better TV, get more viewers, etc... And it certainly did bring out a lot of controversy, a lot of pissed off viewers, a shit load of comments left on various sites, and a lot of hatred towards one or two of the contestants. Bravo to you, Bravo TV. You succeeded in your mission. But you may have lost some viewership along the way. Do you even care? Who knows if I’ll watch the next season of Top Chef. I won’t know until the night it airs if I’m even remotely interested in it anymore. My opinions change, though, so I’ll probably have mellowed my distaste for it by then. We shall see.

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