TV Time: Top Chef: Seattle

Tom and Padma
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She Said: Top Chef 10: Seattle

I love Top Chef.  Well, I usually love it. I also usually have an episode or two every season (except for All Stars which was awesome) where I quit watching. Last season I just couldn’t stay engaged with the Texas crowd and when they sent my favorite (Grayson Schmitz) home I was done. I was so hopeful that Top Chef : Seattle ( airing on Bravo, Wednesdays at 10:00pm Eastern) would regain it’s past awesomeness. I’m skeptical whether or not it can.

The idea behind Top Chef is awesome. I love watching people cook. When the people that you watch are professionals and really love their craft it’s bound to be even more enjoyable to watch and learn and from.  At least it should be. I used to loooooooove Top Chef. We taped every episode and we would watch them over and over. We still watch them! But, somewhere the cool challenges disappeared and become ridiculous cartoon challenges. I still want to see people cook food that is creative, but also looks tasty. I want to see cooking that inspires me. I don’t want to continually see people put in situations where they are set up to fail and then get yelled at about not throwing out their food and starting over. Colicchio are you serious? They have $50, how do you throw everything out and start over? How do you go to the store for more when you can’t separately leave the production?  How do you just not serve anything? You can’t, have you ever seen what the judges do to people who don’t serve anything? Sometimes, I think the judges don’t have a grasp on the reality and rules of the competition.

I am a little tired of the judges. Tom is really unrealistic in his expectations and isn’t always as kind as I wish he was.  I’ve never been a big fan of Emeril. I just don’t care for his cooking or judging style.  Hugh Acheson usually comes across as really disrespectful with his faces and voices. I don’t mind judges who are tough, but I don’t like it when people are mean. I’m excited about Wolfgang Puck because he’s an awesome chef and a good judge. Watching him teach the chefs how to make omelets was the absolute coolest moment of the whole show!

The first episode of the show was in my mind, leftover producers work. I don’t want to watch people cook for two minutes and then get asked to leave! That’s not fun at all. I hate it when they eliminate people so quickly.  Each of the 4 chefs set a challenge and then selected who they wanted to continue to become contestants. I feel so bad for all the people who only made it to the first episode for what feels like Bravo and the producers trying to wrench one more week of ratings for “casting”. Emeril’s chefs prepared soup. Good call, Emeril! Soup is important and making a well-balanced and delicious soup is an art. Hugh Acheson’s group had to make salads. That’s all I remember about Hugh’s part, that and there was some mugging by Hugh. The chefs made omelets for Wolfgang Puck. I don’t remember what they made for Tom. I just remember a lot of prep cook/ mis en place stuff.

I’m so far not truly impressed by anyone. I don’t think I’m interested enough in the show to have a favorite.

I was bored. I found it really hard to make it through the entire episode. I hope they’ll step up their game and actually keep the show interesting from this point forward.

Kari’s Rating- 3

He Said: Top Chef: Seattle

Kari and I have watched Top Chef literally since day one.  It is responsible for much of our growth as foodies in that time.  There have been times when seasons lose us, but Restaurant Wars always sucks us back in.  Over the years, we haven’t always agreed with the judges or sometimes even each other over who the best chefs have been, or who should have been eliminated when, but it’s always been an interesting show.

Last season was one that we didn’t like very much so we came to this season with some trepidation.  Neither of us likes watching Hugh Atchison, but I was intrigued by the addition of Wolfgang Puck as a judge.

Like season nine, instead of jumping right into Top Chef Kitchen they had to qualify and “earn” their chef’s jackets.  On its face, this bothers me slightly.  Isn’t earning their place in the competition what the casting process is for?  Seattle did a much better job at this then Texas did.  Whereas previously the challenge was a fairly standard cook off, this time around each judge (Tom, Hugh, Emeril and Wolfgang) gave groups of contestants a test you could imagine they would ask anyone looking for a job in their restaurants.

Hugh asked for a salad, Wolfgang wanted an omelet, Emeril had them make soup, and Tom made them work in his restaurant for a night.  This part of the show was actually pretty neat and led to the most entertaining moment of the night.  I loved watching Wolfgang Puck give a cooking demo on omelets.  That was one of the best Top Chef moments ever.  It was also amusing to see the chef that was the most arrogant, Daniel O’ Brien get eliminated due to the plating of his omelet.  Normally I like rooting for the home team chefs like Carla Hall, or Mike Isabella.  Daniel however, just wasn’t as likable.  He kept crowing about how his restaurant, Seasonal Pantry, was the highest rated on yelp, but that’s not what this show is about.  I’m still not entertained by Hugh, but the look on his face when Gina barked at him to stop critiquing her or he was going to make her cry was priceless.  I knew right then and there she wasn’t going to get to Seattle.  Nothing memorable happened in Tom’s restaurant or Emeril’s soup tasting.

I don’t have any favorites yet, but I’m definitely in for another few episodes at least.

RJ’s Rating-8

 Are you a Top Chef fan? Did you watch the premiere of Top Chef: Seattle? What did you think of it?