Top Chef: Season Five Premiere – NYC

Top Chef V - Apple Quickfire

Last Wednesday was the long awaited premiere of Top Chef. I love Top Chef! In my opinion, it’s the best food competition show on TV. The Next Food Network Star and Hell’s Kitchen seem like a joke in comparison. So did the premiere deliver? Hrrm, I would say it was OK. It’s too early to tell, but so far, this season’s chefs don’t seem as accomplished or as talented. I hope I’m wrong here, because last season wasn’t that great either. Did they run out of good candidates already, because I can tell you right now, a chef from Montclair, New Jersey is not going to cut it. Where are the new Harolds, Hungs, Sams, and Marcels? I also read somewhere on the Internet that they don’t do any tastings during the try-outs. WTF?!! C’mon, is this a popularity contest or cooking competition?! Anyway, here is a breakdown of some of the confusing moments from the first episode. SPOILER after the jump.

First, there was the apple peeling competition, and my reaction, was ‘WHAT THE HELL?!’ Some of these people didn’t know how to peel an apple! JESUS! Don’t people eat apples anymore? Is everyone getting their apples from Burger King now? It seems Lauren does, because not only was she in the bottom of the apple peeling and dicing challenge, but later she decided the most creative thing she could make with the apples was a spinach and apple salad with a balsamic vinaigrette. I bet the people who didn’t make it this season were pretty annoyed, if not mad as hell, to see this embarrassing spectacle. Nevertheless, I did feel bad for Lauren when she was immediately sent packing, back on the ferry. Those ferries are damn slow. I bet she was sadly watching, all by her lonesome, as the boat tortuously inched its way back to Manhattan.

The next WTF moment was when Patrick, who strangely likes to pose with pots on his head, decided to grab some black rice noodles to make his “Chinatown” dish without ever having tasted or cooked with these types of noodles before. He says something to the effect of “they’re all the same,” and consequently struggles with the noodles when he can’t figure out the optimal way to cook them. Patrick says he was looking for more of a udon texture, regardless of the fact that udon is Japanese. D’OH!

Pat’s final dish was Black Rice Noodles with Salmon and Bok Choy. Padma deems the noodles “gummy,” and Tom Colicchio and Jean Georges Vongerichten both agree Patrick’s dish is not Chinese just because it has bok choy on top, and gives him the boot. Thank god. Two down, fourteen more to go.

As of now, my favorite is Gene. Considering he has no formal training, he seems pretty talented and is a quick learner. Surprising even Padma, Gene was able to create an authentic tasting Indian dish of Masala rubbed Lamb Chops without having had a lot of experience with Indian food. Again, it’s too early, but hopefully, Gene will “bring it” in future episodes. Can’t wait for Episode 2 tomorrow when the contestants will be cooking for “fifty hungry New Yorkers.” I just hope these aren’t the same New Yorkers that raved about Pizza Hut’s pasta. Three pounds of Pizza Hut pasta? No thanks.

Top Chef
Every Wed on Bravo @ 10/9c

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