I've always wondered what Top Chef would be like if the pool of contestants didn't always include a couple of homeless characters the producers picked up off the street for poops and giggles—Erik Hopfinger et al—and a villain or two for narrative purposes— the Devil in the red bandanna Lisa. Last night, that long abandoned hypothetical became reality. The four chefs, as Mister Hippity broke it down, were all exceedingly professional and nice. I liked it that they didn't really give a shit, especially DJ Magneto, played by Hubert Keller, a cross between Patrick Stewart, DJ AM and Werner Herzog.
The only bitches on the show were the Girl Scouts, who judged the quickfire challenge (dessert!) Especially the redhead. She's working her way to the Shitty Tween merit badge. However, I do applaud the Girl Scouts of America for finding the four (or were they five? they were so tiny it was hard to tell) Girl Scouts who don't like sweet things. I can just see the email they sent out to den mothers: Is your daughter precocious, IN A BAD WAY? Does she not like the things most people like, LIKE SWEETS? If so, contact your chapter leader. God bless.
In fact, that whole quickfire thing was a little weird. A bunch of grown men staring at Girl Scouts on closed camera? The only thing more slightly creepy was the Elimination Challenge wherein the old men raided a college dorm. It was like that MTV show where a van of would-be lovers snoop around the room of some poor sap who has been kidnapped by the network's in house NKVD with an utraviolet light (to look for CUM!). Of course, these guys just spread a sheet out on the bed and made ceviche. But still, why the fascination with school girls, producers? I did like the harrowing shower macaroni scene.
Let's also take a moment to ponder how fired the guy from GE who thought it was a good idea to give master chefs microwaves. Product placement doesn't work so well when the product placed is derided, hilariously, by well-respected individuals. Microwaves, says Chef Keller, are for "drying out newspapers, or something." Anyway, I hope that guy is enjoying his severance package. He should go see August Osage County and go to Junior's or something. You know, really treat himself.
The numerous GE malfunctions were the most dramatic moments of the show. Everything else was surprisingly understated. Bravo Bravo! Gael Green didn't mention how she fucked Elvis (she always mentions that). That English guy is notably not Toby Young. He's nicer and less ass-like and seems knowledgeable. The editor from Saveur is a sweet man. ANd though I thought I'd be disappointed by Kelly Choi because she is much less beautiful than that collection of angel eyelashes and platinum pipe cleaners that constitute Padma Lakshmi, I wasn't. Though she lacks charisma and, for me, much beauty, it was a welcome change from Padma's tyranny. Padma's presence in a room, on the show, eating a burger, upsets the natural calibration of her surroundings. She's too beautiful and you can't get her out of your eye, like a squiggly on your eyeball, she just floats and floats and stays. Everyone around her darkens and coarsens. Not so with Kelly Choi who is a neutral presence. So yeah, Top Chef Masters, it was nice and good. I just gave $20 to Chef Christopher Lee's charity of choice Autism Speaks and I feel pretty good about it.
Thanks Mikey Byhoff for the video.