Top Chef Masters – Talent vs. Gimmick

June 17 2009 - 7:49 AM

Regarding the movies, Gene Siskel asks himself (and Roger Ebert often quotes him) “Is this film more interesting than a documentary of the same actors having lunch?”

One could ask the same question about Top Chef Masters. Would we be better off watching these award winning chefs shooting the shit making/having lunch? Or is it more interesting to watch Hubert Keller cook dinner in a shower?

So I’ve always liked Top Chef because the talent was pretty awesome. The relative unknowns in the first season actually were impressive in the kitchen. Subsequent seasons brought sous chefs from noted restaurants and executive chefs from lesser known restaurants. They all seemed to really know what they were doing.

When I saw teasers for Top Chef Masters with Inflatable Water Slide Chicago Chefs like Rick Bayless, Graham Elliot and Art Smith I was really excited. Knowing that they’ll be joining other chefs including Wylie Dufresne (who seems to spend a ton of time already on the show) Cindy Pawlcyn, Roy Yamaguchi, Hubert Keller and Anita Lo… I was intrigued. But when I heard they were restricted to the old microwave-in-a-dorm-room type gag, I was disappointed.

Did I mention they are all top notch? But when Hubert Keller is doing his Cosmo Kramer impression and cooking in the shower, I get distracted. I know it’s a contest. I know that it’s for charity. But still, it’s kind of like watching Olympians sprinters run in one of those burlap-sack races.

…of course ‘ll watch another episode, (tonight Graham Elliott, Wylie Dufrense, Suzanne Tracht and Elizabeth Falkner!!!) even though they’re all restricted to food from a vending machine.