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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why I'm Going To Watch "Top Chef: Just Desserts" (and Why You Should Too!)

The "Chef-testants" on Top Chef: Just Desserts
Anyone who knows me, knows that I like television. Anyone who knows that I like television, knows that I love Top Chef. Top Chef, for those of you who don't know, is a cooking competition on Bravo, a network devoted to producing trashy reality television shows about rich assholes (see here, here, here, and here), when they're not producing great competition shows (see here, and here). Unlike Hell's Kitchen (where they get a bunch of mediocre line-cooks and Gordon Ramsey screams at the top of his lungs at them for the entire hour), Top Chef prides itself on casting their show with talented and promising chefs. Many of the contestants have been James Beard award winners or finalists, and in general, they all know how to cook their pants off. (not literally but that might be a show worth watching...), and mostly the show is not about watching people out of their depth fail and fail again, but about watching professional craftsman performing feats of creative genius under ridiculous pressure. Previous challenges have included making gourmet meals from ingredients purchased in a vending machine, creating a healthy and fancy meal for a ton of school children using school's restricted budgets, and producing fine tasting courses using "offal" ingredients, like tripe, kangaroo, and duck tongues. It's an amazing show, and if you haven't been watching it you should. It deserved the Emmy, especially for its last season which was probably the best of the bunch.
Luckily she owns a restaurant in Vail, Colorado!

Unfortunately, this current season, Washington D.C. hasn't been Top Chef at its A-Game. Since now, it seems as if each season has offered a stronger crop of chefs than the last, but Top Chef D.C. has been sort of a slide in reverse, especially compared to some of the amazing skills shown by the previous season's chefs. (Kevin, I still love you!) And now that my favorite, Kelly Liken's been booted off right before the finale, I don't really have a dog going into the race.

But, none of that matters, because after tomorrow evening, Top Chef D.C. will have officially closed its season of "bleh". With its departure brings a new Top Chef spin off, which instead of focusing on savory chefs, will focus of poultry chefs. Here are a few reasons why I'm looking forward to this new spin-off show:

The Effervescent Gail Simmons

1) - Host - Gail Simmons

You know, I wasn't a huge fan of Gail Simmons to begin with. That was before Top Chef tried to replace her with the witless bridge troll known as Toby Young. Gail is smart, even and knowledgeable in her criticism, and very passionate about food. While I wouldn't want to give up Padma, she often has the glazed over look of someone who is either suffering from severe jet lag or one who's eaten a few too many pot brownies. I can't wait to have her host her very own show.

2) - It's About Time Desserts Got Some Cred!

Unfunny Bridge Troll, Toby Young
To make this point pretty damn obvious, Gail and co-host Johnny Luzzini had a quick fire competition for the regular chefs on this season of Top Chef D.C., where the chefs had to bake a pie. And... they all pretty much failed. I mean, honestly not a single of the pies looked anywhere close to being edible. If you'd like a gallery of the monstrosity pile the chefs produced, I refer you here, but warning! It's not for the squeamish.

Pastry cooking and regular "meat n' potatoes" cooking are very different skill sets, and I for one am curious to see how they all do. I personally have really gotten into bread baking in the last few years, and while baking is an entirely different set of skills, I recognize the difference between baking a croissant and grilling a steak. Honestly, the croissant is a lot tougher to get right. Also, having the competition focus on desserts and sugar and pastry, will give the show an opportunity for very different types of challenges. I'm looking forward the variety.

3) Co-Host - John Luzzini

I mentioned in passing last paragraph about this guy, but there's nothing really to be said about him. You just need to look at the freakin' photo.

Watch out, Padma! Someone's trying to take your slot as Top Chef Top Hottie!

4) Drama, Drama, Drama

If all the previous reasons weren't enough, the cast seems fabulous, and by fabulous I mean catty with the claws out. Usually the types of people who get cast in Top Chef resemble carnies or well palleted pirates. They have tattoos all over their bodies. They swear up a storm. Piercings, and dyed hair, and do rags, oh my! The chefs on Top Chef: Just Desserts, remind me more of the folks on Project Runway, except, if you can believe it, even bitchier! Don't believe me? Check out the clip below:

Yes, this looks like it's going to be one entertaining weekly hour of television. I'm going to be blogging this, and possibly another show or two this upcoming fall. Join me, won't you? There will be desserts, fighting, and hopefully a combination of the two. I know I can't be the only one wishing for a good old fashioned pie fight!

1 comment:

  1. I don't entire series devoted to the cooking of poultry. Doesn't appeal to me!