Skip to main content

Eat, Drink, and Be (Not So) Merry: An Advance Review of "Top Chef Reunion Dinner"

It's hard to believe at times that we're nearly almost done with the sixth season of Bravo's addictive culinary competition series Top Chef.

What better time then to take a look back than just before we anoint another new Top Chef to join the ranks of the blessed few?

Tomorrow night, Bravo will take a break from the current competition for the Top Chef Reunion Dinner, which will offer audiences a chance to see cast members from previous seasons of Top Chef come together for an evening of conversation, competition, and confrontation.

And, yes, those three things play an equal weight in the unfolding of the evening, which is hosted by Top Chef: New York competitor Fabio Viviani at Social Hollywood. Joining Fabio for the reunion are such noteworthy former competitors as Harold Dieterle, Tiffany Faison, Marcel Vigneron, Ilan Hall, Dale Levitski, Casey Thompson, Hung Huynh, Richard Blais, Lisa Fernandes, Carla Hall, and Stefan Richter.

I had the opportunity to watch the reunion dinner episode and have to say that I was not only completely captivated by what these accomplished chefs created in the kitchen but also the way that they interacted. Tensions run high as do emotions and this episode showcases both haute cuisine as much as hot tempers.

Yes, there are certain tough topics from Top Chef history that are dredged up rather uncomfortably for all involved. The head-shaving incident that ensnared Marcel, Ilan, Elia, and Cliff back in Season Two comes to mind. Tiffany's interactions with, well, everyone. Heated stew room arguments. Marcel getting hit over the head with a bottle by a detractor. Carla's decision to listen to Casey's advice to sous-vide her beef, a decision that cost her a shot at the grand prize last season.

These are all touched upon over the course of the alcohol-fueled evening, which features the chefs teaming up with their competitors from their individual season to produce a five-course meal for themselves. There are no judges, no dietary restrictions, no vending machine challenges, and a $500 per course budget. Just good, honest, and delicious food cooked without the added pressure of elimination. Given that no one is going to pack their knives for their performance, each of the chefs wants to dazzle their peers and produce dishes that impress, engage, and tantalize.

Which is a nice change from the rigors and stress of the competition, really. Richard Blais, for example, says that he misses the energy and thrill of competing but when that knife block comes out, there are groans all around. (What did they expect, after all? That the producers would let them just sit back and drink all night?) Others are more keen to cook in the kitchen than dish about the past. (Look for Fabio to make a rather stunning declaration during the dinner about this fact.)

Ultimately, Top Chef Reunion Dinner is a fantastic glimpse at where the former competitors are now, which wounds still sting years later, and which contestants can rise above the fray and attempt to make the evening about camaraderie rather than reheating old vendettas. It's a reminder of the passion, dedication, and vision of the contestants that have come before as well as a delicious offering of drama, served piping hot.

Top Chef Preview: An Angry Dinner:



Top Chef Preview: Marcel vs. Everyone:



Top Chef Reunion Dinner airs Wednesday night at 10 pm ET/PT on Bravo.

Comments

foodie2d said…
While I'm sad that the competition won't be on this week, this looks like it will be pretty entertaining. What a mix of personalities!

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

BuzzFeed: "The Good Wife Is The Best Show On Television Right Now"

The CBS legal drama, now in its sixth season, continually shakes up its narrative foundations and proves itself fearless in the process. Spoilers ahead, if you’re not up to date on the show. At BuzzFeed, you can read my latest feature, " The Good Wife Is The Best Show On Television Right Now," in which I praise CBS' The Good Wife and, well, hail it as the best show currently on television. (Yes, you read that right.) There is no need to be delicate here: If you’re not watching The Good Wife, you are missing out on the best show on television. I won’t qualify that statement in the least — I’m not talking about the best show currently airing on broadcast television or outside of cable or on premium or however you want to sandbox this remarkable show. No, the legal drama is the best thing currently airing on any channel on television. That The Good Wife is this perfect in its sixth season is reason to truly celebrate. Few shows embrace complexity and risk-taking in t

BuzzFeed: Meet The TV Successor To "Serial"

HBO's stranger-than-fiction true crime documentary The Jinx   — about real estate heir Robert Durst — brings the chills and thrills missing since Serial   wrapped up its first season. Serial   obsessives: HBO's latest documentary series is exactly what you've been waiting for.   The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst , like Sarah Koenig's beloved podcast, sifts through old documents, finds new leads from fresh interviews, and seeks to determine just what happened on a fateful day in which the most foul murder was committed. And, also like  Serial  before it,  The Jinx may also hold no ultimate answer to innocence or guilt. But that seems almost beside the point; such investigations often remain murky and unclear, and guilt is not so easy a thing to be judged. Instead, this upcoming six-part tantalizing murder mystery, from director Andrew Jarecki ( Capturing the Friedmans ), is a gripping true crime story that unfolds with all of the speed of a page-turner; it