Skip to main content

The Daily Beast: "Top Chef: Seattle Shows Signs of Returning the Culinary Series to Its Strengths"

I review Bravo’s latest culinary iteration, Top Chef: Seattle, which shows signs of improvement after the franchise’s recent rock-bottom season.

Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "Top Chef: Seattle Shows Signs of Returning the Culinary Series to Its Strengths," in which I offer a re-evaluation of Bravo's Top Chef, which returns tonight with a Seattle edition and which shows major improvements from last season.

I was almost done with Top Chef earlier this year, after a season of Texas-sized gimmicks and faux drama that left me nearly reaching for a knife of my own. (Or the remote, at the very least.)

Bravo’s cooking-competition franchise had tumbled sharply from its previous high, following on the heels of an All-Stars season that focused on the culinary know-how of some innately gifted professional chefs, rather than on drunken shenanigans or behavior more worthy of a high-school clique. But last season, which found a group of chefs traveling between three cities in Texas, was shockingly awful.

I wrote about the disaster of a season that ensued, its inane rivalries, and the "mean-girl" antics that put the cooking on the back burner. When the season ended with a biathlon that had the competitors cross-country skiing and shooting "ingredients” before preparing dishes aloft in a speeding gondola, things had really hit rock bottom for a once-superlative series.

So please forgive me: I was tempted not to watch the latest iteration, Top Chef: Seattle, which begins tonight at 10 p.m. on Bravo. In the end, however, curiosity won out. I wanted to see if the producers had learned anything from last season’s failures and missteps. Fortunately, they have—at least if we can judge from this season’s first episode.

As before, this season begins by narrowing down the pool of competitors from a gaggle of 21 to a more manageable number, each of whom must dazzle the judges to earn a Top Chef coat. But where last season stumbled by appropriating the format of Fox’s Masterchef—putting the chefs in a kitchen stadium of sorts—the producers of Top Chef played it smarter this time. Instead, the would-be contestants are assigned to one of four judges—Tom Colicchio, Emeril Lagasse, Hugh Acheson, and Wolfgang Puck—for whom they must perform tasks on the line in the kitchen or cook a layered soup, an inventive salad, or a winning omelet.

Continue reading at The Daily Beast...

Comments

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 .

Have a Burning Question for Team Darlton, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, or Michael Emerson?

Lost fans: you don't have to make your way to the island via Ajira Airways in order to ask a question of the creative team or the series' stars. Televisionary is taking questions from fans to put to Lost 's executive producers/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and stars Matthew Fox ("Jack Shephard"), Evangeline Lilly ("Kate Austen"), and Michael Emerson ("Benjamin Linus") for a series of on-camera interviews taking place this weekend. If you have a specific question for any of the above producers or actors from Lost , please leave it in the comments section below . I'll be accepting questions until midnight PT tonight and, while I can't promise I'll be able to ask any specific inquiry due to the brevity of these on-camera interviews, I am looking for some insightful and thought-provoking questions to add to the mix. So who knows: your burning question might get asked after all.

What's Done is Done: The Eternal Struggle Between Good and Evil on the Season Finale of "Lost"

Every story begins with thread. It's up to the storyteller to determine just how much they need to parcel out, what pattern they're making, and when to cut it short and tie it off. With last night's penultimate season finale of Lost ("The Incident, Parts One and Two"), written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, we began to see the pattern that Lindelof and Cuse have been designing towards the last five seasons of this serpentine series. And it was only fitting that the two-hour finale, which pushes us on the road to the final season of Lost , should begin with thread, a loom, and a tapestry. Would Jack follow through on his plan to detonate the island and therefore reset their lives aboard Oceanic Flight 815 ? Why did Locke want to kill Jacob? What caused The Incident? What was in the box and just what lies in the shadow of the statue? We got the answers to these in a two-hour season finale that didn't quite pack the same emotional wallop of previous seas