Look out! Padma’s eating this season.
Ah, the universe has been restored to balance as Bravo TV’s Top Chef has returned for its fourth season. And how about 25 percent of the contestants representing San Francisco! First local boy Chris Cosentino almost wins Food Network’s Next Iron Chef, and now the City is taking over Top Chef. With all the culinary resources, including the Wine Country, the Bay Area offers, they should just shoot the darn thing out here. But right now is the time to focus on the next few weeks of twenty and thirty something “chefs” flying around the General Electric ™ Kitchen trying not to cut and burn themselves as they prepare their “takes” on time-honored dishes. And while I like to see well executed dishes as much as the next viewer, it’s the cringe-inducing judging of the bottom tier competitors that I just love. After last night’s episode, you wonder what you’d end up with if you asked all the contestants to prepare scrambled eggs. Scary to contemplate.
Besides the obvious producer-required changes to the format like seeing Padma eat (or at least get food close to her mouth) and muzzling Bourdain, the two biggest things which leapt out at me were the bleeped expletives and the absence of any competitors of color. I’m no prude, but these young guns have to learn to self-censor during their interviews; using naughty words doesn’t require a lot of brain power. And, are you telling me no competent black or Indian cooks sent resume tapes to the Top Chef producers? And why did the one person who did make it through get to act as a comedic foil last night? How else to explain the cutaways to poor Nimma whenever the lesbianism of two of the contestants was mentioned or shots of champagne being poured were showed. Subtle. I’m going to keep watching and cheering the San Francisco contingent on, but how about adjusting the racial balance for Top Chef 5?