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S18.E14: The Next Top Chef Is...

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On 7/3/2021 at 4:55 PM, Ms Blue Jay said:

That's true.  I brought my take out into my own building's elevator (before COVID) and the other woman in there scrunched up her nose and told me my food stank.  I was really shocked.

The reply to that is "So do you."

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It would have been possible for Top Chef to redo the finale if it wanted to before the finale aired. America's Next Top Model refilmed its finale many years ago because the winner broke the nondisclosure agreement. What ANTM showed was this: showed the first winner winning, revelation that she disclosed her winning on social media, then a second finale in which the second and third place contestants competed against each other with one of them winning. Top Chef could have done something similar between the end of filming and before the season airing. If TC had had its normal break between the filming of the second to last episode and the finale, there could have been a disclosure that Gabe had been disqualified during this break, and the finale filmed with just Dawn and Shota competing. Oh well.

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14 hours ago, Vermicious Knid said:

The only Anthony Bordain book I ever read was his first, Kitchen Confidential, where he details what it's really like for the kitchen staff and cooks. It's all very sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll, and he made it sound like one giant party punctuated by grueling shifts of actual work. Work hard, reward yourself by playing hard. He very much leaned into the idea of chefs as rock stars, and while the book was published 20 years ago that attitude seems to still prevail. They were all in their little culinary bubble, even his off time was spent eating and drinking with other chefs and cooks. I was not at all surprised when he got divorced, the last part of the book describes his daily routine as Executive Chef of Les Halles and there was no room for his wife.

I have noticed that while Tony's book was sensational when it first came out because he was really the first person to shine a light on the gnarly truth about restaurant kitchens, at about the same time the concept of the TV superstar chef was being born.  A lot of high end chefs and restaurants started to get more press and TV exposure and actually started accumulating hordes of fans like any TV stars.  People like Eric Ripert, who was Tony's good friend were in that group.  A cult following and glamorization of these chefs and their restaurants ensued, and it was probably assumed by the unknowing public that such high end chefs and restaurants were above the seamy stuff that went on in comparatively lower rung places like Les Halles - And yes, I've eaten there and IMO it was always on a significantly lower rung that way than Eric's restaurant.

But obviously after such incidents involving John Besh, Mario Batali and other well known high end TV chefs, the public assumed wrong.

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I read the first and last pages of comments and I realize this is likely to be an Opinion of One, but . . .

To me, every single dish in the finale was a busy, busy, busy little collection of components.  I paused some of them and counted the discrete ingredients--ten to sixteen was the norm.  Chips, leaves, chunks, sprigs, crumbles, slices, more more MORE.

I sound as though I only want a ribeye and a baked potato, which isn't true--I'm a very adventurous eater--but I grew weary of the potpourri aspect.  I think the advice to simplify could have applied to all of them.


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56 minutes ago, candall said:

To me, every single dish in the finale was a busy, busy, busy little collection of components. 

I have to say I've been at restaurants (ones that I've really enjoyed) where I think back to the menu, and they mentioned something like "horseradish parsnip puree" and I realize "Oh that was that little smear at the top left of the plate." I mean, someone went to a lot of work to make that little thing, and I didn't even particularly notice it when eating, though it looked good on the menu write up. I still enjoyed the dish, but thought "that REALLY didn't add anything."

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22 minutes ago, dleighg said:

where I think back to the menu, and they mentioned something like "horseradish parsnip puree" and I realize "Oh that was that little smear at the top left of the plate."

 And here I thought random weird ingredients puréed together and smeared on a plate was just a Chopped thing.😉

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