Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top Chef All-Stars: Not a Winter Classic

I got a problem with how this season of Top Chef is completing.

The final episodes of this series are traditionally geared for the final group of contestants (3-5 people, this year its 5) to take some time off, prepare, then reconvene at a special location. This year, is All-Stars. Meaning the best/favorite contestants who didn't win in previous renditions of the show. They are branded as All-Stars, so why aren't they treated as such?

The special location: The Bahamas. Really? All-Star Chef's deserver an All-Star culinary destination. How about Paris? Maybe Tuscany or Tokyo? But the Bahamas? I don't get it.

Then the final 5 show up and have to compete in two utterly ridiculous challenges, neither of which are measures of their culinary accumen. Rather, they are challenged on who can best deal with a farcical scenario. Cooking in farcical scenarios is a staple of the Top Chef series and that is fine mid-season when you are trying to find ways to make them fail. But these 5 have been there and done that. They earned a top notch environment, product, and yes even top notch palettes to serve.

Instead, they got the King of Junkanoo and his crew in a fish fry restaurant sporting a kitchen with fryers (even a broken one that started a fire, which was hilarious to watch), a flat top griddle, and little else.

RIP Carla

Next they take a boat to a deserted atol where they find top notch product but are stuck cooking outside with 50 gallon drum grills burning wood, a selection of tools, and a small table each. They manage to dodge the sand-witch (count it!) but inconsistent heat due to wind and poorly constructed grills really hampers them. Then the guests are the local leadership of the Yacht Club? Furthermore, they had to feature conch, but by feature they meant go snorkeling to catch the conch, shell it, and incorporate the meat into their food. If this is All-Star caliber then Derek Jeter is worth 3 years $50 million.

RIP Tiffany

Just give them the world and let them live and die purely on their on merits all ready.