Not About Top Chef New Orleans, Season 11

I intended to blog this season of Top Chef, the one that just started. I really did; I said I would back in August when I quit blogging Project Runway in the middle of a season, out of disgust (footnote: last Thursday, I realized I had no idea who had won PR. There was a good reason for that, seeing as the season wasn’t over yet, but that’s how disconnected I became once I stopped blogging).

But I can’t.

Primarily, it’s an issue of time. I’m taking three very enjoyable but work-intensive MOOCs through Coursera; that, plus the low level of blogging I’ve been doing for the past couple of months, has me slightly pressed for time already. The new BASS is dropping this week, and while I’m incredibly psyched, it means more time there, and I have an EdX Science & Cooking class starting this week, more time, plus a History of Philosophy course the week after… If I can tolerate three weeks of frenzy, I can get through it all, but it’s iffy.

If I were really psyched about Top Chef, as psyched as I am about BASS, I’d find a way to fit it in, of course. But I’m not. I’m sure there’s going to be some great stuff in there (sweet potato linguini, anyone?), but it’s going to be 90% seared scallops and braised short ribs and, because it’s in New Orleans, 37 varieties of gumbo. That’s fine – I’ll watch every week, and I’ll get caught up in the drama – but I’d rather blog the Cooking & Science course, which features guest lectures by superstars like Jose Andres and Harold McGee. Without drama.

And I’ll admit, I’ve still got a bad taste in my mouth from PR. It’s not fair to let that spread to Top Chef, which sometimes goes off the rails and is far more sponsor-driven than I’d like and does keep people around for reasons other than ability, but has still maintained a toehold in the sphere of integrity. I gave on Heidi Klum long ago, and she dragged Tim down into the fourth circle of hell with her, yet I still believe Tom Colicchio is a basically honorable guy. However: as they say, “It is what it is.” I’m unable to suspend disbelief at this time.

The limits of time force me to pick and choose. I’ll be watching every Wednesday, but I won’t be blogging. Maybe next time?

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2 responses to “Not About Top Chef New Orleans, Season 11

  1. I just finished the 2012 season of Top Chef Masters and was horrified to see Kerry Heffernan lose to Chris Cosentino. Tom and Padma would never have let that happen. Having a person with good judgement at the helm is so important. Masters team is totally discredited for me.

    • Uh oh, you’re not gonna like this… I was all about Chris from the start. I have to admire a guy who puts his money where his mouth is, and he makes his living off extreme nose-to-tail cooking. But yeah, I’d probably rather eat Kerry’s meal (I just looked at my post for the finale; definitely, Kerry’s meal. Beef heart tartare? I don’t think so).

      But there’s some extraneous stuff that went into that. First, Masters is kind of a showcase, not a competition. That’s how Lorena lasted so long (and her idiotic fast food commercials). These aren’t people playing for a lot of money (I’m sure they’re paid an appearance fee, but the money they win goes to charity) or recognition or status, they’re not looking to make their careers; at best, they’re hoping not to lose their careers.

      Second, Kerry is Tom Colicchio’s fishing buddy. I don’t think they could possibly let him win; wouldn’t look good. And he was kind of obnoxious.

      I also had something of a sense of Chris from his stint on the ridiculous “Chef and the City” with Aaron Sanchez – they guy has an impressive array of skills. So for me, he had a positive bias from the start. Then again, I was hoping the guys from Maine would pull it out, but neither of them did much of anything. I was very fond of Thierry and Takashi; Thierry wasn’t suited to this format. I don’t remember what happened to Takashi, but I was disappointed. In the end, I was fine with Chris, though there were other possibilities. I would’ve been unhappy with Kerry.

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