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And THIS Is Why I Love Reality TV: Top Chef, Bottom Host


What better way to replace a show that focuses on bony emaciated models than with a show about food glorious food? Score one for Bravo’s “Top Chef.” No more bickering fashionistas, and, alas, no more Tim Gunn. In their place are chefs of all shapes, sizes, and cooking backgrounds. And instead of a very pregnant supermodel with snotty judges, there are food critics and a robotic host. Still some great competition. That saying, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen” literally applies here. So rare and absolutely refreshing that a cliché is actually literal. One more point for Bravo.

Of course this show is very close to the Fox show with the nasty man chef for which a restaurant deal was up for grabs. Lots and lots of bickering and fighting and shutting down of the kitchen occurred. Same kind of thing here. Only instead of the very ornery chef, we have Tom Colicchio, aka my new boyfriend. The man is a chef, a judge, and a pretty smart guy. And he’s bald and cute. He always has good advice and so far I’ve completely agreed with everything he’s said. I wonder if he’s married. Bravo racking up the points with Colicchio on board. The other judge is Gail Simmons, aka the woman who has the job I would love. She’s a food critic and culinary expert. Again, I agree with almost everything she says. And she has great hair. Bravo hits another point.

Then there are the contestants. One is a wine guy who whines a lot and makes snide comments and has so far cheated once in a competition; he may be the one reason I devise a way to climb through my television screen to beat him senseless with a ladle. (Bravo loses a point with him). One is a mom so every single challenge relates to her thinking about how she would get kids to eat whatever they’re making. Another is a brat with a headband who is so overdramatic but is also so against wine guy that we have to love him. One wears a beret. One is very very inexperienced in the kitchen but still makes her way. They cook. They rush around the kitchen with sharp knives and dried herbs. They rush to create masterpieces in under an hour.

The worst part of the show has to be Katie Lee Joel, aka The Robot. (Bravo loses all points with her). You know how a little kid sounds when he reads, let’s say, the back of a can of soup and he tries to pronounce all the monodexterodisis gluteumate sodiumsus words? Yeah, well, that’s what the lovely Top Chef Hostess sounds like ALL THE TIME. Only she’s not trying to say monodexterodisis gluteumate sodiumsus. She’s trying to say things like “pan” and “egg.” Really, it’s horrible. The very worst moment (so far—I’m sure that many more will come) was her interaction with a bunch of kids from the Boys and Girls Club. She was supposed to be getting them all riled up to judge food. Instead, she sounded more like the teacher from Charlie Brown cartoons. Plus, to add confusion, she and Judge Gail look a whole lot alike. The only way to tell them apart is by listening for the robotic hypnotic tones of Host Katie.

The star of the show is the food. Chef Tiffany cooked something inside of a baby pumpkin. How friggin cool is that? Chef Healthnut enticed middle-aged housewives to feast upon her quinoa because it was good for the colon. They loved it! Chef Harold made some fish and everyone raved about it! Chef Miguel gave everyone The Total Orgasm, complete with strawberries and champagne. Perfection.

And oh the disasters. Overcooked carrots that even second graders knew were overcooked. And every single dish that was made with ingredients found in a gas station. Obligatorily, one was centered on spam. Ick.

The food challenges? Awesome! (Bravo earns a point again). They had a challenge to cook something that needed to be microwaved. Hottie from Flavor of Love should have barged in to cook her whole chicken. Anyway, another challenge was to create a dessert for an S&M shop with clientele who wore leather and had whips. Ain’t nothing better than feeding women in chains while down on one knee.

And in the heated kitchen, the drama takes over. Chef Potty Mouth curses about finding herbs, not finding spices, and how to be “fuckin crazy.” Here’s a taste of a recent argument between wine guy and the newbie chef:

Wine Guy: Can you read? This is called Top Chef.
Newbie: You’re a tool and a douche bag.
Wine Guy: You’re going to fail miserably.

Again, AWESOME.

[b]And THIS is why I love reality TV[/b]: We can indulge on life’s little temptations like food, sex, and other people’s misery for an hour and then come out on top without a scratch. But maybe just a bit hungry.

Stick a fork in me: Christina@realityshack.com / http://christinamrau.blogspot.com


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