Before I start, you can tell I’m writing about too many shows at once as I called last week’s Quickfire a “Reward Challenge.” Although I would love to see these chefs attempt to spend one day on Survivor. Chefs on Survivor have a very sketchy past – as Keith Famie in S2 made the Final Three, but was also unable to successfully cook rice.
Here is my Hall of Shame List – Ilan, Aras, Eric/Danielle, BJ/Tyler, Freddie/Kendra, Taylor Hicks and now, Yigit. These are my most disliked reality show winners. I know I stand firmly in the minority on a couple of them – BJ/Tyler and Yigit – but I can only feel the way I do.
With Yigit, let me just say one thing first – even though I didn’t much care for him as the season went on, it is not that I don’t think he earned it or deserved it. He did and he does. He is extremely talented and his desserts were arguably the best during the entire season, not just in the Finale. It is not an outrageous decision, just unsatisfying to me.
Let me also make it clear, I found myself rooting for Morgan from time to time simply because Go Divas drove me nuts. Sort of the enemy of my enemy is my friend dynamic. However, I would have felt the same way if Morgan won – unsatisfying to me personally, but well deserved for his talent. His comments went way too over the top in homophobia for me – there were plenty of reasons to hate on Zac and Yigit than to call them “little girls” or “fairies.” That wasn’t cool. Not one bit.
So there I was during the Finale…rooting for Danielle. I know!! She would have been the worst Top Chef winner talent-wise in history. But how funny would that have been? She’s annoying, but in a goofy kind of way, not a nails-on-the-chalkboard, or I-need-a-shower-after-watching annoying that Yigit and Morgan were. The funny thing is…if you combine the F4 and F3 challenges, Danielle probably put out the best food.
Typical of a Top Chef finale, we had the return of the eliminated chefs to help in the kitchen, along with the use of some guest sous chefs. Sherry Yard (Yigit), Elizabeth Faulker (Danielle) and Claudia Fleming (Morgan) start out by lending their star power to the first day of cooking. Sherry and Yigit get along perfectly, while Claudia and Morgan clash. Not sure it is Morgan’s inability to interact with women that is the problem, or if Claudia bristled at Morgan’s style which is far from her own comfort zone. Meanwhile, Danielle uses her superstar chef to shell pistachios. Of course she does.
The next day, the eliminated chefs gather and are randomly selected to assist the Top 3. Yigit gets Tim (who?), Danielle gets Tania (double who?), and Morgan gets Heather H (HA!). I was torn about whether I wanted Morgan to randomly draw Zac – first, it would have been fun to see Morgan’s head implode, but second, it would require watching more Zac. That said, the next best thing was pairing Morgan with HH, who clearly hates him. I will give HH credit, she seemed to go all out for him, even trying to help him salvage his soufflé issues. But how funny is it that the other two got the first two eliminated chefs!
The remaining eliminated chefs (minus Seth) joined the judges and guests in eating the food, so we get Zac after all. Joy. The Challenge was to make a progressive four course dessert tasting. Yigit chose a really stupid date theme, which was borderline pornographic, that for some reason the judges seemed to latch onto as some clever theme. It’s not like Morgan’s was much better – colors? Really? Isn’t that how Kramer taught acting? I actually rather liked Danielle’s choice of no theme, but rather a menu that simply flowed from one to another consisting of her favorites. I also really liked that she took a risk and made a cheese dish followed by a palate cleanser.
Before I get into the dishes, I have a couple of quick observations and one complaint. As far as sous chefs are concerned, I think Yigit had the biggest advantage here as he really meshed well with Sherry. Was that the difference? Unsure. It could have been a difference maker like Michael was for Kevin in Top Chef: DC, or Blais was for Hosea in New York. Or it could have been totally unrelated.