Top Chef Chicago kicked off last night and episode one kind of took me by surprise. For the first time I was having some really difficulty picking out clear cut favorites from the pack. This is usually a good thing considering that the level of talent should increase as the seasons progress, however, I felt that no one was impressive enough that they were all just good enough. So lets get into a breakdown of the first episode before I get into my early predictions on who will be this season’s Top Chef.
In Chicago so of course they gather the new contestants at a Pizza Shop and Stuff them with Deep Dish. I’m watching it with my friend The Garnes of Wrigley Fame and so now were on the horn with Rosattis getting our own Deep Dish (Subliminal Tactics Work). Now were watching the intros, and I am trying to note where they work and get an idea of their resume and personality to make informed picks. Note: This is increasingly tough because of the quality of contestants as well as the fact that Garnes is one of those people who doesn’t eat the crust and throws it back in the box. Not only that but after a piece or two she will start just eating the cheese and toppings leaving the remains of dough still in the box. So now I have to keep an eye on that and the show, this is proving harder than I imagined.
First: Zoi and Jennifer announce they are a couple. Everyone seems blown away. Is it the fact that they are a couple? Or that they are a same sex couple? I don’t know if it is an advantage (I see sharing ingredients, helping finish dishes, plating, ect.) I think the first time there is a clear cut advantage it will come up in the Judges table (probably by Andrew) and one of them goes home.
Second: Padma arrives:
Garnes: Looks like she got some botox
4Real: And she’s dressed like a who
Now the Order of the Contestants As I see after Episode One:
Richard: Not completely sold on this so called bag of tricks, reeks of Marcel but with a level head. For now he is my front runner. Besides doing too much with his “tricks” I had a hard time finding negatives then Garnes pointed out he was rocking pink crocs.
Dale: He may be a poor man’s Hung, but all in all looks like the kid may have some talent.
Nikki: I dig her. I don’t know why, but I think she is a solid contestant.
Manuel: Quiet, Hispanic Influenced Foods. Could go either way, biggest sleeper I see.
Jennifer: Part of the Couple: Appears to wear the culinary pants in the relationship.
Andrew: Talks a huge game, so much so that I think he is overcompensating for his skills. I think the producers keep him around longer than his knife skills would.
Erik: Love his laid back attitude, but it may be a little too laid back to be able to compete in a competition like this. On his lasagna “ I made glorified nachos I’m not proud of it”..those kind of comments make me route for you. Plus his bio pic looks like he is a cholo cooking on Easter.
Stephanie: Shock of the show: she takes home the elimination challenge. Did anyone see her shaking? I think she also mentioned that her down fall is nerves. I think that if you crack under pressure that you might be in the wrong industry, and multiple that by 1000 with being on a TV show based on having ice in the veins: you’re screwed.
Spike: Uh Your real name is Evangelos. You kind of look like you snuck in the backdoor and grabbed a jacket.
Antonia: Think she has some talent, but not overly impressed. Pretty standard middle of the pack contestant.
Valerie: Tom said if he had to guess what her dish was he wouldn’t have picked Chicken
Piccata. Does not exactly bode well for your standings.
Lisa: Nothing stood out for me either way. Neutral, probably eliminated in an anti-climatic way, and will have trouble remembering your name by the end of the season.
Zoi- Other half of the Couple: You came with your girlfriend and besides that your name has more vowels than consonants.
Mark: One word: Vegemite. It is only a matter of time before this Kiwi is gone.
Ryan: Starts off the Show Proclaiming his Culinary Dominance at age 11. Looks like that’s where he peaked.
Nimma: Eliminated. I can’t even begin to describe the feelings running through me every time she came on screen. I am so glad her stuck up, unskilled, slow talking anti-social self is gone. Proof Colicchio has my back.
Lastly: I love an episode with Anthony Bourdain. Did not expect to get one out the bat. The thing that confuses me though is the fact that Ted Allen and Gail Simmons are still listed as the judges, but couldn’t make an appearance for the first episode? I don’t even think Allen was in half of last season. What is the story here?