The Bad The Hostess. I've pretty much ignored Top Chef Master's hostess mostly because she's a glorified announcer who sometimes eats. It's only on the finale that I caught her using the now patented Padma Lakshmi Food Inhalation System. I love Padma if only because she gives good blogger material but I have to say if Padma didn't LOVE eating so much I'd want to kick her skinny ass to the curb. That's what I want to see from every single judge, critic and yes, hostess doing, eating the food. If Padma can get through sampling all the Quickfires and all the Elimination dishes and still look that good then sister, so should Kelly.
Respect I have to say I was saddened by Michael's "attitude" concerning the past winners of Top Chef judging his food. Sad for two reasons. First, don't ever forget your paying customers, even if you think they don't have the knowledge to judge your food. Second, how about a little respect for those 5 individuals. Don't get me wrong, Rick, Michael and Hubert have all earned the respect due them. Top Chef Masters treated all their chefs much better in every way possible than the previous 5 seasons worth of Top Chef contestants. Were the Masters challenges harder? Perhaps but let's remember if not for the Harolds and the Hungs, the Michaels and the Ricks wouldn't be competing at all. And before you three gentlemen start patting yourselves on the back for "making it through" just remember you didn't compete and live with 15 other chefs, spend hours in the stew room with nothing but beer or water to drink, shoot 12 - 16 hour days for multiple weeks. You didn't have the camera on you 24/7. You never had Tom wake you at oh dark thirty and hustle you out for a Quickfire. You had no twist whatsoever for your finale. While I'm very happy that Top Chef Masters was about the food, you still owe a debt of gratitude to the chefs that came before you, not disparage them as some sort of twist to your strategy.
Judging I'm not sure what I expected from the judging. I do know what we got was very polite and adoring praise. When the harshest comments you get comes from Gael's suspicious nature towards foam (and who would have thought that) as opposed to say....Wolfgang Puck throwing your donut across the room? Certainly there's got to be a middle ground for these critics. How many cutaways did we see of chefs sweating Gael ripping into them. If that happened they must be saving it for Top Chef Masters - the Lost episode. I'm not sure Gael's the one you want to anchor this team. Make Gail Simmons your lead judge here. She won't hesitate a moment to tell you exactly what she thinks of the dish. Maybe Ruth Reichl or Patricia Wells. Whomever you get I want to see hot judging arguments, I want the judging passion match to the cooking intensity. I certainly don't want the cold fish that we were ultimately served. I do have to say that apparently critics find it much easier to criticize from the safety of their computer keyboards than to truly face a chef and tell him his food tasted like caramelized crap. If that's the case here then certainly they should audition some more courageous critics. I think the chefs can handle it.
Coming - The Ugly