Rewatching Top Chef

So I have a free month of Hulu and decided to watch some old seasons of Top Chef - in no particular order. I started with 6 - Las Vegas with the Voltaggio Brothers and also did the season with Stephanie and Richard. I don’t know why, but I find the earlier seasons much more fun to watch. And maybe that is my childish way but the later seasons, I think the chefs are more serious and there is not as much drama. For some reason I remember most of the chefs from the early years but I could not tell you who won last season. Anyone else have any opinions?

2 Likes

Season 6 remains the best from a quality standpoint as everyone in the top 3 could have won and I would have been happy. The All-Stars is probably 2nd in my standings. Other favorites was Stephanie Izard’s win in Season 4. I also hold Season 1 in fond regard, as it was the first, and Harold Dieterle seemed, to me, unassuming, but confident in his dishes.

Kelsey Barnard won Season 16, a Southern-focused chef (she was up against Sara Bradley, who was the hometown girl from Kentucky). And yes, I had to go look it up as I couldn’t remember either.

Worst season was Texas, hands down.

And I still haven’t heard anything about Season 17, other than Padma hinting back in April that she was “hoping it’s some place warm.”

3 Likes

Hey, I live in Houston and resent that but totally agree and quit watching half way through. Houston, the largest and most diverse food city in the state was left out with the word on the street was the city didn’t want to be extorted by the network.

4 Likes

I totally agree, Linda. It was a pleasure to watch season 6 - the top were great and consistently at the top. I also love the all stars and will rewatch that one too. And season 1, just because. But the quality of the chefs then was not what it is now. Oh, and I’ll always love Sam, season 2.

I just finished season 5 with Fabio and Carla. Leah continues to make me ill. I was so upset for Carla - why on earth did she not assert herself with Casey. She was the finalist. And Stephan was so sweet to here in the end - he was truly upset. I think I will rewatch 3 just to see Hung cut up a chicken and Casey mess up the onions! And definitely the all stars! I will NOT watch Texas!

3 Likes

Ditto -but I’ll always dislike Ilan (winner) and Marcel (runner-up).

2 Likes

Ditto back!

1 Like

Yay! Top Chef Talk! I can’t review my rewatch’s right now, but I know I posted something last time I did it.

3 Likes

Agreed,shrinkrap. I hate the episode where they shave Marcel’s head. I also hated when that awful woman from Spiaggia bullied, that one Asian woman in the Texas season.

2 Likes

Agreed that the earlier seasons were much more enjoyable. The contestants were mostly chefs working in restaurants trying to make their bones; later seasons seem to feature chef/owners who are already James Beard nominees or winners. The early years had young cooks sleeping in “bunky beds;” the later years had chefs staying in opulent mansions.

The Texas season and the finale featuring chefs snowshoeing to their ingredients frozen in ice was really a turning point.

And let’s face it–the lack of @LindaWhit recaps and the lively discussions it stirred also dulled the experience :crying_cat_face:

4 Likes

Awwww…well, I do have to say I much prefer just watching vs. rewinding and pausing so I can get each dish’s name. LOL

And I LOL’d at Fabio’s “bunky beds” reference. :laughing::laughing::laughing:

3 Likes

LOL - watching season 3 episode 1. Offal surf and turf. Tony Bourdain talking about Clay’s dish - “It’s like home cooking, but a home I wouldn’t want to live in”. Then he said that Clay’s dish was like economy class of Air Cambodia. Gotta love Bourdain!

4 Likes

I still love Top Chef, but I also agree with the assessments there. Seems like the show has tried to make more gimmicky (and sometimes more promotion/sponsor-oriented) challenges just to make things feel fresh. I like the simplicity of the challenges, and that the contestants - love it or hate it - were there just to prove they were great chefs and to show case their skills in a way that might get them to find a partner who can help them open their own restaurant. I think today’s contestants seem like they’re coming in with a specific expectation of how to use the show to build a brand or do some sort of self-promotion for life as a tv chef/food host.

With that being said, I do enjoy season 10, where I found a number of likable cheftestants. I find it’s also tougher to follow what the chefs do since winning (probably because there are so many former cheftestants now), so it seems like many do disappear right after winning the show.

4 Likes

Kristen Kish was terrific.

3 Likes

I always loved Hung.

2 Likes

He was pegged as one of of the “villains” of season 3, but he really wasn’t.

3 Likes

BOOM. Spot on.

1 Like

I have watched every season of Top Chef and agree that Texas was awful at worst and uncomfortable at best. The bitchery and gang up of the wicked witches Sarah Gruenburg, Heather What’shername, and Lindsay Autry against Beverly was uncalled for and straight up mean.

My husband and I frequently visit Chicago. We will never frequent any restaurant owned by, run by, or associated with these miserable excuses for humans. Not that I have strong feelings about it.

I prefer less tribalism and more professionalism.

Linda Whit I faithfully read your recaps every week. Cheers!

2 Likes

I feel that way when I watch it as well, and know they don’t put words in cheftestants mouths, but of course wonder how much editing added to my opinion.

3 Likes

Well, I don’t think Sarah is at Spiaggia anymore, so you’re safe if you want to go there. She did not own it, and it really is terrific! It’s safe to try it!!

2 Likes

No, she’s not. She’s now at Monteverde Chicago as a Chef/Partner.

Sarah Grueneberg at least apologized to Beverly for the comments about her work ethic. However, I guess she told Emeril Lagasse to “fuck off” after Paul was named the winner of the season. :astonished: I don’t think I was aware of that, or if I was, I forgot about it. She claimed in the reunion show she never said it, but the other judges (Tom C, I think) made a wincing face when she claimed she never said it.

Heather Terhune, however, never did not apologize to Beverly. She said in an interview with TV Guide "I have a very direct personality and she does not. That’s not bullying. I have no ill will toward Beverly. She wasn’t a so-called target or anything. I am very blunt and to the point. I’m very honest and I say anything to your face. I never, ever said anything off-camera that I didn’t say to you on-camera. And some people did! Other contestants said some very hurtful things I saw unfold while watching the show and some people have said some very hurtful things to the press about me during this whole process.
They called you a bitch.
Heather
: Yeah! And honestly, it’s very childish. It just goes to show you that some people are too cowardly to say something to someone’s face, which I am not. I don’t feel bad about the things I’ve said. I never swore at anybody. They never had to bleep me. I never called anyone any derogatory names. All I did was I spoke what I felt was right.

I just remember REALLY disliking Heather, more than Sarah, but still disliked both for their mean girl attitudes.

Looks like she’s at two places in Milwaukee - Trevali and The Outsider.

Meanwhile, Beverly Kim and her husband, Johnny Clark, won Best Chef: Great Lakes at this year’s James Beard Foundation awards for their work at Parachute, and they opened a second, prix fixe restaurant this past July called Wherewithall.

So all in all, I guess everyone is doing well, despite their mean girl bullshit on TC10-Texas.

4 Likes

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter!

Press Room
“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold