YAY! Paul won Top Chef!
This was the 9th – and seemingly longest – season of Top Chef, a show where the winner really needs to have the chops (pun intended). If you can’t cook, you ain’t going far. The problem is that this season was totally forgettable. I’m not sure if it was the overwhelming 2-part first episode where they had so many contestants vying for a place on the show, you only remembered the really spectacular failures. It could have been the show thrusting TEXAS on us, in every challenge and with every terrible awful pun possible. It could also be that apart from a few of the cheftestants, this was not a terribly memorable group.
And those who were, you remembered them for all the wrong reasons: Heather was memorable because she was a bitch. Bev was memorable because she cried (and seemed to have a really moving backstory, what with the abusive relationship). Sarah was memorable for ganging up on Bev with Heather and Lindsay. Ty-Lor was memorable for having the most kickass name in TC history. Chris J. was memorable for his failed creativity and odd hair choice.
But where was the chef that was memorable for their insanely brilliant cooking? Where was their Richard Blais? Where was this season Michael Voltaggio – or even Brian Voltaggio? Fabio’s charm might have outpaced his cooking a smidge, but he seemed to be able to throw down some amazing pasta. He might have been a bit nuts, but even Angelo Sosa‘s food stuck with me more than anything that was produced this season.
Now I’m not sure if this is just fatigue. This is the 9th season of Top Chef, 8 if you don’t want to count the All-Stars season. There are only so many quickfires and elimination challenges that you can come up with without repeating yourself before the challenges start to become baroque and bizarre. Case in point – the culinary Olympics. I want someone to explain to me how being able to free your protein from a block of ice or being able to hit a target makes you a better chef. It doesn’t and it was just plain silly.
The finale for this season was pretty straight forward: cook a 4 course meal for the judges using a combination of past contestants, wanna-be contestants, and respected chefs as your sous. Those sneaky Bravo editors really gave me a heart attack there for a moment. Paul has been the frontrunner for a long time and rightly so. He is the only chef that I’ve really been curious to see what he’s going to cook each episode. Plus, he seems like just a standup guy.
So when the editors made it seem like Sarah was gaining the advantage. One of Paul’s dishes got a little overcooked before the second round of judges showed up and Gail Simmons complained that “What we saw from Paul is what Paul does every day” suggesting he didn’t stretch himself. Plus the images of her on Watch What Happens Live looking all spangly and happy:
I was a little worried.
Thankfully the right chef won and all is right with the world of Top Chef. What Paul does going forward will be a mystery. But at least he won’t be an Ilan Hall or Hosea Rosenberg, whose wins left us all scratching our heads a bit.
Of course the season isn’t really over until next week’s reunion episode when everyone will most likely attack Bev one more time for the hell of it.