Thoughts about the Top Chef Finale

I've been watching some of this season's Top Chef on Bravo and have, overall, enjoyed the show. Its less about drama than it is about making amazing food fast.

And the second season's finale was last night. I watched the first hour and the first ten minutes of the second since it was after 11 and I needed to get some sleep.

One of the chef's, Marcel, is pretty well reviled by all of the other chefs. His bulletproof hair aside, the guy is an asshole and a jerk to the other chefs. But in a really weasely way, he moves their stuff off the burners on the stove, he does other little things that he claims are mistakes but there is a pattern of monkey-wrenching others that makes it hard to believe its really a mistake.

Anyway, last night's first half of the finale involved the final four preparing an entree and a dessert in a Hawaiian style for a birthday party. Two of the four were being eliminated and it was a very, very tough decision.

One of the judges, Tom Colicchio whom I've referred to as Baldy in my head because I never bothered to pay attention to his name, said something that really struck me and pretty well killed my interest in the show. Just one little statement because it perfectly sums up every asshole chef I've ever worked for.

One of the soon to be eliminated chefs brought up the issue of Marcell messing with other people's food in the kitchen during the competition. Basically she accussed him of not respecting the kitchen. And Baldy said, point blank, that he didn't care, they weren't being judged on their ability to get along but on their ability to cook.

And I think he got it very, very wrong. Being a "Top Chef" is more than being able to cook, its being able to manage a kitchen, its treating your staff well, its the whole package, it is NOT just the ability to cook and present food well. That one little statement really, really pisses me off and demonstrates quite capably that he is the absolute worst kind of judge there is, he cares not at all about how, he just cares about the what and how it looks. As a result, I will likely avoid the show in the future, just as I will not eat at a restaurant that mistreats its employees, I won't watch a show that perpetuates crappy, assholish behavior.

Of course, things were not going to go well in any case when the people's favorite was eliminated. But that was part of the "game" of the show, the comment about not giving a damn what happens in the kitchen is just really, really wrong.

Nice job, Bravo, it was a good show (made better by the stunning Padma Lakshmi) and the guest judges. But the overall product is ruined by having Tom Colicchio as the head judge. I'm sure he overcharges for food at his place of business too, because he can and it helps keep the "rabble" out. I am also sure that he's a total asshole to work for.

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