Middle Chef

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The only Top Chef from this season is Sam. Nobody else-- certainly neither Marcel nor Ilan-- has the maturity to claim that title. Marcel seems to have some genuine cooking chops, but I can't see him leading or inspiring people. And Ilan is a one-trick caballo. It's not Top Cocinero-- come out of your Spanish safe zone and show you have some versatility, man!

The capriciousness of the judging is irksome. They talk about it being all about the food, then get rid of someone for not showing enough initiative in spending his equipment allowance. They drone on about the qualities of a top chef, then ignore issues like maturity, leadership, and history in a fit of food-centric tunnelvision. From what we see, it's unclear how well the basis for judging each challenge is explained to the chefs. Nobody told Sam he had to apply heat to anything. If it wasn't a stated criteria, he shouldn't be dinged for serving two raw dishes. Is it all about the food, or isn't it? Did the food taste good? Shouldn't that be what matters?

Booting Sam was a mistake. And a huge number of viewers seem to agree. There are over two thousand comments on Tom Colicchio's blog for this episode. At least Sam won the $10,000 fan favorite prize, and the exposure from the show has likely opened a lot of doors for him.

It's hard to imagine Marcel being called Top Chef, yet he actually seems more skilled and versatile than Ilan, whose adolescent antagonism of Marcel demonstrates he still has a lot of growing up to do.

1 Comment

I finally watched my taped version today from last week - and was disappointed with the final selection. The majority of my family resides in Hawaii, and much of their food is served raw - especially the seafood. And I think kitchen behavior should matter - and am sometimes amazed at how it rarely factors in.

Not too motivated for the finale, but would rather see Ilan on top given the two that remain.

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