My blog assignment for the evening, courtesy of son #2, is to write something about the finale of Top Chef.
I didn't start watching the show on a regular basis until last year, so I don't have a lot to compare this season with, but overall, the chefs seemed to be slightly weaker than those who competed last year. But the final three of Ed, Kevin and Angelo was probably just as strong as last year's final three, a different Kevin and the brothers Voltaggio.
Last year's winner Michael Voltaggio returned last night as sous chef, along with two other past winners, Ilan Hall and Hung Huynh. Once the drama of whether Angelo would get well enough to cook was resolved, the testosterone flowed pretty freely in the kitchen, with all of the guys being expert trash-talkers (more bleeps in last night's show than any in recent memory).
The great thing about "Top Chef" is that anything can happen from week to week, and even though it may strike some as unfair that past performance is out the window, it makes things completely unpredictable because the outcome may hinge on nothing more than a small mistake or the fact that in any given week, every chef may create something flawless, which leaves the judges very little to pick from between the contestants. One shake of salt too much? Sorry, bud - pack your knives.
That seemed to be particularly true this year. Four weeks ago, I would have been willing to bet good money that either Tiffany or (SPOILER ALERT) Ed was a lock to win the whole thing. But nope, that's not what happened. And as Anthony Bourdain wrote in his recent book, as long as Tom Colicchio is the head judge, the show will be more about cooking, and less about the "reality." And that's just fine with me.