Top Chef Recap

By Jason Lee

June 18, 2010

He is quite possibly the creepiest contestant in the history of the show.

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And we are officially back for a new season of Top Chef! As the opening sequence starts and Padma’s narration plays overtop, I’m overwhelmed by joy. I love this show and I’m so excited that it’s back.

After six seasons taking place in cities like Los Angeles, Vegas, and Chicago, Top Chef finally comes to our nation’s capital. As a current resident of D.C., I’m eager to try and recognize all of the places / landmarks that the cheftestants visit. The cheftestants start arriving and our first girl, Tiffany, proclaims that she would love to be the first African-American winner of Top Chef, especially IN BARACK OBAMA CITY!!! WOOHOO!!!

Oh my lord. This girl has some real gusto, doesn’t she? My one hope for this season is that the women turn out to be stronger than last season, when my beloved Jen was the only girl who proved worthy of even being in the finale.

The cheftestants congregate atop the D.C. Newseum, a museum dedicated to the history of news reporting (I still need to visit this place). Seventeen chefs mill around, enjoying a fruit and cheese platter, talking amongst themselves. There’s a lot of passive-aggressive boasting going on, the type of subterranean machismo that you’d expect at a frat party. This is NOT an event I’d enjoy attending. The undercurrent of “I’m better than you, but you just don’t know it yet” is a little tiresome.


I idly wonder if we’re going to see any talent on the level of the Voltaggio brothers from any of these cheftestants.

Padma and Tom enter and the noise immediately quiets down. As a welcome to Top Chef, we’re going to kick things off with a mise en place tournament (a competition of vegetable preparation). All 17 chefs will have to peel ten potatoes. The 12 fastest go on to brunoise (finely chop) ten cups of onion. The top 8 go on to break down four chickens, and the last four get to compete for $20,000, as this is a High Stakes Quickfire.

The cheftestants start to drool at the idea of winning $20,000.

Not two minutes into the first task of peeling potatoes does one of the cheftestants slice her palm open. Ewwwwwwwwww, this is the part about Top Chef that I hate. The part with blood.

Angelo, an extremely attractive NY chef, immediately notices that an African-American chef, Kenny, is slicing potatoes quicker than anyone. Indeed, he outpaces everyone and sits back as he waits for 11 other chefs to join him in the next round.

Eventually, five chefs are cut and we’re onto onions. Again, Kenny whups everyone, much to the consternation of Hot Angelo. I think we’re seeing a rivalry develop here.

The chickens are up next and I start to get really nervous that we’re about to see another sliced palm or cut wrist. Those knives are moving WAY too fast for my comfort.

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