Top Chef Boston Recap

By Jason Lee

October 20, 2014

At least the loser on the right doesn't have to work with Mike Isabella every day.

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Ah, another year, another new season of Top Chef. Or as I like to call it, MY FAVORITE FREAKING TIME OF THE YEAR. Yes, after whetting our appetite with Top Chef Duels, the main course - Top Chef Boston - is finally here. We’ll get to watch the latest crop of cheftestants run around and cook their tails off in one of this country’s most historic cities... a location that is incredibly fitting for me given that my recent hiatus from BOP resulted from having to endure three arduous years of law school in the Boston area. And now as I valiantly strive to emerge from my law school bubble and reengage into the real world, I’m treated to the luxury of watching 16 aspiring Top Chefs suffer through their own culinary gauntlet in Boston. Why, hello Irony. Such a pleasure seeing you again.

We join this season’s cheftestants as they make their way to the Top Chef Kitchen. There’s no ferry ride to Ellis Island like in Top Chef NYC, and no cozy meeting in the Top Chef House like in Top Chef New Orleans last year. Nope, the producers are getting straight down to business. Just how we like it. We’re treated to a few Real World-ish opening narrations courtesy of a few cheftestants who are lucky enough to get gifted a bit of early airtime. These bits make it clear that the cheftestants are eminently aware of exactly what winning (or coming close to winning) Top Chef would do for their career - namely, take off like Space Shuttle Atlantis.

The cheftestants file into the kitchen and are greeted by Top Chef All-Stars winner Richard Blais - the secret that Bravo didn’t even try to keep - who’ll be a judge this season. Padma promises that the cheftestants are “gonna be seeing a lot of him.” I’m fine with that, as long as Richard keeps his ego in check. On Top Chef All-Stars, he had an annoying tendency to compensate for his perpetual second-guessing of himself by reaffirming (over and over) his grandiose talent and culinary creativity.

Aaaaaand right off the bat, we’re treated to a little bit of that. Perhaps eager to establish his judging chops, Richard notes that appearing on two (!!!) seasons of Top Chef was perhaps the hardest thing he ever had to do, but he reaped enormous rewards like opening up seven restaurants (!!!) and garnering a James Beard nomination (!!!).

But enough about Richard. He wants to hear a little bit about the cheftestants. And, of course, given limited airtime, Bravo only wants you to hear about some of the more interesting ones—specifically, the chefs to watch and the chefs who will likely be on the chopping block in approximately 55 minutes.




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We meet:


  • Katsuji, a Mexican-Japanese chef who owns a kosher restaurant.

  • Mei Lin, who works for Top Chef Las Vegas winner Michael Voltaggio at his Los Angeles restaurant, Ink (awesome food, I highly recommend it)

  • Ron, an Atlanta chef who’s been in the biz for 17+ years

  • Adam, a skinny, tattooed, slick-back hair chef who’s worked for the legendary Jean-Georges

  • Keriann, an attractive young chef who mentions, in the most offhand way possible, that she was the first female and first American to win the title of World’s Greatest Young Chef (who exactly bestowed this accolade is left hopelessly, and perhaps intentionally, vague)

  • George, a business partner of the always-brusque, always-entertaining Mike Isabella, who came -THIS- CLOSE to winning Top Chef All Stars

  • Joy, an immediately likable chef with a gorgeous afro who owns a small farm-to-table restaurant in Maryland. She mentions that hearing about everyone else’s culinary resume makes her feel underqualified. Uh oh, I’m getting shades of Arianne from Top Chef New York (anyone remember her?)


Yes, I know that I just threw a lot of names at you, but don’t worry, I still don’t have any idea who anyone is either. And perhaps realizing that, Padma offers to help “weed out the competition.” We’re having a SUDDEN DEATH QUICKFIRE. Apparently this will be a thing this season. Cheftestants will regularly be put on the chopping block if they end up at the bottom of a quickfire.

Yep. Shit just got real.


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