The Corner

A Different Sort of Election (Top Chef Spoilers Below)

Okay, it’s been a while, but now that the season is over, it’s time for a Top Chef post.

First, I hated virtually everything on the show having to do with D.C. and politics this year. As Jay has discussed in other realms, a reality show about cooks should be a safe haven from politics. The outright propaganda about school lunches was absolutely infuriating — and a colossal waste of time. 

Second, I didn’t really like any of the contestants too much until near the end of the season. Tiffany (the black chef from Texas) was my clear favorite and I was bummed to see her go. But toward the end I really grew to like two of the three final contestants. Ed and Kevin were both such obviously decent and well-grounded guys (even though Ed was a bit of the jerk in the second-to-last episode). Ed grew on me even more when it was revealed that he was something of an under-achiever in school. Or maybe it’s just that he talks like he’s drunk.

Anyway, I thought Kevin clearly deserved to win this year (the winners don’t always seem so deserving) and that was nice to see. The show is so shot-through with political correctness, I’m glad there’s no stink of favoritism simply because he’s the first black winner (I thought the first female winner got a little gender boost).

I was really surprised how good a chef Kevin blossomed into (or revealed himself to be) toward the end of the season. For much of the season he was eclipsed by Kenny and his celestial self-regard.

I would have been just as happy if Ed had won, because I think he really shined at the end too. The one person I didn’t want to see win was Angelo, who I grew to despise. He was such a horrible mix of effeminate whining and arrogance I could barely stand to look at him. Yes, he is clearly a great chef, but when he started to cry in the second to last episode I felt like Tony Soprano looking at AJ at the computer in his underwear. He kept talking about his girlfriend in Russia or somewhere, and I guess she really does exist, but he sounded like one of those high-school kids who talks about his super-model girlfriend in Canada who can’t make the prom because of a photo shoot in Bali.

Anyway, prior to the final three or four episodes, I thought the cooking this season was less inspired and the contestants less likable than in years past. And I’m definitely worried that their Emmy will go to the producers’ heads.

Oh, and motherhood suits Padma.

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