The Corner

Top Chef Reax

Okay, I know some of you watch it. Here’s my take so far this season: The chefs stink. While the Fair Jessica and I have been discussing how subpar they are compared to seasons one and two for a while, it dawned on my last night that they actually stink when I was watching a contest-promo commercial. If you voted on your favorite chef now, Bravo told us, you could win a free dinner prepared by this season’s winner! And I realized I’d much rather pay for dinner from any number of previous seasons’ runners-up. Hung’s arrogance doesn’t bug me too much, but he cooks like an android and his talk rarely measures up to his product. The others seem like good cooks, but not exactly like great chefs.

And, while were on the subject, here’s how I would fix the system of the show: Point system. Some of the better chefs routinely get kicked off for one-time foul-ups while the mediocrities hide in their mediocrity. You could set up a system whereby you get points for every challenge you do well in and lose points for every one you screw up. You could still have the judges table, you could still have someone kicked off every week (lowest score for the week would have to go). But someone who’s been consistently great but who hits a single snag wouldn’t necessarily be kicked off. Of course, this season, no one’s been anything like consistently great.

Update: You think my proposal is crazy, listen to the whacky idea from this reader:

How about, instead of giving the contestants 30 seconds to make a four-course meal out of frozen snickers bars and cayenne pepper, they let the chefs cook complex dishes.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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