Bravo has given their Top Chef franchise a bit of a spin with Top Chef Masters. Instead of a bunch of newbie chefs, culinary school students, and whatnot, the contestants are world reknowned chefs who don’t need to prove anything. They’re not competing for money for themselves; they’re competing for a charity of their choice. There’s no living together. No having their every move filmed.
It’s a better show for all of that.
Couple of things have been markedly interesting. First of all, a lot of the contestants have acted as judges on the show. All of them have commented on how much harder it is to compete in this format than they thought. There have been chefs who haven’t managed to plate in the allotted time. Chefs who have had their dishes turn out badly. Chefs who have experienced the fun of malfunctioning product placed appliances.
The judging seems less erratic also. Although the Food and Wine judge shows up now and then, it’s mostly been really good food critics who know their stuff.
All of this has provided for a really stellar program. The manufactured drama is so not missed–at least not by me. There’s a genuine pleasure to be had watching experts working at their craft.
Plus watching Hubert Keller cooking in a dorm room in and of itself was worth my time.