Even with Season 2 of Top Chef being downright awful at times, I'm still really into this show, and I was ecstatic when I heard that they were doing a Season 1 vs. Season 2 special before the premiere of Season 3. I was definitely rooting for S1 to win, because overall I think they were better chefs and really just more professional and mature. I mean, compare Harold to Ilan. Is there really any comparison? And last night proved that. Anyway, the episode was almost more about seeing who's changed and who hasn't than about the food really, so here's my rundown.
Harold: Still has that hilariously low-key "I'm a cook" attitude. LOVED when he told Marcel to shut up and be professional. The judges seemed to be a bit disappointed in his dish, but I really liked that he decided to do something more rustic and traditional as opposed to all the elaborated plated stuff that the other chefs seem to love.
Tiffani: I remember not liking her all that much, but I think that was kind of magnified by the fact that I did not want her to win over Harold. But with them on the same team and not competing against eachother, she was alright. I get the impression she's matured since the show, and I think she really learned something from it all. And she's probably one of the most thoughtful chefs out there.
Dave: I like Dave. Yeah, he's kind of a whiner but his antics really crack me up. He didn't seem like he wanted to be there, but I'm glad he went along with the team for his course.
Stephen: I despised Stephen during Season 1 but he really surprised me during the reunion and now I kind of like him! I was a little worried when he won the Quickfire and was appointed the team captain, but it was smart of him to choose a theme for their meals and try to keep things coherent, despite the fact that the courses were going head-to-head. I'm not a huge fan of lobster, but his dish looked fantastic.
Ilan: You know, I was rooting for Ilan to win because I couldn't stand Marcel, but overall, he's really just not that great of a chef. He does what he knows and he does it well, but stick him in new territory and he flounders. Badly. Plus, he's still pretty immature. Boo to Ilan.
Marcel: A lot of people started feeling bad for Marcel last season because they felt he was getting the villain edit and then there was that horrible head-shaving incident, but I never bought into that at all. And having seen his behavior on that awful post-finale "Watch What Happens" segment and on this episdoe, I'm even more convinced that he has to be just that annoying. I admit I was a little amused when he decided to do saffron foam on his Quickfire dish, but then he started rapping again and I just like, no. NO. If I never have to see Marcel on TV again I'll be happy. Oh, but I did kind of love his advice to the S3 chefs about not doing duos...seriously, do one thing and do it well!
Elia: Again with the crazy hair. Didn't get much airtime, but I was a little perplexed that her scallop dish won when she did a very similar dish in that party catering episode from her season. I feel like the finale would have been so much better had it been Elia and Sam. She's got her faults too, but she can defnitely cook.
Sam: Was he even there? Kind of hard to believe at this point that he was the fan favorite. The funniest part was when one of the Season 3 chefs said he was "kind of cute" and Ted responded "Kind of cute??"
The special was also a preview to the new Season 3 chefs. It's entirely too early to say anything about them, but I'm excited for this season. Ted Allen's going to be a regular judge, and dare I say that Padma's kind of grown on me? Look for my weekly reviews throughout the summer!