Yay for season 3 of Top Chef! The show's Miami digs are pretty gorgeous...I've never been but now I feel like I'd only want to go if I could stay in place with a view as spectacular as theirs!
We got a sneak peek at this season's chefs in last week's All-Stars special and my first impression was that they were pretty cocky, and with yesterday's premiere, I think I kind of know why...they're actually all very talented and qualified. It seems like nearly all of them are executive chefs or own their own restaurants. The show seems to have kind of amped up their requirements...there are definitely no culinary students or stay-at-home moms in this season. Which kind of makes me wonder what the purpose of the show really is. I always thought that the whole "$100,000 to kickstart their culinary career" meant that they were looking for up-and-comers, not necessarily people who have already rose through the ranks? Or maybe I just don't understand the hierarchies of the culinary world. But regardless, better chefs means better food and hopefully better competition!
I still think that the original season's first Quickfire and Elimination Challenges were perfect and I kind of wish they would bring those back: working on the line and then cooking their signature dish. They served as a nice introduction to each chef: what they were like under pressure and what their personal style was. Jumping right into these more complicated challenges makes it harder to figure out what everyone's about. That said, I did kind of like the amuse bouche Quickfire, if only for the fact that they were caught completely off guard with it. There really was a nice selection of foods for them to choose from but 10 minutes is really not a lot at all to see what's there, conceive something, and put it together.
The Elimination was a tricky one. The best part of it, of course, was Anthony Bourdain! He was so the perfect judge for this, because he's all about the crazy foods. I liked that they revealed that he was going to be the judge AFTER they had all picked their proteins and you could tell that the chefs who went for the safer choices were slightly worried. I don't think it's a coincidence that the top two both came from the second group who had the more "adventurous" meats. As a viewer though, this was kind of like the offal challenge from last season for me. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't eat most of that stuff. I mean, buffalo and razor clams and even geoduck, okay. But alligator? Ostrich? Rattlesnake? Liver of any kind? I think not. So there was no mouth-watering on my part for this challenge.
Micah won the Quickfire, Tre won the Elimination, and Hung was in the top for both, so they seem to be the early frontrunners. But of course with 15 chefs, some were not given much screentime at all, so no point really in making predictions...