Thursday, October 08, 2009

When did Top Chef Turn into a Long Commercial?

I love Bravo TV’s Top Chef, I think it is an excellent show. It was one of the original cooking challenge shows and has been successful each season. Now that the show is in its 6th season (set in Las Vegas) I feel more like I am watching a commercial, and not a cooking game show/reality show.

Obviously it is a great way for the network to generate advertising money and get free products, but last night, Tyler Florence was like a walking billboard for Macy’s. Has it always been like this? Maybe…but I don’t remember ever thinking “Shut up about your sponsors already.”

Let’s review-

The Quickfire – Sponsored by!

I had never heard of until last night, so I guess the advertising plug within the Top Chef episode was a success. I am sure that tens of thousands of people pulled up after the episode, so the new cooking website got what it wanted.

The Quickfire had to do with a slot machine like thing. Each chef had to pull the handle and three words would pop up. Things like “Nutty, Stressful, Italian,” or something along those lines. The chefs then had 30 minutes to create a dish that resembled their three words.

Tyler Florence was the guest judge. I really like him and have enjoyed watching him since his Food Network show How to Boil Water. He is a congenial chef and basically found nice things to say about everyone’s dish. The dish he didn’t like was Robin’s – which was perfect because she is the most annoying (and luckiest) Top Chef contestant ever.

Even Padma slapped the smile of Robin’s face when she reminded her that “curry isn’t Middle Eastern.” Poor Robin. Actually, poor us because now we will have to listen to Robin repeat everything she did wrong in that curry mess.

Kevin won again. He made some Asian-ey thing that TyFlo loved and he won a bunch of money from Good for him, he’s a likeable guy.

Elimination - sponsored by Macy’s!

This is when the Macy’s thing really got out of control and started to drive me crazy. During the judges small talk before dinner, TyFlo droned on and on about Macy’s. It was obvious and laughable. Enough!

For the elimination challenge the chefs had to make their dishes at home, in a very small space, for the judges.

There was a Japanese judge, TyFlo, a lady chef with a backwards pony tail that covered most of her forehead, a chef with dread locks, and another guy. I don’t really remember any of them. Sorry, they all were holding large Macy’s and Whole Foods bags and the not so subtle advertising mesmerized me.

In each of the chefs’ bags, was food that they had bought at Whole Foods. The contestants drew knives in order to get their food and pair off. These types of partner things never work for everyone. Someone always loses because of his or her partner and someone always wins because of his or her partner. In this case, Robin didn’t go home because Michael I. put together a decent meal that the judges neither loved nor hated.

Judges Table – Sponsored by Padma’s Scar!

The winners are…Jennifer and Kevin (Korean BBQ) and Bryan and Laurine (Pan Roasted Halibut). The judges could only pick one chef as the overall winner, so they picked Jennifer because she made a nice tomato chutney and sauce for the Kobe beef.

As the overall winner, Jennifer won a $10,000 gift card to Macy’s. She later waved it in front of the camera and said “Kevin will probably get a suit out of this.”

Really? A suit? What does Kevin want with a suit? You should split that with him, it was a team effort. The entire nine seconds made me kind of dislike Jennifer.

The bottom two teams were Ashley (boyish looking one) and Eli (bratty one) and Ash (the guy who is cleaning brushes for Picasso) and Michael V. (the younger V. brother).

Ashley and Eli made gnocchi and prawns. The prawns were raw and the gnocchi was salty. It was bad and it was all Ashley’s fault because she made the gnocchi and grilled the prawns while Eli sat back and did nothing.

Michael V. and Ash made a deconstructed Puttanesca. There was an egg inside ravioli over a pancetta wrapped halibut. Unfortunately, while cooking the fish on the electric griddle (supplied by Macy’s – of course) a fuse blew and ruined everything.

The fish would be chewy and that lady with the weird hair would smack her lips as she ate it and know that they had cooked it wrong. The fresh Teflon from the Macy’s griddle was absorbed by the halibut and the whole thing tasted of chemicals (is what she really wanted to say, but Macy’s would revoke her position as a Macy’s culinary expert).

Alas, Ashley was the one to pack her knives and go. Now, Ashley isn’t my favorite, but I thought this was unfair. But it’s a game, and games are not always fair. Robin escaped another week and it wasn’t fair. Then Ashley cried and said a bunch of sentimental stuff.

Until next week…when Eli yells at Robin and beats her over the head with an extra large frying pan (sponsored by Macy’s).


  1. I feel like Top Chef is like that always. They always talk about the "Glad family of products", Whole Foods, Kraft, etc. It is kind of annoying. But the show is so good that I ignore it.

  2. Yeah, I have always noticed the sponsors, but it was extra annoying in this episode. I felt like Macy's had complete control over everyone's words!


thank you so much for your comment! i read and enjoy each and every one :).

Designed by Jackie Ayr