On Sunday, the new episode of Mad Men heralded the return of my fall season scripted shows. Last night on Bravo, the premiere of Top Chef: Las Vegas, did the same for "reality TV." I'm not as into Top Chef as I am Project Runway (returning tonight, at long last!), but I do enjoy it so, for reasons that mostly escape me. I am never that interested in the contestants, and watching people cook on TV is always a double-edged sword, creating hunger without satisfying it.
I like to think I've picked up a couple of ideas about interesting flavors to pair, or kitchen skills I should use, but for the most part this show is straight entertainment. It's not like I am often put in a position where I have to cook a quickfire challenge, or feed hors d'oeuvres to 150 teamsters on a boat or something.
But between Iron Chef, and Hell's Kitchen, and any of the other cooking challenge shows out there, Top Chef remains my favorite. Well, the original Iron Chef has its many charms, which I can't deny. I do watch those shows where they make gorgeous cakes out of fondant and building supplies though, I can't help it.
Anyway, Padma, Tom, and of course Gael, were all back in fine form last night. The season having just started, I am still a bit lost among the many contestants, and there was barely enough time for the judges, including guest Wolfgang Puck, to really go into detail about the dishes. The Las Vegas backdrop was introduced with some showgirls prancing around the kitchen, and a "high-stakes" quickfire which awarded a $15,000 chip to the victor. The cleverest move was using Vegas' most popular foods in the challenges. I hope to see a challenge where the contestants have to cook for an all-you-can-eat buffet. My boyfriend and I had an awesome time eating crab legs, root beer floats, and assorted meats at the MGM Grand for every meal one day in May.
There is only one standout* contestant so far, and that is Mattin.
Anyway, the chick that went home last night stuffed a poblano chile with seitan, so in my opinion she should have been slapped across the face. And Gael dove into the bacon donuts with chocolate beer sauce with the same gusto I would have, cementing my opinion that she'd be such a cool gal to hang out with.
*He stands out because of the lolzworthy neckerchief and nothing else, for the record.