Thursday, October 04, 2007

Top Chef: Live finales are for Trumps

Back for the finale!

Oh, Top Chef. You disappoint me severely. No, not in your choice of Top Chef, because I can see where you're coming from with that, but in the decision to do a live finale. I know you were just trying to prevent leaks, as happened last season, but it's just so… Apprentice. Thank goodness you realized that the live sections always suck, and are boring filler, and included as little of them as possible.

Still, though, between the completely useless live portions and the gratuitous celebrity sous-chefs, I found the finale dissatisfying. I miss the days when Top Chef used to be a simpler show, all about food and drama. For some reason, they don't trust the intrinsic drama anymore, and they had to throw a fourth course at them an hour before service. And if they're going to rip off Project Runway, they could at least include a visit from Tim Gunn, because there is no one, sadly, that lovable on Top Chef, with the exception of occasional judge Ted Allen (see below).

They've told us for weeks that Hung is the robot chef with no heart and no soul to his food – but now, suddenly, either he got soul or the fact that he didn't have one wasn't such a big deal anymore. Maybe it was because, for the first time, Hung was given no restrictions. Some people become more creative when they have to adhere to a set of rules, but Hung was clearly not one of those people, because it was only while cooking his final dishes that he seemed happy and free – well, except for that Quickfire where he made a little Smurf village. Which I dare him to place on the menu of his restaurant. So, anyway, having found and displayed his soul, or not, the culinary redemption of Hung is complete, and he is now the Top Chef. As I've said before, he is the most technically proficient of all the chefs, so the title is richly deserved. I just didn't want the show to give him another reason to be full of himself.

Best moment of the night, for me: Dale, on the fourth course curveball delivered by Tom: "I wanted to punch him in the face." You don't know how long I've waited for a chef to say that. Man, I am going to miss Dale so much.

Oh, and the second-best moment: Ted calling Dale a "decadent boy." Easy, tiger.