Sunday, January 28, 2007

Top Chef Scraping Bottom?

Over the past year, I've been quite a fan of the Bravo reality TV series Top Chef. Though I was a latecomer to the first season, I have tried to catch the latest season's episodes whenever possible. As I watched this season, my feelings for the contestents changed quite a bit. For example, at the beginning of the show, I was really not a very big fan of Mikey, but as the season went on, I started rooting for him. While it was pretty apparent he wasn't going to win against the likes of Sam and Cliff, I really wanted the guy to do well. (Maybe I'll even make a trip out to Lodi to check out his work in person.) Of course, some of my feelings stayed the same, such as those for that asshat Marcel.

However, as much as I would love to see Ilan whomp that sniveling little Marcel's ass, I'm not sure that I will be tuning for the final episode. In my opinion, the best chefs in the contest were Sam, Ilan, Cliff, and Elia (more or less in that order, I'd reckon). While I felt that Cliff was fairly kicked off for that sophomoric prank that he pulled, I have no idea why the judges chose to give Sam the boot. From my viewpoint, he was certainly the most consistent of all of the contestants, as well as one of the most talented. And to pick Marcel over him, well, that was just a travesty. Tom Colicchio has been completely inconsistent in his reasoning. His remark that "behavior doesn't count... it's about the food" is both disingenuous and hypocritical. Tom, remember you kicked off Cliff (rightfully so) for his behavior? Remember Marcel's raw chicken wing? I'm not saying that Marcel isn't talented; it's apparent that he is very well trained, but the guy's a freaking jerk. While Colicchio is aware of how Marcel rubs the other contestents, he apparently doesn't think that it's such a big deal. Anthony Bourdain, on the other hand, has a differing viewpoint. Regarding Marcel's current chef potential, he says,

Presently zero. You have to get along with the people you work with--and I can't imagine this guy "working with others" over time. He's petty, vindictive, immature, a loudmouth, not a team player by any stretch of the imagination. And it's all about Him. I can't imagine him ever running a kitchen that actually makes its food cost percents--or appeals to the public--as Marcel would likely be too busy celebrating his own perceived brilliance on the plate.

If he can ever pull back his food to what TASTES good FIRST--and pull his head out of his ass, there's hope.

He goes on, as only one such as Bourdain can:

Being a great chef is about first knowing what gives people pleasure. And caring about that. Marcel strikes me as the sort of knucklehead/creative "genius" who insists on "educating the public" instead of finding new ways to please and delight and surprise them. There's nothing pleasing or surprising about foam anymore.

His tormentors were right about one thing: he needs to get laid. And the Astro-Boy haircut is a liability in the kitchen--where co-workers and subordinates will identify him as a fucktard from Day One.

Marcel has a LOT of growing up to do. A chef needs respect. A chef must be able to delegate. A chef needs to run a kitchen that actually turns a profit. I can't see Marcel doing any of those things.

Tom, given those remarks, do you really think that Marcel should be in the running to be Top Chef? Judging from the comments on Colicchio's blog, I am probably not the only fan who thinks that Marcel is not nor am I the only one who is considering skipping the finale.