Although not exactly news, I found out today that Bravo is launching Top Chef: Masters, where the contestants are 24 world-renowned celebrity chefs instead of unknown chefs looking to make it big. While it will have the same basic format (with Quickfires and Eliminations), both the hosts and judges are different. Kelly Choi, a New York food journalist with her own show Eat Out New York will serve as the host, and the judges will be New York magazine restaurant critic Gael Green, British food critic Jay Rayner and culinary expert and Saveur editor-in-chief James Oseland. The Feedbag has some interesting speculations about possible contestants, including past guest judges on the original Top Chef.
I have to admit, I’m a little concerned that this won’t be the same Top Chef without Padma and Tom. We all know how much a host can make or break a show (just watch Katie Lee Joel in Season 1; the switch to Padma made Top Chef what it is today), so I hope Kelly Choi will live up to expectations. I’m hoping that because she already has her own show she will be relatively charismatic on camera. The other thing I’m worried about is the entertainment aspect. Gail and Tom are by no means shy of tearing apart the Top Chef contestants when they screw up, a fact that adds massively to the entertainment value of the show. Celebrity chefs can prove to be a little trickier. I hope their fame won’t make the judges wary of telling them when their food tastes terrible, or (even worse), I hope they aren’t so good that the entire series consists of the judges essentially salivating over and praising expertly-cooked food.
Let’s be honest, though. This is another dose of Top Chef. How can we be disappointed?