The Chopping Block Gets Chopped

March 27, 2009

marcopierre-whiteSo after only 3 episodes NBC’s The Chopping Block is getting the axe.  For any poor soul who actually sat through a full 45 minute episode of this complete tragedy of a TV show, this comes as no surprise.  Because I love TV shows that involve food (or anything that involves food, really), I actually watched all three in the hopes that perhaps this would improve over time and hit its stride.  But no, it just continued to be pretty much some of the worst reality TV I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot.

So how exactly did a reality cooking show fail?  First of all, there was the set-up.  Pairs of 2 friends or family members formed two larger teams that each had a restaurant.  Across the street from one another, these restaurants would compete every week in a challenge, be judged by a secret critic who would dine at each, and then one of the pairs on the losing team would get the axe by Marco Pierre White.  Not only could I have cooked anything better than a lot of the “chefs” on the show, but no one was even interesting to watch.  Usually a few people emerge in a reality TV show who just add entertainment value.  But no Stephen or Marcel (both of Top Chef fame) existed; the contestants were untalented and uninteresting.  Furthermore, most of them were complete wimps.  They would complain that cooking with fresh produce picked out of Central Park was too hard, and a lame excuse for a “harsh judging” would have people leaving in tears.  I honestly wanted to smack them.

But the worst part of this show was the host, Marco Pierre White.  Hailed as a world-renowned chef who once made Gordon Ramsay cry, I was expecting him to be mean, loud and massively entertaining.  Instead he was conceited and annoying, and by the end of each episode I wanted to take an axe to the screen just to make him go away.  Read the rest of this entry »


Top Chef Masters to Air

March 5, 2009
If looks equal success, Kelly Choi will be a hit as host of Top Chef: Masters

If looks equal success, Kelly Choi will be a hit as host of Top Chef: Masters

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?

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