Top Chef Chicago: No Spice.

I love Top Chef. Toby and I are huge fans. We look forward to it each and every week. It’s not unheard of for one of us to wake up on Wednesday morning and express out loud how excited we are about 10 PM. And season three was awesome.

I don’t know what it is about season four but I almost can’t stand it and I can’t put my finger on why. Did they hire different editors? Writers? What’s going on? Perhaps it’s the people. I really don’t care for many of them.

You might call this is a stereotypical blog post (ie. bitching). It is. But I really want to talk about why season four of Top Chef seems to suck so very badly. Is it just me? How do you feel about it? Please feel free to disagree, agree, or tell me I suck for watching reality TV at all.

26 Comments

  1. I’m currently halfway through last night’s episode. (I missed it because I took a much needed night out with friends). I hope the chefs grow on me, but for now the only few I really like is the Australian and the short girl with longer curly hair.

    Also, side note: Nicki? She works at a restaurant we used to frequent in SoHo. She makes an awesome fried macaroni and cheese roll (fried just like an egg roll. OH LORDY is it awesome.)

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  2. And Ryan? (I think that’s his name) is the definition of douchebag. Spike in close second.

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  3. I have to completely agree with you. This season is really disappointing. I think it might just be the location. They need to get it out of Chicago. The cast is also just really boring.

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  4. I think it’s the lack of lovable characters… There are definitely chefs I dislike. Strongly. But there aren’t really any that I love and feel like rooting for. I still watch the heck out of that show, though.

    p.s. Hi! Delurking for Top Chef!

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  5. I love it, too, but I feel the same. Could it be that the novelty of the show is wearing off? The food is still interesting, but the people aren’t. Maybe it just needs some more Anthony Bourdain to shake things up?

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  6. I was wondering about that, Maureen. I wondered if it’s just me getting used to it or the chefs getting bored with it and not trying out? Or did whoever pick this batch do it for drama? All they do is fight it seems. And they really are bitchy and horrible at times.

    Seriously, I don’t think it’s us. I think if you have the right people, the show will be great. Somehow, I’m totally into this season of American Idol. Maybe they need to take pointers from the people behind that. I have no idea.

    I say less people drama, more food drama. No clue what’s going on here. It bums me out a bit.

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  7. agreed. i LOVEDLOVEDLOVED last season and watched it religiously. this season? meh.

    i’m wondering if it is that they haven’t really spiced up (like the pun?) the format? same quickfires, same elimination challenges, same picking teams from a butcher block…yawn. i don’t think they should change the format completely, but a few new twists would be nice.

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  8. That’s a good idea. I didn’t even think of that. Reworking the show a bit to follow a different format. Interesting idea. That could help, but I don’t think much could help with this particular group. Maybe they’ll grow on me as they become lesser in number.

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  9. I’m rooting for Stephanie because she reminds me of my best friend, who is an awesome chef. (And I really, really, really want a woman to win.)
    I think they need to come up with some new challenges. It’s the same things every year—tailgating, charity events, blind tastings, the list goes on.
    And Spike is a total ass. Wow.

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  10. I just think it’s the folks. This is a weak cast. Certainly some decent, creative folks… But the show is all negative and the cast feeds into that.

    I want my Harold back.

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  11. I’m more into Hell’s Kitchen with Gordon Ramsey. Every other word is bleeped.

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  12. re twitter: i was just kidding, but i see your point. Lived near the “guinnies” in the Chesapeake Bay region for a while – they have their own language that has every other phrase being “yeahr bubbah” Inbreeding at its most interesting.

    I dont watch cooking shows. they just make me hungry and sad about how little i have in my kitchen

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  13. I read a comment somewhere today that compared this season of Top Chef to the Real World, with food. I tend to agree.

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  14. it is the people. they are boring.

    I also think the bald guy is getting a little to big for his britches. and, i usually like him.

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  15. This is the only show I watch anymore, along with the John Adams series. Top Chef is so disappointing lately.

    I agree it’s the people. And the producers are choosing to air more footage of stupid personal dramas than the cooking. I remember we used to see more actual cooking and more confessionals about technique than we do now.

    But I found myself also wondering if the negativity and drama has something to do with the amount of alcohol they seem to be feeding the chefs while they are locked in that backroom waiting for the bad news from Judge’s Table…

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  16. It might help the discussion of the show if I could remember the name of a single cast member.

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  17. OK, so i am watching last night’s episode right now. agreed that the cast is a bit lame. great chefs, but now real personalities…

    also, i am SO tired of contestants on shows like this (project runway, top chef, apprentice, etc.) complaining about EVERY SINGLE CHALLENGE. i mean, seriously, did you not know what you were signing up for? have you not seen the previous seasons?

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  18. I agree. This season is lacking something. I think the cast really has no ‘Marcel’ or ‘Tiffani’ or my fav….’Dave’. This season lacks.

    We can only hope Bret Michaels Rock of Love 2 doesn’t work out and there is Rock of Love 3 to look forward too. :-D

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  19. I had to skip all the comments as the husband and I have only just discovered Top Chef. We are working our way through it on YouTube – but the person who uploaded S3 has only done three episodes so far. Ah! I think when I saw that, I figured it would take us forever to get through two seasons, so I wasn’t worried. But we zoomed through S1 and S2…and now we are stuck. I just got excited when I saw you had posted about Top Chef. I only wish we had discovered it sooner….

    Sad to hear 4 is lacking. It is such a great concept and the husband and I will happily watch cooking shows non-stop (well, that and a few other things…), so I am sure we will still watch it, but from the sounds of it, we won’t have the same passion for watching it as we have done for S1 and S2. The great thing about watching 1 and 2 is that we seriously never wanted to stop. He would come home from work, and we would load up some episodes and go on until bedtime, occasionally stopping to chat about what had transpired. I am glad 3 is good, but 4 – why have you apparently failed us?

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  20. Love love love the show, like Chicago location, the people? meh. Ryan is no Harold and Dale is no Hung. Where is Marcel? Where is Stephen? Tiffany? Dave? I’m sure the producers are trying to stir up something with the lesbian girlfriends but they’re boring too!

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  21. i think Bravo has become too formulaic. Felt the same way about Project Runway – i LOVE Project Runway but found myself getting bored by lame challenges and Heidi’s same old ‘aufing’ lines. Have not been able to get into Top Chef this season at all. New judges maybe? dunno. However, we are COMPLETELY addicted to The Deadliest Catch and got sucked into the pre-season opening marathon last Sunday. Love it. Scrappy fishermen living together in close quarters on a giant boat full of steel cages being tossed around the icy Bering Sea… maybe they should send those whiny Top Chef contestants out there for a few days. softies.

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  22. ginar
    I felt that way about Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch 2 years ago, and History Channel’s Ice Road Truckers last year.

    Maybe it’s the freshness that works best?

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  23. I TOTALLY agree. These people suck and they seem to be horrible chefs! And Im from Chicago and I’m bummed they are tainting my city’s good name.

    It seems to be a little better since they’ve stopped the team challenges, but Spike and his UGLY hats and the lesbian who can’t get over her girlfriend leaving, ugh!

    And yet I keep watching!

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  24. Part of it is the people and part of it is that they hardly use the cool “Chhh-chk-a-chhh, ch-chhhh-chk-a-chhhh” music when they are going to Judges Table anymore. I start doing it around the house hours before I watch. I waited all of last episode for it and IT NEVER CAME.

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  25. love Chicago. Hate cast. Bourdain needs to show his face more. Tom is not right this season. Love deadliest catch and ax men.

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  26. I’m not crazy about this season either. Um, did you see the kicking over of the chair when Zoi left? That was crazy. And icky Dale yelling in the face of the girl whose name I can’t remember?

    I think I’m rooting for Stephanie, who apparently is their go-to girl for Chicago food lore, just because she doesn’t bring the crazy. But Spike is just mean, rather than compelling, and if the guy who looks like him says “this is my house” one more time I might be forced to stop watching.

    Wow, proof that I pay way more attention to this show than some other more important things in my life. ;)

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