Sam Talbot: just another hard-working cook.Photo: Getty ImagesThe Times’ Saturday profile of Sam Talbot’s life at Surf Lodge comes off as strangely sympathetic; no doubt the Top Chef hunk’s endlessly repeated demurrals about being a sex object (“at the end of the day, what counts is if this supposedly good-looking guy can cook,” etc.) and disavowals about the chicness of his restaurant, Montauk’s bustling Surf Lodge, registered as all the right things to say. But they’re still ridiculous. Montauk locals have been horrified at the sudden chicness of Surf Lodge and the resultant flow of glittering lowlifes that have followed; but Good Old Sam says that’s just a rumor: “I think even the locals are liking the food. At least, I haven’t heard anyone express hostility. The guys at the hardware store? Really nice to me.” And that’s who really counts! Talbot boasts about all the work the staff has been doing, and swears that Surf Lodge isn’t “a harbinger of Montauk’s becoming the South Beach of the Northeast” (“I would not allow that; can’t happen”) — but the truth is that it kinda has happened, at least this summer, and Talbot, however hardworking, is the engine that made it run. Can Talbot live with his looks, his Top Chef fame, and his role as the Prettiest Montauk Monster? Something tells us he can.