Bravo kicked off the new season of Top Chef Masters last night, and this year Grub Street has tapped comedian Dave Hill — a virgin viewer of any Top Chef show until this assignment — to offer his thoughts. Check out the first recap, straight ahead.
Last night, on cable, I watched the first episode of season five of Top Chef Masters, the incredible program on the popular Bravo network. As hinted at in the name, Top Chef Masters is not unlike the popular Top Chef program we still talk about to this day, only instead of featuring totally regular, bullshitty chefs who would be lucky to get an afternoon shift at Applebee's, it features totally awesome master chefs who could beat the crap out of all the chefs on the Top Chef program without even trying, I bet.
Having never seen Top Chef Masters, or even Top Chef, in my life before, I was coming to things with a fresh set of eyes, combining the wide-eyed wonderment and innocence of Britian's newborn royal baby with the drunken bewilderment of a shotgun-wielding old man stumbling around his front porch, ready to shoot someone in the face at the first sign of trouble.
In short, I couldn't wait to take off my pants and watch this incredible program.
Being the first episode of the season and all, the show started with a buttload of master chefs — far too many to list here — of all shapes and sizes, just waiting to be sent packing. In addition to the master chefs, there were also a bunch of sous-chefs who were supposed to compete in some sort of online competition that as best I could tell was designed to completely screw the master chefs over when it came time for them to have to cook something.
“Thanks to my sous-chef, I had to combine two proteins,” one of the master chefs named Richard Sandoval complained.
“Do not even get me started on this topic,” I thought, being fully aware of how much it sucks when that happens.
Also, one of the sous-chefs, this guy named Graeme, has a mohawk, a surefire sign that he is not exactly crazy about rules and/or used to work at Hot Topic before dedicating his life to the culinary arts. I am expecting either big things or a complete emotional breakdown from him as the season progresses.
Anyway, at the beginning of the show, the host, this guy named Curtis, came out and started talking to the chefs. Curtis is Australian, dreamy, and has hair that is tousled in a manner to suggest he doesn't give a fuck about anything, basically.
“I want to go skinny dipping in his eyes,” the one chef named Jenn Louis said while seemingly fighting the urge to whip off her top. I couldn't help but second that emotion. In fact, I am totally not gay or anything, but one day, I would like to shave Curtis from head to toe, and then go swimming with him in a lavender-scented sensory deprivation pool, or something.
Anyway, Curtis told all the chefs that they were going to be preparing an outdoor feast for a bunch of Canadian skydivers, and that if they were willing to skydive to this field where the feast was going to be held, they would get an hour of extra cooking time.
All the chefs were like, “Oh, my god! No way!” but then most of them decided to go skydiving, anyway. I'm not sure what they big deal was, though, because it turned out they all had skydiving experts holding them like goddamn babies while they parachuted, but whatever. This one chef, Douglas Keane, decided to drive to the field, and you could tell everyone thought he was major wuss, but if you ask me, Douglas has way more balls than the rest of them combined, because — statistically speaking, anyway — the odds of getting mangled in a car accident are much greater than the odds of getting mangled while skydiving, especially when you skydive with a trained professional practically cradling your genitals the whole way down.
Once all the chefs got done practically making out with the guys who helped them parachute safely to the ground, they started cooking like the wind. Then, from out of nowhere, a bunch of Canadian paratroopers fell from the sky like a swarm of Canadian locusts. They had Canadian flag parachutes and everything, and it was awesome. No one could believe it. Then there was a commercial.
After the chefs finished cooking, they all sat down with the paratroopers and started stuffing their faces. That's when the judges showed up and started being total dicks about everything. This one judge, Gail Simmons, was super hot, and you could totally tell all the chefs were way into her, even after she told them how much they sucked at cooking. There was also this other judge named James Oseland, in a blue sweater, who was a major a-hole most of the time, and everyone was all like, “Dude, calm down — it's not that great of a sweater, so get over yourself already.” There was this other judge named Lesley Suter, too, who wasn't as hot as Gail, but I would totally get with her if things didn't work out with Gail for whatever reason if she is reading this.
Once everyone finished making goddamn pigs of themselves in that field, the judges proclaimed this one chef named Odette Fada, who seemed French, the most awesome at cooking stuff for that episode. She made lamb that was cold on purpose.
All the other chefs pretended to be really happy for her, but you could tell they all wanted to stab her in the neck as soon as the cameras stopped rolling. Then, the judges asked these three other chefs named Herb Wilson, Richard Sandoval, and David Burke to come into the next room so they could give them a stern talking to. Herb's oyster dish had no oysters, David's shrimp was too shrimpy with too much hummus, and Richard wanted to use a sharper knife for a steak and salmon thing. All three of them were about to shit their pants, but in the end the judges were just like, “Richard and David, you guys are pretty cool, but Herb, you suck at doing chef stuff. Get out of our sight before we puke everywhere.”
Herb tried to act like it didn't bother him that much, but I bet they had to put him on suicide watch immediately after that.
Everyone seemed really, really worried for his safety, as well as the safety of anyone he might run into at the bus station or something on the way home. Even as a viewer, it was not hard not to share their concern.
The second episode of Top Chef Masters is on next Wednesday. You can look forward to my important recap of that episode sometime the next day, probably.