I have carped previously about the melodrama of Top Chef season two, and Bravo’s insistence on focusing their season three promotional efforts on temper tantrums and cleavage. Turns out there’s hope for this roster of contestants, though. Season one’s Lee Anne Wong blogs on Bravo’s (pitifully user-unfriendly) website: “I gotta tell you, I love this cast. Not only are they wildly talented, but they are also genuinely nice human beings, with a more mature edge than seasons past.” Hooray, grownups. Who can cook. I trust Lee Anne on this one.
The elimination of Mississipi Man Clay in this week’s episode was unfortunate (however warranted) not only because of the pathos of his own story, but also because he was carrying the flag for Southern cooking.
My co-worker David Rosenbaum, a New York native, thinks “Southern cooking” is an oxymoron, and if I mention it he’ll immediately make jokes about eating squirrel, groundhog and so on. But
1) my theory is that while high-end restaurants are better in the North, you can actually get a tasty fresh inexpensive meal in a Southern low-end restaurant (whereas low-end food in Boston is generally terrible, particularly the soggy fried stuff); and
2) the South is rising on the high-end as well, as captured for example in this Dec 06 New York Times profile of Birmingham’s increasingly vibrant dining scene.
Though Candice Bergen’s “Go back to your double-wide and fry something” (Sweet Home Alabama) is one of my favorite lines in recent movie history, it’s not the whole story any more.
Previous Top Chef season 3 post here