Top Chef 3: the clock

Each season it seems that Bravo creates one scenario that pushes the contestants too far. The chefs become belligerent. The first season, it was the wedding challenge. The second season, it was…well, actually they were belligerent most of the time. Tonight, it was the catering challenge.

The chefs, eager to impress even with their tiny budget ($350 total), each took on more than one hors d’oeuvre. The judges slammed them for it. The group leader decided to let each chef pursue his or her own muse. The judges slammed him for it. Some of them made old classics instead of taking risks. The judges slammed them for it.

Of course, it’s easy to envision them making the opposite decisions and getting slammed for those. Howie, you had all that time and you only made one dish! Brian, you were too autocratic and didn’t listen to your teammates! Hung, your appetizer was too outlandish and crazy for a boat party! We’ve heard them send chefs home on previous episodes for those exact reasons.

It reminded me very much of playing chess. King pawn or queen pawn? Calculation or intuition? Risk or safety? Defense or counterattack? The center or the wing? The king rook or the queen rook? It would be easy to spend hours puzzling through, weighing the variables, examining the consequences. But you can’t.

Just as it does on Top Chef, the ever-ticking clock always casts its shadow over the chessboard, compressing and rushing every decision. You must make your move, and bear the consequences.

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2 thoughts on “Top Chef 3: the clock

  1. Howie was always one of my favorites…I dig the Uncle Fester look and MOST of the time I think he had the right attitude, but last night he was pretty obvious. “I’m going to be the master of my OWN destiny…” a.k.a. “I’m leaving this party before I get thrown out.” He knew he was going to go. Is it possible that he isn’t man enough to take rejection from Padma? And doesn’t that make his “noble deed” (saving Brian [seafood-fer-brains]) really look lame and pathetic?

  2. I kinda felt the same way about Mia in season two. If you really want out, you don’t say “Send me home”, you say “I quit.”

    Uncle Fester. That cracks me up.

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