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Top Chef Front Runners


All-time best judges’ table quote

Top Chef is back. Top Chef is the greatest thing since sliced bread. And yes, the bread is locally sourced and paired with avocado foam. No other reality show satisfies my appetite for pretentious weirdos while simultaneously making me hungry for dishes that I can’t pronounce. For example, look at how amazing this quote from Chef Garret, the first contestant that was asked to pack his knives, is:

“Cooking is a continuation of philosophy because it is the study of aesthetics, Gustatory aesthetics. But there is nothing more connected to the human existence than the cultural manifestation of cuisine.”

I could marinate in that quote all day. It’s so self-important and is borderline incomprehensible.

Top Chef also has the best host. Padma Lakshmi will fillet you with her smile, braise you with just one look and julienne you with her words. Just ask the chef who put a spoon in his mouth and then her food. She is vicious. And awesome.

Some Reality TV can be a gamble but Top Chef is always a good bet. Here are the chefs that if I could, I would wager would be crowned this season’s top chef.

Sure Bets:

issac-toups-full Chef Isaac:

Isaac has had his share of the spotlight in the first two episodes of this season. The season is bookended with comments from Isaac. He is the first contestant we meet. He is the last face we see in episode two. If you are searching for clue’s left by the producers to see who could win, this might be one.

It is possible that he gets more screen time because of his personality. Chef Isaac has some amazingly communicative facial expressions. He has some great one-liners as well. In the season preview he states, “I’ve got two speeds: full bore and dead.” I can’t even fully grasp what that means, but Isaac says it with conviction and I believe it. He even says words cooler than you. In the opener, he made his “Grandmother Toup’s court bouillon” Through his thick Louisiana accent it sounds like “coo-boo-yon” and it’s amazing.

I haven’t referenced Chef Isaac’s food. But, it’s Top Chef. It’s mostly about Padma’s outfits and viewing the chef’s food.

frances-tariga-weshnak-fullChef Frances:

I hope they never make Chef Frances pack up her knives. I never want to see her sad. Please let her and her canned garbanzo beans stay around forever. She is more like a weird cartoon than an angry disgruntled chef like the rest.   Top Chef has had goofy contestants before, but they’ve never had goofy and competent contestants like Frances. We need Frances and her gold shoes to stay in the competition till the end.




Least likable, therefore least likely to win in my heart:

grayson-schmitz-fullChef Grayson:

If Chef Grayson makes it to the finale it will be a reality show miracle. I almost saw her shed a tear because Whole Foods didn’t have yellow wax beans. This is not how a top chef behaves. A top chef doesn’t act like they can’t make anything without bacon fat. A top chef doesn’t make green beans die for nothing.  A top chef also doesn’t shout, “I made 400 BAWLS” at Padma. A top chef knows that Padma would not be impressed at that quantity of meatballs, but only by the quality.

Chef Grayson has the shelf life of the bacon that she loves so dearly. I give her about two weeks until she is back home complaining that Top Chef made her change her “style of cooking.”

phillip-frankland-leeChef Phillip:

In case you didn’t know, Phillip is very familiar with many, many of the bigger bloggers in Los Angeles. But, of course you knew this because he has told the audience many, many times. It is as plain as the man bun on his head. He also has a giant billboard on the side of his restaurant. The ad states, “Drop Flavor. Not Bombs.” How can you “drop flavor?” The phrase is infuriating. I suggest that he change the phrase to “Add Flavor. Not Poop Grass” which is exactly what he smoked his fancy cheese with last episode.*

*Some Context: In the last episode, the chefs had to make a dish for 400 people who were meeting at a dog park to sample their food.  Chef Phillip had the genius idea to use the grass from the park to smoke his cheeses under a veil of foil in his big tin pan.  Padma wasn’t able to use her discerning palette to identify the taste of dog urine, but we all knew it was there. 


The Dark Horse:

wesley-true-fullChef Wesley:

The producers of Top Chef are really going out of their way to show how much of a slop tart Chef Wesley truly is. At home, his nickname is “the pig.” He lives up to the nickname. I worry that Padma will ground him until his station is cleaned up to her standards. If I had to put money on someone to rise from the bottom of the pack, I’d put all of my chips on Chef Wesley. He comes from Richard Blais’ tribe. I love Richard Blais and his penchant for quirky eyeglasses and liquid nitrogen.

I hope Wesley stays on for a while, only if it is just to make me feel better about the state of my own kitchen.


The Field:

These are just five of the contestants from the field of seventeen. Odds are, the winner will not come from my selections. I don’t have a very good track record for guessing the winners. I tend to base my predictions on who I like as opposed to whose dish tastes the best. There is a good reason for that. I’m stuck here on my couch. I can’t eat the food. I can only rely on my how the food looks, my initial impression and whether they treat others like a trashcan or not.

I look forward to the rest of this season and hope that Padma doesn’t find a stray hair from the bearded chef that is playing it fast and loose without wearing a facial hairnet. Padma will sear him with her thoughts. That would make great television.

Who do you think will be the winner? Write it in the comment section so you can say, “I told you so” in 2016.

Article written by Megan Suttles

I can't decide if I want to use this space to be witty or insightful. I guess it will be neither.