One of our favorite shows of the last couple of years has been the BravoTV reality show, Top Chef (as well as the excellent Top Chef Masters that was on this summer).
I think that this season has been particularly strong – the contestants seem to be of an overall better quality than the past couple of seasons and seem more interested in cooking great food rather than being “personalities”.
So, being a scientist I decided to “score” the contestants so far to see who was in the drivers’ seat. I used a scoring system of:
Bottom of Quickfire: -1
Top of Quickfire: +1
Win Quickfire: +3
Bottom of Elimination: -2
Top of Elimination: +2
Win Elimination: +5
And the remaining 10 chefs break down into pretty clear groups:
Michael V 16
The Guys That Aren’t As Good As They Think They Are
Mike I 6
Just Go Already
I think any of the top four could win this competition and each has been very strong. I’d thought that the inclusion of brothers Bryan and Mike Voltaggio was a bit of pandering for TV, but those guys have been strong. Michael has been consistently excellent, while Bryan (who seems like a super-focused Eagle Scout to me) has half of the elimination challenges. Bryan has thrown out a few duds on Quickfires however, and his tendency to put out a bad dish may come back to haunt him.
Jen started off incredibly strong, but has been good-but-not-great in recent weeks – but even when flustered seems to put out good-looking and good-tasting food. Kevin is probably the most thoughtful of the contenders and probably has the capacity to put out the most unusual and captivating dish. Of the contenders, only he and Jennifer have never been in the bottom of either a Quickfire or an Elimination challenge.
The two guys in the middle (Mike I and Eli) have big mouths and big egos, but haven’t produced as many successes as the top group and I think they’ll be in for a rude awakening after the bottom tier gets swept out in the next couple of weeks – the only possible survivor is Ashley, who seems to be making better food in the last couple of episodes.
Can we lobby just to get rid of the bottom six and have a multi-week cook-off from the Top Four?