I just finished watching the first episode of the Battle of the Sous Chefs – only 12 minutes of programming, so my initial thoughts are a bit sparse at the moment. It’s too soon for me to really develop an opinion about any of the sous quite yet, and indeed most of what we heard from them this episode is how discombobulated they are by having to be in their own competition – understandably so; they all came along assuming they’d be there to “ride shotgun” as Lora Kirk (Lynn Crawford’s sous chef) says here, so now suddenly being thrust into the spotlight, as it were, has got to be overwhelming. I kind of love that Odette Fada and her sous chef Benedetto Bartolotta kind of look alike; seriously, if you told me he was her little brother I would totally believe it. She seems proud of him in a totally big sister way, which is pretty adorable. (You know how longtime married couples start to look alike after a while? I wonder if one can say the same for chefs and sous who’ve worked together for a long time.)
I’m glad that Bryan Voltaggio is here as a master – he has always been my favorite Voltaggio brother. His sous chef Graham Ritchie has some spectacular hair. Also, Drew Glasssell (Doug Keane’s sous chef) – I’m really impressed by him. He seems so hard on himself – he was so not expecting to have to compete on his own, without Doug, that he completely convinced himself he was going to fail…and then he went an knocked it out of the park. Awesomely well-done, and as someone who can be similarly hard on myself, pretty satisfying to see.
The critiques are almost hilariously nit-picky – when you’re playing on this level, they almost have to be – but again it makes me wonder how this show has an audience. I mean, I love it, but we’ve established my restaurant fangirl bona fides already. Who the heck is watching this show besides me? And why don’t you live nearby so I can geek out with you?
What else is there to say? Oh, I’m thrilled that Huge Acheson is hosting Battle of the Sous Chefs – the monobrowed one totally won me over with his droll sense of humor during his time as a contestant on Top Chef Masters a couple of years ago – and in fact was a welcome dose of fun on what was one of the more boring seasons. Clearly Bravo thought so as well, seeing as they brought him on as a judge on the next season of regular Top Chef – the Texas season. He was great there, too, and his blog always had me in stitches, which, again, was pretty welcome given that that Texas season was one of the meaner seasons I’ve encountered.* Okay, now it sounds like I only like Hugh because he improves my Top Chef experience when the show goes through lackluster phases. At any rate, he’s a kickass chef and his quick wit makes him a great host for this part of the competition. Also, I’ve always had a soft spot for him because he’s the spitting image of a guy I knew one summer when I was a 17 year old at theater camp who I wish I’d stayed in touch with because he was pretty cool. (What can I say? I am sappy sometimes. Don’t tell anyone.)
As my final thought for now, I leave you with this: Curtis Stone! So tall, so Australian, so dreamy. That guy is kind of absurdly good-looking, in a way that makes me wonder if he is an actual person. I don’t have a crush on him so much as I am fascinated by him. He’s so unfeasibly handsome that a part of me is convinced that he was dreamed up and engineered in a lab somewhere by aliens who want to analyze the cooking habits of earthlings and figured it was easier to do so with a 6’4″ blond-haired blue-eyed charmer.
(Curtis, if you are reading this – which I know you aren’t – please know that I do not actually think that you are an alien robot. It’s just I am truly baffled that such a dashing, well-dressed specimen of humanity actually roams this earth among us plebs.)
Oh wait one more thing – DAVID BURKE IS ONE OF THE MASTERS! YAY! This makes me so happy. His sous chef Chris Shea is very endearingly earnest – my heart kind of broke for him when he expressed his disappointment at having performed badly and handicapped David. I hope he manages to do better the next go-around – for the purely selfish reason that I am David Burke’s biggest fan (no really, it’s true, I checked) and I want him to win this thing.
And that’s all I’ve got, folks. I’m sure I’ll have plenty more to say once the season premiere airs and we get to know the masters and their sous better.
*Second only perhaps to the toxicity of Season 2, aka Everyone vs. Marcel Vigneron.