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Top Chef: Where do you go from here?

November 19, 2009 |  1:04 pm

Top_chef_535x270 There comes a point at which a viewer has to wonder, "Could this possibly get any better?" Last night, the chefs were presented with the Bocuse d'Or challenge, inspired by the most prestigious culinary competition in the world. One of the esteemed guest judges was none other than America's most influential chef, Thomas Keller, who sat alongside Jerome Bocuse, who is now the head of the organization. Top Chef has also had the legendary Joel Robuchon, the record holder of the most Michelin stars, as a judge this season, along with slew of other world-class chefs and culinary moguls.

They've also cast the ultimate rivalry: two brothers pitted against each other, one who has a Michelin star and has opened what some say is the one of the most influential restaurants in Los Angeles this year (Michael), and the other who served as executive chef at the three-star Michelin Charlie Palmer for nine years and now owns his own restaurant. What are you going to do for season 7? Cast a divorced couple? (I nominate Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton. Now that would be good television!)

They've got exorbitant prizes, like a $30,000 chunk of change that was given to Kevin for winning the Bocuse challenge. And even that was a two-fer, giving us the shock-factor of simple Southern cuisine winning a classic French competition.

Is this as good as it gets?

Maybe. But let's look at what could improve: Last night's Bocuse challenge showed where the chefs still have some room to grow with regard to their skill sets. Their management of time seems to be an issue and was the pitfall for Bryan's presentation. Failure to master basic technique is a recurring theme too. Take a look at last night's improperly cooked lamb from Bryan and Eli, or in the panna cotta from recently eliminated Robin. The product placement can't go away, but it's increasingly in-your-face and obnoxious. (How else are they going to get those big prizes, though?)

Will it continue to improve with age like a fine wine, or fizzle out after all the excitement of this season? What do you think could improve on the show?

-- Krista Simmons

Image credit: Bravo TV

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