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'Top Chef': The honest judge

December 10, 2009 | 10:28 am


We all know that competition shows such as "Top Chef" are as much about entertainment as they are about actual cooking, at least in how they're presented on television. But if you had any doubts, read Tom Colicchio's blog on the official Bravo Network "Top Chef" site. Headlined "Bait-n-Switch," the plain-spoken Colicchio, chef and owner of the Craft empire and the solid, sensible center that holds the "Top Chef" show together, is blunt about last night's finale:

"If you’re left scratching your head after the finale, you’ve come to the right blog. I was actually there in Napa in October, at the table eating the food, discussing it there and at the Judges’ Table, and yet based on how the episode was cut, it had me wondering up until the end whether my memory had failed me or not. It hadn’t. I think that what we have here is a classic case of building drama, of not tipping one’s hand, of leading the viewer (or misleading the viewer!) to keep the suspense till the final moment."

It's not that the outcome was wrong. The best chef really did win, he says. It's just that it really wasn't as close as it looked on television.

-- Russ Parsons