Hugh Acheson

Top Chef host and James Beard Award-winning (!!!) chef Hugh Acheson sizes up the competition.

on May 9, 2012

The cultural differences in some of the destinations will be a real factor in the series, but London is pretty tame. At the end of the day Nigella Lawson is prettier, smarter, and wealthier than most all of us, but at least we speak the same language. The Brits just happen to like their tea hot, pronounce aluminum weirdly, and like their footballs round.

Though the destination is easier for the cooks, the challenge is still, well, challenging. Cooking steak and kidney pie, without a recipe, for the first time ever is no easy task, as it’s not something often on the Boston Red Sox menu.

The actual contestants are an interesting and diverse group, who quickly become a whiny, bitchy lot, full of piss and vinegar. This is going to be fun. 

Remember Chaz? Chaz was momentarily on Top Chef: Texas but failed to make the first big cut when he failed to complete his risotto, if my memory serves. “Risottoed” is a verb on Top Chef. It means to lose. Everybody loses cooking it. Even with his early departure on TC, Chaz talked a pretty big game, so we’ll see what he can accomplish. 

We meet other contestants as well but it’s a blur. Some standouts are: Nookie, the sweaty baseball chef who keeps small people in his suitcase, Sai, the sexually liberated Thai chef (who, with pride, tells us people would much rather snog her than Paula Deen), Kevin, the Alpha dog who would lead you onto the third rail, and Gary Walker, the sorority chef who thinks Curtis is hot.