Ted Allen

Ted Allen talks Restaurant Wars, cleavagegate, and Dale's Queer Eye.

on Aug 15, 2007

In this post: The last word on Cleavagegate, "Rats with Hats", and Dale's Queer Eye.

Also in this post: So-called "political correctness" (grrrrrrrr!)

But first: Just wanted to say for the record that I didn't mean to spark so much Howie-hatin' in this space last week. I've said it before: I really like Chef Kleinberg, and I like his cooking, too (excepting, of course, his infamous "Howie spice").

True, I would have liked to send him home rather than Sara because, upon watching the episode, I found his unwillingness to work with people more troubling than her flawed cooking. However, that was not an option. As we've said over and over, the decision is based on the dish. Booting Sara was the right call.

But speaking of TC's dwindling female contingent: Some people posted last week that they feel that the show is routinely unfair to the female contestants, or that some of the judges are biased in favor of men. Here, I'm gonna call bullshit. I do agree that last week's nightclub challenge presented the women with a disadvantage, and the kind of disadvantage that is less likely to occur to men (like myself) until after the fact. But every challenge is going to be harder on some players than others. I'm not going to speak for the producers, but I think the high-heels and silk-blouse problem was just something they didn't anticipate; it certainly is nobody's goal to create an uneven playing field or to show preferential treatment to men. (Why would it be?)

I've spent many hours debating the pros and cons of cheftestants' cooking this season and in seasons past, and the goal of everyone involved in this show has always been to decide every challenge fairly. And that experience applies to everybody, from Bravo (which has a female president and many female top executives) to the producers (TC's executive producer is a woman, as are many mid-level producers and the culinary coordinator) to the judges (two of whom are, emphatically, ALL woman).

And, while I would love to see Tom cooking in stilettos and a teddy as much as the next guy, it's not likely to happen -- at least, not on television. He'd lose all his cred with the "bear" community...