‘Top Chef’ Power Rankings, Week 5: So Hard To Find Good Help These Days


This week on Top Chef we saw the thrilling conclusion of restaurant wars, that perennial Top Chef challenge in which the chefs take a break from food and suddenly get judged on things like interior design and the competence of their staff. I exaggerate slightly, but is this anyone else’s least favorite challenge? Don’t get me wrong, it’s good television and everything, it’s just that I always feel like I’ve stumbled into Hell’s Kitchen.

It’s all dramatic music and people fighting and shots of blurry customers. It stresses me out!

There’s a certain kind of escapism that comes from watching someone get judged solely for the texture of their risotto. Restaurant Wars is lots more interpersonal politics and economic realities and people yelling at each other and someone getting blamed for someone else’s mistakes, and another person losing a promotion because they didn’t toot their own horn enough. TOO REAL. Give me Tom Colicchio balling someone out for overly toothsome canapés any day.

On the plus side, after a whole season of missed sex pun opportunities, about juicy meat and Nini’s spicy box, Padma finally released her inner pervert and acknowledged the euphemistic value of a custard with “a nice jiggle.” Thank God. Own your brand, Padma. And that brand is being an elegant supermodel and brilliant cosmopolitan author who is not above a “that’s what she said.” Padma can say “that’s what she said” with only her eyes.

By the way, was it too much to ask to find some servers and hosts who know who Padma is? First, a hostess asked her “what’s the reservation under?” Really? Imagine not knowing this was a famous chick:


That’s the jacket equivalent of being carried in on a litter. Later, Sara asked a waiter if he knew which one Padma was and he admitted that he didn’t. Hmm, probably the seven-foot tall one sitting on a jewel-encrusted sedan? Or perhaps the only one at the table who clearly hails from the subcontinent? I feel like this is low-level process of elimination here.

1. (+2) Eddie Konrad — AKA: Smiles. AKA: The Accountant. AKA: Seppuku. AKA: Sweaty Eddie. AKA: Calamity.