Top Chef, According to Bourdain

Chef and author Anthony Bourdain redeemed this season of Top Chef for me with his funny, tell-it-like-it-is assessment of the Top Chef contestants. Not only do I love the show again, but I love Anthony Bourdain.

His guest post on Michael Ruhlman’s blog cuts to the chase in typical Bourdain style:

Betty: Forget about. Very limited skills—and it showed.

While the candor is refreshing, it’s the longer, more thorough summaries where Bourdain really shines. He’s looking not just at cooking skills, but at everything that goes into making a chef—leadership, knowledge, skills to manage not only a kitchen but a budget as well, not to mention the ability to inspire a little fear and a lot of allegiance.

Mikey: Easily the guy who I’d most like to hang out with…. Technical skills? Crude. Chef material? Not a leader. Not a decision maker. And WAY too friendly with everybody. No killer instinct. Let this guy run a kitchen and the food and booze would be running out the back door with his cooks—who he’d probably be drinking with.

Elia: A solid cook. Technically skilled, resourceful, yet conservative…. Chef material? Not just yet. Why not? Her insistence on making everything to order ‘à la minute’ during the ‘Hollywood cocktail party’ was a really bush league move.

And what does Bourdain think of this season’s finalists?

Marcel: Diagnosis: Is there ANYTHING this guy doesn’t want to foam? So slavishly devoted to what Ferran Adrià was doing TEN YEARS AGO it’s … scary and sad. This is a very talented kid—with enormous potential for culinary artistry and he’s got BIG balls.

Ilan: So Ilan cribs his offerings shamelessly from Andy Nusser. And he’s a manipulative, conspiratorial, vindictive, weasely little shit…. (Hardly impediments to a career as a chef). These are classic assets.

Trust me, you’ll want to read the entire post to appreciate every last bit of Bourdain genius. Not to mention the brouhaha this post kicked up in the comments.

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