Bravo is replaying Top Chef’s first season to whet viewers’ appetites for the season two, set to premiere October 18. But if anything, a second look at the show makes its flaws more glaring.

Yes, Katie Lee Joel (who was axed from the second season) has a voice that could strip paint. Stephen’s a pompous poop. Tiffani makes a convincing kitchen villain.

But why are the show’s makers choosing to focus on the contestants’ personalities, flawed or no? Tell me more about the food, people! Don’t focus on tension between the characters – bring us into creative process behind the cooking and the judging. What inspired Tiffani to choose the obscure fish escolar as the centerpiece for her winning entrée in the microwaveable food challenge? How come Candice’s “edible underwear” cake for the sexy food competition look worse than a reject from the worst X-rated bakery on the planet? And why on God’s green earth would Stephen win the fruit plate challenge with a dish that included, amongst other horrors, an emulsion of watermelon and olive oil?

Top Chef, a show about an art form accessible to the average Jane or Joe, could and should be every bit as mesmerizing as Project Runway. But last season Top Chef was more like a middling revamp of Big Brother. It’s frustrating given that producers Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth helmed both Top Chef and Project Runway. Why is one fascinating and the other merely passable? Guys: this year, lose the “oh no he didn’t moments” and just focus on the food.

See more articles