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Who would be a good Top Chef host?

Honestly, I had a hard time watching Top Chef consistently because of Padma Lakshmi. Granted she was so much better than Mrs. Billy Joel but that's not saying much! The host should at least be into food/know about food! Look at Project Runway - Tim Gunn may be leaving but he was awesome! and he knew about fashion . .Who would you pick to host Top Chef next season? My vote is for someone like Alton Brown.

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  1. I like that they switched hosts from last year and I hope they will do it again, to keep it fresh. That being said, I didn't think Padma was so bad, once you got past the over-the-top wardrobe (though my husband really liked her and her outfits- - or lack thereof). And she does have pretty extensive food background- a few cooking shows, a cookbook, contributing writer to foodie mags: check her bio on the Bravo website. I also like to see a former model/actress who knows how to tuck in to good food.

    I would love to see Curtis Stone (take home chef) or Jamie Oliver or Duff Goldman (ace of cakes) host, but that's just a personal fantasy. Oooh- or one of the Deen boys, but I'm not sure I could take their "aw shucks, this is the best dang _____ I ever ate" for a whole season.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kloomis

      Interesting . . . thanks! I didn't know that she had a food background. I just thought she was a model married to a famous author!

    2. Personally, I thought Padma was one of the few very good things about the show. Perhaps I don't see the point in watching a bunch of people cook when there is little instructional value and it is edited to the point where there is no way to get an honest sense for what is actually transpiring in the kitchen or more generally between individuals on the "dramatic" front. Same can be said of any competition-style reality show I guess. Maybe I'm just missing the boat on this one.

      1. heheh, i know guys who only watched b/c of Padma. guarantee you it will be a chick and a good looking one - it's tv, it's all about ratings - not about serious food

        alton brown - not sexy and that's part of the TC host job...

        1. What I'd really like to see is someone more in the Tim Gunn mentor role -- not the host and not a judge. Especially with the behavior this season, it seems that the chefs would benefit from someone in the kitchen more to help them develop. Since Bravo loves Ted Allen so much, why not put him in that role?

          6 Replies
          1. re: djdebs

            Agreed, they really need a Tim Gunn on this show, and I think Ted Allen would be fantastic.

            1. re: djdebs

              That's what I keep saying, too. Even if the solution is shifting Tom Collichio's role so that he becomes a mentor and does not participate in judging. I don't understand why they send him in to interact with the contestants when as a judge he can't actually do anything other then say "What are you cooking?" and then walk away.

              1. re: jzerocsk

                Tom's explained in his bravotv.com blogs why mentoring doesn't make as much sense on TC as on PR (it's not like they can change direction as easily in a recipe as they can on an outfit), but yeah, I'm not clear why he pops into the kitchen to visit if he can't say anything particularly constructive.

                1. re: momjamin

                  He did make that comment to Marcel about the humidity and the teardrop whatever he was constructing....couldn't that be construed as mentoring? (well, if Marcel had been listening, that is)

                  1. re: susancinsf

                    I think you're right and that the moment you've described demonstrates both the place for this type of mentoring in a top chef show as well as Tom's desire to be able to give tips. I'm completely in agreement with djdebs et al's assessment that it would be good to throw in some education as part of this show. I think that it would be interesting to watch, but I also think that one part of excelling in any creative endeavor is knowing how to incorporate advice or criticism, and if some people listened better than others, their resulting success would be completely appropriate.

                  2. re: momjamin

                    It definitely wouldn't be the same type of mentoring, but then again I think Bravo is trying to make Top Chef stand on its own and not just Project Runway in a kitchen. I'm going to conveniently ignore Top Design for the purposes of this discussion.

                    But changing an outfit when you're far along and have limited time and materials is about as tough as changing a recipe when it's underway.

                    What I envision, though, would probably be the chefs talking with the mentor at some point and discussing what they have in mind and the mentor saying "Ilan, you might want to branch out from Spanish cuisine just a tad..."

                    The mentor character could still wander through occasionally and offer advice that could help with last minute tweaks or presentation, or making the best out of concepts that aren't coming together as planned.

              2. Would love to see someone like Anthony Bourdain! or Gordon Ramsey!!!
                They may have to bleep them out a few times but the brutal honesty would prevail!
                I would doubt that either one would be interested but I dare to dream

                3 Replies
                1. re: mcbinfla

                  Definitely Bourdain...at least it would be funny.

                  1. re: mcbinfla

                    HOLY smokes imagine the possibilities!!! F bombs every other word, contestants crying as they work over a hot stove. That would be awesome!!!! I think Ramsey would be better, Bourdain is too sarcastic and ironic for some of these chuckle heads to know that they are being insulted.

                    1. re: mcbinfla

                      There is a reason I don't watch Hell's Kitchen, and a reason why the critics hate it. I would stop watching Top Chef if Ramsey was on it.

                    2. I think Padma got more lively (or should I say lifelike?) as the season went on and she got more comfortable in her role. The hostess role on TC is different than any of the roles on Project Runway, where Heidi is clearly in charge, the other judges offer feedback that can be pretty strong and Tim is a father-figure. Hosting TC still means taking a back seat to Tom Collichio yet joining in to critique the food. It's a weird spot to be in, and the producers make it stranger by dressing her inappropriately. Still, I think she generally did okay, after an awkward beginning, even if she doesn't have a strong personality.

                      The producers of this show have lost a lost of credibility, imo, by dressing her in skimpy outfits, casting a former Craft employee, crowning a "top chef" who spits out the dishes served at his restaurant, editing the shaving incident out-of-sequence to allow them to proceed as they wished, and supporting what seems to be some inconsistent judging. So I guess it'll be Padma or they'll find some other beautiful food-lover and stick her in a string bikini.

                      1. I didn't have the pleasure (?) of seeing Mrs. Billy Joel hosting, but honestly, I thought Padma was great. A bit tentative at first, but as Clarissa said, as she got more comfortable, she naturally grew into the role. I also like the fact that she has a food background, which I think is a definite prerequisite in such a position.

                        That said, if Bravo decides to switch hosts, I'd go with Ted Allen. He and Tony Bourdain were the only two guest judges I thoroughly enjoyed, both in presence and knowledge.

                        1. Padma was atrocious ! She obviously has had so much collagen injected in her lips that she cannot fully enunciate words. It is the most annoying thing on TV. Hosts need to be able to speak and look good doing it and know food. It's a big world, someone must fit the bill.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: NoeMan

                            the annunciation may have something to do with her having to affect and American accent. Her normal speaking voice in English is very British inflected.

                            1. re: MaspethMaven

                              I think her enunciation has to do with what she has been reported to be smoking on the set...

                            2. re: NoeMan

                              Really? I can't stand any fake anything on women, and collagen lips are a particular pet peeve, but don't think so. Did you happen to notice the horrific scar (auto accident) on her right arm? She will not let the scar be "photoshopped" out of modelling photos saying that "(It) is a part of who she is and will not hide it". This attitude doesn't seem consistant with collagen lips. Besides, she's a host...I happen to appreciate being able to look at one of the most beautiful women ever to walk this planet, it's a welcome contrast to looking at Marcel's hair.

                            3. Dave Lieberman, I want more Dave!

                              1. I would like to see Ted Allen, but I think the producers want a nice looking female host that will appeal to the majority of the audience. So I would think if the FoodTV and Bravo universe will ever intersect then Giada may be another good candidate. Tony Boudain is too irrelevant to be hosting this type of show and will upstage everyone else.

                                I think Padma does well, and agree that she seems to be more opinionated as the show progresses. I think some people can't seem to get past her looks to think that she may actually have a culinary background. I guess being a knockout is a blessing and also a handicap for being taken seriously.

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: notmartha

                                  Given the intelligent and thoughtful comments in her blog, I suspect her relatively muted style on camera is the director's choice.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    Probably written by rich husband the author ......... just a thought

                                    1. re: NoeMan

                                      while I agree with Robert that she has a relatively muted style on camera, she does come across as intelligent and thoughtful. OTOH, assuming that her husband is doing her job for her doesn't strike me as partcularly thoughtful.

                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                        My wife and I edit everything each other puts out personally and professionally whenever possible. From our perpsective it is what couples do and we've been married for 20 years. I'd be very surprised if he is not advising, if not editing/co-writing, her blog. That is not an unthoughtful position, but to your point I have no personal knowledge of how they work together, if at all. No sexist, anti-feminist intent was expresssed or implied. My sincere apologies. Thanks goodness there are no scantilly clad photos of him on the website....tee hee.

                                        1. re: NoeMan

                                          I appreciate what you're saying and I think there is a good chance that they both edit one another... but since she is also a published writer, I wouldn't necessarily credit every elegant word choice to Rushdie.

                                    2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      I also suspect that a bit of that "muted style" (like that phrase by the way) may be because she was asked to stifle her British accent. Which is bullocks.

                                    3. re: notmartha

                                      Do you mean Bourdain is irreverent? Don't know what you mean by irrelevant.

                                      1. re: macca

                                        Sorry - meant irreverent. Flippant, not taking anything seriously. Self-deprecating humor. I just don't see him conforming to the rules or format of any show. Seems to be more of a free spirit to me.

                                        1. re: notmartha

                                          Thanks- I know what irreverent means:} I was confused by your use of irrelevant!!

                                      2. re: notmartha

                                        Having her dressed so foolishly in a kitchen really undermines her credibility, so that is the reason she cannot be taken seriously. She was just embarassing.

                                        1. re: coconutz

                                          I would think her credibility should be based on her resume and background, not her choice of clothing. I noticed that her choice are on the casual side, not the upscale style complete with expensive looking jewelry like her predecessor.

                                      3. clim,

                                        When I first read this my thought was Alton Brown as well. I think he could do a fantastic job. But as someone said, he isn't an Adnonis, so ...

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Seth Chadwick

                                          Alton Brown is also under contract to a competing network.

                                          1. re: Seth Chadwick

                                            Yay! thanks Seth! Sometimes personality matters more. I stand by my opinion that Padma is painful to watch!

                                          2. Maybe it's just me, but could we have a host, a woman, who looks like she actually eats food -- I mean more than the two bites we see her take on camera?

                                              1. Padma always came off as irritable or stoned, IMHO. I never thought I'd say this, but I preferred Katie Joel, only because she didn't distract from what the show was all about: the top chef candidates. Padma got overly involved as the host, often cutting off the real judges, and her cooking background is way exaggerated on the Bravo website. Her "cookbook" is one of those you'd find in the $5.99 bin at Barnes & Noble.

                                                I think they need a real chef in there as well...the Take Home Chef guy would be #1 choice, but I doubt the network will mess with its hot-chick-hostess formula. That said, Giada would be good, or Barefoot Contessa - talk about a woman who enjoys her food! I love Ina Garten...or maybe the woman Iron Chef - she'd be good, and harsh too.

                                                1. Clare K - that is the word - stoned! She seemed stoned all the time. I love Ina as well and she knows food. I am still very puzzled as to how she got the hosting gig! I've never even heard of her "cookbook."

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: clim212

                                                    Her cookbook is "Easy Exotic: A Model's Low-Fat Recipes from Around the World" (http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Exotic-Mod...), and she has a second coming out in August, called "Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet: Sumptuous Cooking for Everyday." I have no idea of the quality of these books, but I do remember reading media publicity about the first when it came out.

                                                    As for how she got the gig, my guess is that Bravo wanted a model-type who knew at least something about food; apparently they approached PL in the beginning, but she had a previous commitment during the filming period os season one. (I'm even more puzzled ablout how Katie Lee Joel got the gig when they couldn't get Padma!). Oh, and about her seeming stoned - on Television Without Pity, there was much discussion of an item on eater.com that claimed set-side sources said she was always inhaling, if you get my drift.

                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                      Caitlin - hahahahaha! tha juicy little tidbit certainly explains a lot!

                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                        Padma did two shows that was on FN a few years ago. One was an hour long show on the foods of Spain, and the other was on the foods of southern India. I thought she did a great job with both of them. The show was pretty informative without breaking into a recipes show.

                                                    2. Actually just realized that another fun choice will be David Rosengarten, I used to love his FoodTV shows, and I like his cookbook. I think he can be taken seriously by most foodie, but of course no eye-candy appeal.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. Donald Rumsfeld...wouldn't be any worse than Padma.

                                                        1. I figure why not take the "reality concept" to the next level. Have the winner of American Idol host the show. He could bring on Simon as a "guest judge" and they could then serve a drunken Paula Abdul corn dogs on a stick. (Making for some great video.) The winning chef could then go on to manage an Olive Garden in Cleveland where Rachel Ray would discover it on just $40.00 a day....

                                                          1. For me I think they should look like they actually eat food. Too skinny and too critical for their obvious limited exposure to food. One bite does not make a gourmet.

                                                            1. I don't understand the criticism about Padma Lakshmi's weight or clothing choices. do slender people not eat? are larger people more qualified to judge food? her appearance and wardrobe choices are an undeniable part of the show by virtue of the fact that the show is done through a visual medium (television), but I find it unfair to judge the value of her opinions primarily on her visual appearance. you can't blame her for being beautiful, and the fact that her husband is a famous author shouldn't even be an issue. I personally thought she did a good job of being involved and vocal in the show without being overbearing, or worse, being merely decorative.

                                                              1. How about bringing the Two Fat Ladies to be the host? Well, you'd have to revive Jennifer but that would be great. Oh and screw the skinny model requirement.

                                                                    1. re: clim212

                                                                      I've racked my brain. I am not sure if the dancing guy on the fruit of the loom commercial (from about a year and a half ago) with the great smile has food experience, but he gets my vote.

                                                                        1. re: NoeMan

                                                                          I don't think that was Barry Bonds. This guy was younger and cuter.

                                                                  1. I didn't mind Padma, but if she had to be replaced and I got a say on her replacement I think I'd cast my vote for Ted Allen.

                                                                    1. ted allen is too logical a choice but will hopefully continue as guest critic.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: steve h.

                                                                        he also might be a good choice for a mentoring role, if tom c. isn't able to do it; he's not, as I understand, a chef in the strictest sense of the word but does seem to be someone who could come alongside the contestants and help them talk through their choices, especially if something's going wrong.

                                                                      2. male version of Padma = Jude Law. I would watch the show no matter what he said about the food...and I think that's the male way of thinking?

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. Amen - Padma is a puke! What is up with her speach - does she have some sort of impediment, because when she speaks it sounds as though she has a mouth full of gum - and that is when we watch it any more - she is extremely off-putting - she belongs on a pole somewhere - not in this position. As for a new host - someone like Alton Brown would be good choice - someone who can speak clearly and open their mouth to enunciate words clearly - she is pretty to look at, but is not a speaker -

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: lahlah

                                                                            What about one of the former contestants? They would be good as either the "mentor figure" as they've been through the grind, or as a judge, as they would now know what the expectations are of the judges. sam comes to mind...

                                                                          2. Ted Allen or Jamie Oliver :0)

                                                                            1. I hated Padma in Season 2 but now she has grown on me! As many of the above posters have already said, she has definitely grown into her role.

                                                                              Are they talking about replacing her, or was this just a hypothetical question?