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Mar 28, 2008 05:43 PM

Top Cheftestants

OK, we have had three episodes, I think its time to make some determinations on this season's Cheftestants. So how does this season stack up in talent, and talent only against the previous seasons? A couple of criteria comes to mind when speaking of the comparison: how good is this class on average as compared to the other seasons and how wide spread are the talents of this season's candidates as compared to previous season's sacrificial lambs?

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  1. I am not enjoying as much this year...and I am not quite sure why. I don't like the quickfires as much, I know that.

    1. I think the show, gulp, might be running it's course. It's tough to stimulate an audience when you've basically seen everything. I think if they wnat to have a season 5, they might very well have to change the format, or tweak it at least.

      I think the quickfires are actually a little more exciting than the main competition, and possibly they should spend a little more time on that. I also think that expanding the show to 90 minutes and showing a little more background on the contestant, and definitely more of the decision making process would be great.

      1. I think next season or the one after we will see an 'all star' version. Past contestants coming back to try their luck again.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Withnail42

          I'd like to see an all-star version too, but not a watered-down one like the "holiday" one they had last year.

          1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

            I was thinking of a regular full season, like they have done with Survivor and the Amazing Race.

          2. re: Withnail42

            LeeAnn waz robbed! Bring back LeeAnn!

          3. I think they ought to go back to a smaller number of contestants, and maybe do a 90-minute opener where they mostly just introduce the folks and do a quickfire or something.

            Last season I remember a lot of the same kinds of comments the first few weeks: it's just not as interesting, we don't care as much about the people, and so on; but I really think that's in large part because (a) there are too many of them and thus not enough time to get to know each one; and (b) it's early yet.

            But I wasn't as inspired by the dishes that were cooked last season; it seemed like everything was well above my skill level and featured ingredients I can't get, much less use.

            I vote that if there's a season 5, they go back to fewer contestants.

            7 Replies
            1. re: revsharkie

              I agree, fewer contestants. Season 1 started with 12, and we knew them all after only one episode.

              1. re: judybird

                I would also like to see fewer contestants and then we could get to know them better. I also thought it was strange to have so many chefs from Chicago where the show is. I think part of the challenge in the past was adjusting to being away from home and out of their element.

              2. re: revsharkie

                ???? why would you expect to cook at their level. Are you a chef?

                I also agree that fewer contestants would yield a more interesting contest. How many more are there this year than last? I think maybe only one, but it does make a difference.

                1. re: ChefJune

                  Season 1: 12
                  Season 2: 15
                  Season 3: 15
                  Season 4: 16

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    That's kind of what I thought, but somehow, 15 seemed okay, but 16 is too many. Does that make any sense?

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      Yes. Straw + camel's back kind of thing. But I liked 12 better. It may even have forced the producers to focus more on the food and what they were doing with it.

                      1. re: ChefJune

                        It does. I think 12 was *almost* too few - but I'd probably be OK with 14. Still allows focus on food, as Caroline says, but also allows development of the cheftestants so we can get to know them and their cooking styles a bit more.

                2. I find Season 4 lacking in a lot of ways. First and foremost, I don't think any of this year's "cheftestants" has reached to level of cooking expertise of previous seasons. For me, and I have watched all episodes to date, maybe one is beginning to "bloom" as an imaginative cook.

                  Then I think Padma and Collichio are "phoning in" their roles. Well, that, and the writers seem to be out to lunch. The thing on this last show (#3?) of having the chefs go door to door to gather food for a block party was not only lame, it was stupid. When does such a situation ever occur in real life? Just tooo "cutsely."

                  This season they are using a LOT of air time showing stuff that doesn't need to be shown. Try timing the opening sequence before they get around to the first round of cooking. Way too long. I don't think I'm alone, but I would like to see more of the cooking of each cheftestant, with maybe a bit of conversation with them about why they've chosen to cook what they are cooking. I'd certainly have been curious about why, under the sun, Erik chose corn dogs! Or why what's-her-name chose blinis, freely admitting she'd never even made them before. I just see lot of common sense mixed with imagination completely missing in this year's participants. There *is* no Hung this year! I'm often left with the feeling the show would be more interesting if they had a bunch of short order cooks from random restaurants competing.

                  Things have GOT to get better!!!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Caroline1

                    I agree that the timing seems off--I'm more interesting in the decision-making and preparation than the serving and reactions of the judges as they try everyting. Most of the finished dishes seem to appear out of thin air--how did that quinoa cake come together?
                    And can we ban the term "cheftestants"? It's awkward, gimmicky and should be wrapped up in a Glad bag and dumped in the trash.

                    1. re: newhavener07

                      I agree that this crew is not very impressive so far, but a big part is that the editors seem to be focusing more on the failures, the bad dishes, and the lapses in judgment. I guess there is a segment of the audience that loves watching "hot messes" as much as being inspired by great food.

                      This last episode almost no time was given to the successful dishes...they never even said what fruits were in Stephanie's winning fruit salad or how they were prepared or seasoned. Dale's pork skewers were never described in detail, and they were the best thing that team served.

                      It seems to me that Andrew, Stephanie and Mark have made some creative and outstanding food and they are my picks for the best so far. Let's hope the editors start being positive and stop trying to wring drama from the chefs making mistakes.