Tag Archives: Kristen Kish

‘Top Chef': I Can’t Believe I Watched the Whole Thing

After oh-so-dramatic ups and downs, Kristin Kish anointed Top Chef

TopChef-Season10-logoI really don’t care for the unreal (or surreal?) realm of reality telvision, but I tend to make an exception when a Colorado chef is a cooking show contestant. Then, my “state-riotism” kicks in and I start watching. With three Colorado chefs on season 10 of “Top Chef,” I became regular viewer. The locals were eliminated one by one, but I kept watching the program — but not the “Last Chance Kitchen” online spinoff.

By the beginning of the final episode telecast yesterday, the initial field of 21 “cheftestants” had been whittled down to two — and by the end of the program, just one remained to be crowned Top Chef. In the meantime, I had watched interesting moments of cooking and plating, plus soap opera-style interviews with the contenders (fierce and determined, or disappointed and resigned — much like the “Kiss and Cry” bench in every figure skating competition), processions of plated dishes being brought out to judges and audiences as small as those who could fit around the dining table in the Alaska governor’s mansion (Episode 15, I think) or as large as the studio audience in the finale, Episode 17.

Thinking back, I feel that the judges make their decisions using flexible and arbitrary parameters. Sometimes cheftestants are praised for being creative and thinking/cooking outside the box and sometimes they are eliminated for having strayed from what they know and do well — and what the judges suddenly say they “expected.” This was particularly evident in Finale Part I (Episode 16), in which Sheldon Simeon, a kid from Hilo who worked his way up, way up from dishwasher to one of Hawaii’s leading kitchenmeisters, was eliminated for going beyond his expected style of cooking. Only Emeril Lagasse, a kid from Fall River, Massachusetts, who himself started working in a Portuguese bakery as a teenager, identified with and praised Sheldon’s remarkable climb.

Kristen Kish, the eventual Top Chef , loaded down with ingredients during one of the elimination challenges.
Kristen Kish, the eventual Top Chef , loaded down with ingredients during one of the elimination challenges.

The finale pitted two talented women, Kristen Kish and Brooke Williamson. Kristin went on to win the title of “Top Chef.” She had been eliminated earlier triumped over other cheftestants people in the “Last Chance Kitchen” series and faced Brooke in the finale, an episode playing off the Iron Chefformat that involved cooking in front of the show’s judges, past winners (includinr Boulder’s Hosea Rosenberg, Season 5 winner) and others. Co-host Tom Colicchio  was underwhelmed with this gimmick, tweeting: “I hear you out there you didn’t like the format well neither did I and I doubt we will do that again.”

Top Chef ‘Cheftestants’ Unfazed by Foil

Kristen Kish triumphs in bizarre ‘Quick Fire Challenge’

I’m now officially hooked on “Top Chef” Season 10. The challenges have gotten so strange as to be compelling. Take this evening’s telecast, for instance. The latest Quick Fire Challenge, the portion in which Cheftestants try to gain immunity from elimination, looked like one major product placement segment for Reynolds Wrap.

I’ve done my share of cooking with foil wrap — but always either garlic bread or some sort of packet of fish atop julienned vegetables, but nothing like Cheftestants’ foil challenge times two. First, they had to select ingredients wrapped in foil, both refrigerated and not, and cook dishes in foil too — no pots, no pans, and naturally, no microwave. Some of them evn created cooking vessels from foil.

Kristen grabbing her foil-wrapped ingredients.

Everything they cooked was astonishing, given the necessity to think on their feet and the constraints of what amounted to secret ingredients and the restrictions of the cooking process itself. The winner was Kristen Kish, who somehow managed to make an Almond & Chocolate Sponge Cake in foil. The judges praised the texture and moistness of the cake, but I still have no idea how she did it.  Kristen won $10,000, which she planned to use for a trip to Korea where she was born. And Reynolds Wrap got an impressive amount of exposure.