Top Chef returns: This is the least stressed-out you will ever see this woman look.
With Project Runway the subject of a massive food fight between Bravo and Lifetime in which future seasons hang in the balance, Bravo has to be looking for a strong performance from Top Chef, Runway's less famous but equally compelling younger sibling. Top Chef's fifth season, which is set in New York, starts tonight at 10 p.m.
A look at some of the new contestants and what's to come, after the jump...
Every season of an enjoyable reality show has to have at least one guy who should colloquially be known as Begging For A Knuckle Sandwich Guy. It became a joke among some of my friends during election season that there are just certain people who have highly punchable faces — not seriously, not with real violence; just in theory, as a personal quirk. I invite you to get a load of this guy.
That is a lot of punchable face in one guy. Madras hat, madras pants, red sneakers.
Also in the running: this lady, who forgot her pants on Picture Day and compares herself to a "sweet, sassy box of chocolates," calling upon a pop-culture reference that is almost 15 years old.
As for the rest of the contestants, it's a mixed bag. Carla will need an industrial-strength hairnet.
Jill seems like a calm, sensible person, and then you get to the end of her bio, and — BAM! — she wants to take you up in her hot-air balloon. That's a lot of whimsy, when you combine it with the bright blue shoes.
The best thing about Top Chef, by far, is the guest judges. It has the obvious advantage over Runway in this respect, because clothing designers don't have the reputation of being utterly insane, and famous chefs...kinda do. There's nobody in fashion, for instance, who's as widely famous for being both mostly right and mostly insufferable as chef Anthony Bourdain, who has made numerous guest-judge appearances and always serves up (har har) a marvelous combination of contempt and encouragement. (Strange, but true.)
Tonight's premiere may include some of the good and the bad (Bravo has helpfully set up a photo gallery of the most disgusting dishes ever served up on the show), but count on this: by the end, you will have identified the most punchable face. You won't be able to help yourself.