When we first wrote about “Top Chef: Seattle,” we did so under the impression that the show was actually going to abandon the terrible “audition round ” phase of the competition from last season, and actually start off with having the contestants in Seattle taking part in some of the traditional competitions.
However, that wasn’t entirely the case. This was not nearly as bad as last season, where we had a whopping 29 contestants competing; there was still an audition round, though, and it consisted of a group of chefs visiting the restaurants of some of the judges. This idea was somewhat novel, since it showed off some contestants, their journeys, and also what some of the individual judges are looking for when it comes to the competition as a whole. It also made sure that nobody was lost in the shuffle early, which is easy to do when there are so many people clumped in one place.
Unfortunately, the downside of having an introduction like this is that it messes with the flow of the show. There was no quickfire, no elimination challenge, and no opportunity to really size up every competitor against some of the others. We did find a personal favorite in Sheldon from Hawaii, who brought a part of his state to the competition for the first time in quite a while. We actually really like how there is so much international flavor this time around, as there are literally competitors present here from pretty much everywhere from Belgium to South Africa to Asia.
Overall, the best way to describe this premiere is that we are torn. From one standpoint, it was nice to see a twist that was a nice evolution than what we saw in Texas last year; however, there is still a part of us who believes that the show really would have been better off just going traditional, and bringing us all of the contestants together from the get-go like they did both in “All-Stars” and in Washington DC.
What did you think about the premiere, and do you think having this sort of introduction was a nice twist?