‘Top Chef: Seattle’ review: Is the latest twist remotely fair?

Top Chef: SeattleIf your show is not broken, why try to fix it? Following three straight great seasons on “Top Chef,” the show veered a little bit off-course last year with a collection of two episodes set in Texas that featured a very unbalanced sort of “audition round.” This time around, there was a similar twist starting things off courtesy of a few contestants trying to prove themselves in culinary warfare inside some of the judges’ kitchens; and following this up, the show decided that we also needed to have returning players.

That’s right: two seasons after we had a full cast of all-stars, Josie Smith-Malave (season 2), Chris “CJ” Jacobsen (season 3), and Stefan Richter (season 5) all ended up entering the fray. Unlike “All-Stars,” thoguh, this idea seems completely unfair. It’s different having returning players in this game versus a “Survivor,” mostly because on that show you can vote out a returning player whenever they want despite them having so much mroe experience. However, on this season the contestants not only have more experience, but are judged on the same level as the other chefs.

The only thing that made this episode balanced was that despite their maturity, these three contestants (as a part of a team for the first challenge) ended up being a part of the bottom six for a task that was all about trying to create a perfect meal using fresh food at the iconic Seattle locale the Space Needle. Outside of the visuals, this was really a pretty dull task in that the chefs mostly all cooked a similar sort of fish; the returning players are the only people who cooked something different in quail.

It’s still too early to know just who are going to be the stars of the season, but there is something great when it comes to the three members of the winning team here in Kuniko Yagi (who won the first challenge), John Tesar, and Sheldon Simeon. They are all strong cooks, and they also seem grounded enough to handle the stress of the competition.

What did you think about these players returning to the game? Be sure to share some of your thoughts below, and you can check out some more “Top Chef: Seattle” scoop over at the link here.

Photo: Bravo

Love TV? Be sure to like CarterMatt on Facebook for more updates!