Bravo’s reality competition show Top Chef has been on the air for over ten years and the competition gets better every year. For the past two months, over a dozen of America’s up-and-coming culinary superstars have been cooking and hoping to join the other chefs who have won the title in the past.
This show hits close to home for me because it is the show that opened my eyes to the world of culinary arts. Harold Dieterle won the first season of the show and in
doing so he became one of my first culinary role models.
While in culinary school in New York City I had the privilege to work with Chef Harold in his West Village restaurant, Perilla. The experience made the show a reality for me and I was able to taste what I had seen him create on television.
This season has been one of my favorites because there was a distinct line drawn in the very beginning that separated the chefs from the line cooks and now there are four who will fight for the title. Chefs Nina, Shirley, Nick, Carlos or Louis will have the chance of being named top chef.
The historic city of New Orleans has too much culinary history. It is where different kinds of people came together and over time, all of their cultural flavors meshed into what we know as “cajun and creole” cuisine. The many cultural influences on its food makes New Orleans a great place for a cook to find them selves as chef and as a person.
Throughout the season the chefs were faced with challenges that tested their skill, creativity and their hearts. Chef Emeril Lagase shed tears on numerous occasions because of his visible influence on Chef Shirley who said that she found herself as a chef because of him. The journey has been an uphill trip for Shirley who has won two challenges and won over the judges with her Chinese touch.
Chef Nick spent the season connecting to his family through his food. Nick who was saved from elimination because of immunity used his children as inspiration throughout the competition. Though the memory of his children’s palates often left the judges unimpressed, he prevailed and made it to the end.
Chef Nina has been the standout chef the entire season and had a smooth trip to the finale only faltering once when she was paired with another chef. Nina is a native of Trinidad and Tobago and brought her native flavors to many of the challenges. She has shown her versatility and willingness to learn which are some of the best qualities for a chef to have. She has been strong through out the competition and is a fierce competitor.
Carlos and Louis are the wild cards and battled it out in Last Chance Kitchen. I think Louis deserves a second chance but even if he wins I believe Shirley and Nina have both proven themselves as the top contenders for the title. I think that Nina will become Top Chef because she has been on top and she comes through when she needs to. What do you think?