Welcome, reality-TV junk-food junkies! Our commenter live blogs for Project Runway were such a blast, Gawker let us re-plate the whole concept for new season of Top Chef (in New York!), which kicks off at 10 Eastern tonight. So turn on Bravo, grab the alcoholic beverage of your choice and limber up those commenting fingers. (And here's a tip from the Glad family of products: To protect your keyboard or laptop from drunken spills, just zip it inside an extra-large Glad food storage bag!) I am your live-blog maitre d', Monsieur Hippity, and allow me to start things off by suggesting the first rules of our Top Chef commenter drinking game (suggest more rules in comments!): Take a drink every time … 1. Someone says the word "inedible," "palate," "tangy," "acid"/"acidic," "cheftestant," "challenge," "infused" or "plate" (as a verb). 2. A contestant "bleep-swears." 3. Padma shouts "utensils down!" 4. Something bursts into flame (whether by accident or design). Next, a few general live-blog rules. 1. Please don't use the word "cheftestant," just because I hate that word (pet peeve, sorry). 2. Try not to argue that the judges' opinions are unfair, because let's face it: They can actually taste the food, and we can't. (That's just the way it is with this show: Until somebody invents taste-o-vision, we have to take the judges at their word regarding what sucks and what doesn't.) 3. Don't post spoilers and/or spoil posters. Finally, here are a few of my impressions of this season after watching (too many) promo clips posted on bravotv.com. First impression: Reputed pot-imbiber Padma looks even more stoned than usual lately. (Here's an overshare: In one clip, Padma dreamily intoned, "I want every part of my palate to really be stimulated," and it gave me a culinary boner.) Other impressions: This season's contestant group looks refreshingly "global" (with origins from places like Hawaii, Italy, Finland, Spain and India) as well as promisingly eccentric. Examples include:
- Richard, who helpfully identifies himself as "one of those witty gays" and says, "You will scream my name and slap your momma when you taste my food" (which makes me happy, for my mother's sake, that taste-o-vision really doesn't exist).
- Gene, a native Hawaiian who loves Spam and wants us all to know that he never went to culinary school.
- Jamie, who has enough tattoos on her body to consider a career in the circus if the chef thing doesn't work out.
- Fabio, who has "chia pet hair" and moonlights as William Shatner's personal chef.
- Stefan, who is simply my early pick to win the whole thing. (My other preseason favorites: Carla and Hosea.)
Anyway, that's enough fat-chewing from me. It's nearly showtime, so grab a drink, Glad-wrap the ol' laptop and let's get ready to live-blog!