Hey, you! Ever read a live blog and thought, "hey, I could do that"? Do you love to drink and talk about food (or to eat and talk about drinking)? Well, this could be your lucky night!
Because tonight, we're kicking off a new Gawker-commenter live blog — this time, for Top Chef Masters (on Bravo at 10 pm Eastern). If you haven't been to one of these shindigs we've held in the past (for Top Chef and Project Runway), this is the feature where you, the Gawker reader, get to do the actual live-blogging in the comments section below.
This new show is a twist on the traditional Top Chef formula in that established, renowned chefs compete instead of newbies. It also features a different host/judging panel, which means (alas) we won't see hunky-foodie Tom Coliccio or burnout-knockout Padma Lakshmi this time out. But the good news is that the new judging panel appears to hold great entertainment promise. They include:
- Gael Greene, a long-time New York Magazine food critic who once wrote that "the two greatest discoveries of the 20th century were the cuisinart and the clitoris." She claims to have had sex with Elvis Presley, Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds (although presumably not all at once).
- Jay Rayner, an English writer/foodie who apparently likes to frown, glare and look vaguely creepy in photographs (sometimes holding knives).
- James Oseland, a food magazine editor-in-chief whose Bravo bio says he once "ghost-wrote and acted in films." The "ghost-" part must explain why IMDB lists no screenwriting credits under his name. But it does list four acting credits for him — including roles such as "Jail Clerk" and "Sally" (?) — so I guess he's something of a renaissance man after all.
Host Kelly Choi, meanwhile, seems like a reality-show producer's dream: Pretty (a former model), smart (a Columbia School of Journalism grad) and qualified (veteran host of a food-themed TV show). Also, her Asian-femaleness helps offset the overwhelmingly white-male nature of the show's contestant corps. In fact, if Choi hadn't been on TV for years, I'd suspect that Bravo created her in some kind of reality-show-host laboratory.
In another departure from the normal Top Chef format, the 24 contestants will compete in groups of only four per episode rather than all in a big group. (The six winners will return to battle it out in later episodes.) The four we'll see tonight are:
- Hubert Keller, a French-born chef culinary hotshot who once cooked for Bill Clinton in the White House. I'm actually kind of pulling for Keller tonight, because his long, flowy white hair and beard make him look like a kindly wizard — "a gastronomic Gandalf," as it were — and I'm partial to kindly wizards.
- Christopher Lee, who is not (speaking of wizards) the same Christopher Lee who played the evil wizard Saruman in The Lord of the Rings. (That had me confused for a while, so I thought I'd clear that up for everyone else right of the bat.) Rather, he's executive chef at New York's Areola, which holds the distinction of being best restaurant in the world named after a nipple. Oh wait … check that: The name is actually "Aureole," not "Areola," so forget that last part
- Michael Schlow, a Jersey-born lover of Almond Joy bars who once earned a college scholarship to play baseball before opting to become a chef. So he traded in his catcher's mitt for an oven mitt. Maybe he just likes wearing mitts?
- Tim Love, a Texan who doesn't look like the hat-wearin', gun-totin' type. In fact, I think he looks a little like k.d. lang. (But maybe I'm just nuts? Click here and see what you think.)
OK gang, it's nearly 10, so let's limber up those fingers and prepare to post some high-caliber commentary on tonight's episode. Remember, this isn't some "amateur hour" live blog — it features a select contingent of the most esteemed quip-casting commenters in the world! Think of it "Live Bog Masters" — where every master is a winner!