Bourdain on Top Chef: "I could give a rat's a** who the producers or Bravo want to win…"

With the Top Chef finale looming – tonight’s episode features a competition from the shores of Puerto Rico (I thought this was Top Chef Chicago?), it’s down to the final four chefs – Lisa, Stephanie, Richard, and Antonia. Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who appeared recently as a guest judge, blogged last week about his recent visit to the show, and the decision to send Dale home in episode 11.

Judging on Top Chef — as has been pointed out repeatedly (most recently and succinctly by my learned colleague, Ted Allen) is on a “What Have You Cooked For Me Lately” basis. We are not supposed to care what has been achieved previously. In fact, guest judges don’t even know. The shows air long after filming. So Jose Andres, for instance, can in no way be expected to know–or care–if Dale won previous challenges, deserved to win them, loves puppies and long walks on the beach–or tortures hamsters in his spare time. After deliberation, the judges were unanimous in their feeling that it was Dale who–this week–f**ked up worst.

It seems, however, that Bourdain offers a more fatherly insight to Dale’s overall kitchen demeanor – perhaps a new soft spot brought on by the birth of his daughter in 2007. (Born on my birthday, no doubt!)

Had Dale been a little more mature, a little better suited to lead…had he not fancied himself a crotch grabbing gangster genius..had he not been the sort of guy who unnecessarily calls temp waiters, hired for the DAY “a**holes”, then he might well have seen the wisdom in adopting Stephanie’s far smarter attitude over at Team Woodstock..Dale will surely have a bright career. He’s generally an excellent cook. His post-loss interviews have demonstrated commendable insight into where things went wrong for him.

With your permanent sh**-eating grin, and your disdain for lackeys, you’re a shining star in this overly-commercialized, under-antagonized world of food preparation. Looking forward to your next fly-by visit to the blogosphere, Tony.

Image details: 2005 TCA Tour Day 5 – NCTA served by

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