I caught the first two episodes this weekend, and thought they were fairly entertaining. I really liked that the first couple of challenges were essentially simple – make an egg dish, and set up your mis en place.
I was ready to feel bad for the guy who ended up losing, but he was such a jackass that it was pretty easy to see why he got cut. Obviously it’s frustrating to have someone else screw up your process, but I think it’s also obvious that it wasn’t malicious. And if it were me, while I’d probably mention that my pot was interfered with, I wouldn’t immediately attribute it, publicly, to maliciousness. Cap that off with his inability to take an apology – one that she obviously felt emotional about, because I’m sure she has no way of knowing whether she’s just signed her own 86ing papers – and he was just irritating.
If you’re going to be bitchy, the NY woman knew how to do it. She’s not friendly, and I’m not fond of people who feel that enjoying yourself during a competition is somehow showing weakness, but she took care of her stuff and knows what she’s doing.
It seems to me, in general, that there are two kinds of competition reality shows. There’s the kind like Survivor or The Amazing Race, where you’re running for a fixed, one-time prize – a million dollars. Getting the money is the primary thing, and messing with other players to the extend allowed by the rules is probably a useful skill.
But then there are shows like this or The Apprentice, where how you play the game is likely to affect how suitable you are for the prize, because you’re not getting a wad of cash. You’re getting a job. So messing with other players is, at best, a short-term strategy that could cost you the big prize because who wants to work with a sabotaging jerk? Ego is fine, but paranoia and Machiavellianism don’t help out.
Also, I’d like to mention that Michael Ruhlman’s books (the non-chef judge) The Making of a Chef and The Soul of a Chef are excellent books for anyone who likes this show or professional cooking in general.