Thursday, July 12, 2007

I know I've watched too many sweaty people in white jackets making risotto when...

...I start worrying what would happen if, God forbid, I ever got trapped in a parallel universe that only had one competitive cooking show. What would I watch? Hell's Kitchen or Top Chef? Let's reason this one out:

Top Chef has better chefs, cooking unusual and intriguing dishes that show skill and talent.

Hell's Kitchen has people who, theoretically, have cooked in some sort of professional setting but more often than not, probably have to read the instructions when they make macaroni.

Points go to Top Chef

Top Chef has an impressive panel of judges, including restaurant poobah Tom Colicchio, Salman Rushdie's ex-wife Padma Lakshmi, Gail Simmons from Food and Wine magazine, my favorite Queer Eye for the Straight Guy survivor Ted Allen and a random legendary chef of the week.

Hell's Kitchen has mussed, crazed Glaswegian Gordon Ramsay screaming his brains out at a team of incompetents.

Points go to Hell's Kitchen.

The action:
Top Chef features a whole mess of competitive chefs going at each other's throat as they try to out-cook and out-create each other.

Hell's Kitchen has a whole mess of competitive "chefs" having nervous breakdowns, crying and breaking things.

Points go to Hell's Kitchen.

A lot of Top Chef contestants use foam in their dishes.

Gordon Ramsay occasionally foams at the mouth.

Points go to Top Chef, for sanitary reasons alone.

Mouths to feed:
Top Chef contestants cook for guests who savor fine food and have experienced palates.

Hell's Kitchen contestants serve complete idiots who apparently have never watched the show and are shocked each week to learn that their food may never actually reach their plate and who wonder why that Glaswegian is shouting, "fuuuuuuuck," at the top of his lungs in the pretty kitchen. The sign on the door says, "Hell's Kitchen," people, let's think about this!

Points go to Top Chef.

Comedy value:
Everyone on Top Chef is very serious using big food words that I don't understand but am impressed by. Sadly, though, no one ever cracks a joke.

I understand all the words on Hell's Kitchen, even the bleeped out ones. And it's funny as hell. In season 2, crazy Ramsay, enraged by incompetence once more, tells a chef, "Oh my God almighty. Right, now here's what I suggest you do. Buy a restaurant, put one table in there. Any more than that, you'd be fucked."

Points go to Hell's Kitchen for its ongoing comedy of debasement

Concern for my emotional well-being:
Top Chef is a very soothing program to watch late at night when you're ready for either sleep or a snack.

I need like three Xanax after watching Hell's Kitchen, after spending an hour worrying that Ramsay's angry head is going to explode like a Roman candle...and that somehow he'll find a way to yell at me through the TV.

Points go to Top Chef because it has yet to give me a nervous tic.

So apparently, if trapped in a parallel universe with only one competitive cooking show, I would have to watch Top Chef. I would do so but with a sad heart, knowing that I was missing out, somewhere, somehow, on seeing Chef Ramsay bark like an angry terrier while making a sad little sous chef cry.


Steve said...

I gotta say I want Hell's Kitchen.

Sure, your points are all right on, there isn't as much drama on TC and there isn't as much cooking in HK, but Ramsey is just too entertaining. You always have the one chick who is hot for him who wins the first competition and gets to hang out with him on a yacht or in some fine dining establishment being all giddy because he is being nice, then at dinner service she gets called a fat cow over and over. That is reason enough to watch it 24/7.

Liz said...

Plus, all the yelling reminds you of your chef days. :-)

Sonya said...

I love how Ramsey ALWAYS jumps from one extreme emotion to another while he's cooking. I also love whenever he yells at the waiter. That show is such a guilty pleasure.