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LAT Criticizes Top Chef and Our Obsession

Scorecard from Blogging Top Chef

As the Top Chef season heads into its finale (part one airs tonight at 10pm; part two airs Oct. 3 with the results announced LIVE), the LAT decides the time is ripe to squawk about the show, its product placement, contestants, judges, and antics. Writer Regina Schrambling hates it all. She calls it "the Dallas of its day, continuously riding a whole new wave that is washing up all over television and the Internet and even into the most respectable of outlets, print media." Hmm. Yes. Respectably late to the party. There's product placement in Top Chef? Shocking. Somewhere in the morass, Eater LA gets singled out:

You could surrender your life to searching for deeper meaning in unnaturally obsessed, dedicated blogs such as bloggingtopchef.blogspot.com or the more mainstream such as la.eater.com. The latter seems to post on "Top Chef" before episodes, after episodes and in between episodes at a rather steady clip, with all contestants on a first-name basis. There are interviews with losers, "spoiler alerts" on leaked details, conjecture and peripheral stories, along with the occasional acknowledgment that the attention is definitely too detailed.
Who, us? We're tickled to get a mention, but Eater barely scratches the surface of TC obsessiveness.

Yes, we cover the show and interviewed the local contestant Chris "CJ" Jacobson until he got kicked off. And, yes, we're fond of the spoilers or attempts at such. But Schrambling skips the brilliance of Blogging Top Chef, which has a song waiting for the departed chef each week, not to mention videos and general commentary (and a scorecard!). The possums at Amuse-Biatch hilariously track Padma and any other TC personality daily. Keckler's recaps on TWoP are legendary, not simply "extensive." Most newspapers have covered the show, or at least interviewed their local contestants (LAT excluded). New York Magazine and Frank Bruni dish weekly. TV Guide, EW?yes, the show is everywhere. It's just a big TC party. Whose invitation got lost in the mail?

Strip away the Glad contests, the silly cooking challenges, the made-for-TV drama of sequestering 15 complete strangers in one apartment with no iPods or cellphones, under the watchful eye of 24/7 cameras, and at its core Top Chef is still about food, cooking, and those who cook for us. Watchers who never picked up a spatula in their life are now talking about mise en place and sous vide. Big name chefs jump on board because it's a vehicle to get their established names (and faces) in front of a targeted audience. Sell outs? Not really. In the end, it's all about money, to keep the restaurants open, to keep the best chefs employed, to keep everyone well fed. We'll geek out on that any day.
· Top Chef Boils Over [LAT]
· Our obsession with Chris "CJ" Jacobson [~ELA~]
· Our obsession with Top Chef [~ELA~]

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