I’m really pleased with this season of Top Chef. Maybe it’s partly due to the fact that last season was such a parade of personality disorders with little or no content that focused on cuisine, but there’s a much better balance this year. People still get to be obnoxious and dysfunctional, but rarely at the expense of what they’re cooking. More often than not, obnoxiousness actually results in a contestant’s downfall, as opposed to carrying them to the finale.
Speaking of the finale, spoilers after the cut:
I’m pretty pleased with the final three contestants. The weird thing is that I would have been happy with just about any combination of the final six. (Okay, any trio of contestants after the departure of Howie, who annoyed me by opting out almost as often as he competed.)
Hung is an egotistical dork, but at least he’s got significant culinary skills to partially justify his demeanor. He can cook, and he seems young, so a certain amount of hubris is to be expected.
I don’t really have strong feelings about Casey one way or the other, though I will say that I would eat just about everything she’s cooked. Her flavor combinations and preparations always sound tempting, she works hard, and she’s unfailingly collegial to her fellow competitors.
I’m shamelessly partial to Big Gay Dale, though. As with Casey, his dishes always sound good to me, and I think he’s generally funny and adorable without being caustic or unkind. (Or crying all the time, like season one’s Big Gay Dave.)
So, I won’t be too unhappy no matter who wins. That’s always fun.