With Top Chef having recently kicked off another season deep in the heart of Texas, one can’t help but think that perhaps they’re struggling to find new inspired locations. I’m from Dallas, and can speak to the diversity and quality of food in both Dallas and Austin (can’t really speak to San Antonio), but the fact that the producers need to use three different cities as a backdrop for this season’s competition seems a little desperate, especially considering there are a number of great cities still remaining.
So, before they announce next season, I would like to plant the following five seeds for possible locations. And because I’m so generous, I also tossed in a few places to host the other, lesser, Top Chefs. Like Desserts and Masters.
While Seattle might not be as cosmopolitan as some of the previous cities, it’s no doubt got its finger on the pulse of culinary trends, having put an emphasis on the “slow food” and “farm-to-table” approaches to cooking long before some of its bigger brothers and sisters. That’s possibly due to the fact that Seattle has some of the best ingredients, both sea and land, at its fingertips.
It’s also possibly due to the fact that 200 days of rain would turn anyone into a foodie, allowing residents to take solace only in their kitchens, the Food Network their only companion as the rain falls and falls.
Finally, you’ve got the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle. When you send the teams on a shopping mission, maybe this once we could cut out dutiful sponsor Whole Foods and inject a little more local flavor into the challenges?
New Orleans seems so steeped in its own culinary identity, distinct from any other, that it feels as though several seasons of the show have been filmed here. Nope. Not a one. Sure, it may not have the breadth of offerings as a Chicago or San Francisco, but no city in the United States (possibly the world) associates itself more closely to its cuisine than New Orleans.
Again, the challenges may not be the most disparate, but seeing ten chefs offer up their gumbos to the local experts would be a refreshingly humbling experience to the cocky lot of chefs. Also, I would like to see a faux-hawked chef get shitfaced on Hurricanes or Hand Grenades and accidentally out himself, but that’s probably a long shot.
This would also afford the audience perhaps a little more opportunity to see the chefs cut loose socially. By “cut loose socially,” I mean that we could see them pass out in a filthy gutter, miss their call for a quickfire challenge, then carry that shame with them for the rest of their tenure on the show.
New Orleans: Make it happen.