Design on TV: The Top Chef Post That Wasn’t


Dear Top Chef Producers,

What the deuce? Each year we wait with baited breath for your Restaurant Wars episode. It’s our big chance to see just how tacky professional chefs can be. You know the saying every writer needs an editor? Well every chef needs a decorator — if not bad things like Bath and Body Works vanilla-scented candles near braised lamb shanks happen.

But this year the décor aspect of the challenge was completely passed over. Sure, there were brief milliseconds of the increasingly adorable Fabio talking about feeling like his wife for shopping so much at Pier 1 Imports, and a few moments of the increasingly ’80s-hairstyle that is Jeff holding a big zebra rug. But that was it.

Really? You mean to tell me Padma had no commentary on the fact that Team Sahana got their restaurant’s chairs by raiding a wedding reception? Or that Tom (our-future-husband) wasn’t befuddled by the clearance section wicker (with grotesquely overstuffed cushions) waiting area that Leah’s team constructed? We know that Toby Young, the new token Brit judge everyone loves to hate, would have had something deliciously vicious to say. Come on, who would want to eat at a place called the Sunset Lounge except Tom Jones and 11 a.m. drunks?

Plus, your talented location scouts did most of the work for them. The massive windows overlooking the South Street Seaport meant there was no space for the kind if hideous nondescript artwork that makes great restaurants terrible. A sprawling view can make anything look better, or at least distract from offensive metallic linens and oddly clear glass plates that can transform a panna cotta into a science project.

We understand why you did it. You needed to cut from somewhere to have the time to show us the love affair between the tall bald dude and the annoying girl we went to college with. Oh, the intrigue. To paraphrase our dearest Fabio, this is Top Chef not Top Cheat on your Significant Other on Cable Television. Spare us.

Are you mad at Pier 1? Because if it’s just a corporate sponsorship issue, we would rather you make contestants decorate the entire restaurant with Glad bags and cans of Diet Dr. Pepper than give us so little design to judge. Please Top Chef, don’t make us so angry that we take you off the DVR. We just got you in HD and we can’t live without the better picture quality of Fabio in the likes of that “Stayin’ Alive” suit he was rocking last night.

Thanks, Management (not the band, that’s MGMT)