Sunday, October 30, 2011

Conference Call with Tom and Padma

I recently participated in a conference call with Tom and Padma during which I learned all sorts of things about the upcoming season of Top Chef. And that Padma is quite chatty.

For example, there was talk about the Webisodes that will be up on this season. Not just videos of random goings-on in the sequester house, but an actual competition for eliminated cheftestants. They'll be going head to head and the last man standing will get to re-enter the competition.

According to Tom:

"it addresses the person whom the viewer thinks got a raw deal, or maybe they were more talented and they were kicked out too soon. I can think back to Trey, who was kicked out sort of in the middle of the competition for Restaurant Wars. He made a series of bad dishes but everybody thought that we should have given him a break because he had competed and done well earlier in some of the earlier episodes. And so what this does is gives that person who gets kicked out early because, again, we judge on that dish and that's it. It's not a cumulative event, so if you make a bad dish - you could win five in a row - if you make a bad dish, the worst dish, you're gone. And so it gives that person the opportunity to get back in."

If you haven't figured it out already, there will be a "mass elimination" in the first episode. They're starting off with 29 contestants and narrowing the field down to 16 pretty much right away.

Tom: "...this whole idea that you have to cook yourself into the competition, that's kind of what we were going for versus just through interviews and resumes... because sometimes you get a clunker. You have somebody whose resume may look great - I look at their resumes when we're down to about 20 contestants - you look at some of them and go, 'wow this person is going to be great!' and they turn out to be terrible. And so it was a way to cook yourself into the competition. There were some people who we were led to believe would have been great contestants, really strong cooks, and they weren't good at all."

Then there were lots of questions about Texas stereotypes. When I think of Texas stereotypes, I think of women with big hair and bigger jewelry, but what does that have to do with food? Tom inquired as to whether one questioner meant Rick Perry-style stereotypes, which made me chuckle, but again...that's a stereotype that has nothing to do with food. It seemed like the Texas journalists were perhaps a bit too touchy about the whole thing.

Tom: " know what, we played the stereotypes everywhere we go. It's not only in Texas. We do it in New York, we did it in San Francisco, we did it in - listen if we shoot it in Seattle you know we're going to be throwing salmon somewhere."

Padma: "...he's right. Look, I live in New York City and I can't remember the last time that I went to the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island. But when we were in New York, you bet your butt we were at Ellis Island because that's a landmark of New York. I grew up in this city. And if I had gotten here years ago then I would have been at Ellis Island. But those are the highlights of the city. I mean we've done this everywhere."

There was also chatter about eating habits, how Padma gains 10-15 lbs per season and has a wardrobe of bigger-sized clothes to accommodate her growth. She apparently starts out at a record low weight this season, so it will be interesting to see if we actually notice that she looks bigger by the end of the run. She also admits that they all hit the myriad of snacky foods that are always on the set - M&Ms, etc.

Nice to know they're human. :)

Posted on


Marsha said...

Hey, I live in TX, so I'm really excited for this season!! Thanks for explaining the crazy number of starting cheftestants. And yeah, Padma is looking way thin in the promo commercials - I'm slightly jealous, but honestly, she does not need to be that thin.

David Dust said...

After that Shit Show that's known as "Project Runway", I am so looking forward Top Chef.