Well, that explains it, possums.
As you may remember from last season, Anthony Bourdain's Top Chef blog on Bravo's website was far and away the most entertaining--who could forget his picking a fight with poor, little freeze-dried Rocco DiSpirito?--and Bravo recognized it. It was nominated for a Webby, and Bravo encouraged readers to vote for it.
So it was rather surprising when the blog did not return this season. And now, courtesy of Bourdain himself on his Travel Channel blog, there seems to be an explanation:
A final note to conspiracy theorists. There is no pressure from the producers to either keep particular contestants--or send others home. In all my appearances on Top Chef, I've never seen it, never felt it. I pity any producer who'd dare suggest to Tom Colicchio that he send someone home who did not deserve it--or spare the poorest candidate for reasons of greater drama. In fact, it's his moral gravitas that makes Top Chef worth watching, in spite of all the heavy-handed product placement and occasional silly challenges.
As for me? I could give a rat's a** who the producers or Bravo want to win or not win . What I've traditionally used the Glad Family of Bags for would probably not make a good commercial. When I read the surprising announcement that Michelob, a beer I don't drink and don't much like, was going to be "sponsoring" my Bravo blog, I advised them that I felt compelled to disappoint them.
Ah, so that was it. Michelob, eh?
As you can probably guess, this came in the context of the controversial decision on last week's episode to oust gayfaced, crotch-grabbing, locker-punching, weepy, gangsta wannabe and walking Napoleon complex Dale Tale. But Bourdain explains all:
So what did happen? How come the more talented Dale, with a far more distinguished record of wins than his teammates, was the one to pack his knives....and...go? Lisa, it appeared, had two seriously screwed up dishes. Dale only had one!
True enough. But oh, what a one.
Dale's "Butterscotch Scallops were supremely bad. Jaw droppingly bad. So bad that there was a long, awkward moment at the table when all the judges just sat there, silent, stunned with disbelief that anyone--especially Dale--could serve something so...disgusting. It's the only time on Top Chef that I literally could not take another bite.
Lisa's laksa was screwed up. Unpleasantly smoky. But I could eat it. Her "sticky rice" dessert was awful. But not dig a hole in the ground-stick my head in--pour in Clorox bad. Like those scallops. They were distinguished by their sheer degree of awfulness, sucking everything around them down with.
Judging on Top Chef -- as has been pointed out repeatedly (most recently and succinctly by my learned colleague, Ted Allen) is on a "What Have You Cooked For Me Lately" basis. We are not supposed to care what has been achieved previously. In fact, guest judges don't even know. The shows air long after filming. So Jose Andres, for instance, can in no way be expected to know--or care--if Dale won previous challenges, deserved to win them, loves puppies and long walks on the beach--or tortures hamsters in his spare time. After deliberation, the judges were unanimous in their feeling that it was Dale who--this week--f**ked up worst.
Well, we're convinced, possums. What say you?