Top Chef Boston, Episode 1: The Handicapper’s Recap


The Top Chef Handicaper’s Recap:

Because I’m super thorough and one hell of a researcher, I’m arming myself with only the premiere of Top Chef Boston to handicap the cheftestants’ odds of winning and make snap judgments based on their looks. If you sat through Richard Blais’ maiden voyage as judge (good for him) and tried to see who’s who on your own, perhaps we can have ourselves a dialogue in the comments (or you could tell me how worthless this recap is–internet’s free if you have a library card). For now though, let’s take a look at the field, none of whom will be representing our fair city (closest thing we got is a birth certificate from Coatesville) this season (sucks to your assmar, Bravo).

Aaron Grissom Grissom spent the first episode talking shit on camera. Pretty sure he grew up wanting to be a thug but couldn’t find anything other than white people in his hometown of Tacoma, Washington. Bio says his food is nostalgic and triggers strong memories, so obviously he has an entire section of his restaurant menu dedicated to street tacos.

Odds of Winning: 15-1

Packs Knives and Goes: Week 6

Adam Harvey Adam is a native New Yorker and probably has the most tattoos of all the cheftestants this season. I don’t think I like him very much, which has a lot to do with his stringy goatee and his insistence on taking the lobster leg of the mise en place relay, only to fail miserably at shucking them in a timely fashion.

Odds of Winning: 20-1

Packs Knives and Goes: Week 4 as a result of a Sudden Death Quickfire

Doug Adams This guy is short. Like Georges Perrier short. He says he’s gonna use that Napoleon complex to his advantage, but what happens when he needs an ingredient from the top shelf and someone taller snags it first?

Odds of Winning: 20-1

Packs knives and Goes: Week 4

George Pagonis George is business partners with Mike Isabella, which really means sweet fuck-all when it comes to Top Chef. If anything, it probably puts you under more of a microscope. Either way, he shit the bed during the mise en place Quickfire (which was a Sudden Death Quickfire–some new and exciting bullshit this year), and had to face off against Hipster Urkel below in a one-dish challenge.

Odds of Winning: N/A

Packs Knives and Goes: Poor guy couldn’t even get through the first episode.

Gregory Gourdet Greg’s bio screams achievement. Pre-med drop-out, marathon runner, triathlete, his is the eye of the tiger. Although he appears to be a giant dork, his competitive streak will probably land him in the finale.

Odds of Winning: 2-1

Packs Knives and Goes: Finale

James Rigato “Hey James, tell me something about yourself.” “Well, I’ve seen Sarah McLachlan six times.” I’m not sure if this is the best thing or the worst thing, but I see this McLachlan Superfan flying under the radar for quite awhile.

Odds of Winning: 10-1

Packs Knives and Goes: Week 8

Joy Crump Joy’s got that Carla Hall thing working for her (no, not the fact that she’s black, you racists). While much less bug-eyed and animated, there’s still an air of “I cook my food with love” that transcends the canisters of liquid nitrogen and tubs of maltodextrin. In the first episode, she seems to think she’s out of her league when the other cheftestants spout off their accolades, but she also doesn’t really give a shit. She’ll either go home during the week of Restaurant Wars or make it to the final four.

Odds of Winning: 3-1

Packs Knives and Goes: Week 10

Katie Wienner I think Katie’s the first cheftestant from my hometown of Salt Lake City. I have no idea why Bravo would cast someone from Salt Lake City. Navajo Tacos and Pastrami Burgers notwithstanding, the food is terrible there.

Odds of Winning: 50-1

Packs Knives and Goes: Week 2

Katsuji Tanabe Based on previous seasons, you need at least one cheftestant with a thick accent (the Subtitle Union has a lot of pull). Besides that, someone who is Mexican, Japanese, and Jewish is a must-cast. If Katsuji can get out of his own way, he’s got potential. If the first episode is any indication, however, he’s not long for this season.

Odds of Winning: 50-1

Packs Knives and Goes: Week 3

Keriann Von Raesfeld Keriann has won a bunch of awards from an organization called the World Association of Chefs Societies. She also plans fundraisers for the TBD foundation. Although she was crowned “World’s Greatest Young Chef” in 2008, I don’t see her making it too deep in the competition.

Odds of Winning: 30-1

Packs Knives and Goes: Week 5

Mei Lin Another chef who works with a Top Chef alum and winner (Michael Voltaggio), Mei came out with guns blazing in the premiere. Pretty sure she’ll continue to murder it with the methodical precision that is either a result of Voltaggio’s tutelage or being the daughter of a tiger mom.

Odds of Winning: Even

Packs Knives and Goes: Doesn’t

Melissa King The Skrillex hair and psychology studies are both excellent tools to get into the other cheftestants’ heads. It’ll be her, Mei Lin, and Hipster Urkel left standing at the end.

Odds of Winning: 3-1

Packs Knives and Goes: Week 12

Michael Patlazhan This guy’s cockiness got the best of him straight away. He claimed to have “the style and the looks” to be Top Chef, but it would appear he lacked the most important criteria, which is the ability to make good food. Unlike an airfoil being able to help planes achieve flight, Michael’s mohawk couldn’t help him in the kitchen.

Odds of Winning: N/A

Packs Knives and Goes: Week 1

Rebecca LaMalfa I’m not sure if Rebecca said more than three words during the premiere. I got nothing here. The menu at her restaurant, Trenchermen, looks pretty cool, so maybe she’ll go deep.

Odds of Winning: 10-1

Packs Knives and Goes: Week 10

Ron Eyester Ron’s got a chip on his shoulder about the way chefs dress these days and he’s here to prove that you can be a good cook without having to own a pair of skinny jeans. I’m just hoping that the birthmark on his forehead glows when he’s in the zone like a fat Harry Potter. He’ll go far. He’ll also have a mental breakdown at some point before getting sent to sequester.

Odds of Winning: 15-1

Packs Knives and Goes: Week 9

Stacy Cogswell Cogswell’s got the home-field advantage. How do we know? Because she mentioned it every single time she was on camera.

Odds of Winning: 15-1

Packs Knives and Goes: Week 7

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