Wednesday, March 12, 2008
your homie hov in position, in the kitchen with soda:
Like in horror movies, it's always the black girl who gets it first.

Season four of Top Chef, the only reality-TV show that matters, premiered tonight. After the experience of three previous iterations, I've learned that it's a fool's errand to draw any strong conclusions from the first episode. Tre's victory in the first ep of season three broke the Harold-Ilan foreshadowing magic about the first elimination heralding the eventual winner. Plus you can't really get a good handle on the characters when there's so many in the mix. It's all misdirection. All I know is that a couple months ago my New York recovering-pastry chef buddy Debbie Lee told me at least one of these cheftestants (yeah I said it, what) is notorious. She'll remind me who.

This time around we've got a gay couple, only two faux-hawks, not very many white ethnics -- Kriston Capps and I still do the Howie-Joey "you do your best, I'll do my best" routine when called upon -- a New Zealander (Flight of the Conchords has made NZ the hot Anglospheric nation) that I've taken to calling Peregrine Took, and, most bizarrely, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ayaan/Nimma cooked some oversalted shrimp and protested to the judges that her cauliflower puree had "real flavor." Real flavor? It's cauliflower! So Top Chef 4 cut her early, proving that the Chicago season is objectively Islamofascist.

A word about Rocco DiSpirito. He's appalling. Last year's attempt at post-Restaurant rehab apparently worked, as he appears to no longer be hawking frozen Bertoli dinners. ("It's good stuff.") Needlessly aggressive and antagonistic, he appeared from the beginning of the show to be less a judge than a contestant, silently ranking the dishes in accordance to the degree of danger they posed to his own feelings of self-regard as a chef. And then he confused Marmite with Vegemite! Hey, asshole: Marmite doesn't have any vegetable extract. I couldn't tell the difference, myself, but I didn't cheat Jeffrey Chodorow out of thousands of dollars that I later spent on Botox. Never have him on the show again.

Lastly, the picture you see above is what I served my house of famous bloggers and associates who came by for the premiere. That's (obviously) the cheezburger that they can has, along with a spicy pickled slaw and some grilled (out of season) sweet corn. Photo by Matt Yglesias under a creative commons license. Or something.

This post dedicated to Debbie Lee, and, in fact, all of Alt.Music.Hardcore -- Nick "Balls" Steffens, Jesse Cannon, Alexander T, Gentle Ben Manners and Rick Ta Life.
--Spencer Ackerman